Thursday, December 17, 2009

Latkes for Four

4 large potatoes
1 large onion
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
vegetable oil, as needed (minimum ½ cup)

Grate onion and potatoes with a hand grater using the largest apertures on the grater, or with an equivalent grater blade on a food processor. Put grated potatoes and onion in the center of a dish towel, roll it up like a sausage and twist the ends to squeeze out starch and liquid. Alternatively, you can put the grated onion and potato between two plates and press down, then tip the plate to remove the starch and liquid. Put the grated onion and potato in a large bowl and add egg and dry ingredients. Put ½ cup of oil in pan and heat to medium high.

Using a large slotted spoon, scoop up a spoonful of the mixture, pressing it against the side of the bowl to remove liquid, and drop into the oil in the pan (always drop it away from you – hot oil burns!). Using the edge of the slotted spoon, flatten the mixture so that it is covered to half of its depth in oil. Fry until golden on both sides, drain on paper towels. Add oil to the pan as needed to keep it deep enough to cover half the depth of the latkes. Keep 1-2 hours in oven at 160 degrees Fahrenheit if you wish to make ahead. Serve with sour cream or applesauce or both. Or go wild and serve with freshly made salsa cruda and guacamole.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why pancake mixes are not inherently evil.

Friends, it is dead easy to make pancakes from scratch.

It is well within the abilities of all but the most impatient to collect and mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt, all as more particularly set forth in Alton Brown's recipe for Instant Pancake Mix.

But friends, I am here to tell you the three little words that make it okay to buy pancake mix. They are "check expiration date." Unless you do a very serious amount of baking with baking powder and baking soda, there's a good chance that the can of baking powder in your kitchen cabinet and the box of baking soda in your refrigerator are out of date. Chances are, you will be able to go through a box of Bisquick well within its expiration date.

While the purple azalea and truffle pancake mix available at your local Whole Paycheck Market for $9.95 for 10 oz. may be an abomination, pancake mixes are not inherently evil.

Monday, December 14, 2009

NYT On a Roll!

It was only days ago that the NYT offered an interesting latke recipe, and now one of their most emailed articles is this recipe for Oatmeal Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Latkes are pancakes too!

In honor of the season, I am passing on a latke recipe.

I want you to know, however, that a thin film of oil isn't going to get the job done. The oil in the pan should be half the depth of the latkes. Hand forming is a bit of a problem as well, as you don't necessarily know that you are making them of uniform thickness. I prefer to take a scoop of the mixture in a slotted spoon, squeeze any residual liquid out against the side of the bowl, and gently place the spoonful in the hot oil (so as not to splash) and then tapping it down to the right thickness with the edge of the spoon. Let them cook until just a shade of brown less than the doneness at which you wish to eat them. If you have to flip more than once, so be it.