Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chanukkah

Chanukkah is less than a month away -- the Hebrew month of Kislev starts this Friday -- so of course, it's time to start making my practice and experimental batches of latkes!

A basic recipe for latkes can be found on my website here. I have also made a video on YouTube that illustrates some of the finer points, like how to tell when latkes are ready to flip. (I'm not entirely satisfied with the way the titles look on YouTube, and I may be replacing that video, but I'll update the link if I do).

But every year I experiment with different changes and additions to my latkes, and my co-workers are good enough to serve as test subjects -- er, I mean beta testers -- for my latke experiments...

Some experiments that have gone over well: adding half a cup of broccoli florets, asparagus tips or bell peppers (a mix of red, yellow and green peppers was especially pretty) or substituting shredded zucchini or sweet potato for half of the potato. My birth father, who was allergic to eggs, liked the latkes I made using a small amount of rehydrated spud flakes to hold the latkes together instead of the eggs. Spud flakes might also be a useful substitute for the gluten intolerant. Hmn... I should try some gluten-free latkes using corn meal in place of matzah meal...

Less successful experiments: shredded carrots in place of some of the potatoes; adding corn (it seemed like a good idea: I like corn fritters).

Yesterday, I tried something new: feta cheese. I started with my basic recipe and crumbled in 6 oz. of Millers brand feta cheese, along with a tablespoon of dried dill weed (you can't have feta without dill!). Then I split the batter in half and added a shredded zucchini to one half and some shredded baby spinach to the other half. The zucchini half had somewhat too high of a vegetable-to-batter ratio was a bit high, so I added a bit more egg and matzah meal.

So far, we have gotten very positive feedback from the beta testers on the feta latkes, although the zucchini one is going over better than the spinach.

I'm trying to think of some other vegetables that might be fun in latkes... I'll let you know if I have any more experiments, successful or otherwise!

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