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Latkes - the Topic!


Fat Guy
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Last night I ate the best Latkes of a lifetime.

Deeelicious! :smile:

Even plain ole sour cream was better than most I have ever eaten. The apple sauce... spicy, dark and tasty. And what was even better were the Chanukah candy and cookies that were also on the table. And of course the candied cherries.

I was in my food heaven. Potatoes and candy and frying. :shock: I was in my element.

The Latkes were savory with just a slight hint of sweetness coming with each bite. Not overly sweet as I have had them taste before. The sour cream was real. It had a plain taste of richness that lent a nice clean creamy side to each bite. The applesauce was spicy, but just enough to hit you only after you had enjoyed the crispy outside of the Latkes and the very think but certainly substantial softer mush of potatoes, onions and almost caramelized onions. Fried perfectly, these Latkes were not greasy, not too crispy that they became onion pakoras :shock: instead of Latkes.

What was outstanding was the mix of the two kinds of onions added to them. They made for great texture and contrast of flavor. The diced raw onions certainly gave a nice bite. The almost caramelized onions that were added into the mix, caramelized ever so delicately upon frying and gave a perfect sweet note to the Latkes. The Prince Edward Island potatoes were it seems perfect to have enough personality of their own that they were not lost even for a moment in the overall enjoyment of the Latkes. They were robust and strong and a perfect partner for the other stuff that added to a most amazing Latke eating ceremony.

It is now no mystery to me what a non-professional chef won the overall Best Latke award from the James Beard Society. The candle light lent by the beautiful Menorah, all lit in its ritual glory, also helped in the overall enjoyment of the Latkes.

I hope for my own benefit and for those members that care, this amazing Latke chef and their muse would post the photographs from last evening. :smile:

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Latke-eating CEREMONY???? Chanukah candies??????????????? Oy. Let's hope he means chanukah gelt (chocolate coins). Chanukah cookies?????

CHANUKAH AIN'T CHRISTMAS.

There, I said it.

Now I'm off to buy potatoes to make PLAIN OLD FOLKY TRADITIONAL LATKES.

Edited by La Niña (log)
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Latke-eating CEREMONY????  Chanukah candies???????????????  Oy.  Let's hope he means chanukah gelt (chocolate coins).  Chanukah cookies?????

CHANUKAH AIN'T CHRISTMAS.

There, I said it.

Now I'm off to buy potatoes to make PLAIN OLD FOLKY TRADITIONAL LATKES.

Anything can be a ceremony Nina when it is done with attention to detail and every possible nuance that makes any moment special and memorable. Ceremonial is not always great.. and yet it is not always tedious... Ceremonies can be precious... And this certainly was.

You would have been most proud and into the Latkes. They were SUPERB at the very least. And made by a man who is quite a modest man for he never let it be known to me before that he is quite the cook.

There were chocolate coins... There were very chic (Maybe Tiffany borrowed their colors from this holiday celebration) blue and white colored M&M like candy. And yes there were shortbread cookies with relevant shapes and designs.

Chanukah Ain't Christmas for sure... But many do celebrate it as such. Luckily our table last night was far from Hokey and Showy.... We had the real thing. A Menorah with candles ... the Menorah itself was amazingly crafted. Perhaps an antique, or just a beautiful Menorah anyways. And yes Menorahs do have candles.... when you are not using oil based ones... It is not all that uncommon. While they are not traditional, they are not all that out of the ordinary. When I worked in retail, I remember other competitors would buy Menorah candles... for people loved spending money on Chanukah... and this was a great way for many retailers to get even more business around the Holiday season. Again, not shocking to me, have you never seen Menorahs with candles? In fact I have seen several really tacky Menorahs with colored lights.... Just as ugly as colored light hanging around Indian homes for Diwali.. tacking lights seen in many homes around Christmas... So yes variety can be the spice of life... and also what makes the world so very interesting.

Enjoy your Latkes. I am sure they will be great. Folksy has its own place. And in fact ours yesterday were no less folksy. Maybe we were folks that enjoyed the details that go into folksy stuff.. and in knowing every detail, we made folksy into something very special. Still not any better or worse off than anyone else.

I envy those who taste your Latkes. I am sure you will spoil them with your Latkes. Have fun and and think good thoughts.... I wish you and yours the very best this Holiday Season.

Mine came to a perfect start.. I had eaten some great Iftar meals to mark the month of Ramadan and also some great food for Id.. and with these Superb Latkes, I have now begun this great Holiday Season as best as I could have ever hoped for.

I thank my hosts from last night (Ellen Shapiro and Steven Shaw) for spoiling me rotten with those Latkes and condiments and candy. I am not only off to a great start with this Holiday Season, but alas fattened.

Edited by Suvir Saran (log)
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Here is a very fine photograph taken by Mr. Saran of some latkes in process:

latkes1.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Also by Mr. Saran, the condiments: Apple sauce (apples, ice wine, crystallized ginger, and raisins) and sour cream (Stew Leonard's all-natural). Alongside the condiments: Candy-coated cherries (a Harry & David product we received as a holiday gift) and wannabe Christmas cookies with Hanukah motifs. Also you can catch a glimpse of a glass of Diet Coke and the corner of Ellen's New York City with Kids book.

latkes2.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Hey FG. Great pic.. It's a contrast thingy for sure!!!

Wow... Just happened upon this post. Great comments here and lots of useful info.. Here is a Latke recipe from a Jewish Grandmother courtesy of FoodTV.

Zucchini Latkes

Recipe courtesy Esther Weiner

4 cups zucchini, grated

1 medium white potato, grated

1 medium onion, chopped

3 eggs

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs

Pepper, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix together the zucchini, potato and onion. Whisk the eggs together and add to the vegetable/potato mixture. Mix together the flour, bread crumbs, pepper, garlic powder and salt and combine with the egg/vegetable mixture. Heat large nonstick frying pan with 3 tablespoons vegetable oil. Drop batter by spoonfuls into hot oil and fry until crisp, turning to fry on the other side. Add small amounts of oil as needed when frying. Turn out on towel paper to drain. Serve quickly, best while hot.

The recipes for this program, which were provided by contributors and guests who may not be professional chefs, have not been tested in the Food Network’s kitchens. Therefore, the Food Network cannot attest to the accuracy of any of the recipes.

Hey Plotz? Why not try a Latke with shaved white truffles, a slab of foie, sprinke of Beluga and a dollop of Cool Whip lite? Artisnal of course! :laugh:

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So how come there's an almost-finished latke right next to a hardly-cooked-at-all latke? Is that photo staged?

Sorry. Just felt the need to be difficult.  :rolleyes:  They look wonderful.  :smile:

Steven like most pros is able to make several latkes at the same time.

And while one batch was being made, he had already started placing more into the oil.

What you see in the photograph is one from the batch that was ready to be taken out.. and the white one is what had been put into the sillet just seconds before.

No staging.. All real life and all wonderful. His Latkes are most amazing.

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ummm Suvir....

Looks like a Big giant seasoned Cast Iron Skillet to me? :biggrin:

They can put in so many.. But wouldn't they be turned at the same time.. or close?

I love the photo for it's contrast. Just like a makeover. Before and after.. :shock:

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ummm Suvir....

Looks like a Big giant seasoned Cast Iron Skillet to me?    :biggrin:

They can put in so many..  But wouldn't they be turned at the same time.. or close?

I love the photo for it's contrast.  Just like a makeover.  Before and after.. :shock:

I think what was in the oil could have been the last one from the first batch.. and then the first one from the new batch...

Or maybe the Latkes had been turned...

There were two skillets being used. And lots of Latkes made.. and all finished rather hungrily.

I am glad you like the photo... Ellen and Steven have a good camera and Steven is a great cook. What can I say. :smile:

I think they were cast iron skillets. Were they big? Not too big.. but a nice size. Maybe 8-10 inches... Steven could answer that.

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Suvir you might be right..

I can only see one Cast iron skillet in the jpg and it looked pretty big to me.. but then again I wasn't in touch with FG to know what he had going on there. Anyway they looked excellent and still love the contrast of the pic.. Wonder if all that gorgeous fat around them came from Pork Fat??? It definately rules... But not if it were to be kosher. ;-(( :biggrin:

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These were cooked in all vegetable (canola) oil in two 10.5-inch cast-iron skillets. The reason a cooked latke was next to a raw latke? Trick photography. He's good that Suvir, I tell you.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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These were cooked in all vegetable (canola) oil in two 10.5-inch cast-iron skillets. The reason a cooked latke was next to a raw latke? Trick photography. He's good that Suvir, I tell you.

And you know what, since you are talking about how good I am.... I should make a confession.. I did not eat these at Fat Guy and Ellen's home.. in fact they were made by an Indian friend in Jackson Heights... I just gave credit to FG. :shock:

PS: Just kidding! :biggrin: The latkes were very good. I am no fan of Latkes made by my mostly Jewish friends... or at the restaurants where I have had them. Always too greasy and too mushy... These had the perfect crispness and just a very slight layer of mushy-ness but just so delicate that it did not annoy me as usually happens.

My loss was that FG was not sure if the vegetarian in me would be willing to enjoy duck fat fried Latkes. So he used canola. :sad: I love potatoes fried in duck fat. Amazing combo.:smile:

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... Alongside the condiments: Candy-coated cherries (a Harry & David product we received as a holiday gift) ...

latkes2.jpg

Now that is a mail order food worth sending. I love those chocolate coated dried cherries dipped in cherry-flavored chocolate. They may not use the absolute best chocolate, but it's a great confection. Nicely sweet and tart.

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They are delicious, but I'd modify your statement slightly to read that they're a mail order food worth receiving. I'd never send them because they're ridiculously overpriced just like so much other stuff at Harry & David. It costs $29.95 for two pounds -- that's almost $15 per pound. At Economy Candy on the Lower East Side of Manhattan you can get a similar product that I think tastes as good or better for $6.99 a pound (also available in a dark chocolate version there).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The company that manufactures the cherries for Economy Candy is Koppers. I'm not sure who does Harry & David's.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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You know, I could be totally and completely wrong about this, but I believe I know myself well enough to be certain that if I were visiting in Israel this time of year, and everywhere I went, people said to me, with smiles on their faces, "Happy Hanukkah!" or "Have a blessed and safe holiday!" or "Happy Holiday!" or other words to that effect, I would not snap at them, "Sorry, but my holiday hasn't started yet."

It just seems to me that in this world with so much unkindness toward one another, it is best to accept the kindnesses that ARE offered in the spirit with which they are offered.

Whether they are exactly "correct" or not.

I would know that those people wishing me a Happy Hanukkah, or Ramadan, or whatever, are wishing me well, in the words and manner they know best.

And I would try to take it in that spirit. And wish them well right back.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I've had a thought. How about this:

"Happy whatever the hell your holiday is whenever the hell you have it."

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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