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Happy Hanukkah

MadMom's picture

To all my wonderful Jewish friends and the many Jewish posters here at CT, a very happy Hanukkah and a blessed year.



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Marcia's picture

(post #46697, reply #1 of 78)

Happy Hannukkah...celebrate and enjoy!

Ballottine's picture

(post #46697, reply #4 of 78)

Happy Hanukkah to you too, and here is my little present.


I met Celia Regev during her years in Washington area and fell in love with her food. Her latkes, as everything else she cooked, were to die for. (I am posting the whole article including the recipes I never made.) Here it comes:


December 16, 1998

Newfangled Latkes: Anything But Potato


I AM bored with latkes,'' said Celia Regev, an Israeli chef living in Maryland, daring to say what many Jews start to think at this time of year. Though the popularity of latkes, the potato pancakes cooked at Hanukkah, is by no means waning, even the most die-hard latke lover needs a change halfway through the eight-day festival, which began Sunday.


A new generation of cooks is up to the challenge, using a variety of vegetables and toppings in pancakes that respect the tried-and-true form in every way but one: They are not made of potatoes.


''How many ways can you grate a potato?'' asked Israel Aharoni, the chef and owner of the Tipuach Zahav (Golden Apple) restaurant in Tel Aviv and a food columnist for Yediot Aharonot, a daily newspaper there. ''Although I love all kinds of potato pancakes, I am for variation.''


At a gala dinner in Washington earlier this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of Israel, Mr. Aharoni prepared pint-size leek patties as hors d'oeuvres. ''I got the idea for this from a traditional Sephardic leek patty from the Balkans usually served at Passover,'' he said.


Mrs. Regev, who teaches at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, Md., and who is married to an Israeli diplomat in Washington, says that when cooking her holiday meals, she looks for ''things that I find a little bit more exciting, and still fit within the holiday tradition of cooking with oil.''


A patty fried in oil represents the miracle of Hanukkah, in which a small vial of oil burned for eight days in the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been devastated by the Syrians in 165 B.C. Mrs. Regev, who noted that in Hebrew latkes are called levivot, makes hers from lentils and serves them with labneh, a strained yogurt, and a confit of onions.


Mrs. Regev's version of the latke might actually resemble the fried pancakes made centuries ago from lentils, barley or flour. Potatoes were not commonly used until the late 17th or early 18th century, when they arrived in Europe from the Americas.


''In Eastern Europe, Jews added potatoes,'' said Zalman Shoval, Israel's Ambassador to the United States. ''Potatoes are what Jewish people could afford in Russia because potatoes were the cheapest sort of food.''


Hava Volman, an Israeli caterer who now lives in Brooklyn, has created several latkes that have fused many cultures. ''My American customers want something different, so I tried sweet potatoes, and that didn't work,'' she said. ''Nor did zucchini -- it wasn't tasty enough.''


But her experiments with American corn paid off, as did playing with ingredients from local Asian and Hispanic markets. Ms. Volman, whose company is called Hava's Kitchen, now makes a colorful corn latke with a chipotle topping, as well as a mushroom pecan latke that she tops with smoked salmon and pickled ginger.


These newfangled ways of preparing latkes are not without controversy, of course. Ambassador Shoval, a potato latke purist, believes that ''you can be creative, but then you are not making latkes anymore.''


Yet, the bold cooks persist, bravely tempting today's palates with modern, yet biblical interpretations.

LEEK LATKES
Adapted from Israel Aharoni
Time: 1 hour

6 leeks (about 2 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
1 large onion, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, or to taste, peeled and diced
4 shallots, peeled and diced
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup), diced
2 large eggs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs or matzoh meal, plus 1/3 cup for coating.


1. Cut leeks lengthwise, and wash them well to remove any grit. Dice the leeks, and either steam them or place them in boiling salted water for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain leeks well, pressing them in a dish towel to remove any excess water.


2. Heat oil in nonstick frying pan, and add onion, garlic and shallots. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes.


3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place pine nuts on a baking pan, and toast for a few minutes until evenly browned.


4. Place leeks, onion, garlic, shallots, pine nuts, cilantro, eggs and cheese in a mixing bowl, and blend well, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/2 cup bread crumbs, or enough to bind.


5. Take about 1/4 cup of the leek mixture, and make a patty 2 inches in diameter. Coat patty with bread crumbs, and repeat with remaining mixture.


6. Coat a nonstick frying pan thinly with remaining olive oil, and fry the patties for a few minutes on each side. (For cocktail-size patties, use 1 teaspoon of mixture.) Drain on paper towels.


Yield: 16 large latkes or 50 small ones.

MUSHROOM PECAN LATKES
Adapted from Hava Volman
Time: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup cooked wild rice
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 large egg
3 tablespoons matzoh meal
3 tablespoons snipped dill
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Canola or other vegetable oil for frying
Smoked salmon for garnish
Pickled ginger for garnish.


1. Heat oil in nonstick frying pan, and saute mushrooms. Add thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Place in food processor, and pulse just until mushrooms are chopped.


2. Place mushrooms in a mixing bowl. Add rice, pecans, sour cream, egg, matzoh meal, snipped dill, lemon zest, cardamom and nutmeg. Mix well.


3. Coat a nonstick frying pan with oil, and heat. Take heaping tablespoons of mixture, and fry for a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Garnish with strips of smoked salmon and pickled ginger, and serve.


Yield: about 10 latkes.

LENTIL LEVIVOT
Adapted from Celia Regev
Time: 45 minutes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup cooked lentils ( 1/2 cup uncooked)
1 cup precooked rice (any kind will do)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Peanut or canola oil for frying.


1. Heat oil in nonstick frying pan, and saute onion until translucent. Remove, and set aside.


2. In a bowl, place lentils, rice, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper to taste, eggs, yogurt, cilantro and flour. Fold in the onion, and mix well. Set aside.


3. Heat a nonstick frying pan with a film of oil. Take heaping tablespoons of mixture, and fry for a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel. Serve as is or with a dollop of labneh (strained yogurt), topped with a confit of onions and a sprig of cilantro.


Yield: about 20 levivot.

CONFIT OF ONIONS WITH LABNEH SAUCE
Time: 45 minutes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions, sliced in rings
2 teaspoons pomegranate concentrate (optional)
1/2 cup labneh (strained yogurt)
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh cilantro.


1. Heat oil in nonstick frying pan, and add onions. Reduce heat to low, and cook very slowly, adding a little water if necessary, until onions become golden brown. This may take as long as 30 minutes. The longer you cook, the more flavor in your confit.


2. Remove onions to a bowl, and add pomegranate concentrate if desired, mixing well.


3. Place labneh in another bowl. Add coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Place dollop of labneh on each latke, and top it with the confit of onions topped with a fresh sprig of cilantro.


Yield: 1 cup confit.



 


So much to cook; so little time.


Edited 12/15/2006 12:05 pm ET by ballottine

 

So much to cook; so little time.

Marcia's picture

(post #46697, reply #9 of 78)

I've not been too happy with the nontraditional latkes I've had (plus I love potatoes), but these recipes seem exceptional. Thanks so much for posting.

Ballottine's picture

(post #46697, reply #13 of 78)

I think I know exactly what you mean; for years and years I've always boned, stuffed and reconstructed my turkeys, except at Thanksgiving, when the bird has to have bones.  (grin) But, if you ever see Celia Regev recipe anywhere, please let me know.


In the 90s she was waaaaaay ahead of her time, especially, in Washington DC  environment,  where in a very short time she earned  quite a following.  I still use most of the recipes she gave me, I don't have that many, and I would wash dishes for hours&hours&hours, if I could get a few more. LOL


It is almost worth a trip to Israel  for me to see what she is up to now; before her diplomat husband was assigned to US she had a cafe and bakery, I hope she has a restaurant now.


I posted her latke recipe because  I came across  the article written by Joan Nathan.  This summer I helped her to prepare lunch for 17  people, and the most amazing experience  for me was that the food was to die for, but not from, very healthy, took less than 2 hours to prepare and there was almost NO clean up in the kitchen.  If I I could only learn to plan and cook that way....bal


 


So much to cook; so little time.

 

So much to cook; so little time.

chiquiNO's picture

(post #46697, reply #14 of 78)

Those recipes sound wonderful!!


 


I also add my Happy Hannukah to all my Jewish Friends and CT ers here and all over the world!!  I had part of a Jelly doughnut this morning in your names.....YUM!!


Chiqui from way down yonder in New Orleans

 

marie-louise's picture

(post #46697, reply #2 of 78)

Thanks!

We are going to cook something festive tomorrow, since we are both working late tonight.

This is the holiday where you are supposed to eat fried foods-latkes are traditional in America, jelly donuts are traditional in Israel. We will be having both during the next week.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #46697, reply #3 of 78)

Now that's a holiday traditiohn I could really get behind!
How do you avoid gaining half a Sally, though?





"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
George Orwell, 1984

marie-louise's picture

(post #46697, reply #17 of 78)

Well, it's one or two donuts once a year! And the latkes are the whole meal, again once or twice a year.

evelyn's picture

(post #46697, reply #5 of 78)

Happy Hanukkah to all celebrating.

 

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
paretsky's picture

(post #46697, reply #6 of 78)

Thank you. I'm looking forward to making donuts for the first time this year. Every year prior it's been latkes, but I felt like doing something different this year.

Of course, DW has requested latkes as well, so I guess I'll just have to do both... ;-)

How many people can read hex if only you and dead people can read hex?

57006. dead in hex = 57005 in decimal. Add one more for "you" and you have the result.

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

mer's picture

(post #46697, reply #7 of 78)

Happy Hanukkah Everyone!!


Many years ago, my family went to Israel for Christmas.  We landed on the first day of Hanukkah and in the airport, people were passing out jelly doughnuts for free!  It was such a delicous and wonderful welcome.  It was such a fun memory.


 


 

StevenHB's picture

(post #46697, reply #43 of 78)

Did you visit Bethlehem Christmas Eve?  What did you experience?


Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
mer's picture

(post #46697, reply #44 of 78)

We certainly visited Bethleham while we were there, but actually for Christmas eve we went to a service in a small, old church in Jerusalem. It was a very special service. The church was mostly illuminated by candles so it had a very beautiful glow.

It was the first time I had celebrated Christmas outside of the US and it was an unusual feeling being the minority religion. We were staying with my cousins and they had a repairman come to fix the cable and he walked past the living room and he said, "Is that a Christmas tree? I've never seen one before." After he said that, we looked at the funny looking Charlie Brown christmas tree (there are no christmas tree farms there) and our celebrations felt strange and rather pagan for a moment. (Of course, no offense meant at all to pagans, as the tree is pagan in origin.) It was just so unusual to see it through the eyes of someone else.

StevenHB's picture

(post #46697, reply #45 of 78)

for Christmas eve we went to a service in a small, old church in Jerusalem. It was a very special service. The church was mostly illuminated by candles so it had a very beautiful glow.


You lucked out.  I spent a fall semester at Hebrew University in Jerusalem participating in a program for foreign undergraduates (which, though not the topic of this post, was the most influential six months of my life that I can remember).  Christmas Eve a bunch of us decided to go to Bethlehem to see what went on there.


There's an area with bleachers where they bring kids in from all over the world to sing Christmas carols.  This is where they point the TV cameras.  It's all very nice.


Everywhere else in Bethlehem square was filled with drunken a$$holes being drunken a$$holes.  No one who holds Christmas dear should ever go there.




Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible


Edited 12/17/2006 8:03 pm ET by StevenHB

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
mer's picture

(post #46697, reply #46 of 78)

LOL.. Well, we were staying with family who probably knew that. Glad we avoided it. LOL. When we went to Bethleham, we could see that it was rather rough, but we went during the day.

StevenHB's picture

(post #46697, reply #47 of 78)

it [Bethlehem] was rather rough

The drunken a$$holes were all tourists.  I'm sure that very few locals would be interested in attending unless they were pick-pockets.



Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
butterscotch's picture

(post #46697, reply #8 of 78)

Thanks for the Hannukah greeting, Madmom. We're madly working on our annual Hannukah party which involves latkes and other agony/ecstasy foods like rugelach--agony to make and an ecstasy to eat.


I have to say, of all of the labor-intensive holiday foods I know of from any culture, latkes are perhaps the most annoying to deal with. They are very messy to make and somewhat dangerous, if you grate the potatoes by hand since so much grating almost assures grated knuckles. Making them for more than a couple of people is also quite a chore, requiring what feels like endless standing at the stove. The grated potatoes get watery, too, no matter how quick you are in turning them out. You can burn yourself easily during the frying. Your kitchen looks like a war zone at a moment when you want it to look presentable for guests.  And, while latkes can be made in advance, they really aren't good that way. Like most fried stuff, if they're not eaten pronto, the texture will change.  Their only reason to make them (other than that they symbolize the miracle of long-lasting oil) is that they're just  insanely delicious--and that goes for the "experimental" versions with zucchini, parmesan, shredded carrots, etc. as well as the traditional all-potato versions. It's all good.


Happy Hannukah, everyone who's celebrating. . .

dorcast's picture

(post #46697, reply #10 of 78)

You forgot to mention that your hair (if it's anything like mine) and home will smell like cooking oil for quite some time...

Happy Chanukah!

butterscotch's picture

(post #46697, reply #11 of 78)

Your're right. I did forget that! (No doubt I unconsciously didn't want to confront the unpleasant truth that both me and our house would smell like a fast food restaurant for days after the holiday.)


Happy Hannukah to you, too, Dorcast.

peabee's picture

(post #46697, reply #12 of 78)

Have a Healthy and Happy Chanukah to one all....if not for the Holidays then  afterwards. :)

Nightrider's picture

(post #46697, reply #22 of 78)

At least you're not Italian!  DH's family does the traditional Italian seafood dinner on Christmas Eve (no meat allowed on Christmas Eve).  DMIL's house stinks like baccala for days.  I think I'd prefer the smell of cooking oil.

MadMom's picture

(post #46697, reply #15 of 78)

I love latkes.  Had a good Jewish friend who said that if there isn't a little blood in them from scratched knuckles, they aren't authentic.  I think...I hope...she was kidding!



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Adele's picture

(post #46697, reply #16 of 78)

Hoping you are surrounded by family and good cheer!  Happy Hanukkah


(I had a jelly doughnut this morning, but trust me, it was totally by chance that I hit on a tradition, someone got to the crueller before me!)


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

paretsky's picture

(post #46697, reply #18 of 78)

It's the unofficial part of every latke recipe. Thank G-d for Cuisinarts.

And now, the fruit of tonight's efforts:

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol.

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

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schnitzel's picture

(post #46697, reply #19 of 78)

Wow! Did you make those? They look great.


Happy Hanukkah!


paretsky's picture

(post #46697, reply #35 of 78)

Thank you. I did make them. They weren't hard to do, but the recipe that said "makes 12 large donuts" wound up making almost 30 normal sized ones.

I'm frankly a little disappointed in the flavor. Very bland, not sweet enough, even with the Jelly. I'll look for a recipe with more sugar next time.

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

courgette's picture

(post #46697, reply #40 of 78)

Absolutely beautiful doughnuts! I have made baking powder doughnuts all my life, but never the yeast ones.


Happy Hanukkah.


Mo

StevenHB's picture

(post #46697, reply #20 of 78)

Yofee!  Mazal tov!


They're beautiful!  I've never tried making them.  How hard was it?



Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible

Without coffee, chocolate, and beer, in that order, life as we know it would not be possible
paretsky's picture

(post #46697, reply #36 of 78)

They weren't hard at all to make. They start out kind of like a loose bread dough that you roll out and cut, then fry. I think next time I'll make them square instead of round. That way I won't have the issue of the leftover dough, which is a little tougher than the first batch.

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

"Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!!"
Rizzo the Rat, A Muppet Christmas Carol

MadMom's picture

(post #46697, reply #37 of 78)

You know, you could post the recipe...  ;)



Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!