Friday, December 14, 2012

#LetsLunch December: Celebrations from around the world

So, after a long hiatus from this blog (and LetsLunch), I'm making my triumphant return.

What have been up to in the meantime? In September, I agreed to start developing a series of recipes for a friend's blog, Being Geek Chic. In October, I took a new job (actually, it's pretty much the same as my old job) at The Chronicle of Philanthropy. In addition to working on our signature surveys (collecting and analyzing data about the nonprofit world), I've been growing my skills at creating interactive graphics and contributing social media reporting. In November, Jake and I drove up to Penn State to watch my brother play a hockey series (it's his senior year), and I also spent Thanksgiving with my extended family in New Jersey.

And, I almost didn't make it to today's edition of LetsLunch.

My contribution to today's celebration lunch may surprise you: latkes. We're not Jewish, but my college roommate was, so I spent a good amount of time in college at the campus Hillel. Some of what we did there was relating to the culture, some relating to the religion. But what stuck with me was the food.

In the spirit of Hannukah, I decided to make some latkes last night. I had attempted latkes previously, first, in our college apartment, just winging it (they were too wet, too gummy and took way too long to hold our interest), then a couple of years ago using a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. They were easy enough to make, because you shredded the potatoes using the food processor, but I didn't love them. These were essentially hashbrowns.


So, last night, I went back to box grating. I kept the recipe small, only using three Russet potatoes. In exchange for the time it took to grate the potatoes, I skipped the steps that usually go into trying to keep the potatoes from oxidizing (cold water, ice, etc). I alternated between using a coarse grate and a fine grate. After using my flour sack towels to squeeze, squeeze, squeeze as much moisture from the potatoes as I could, I also added about 2/3 of a grated onion, an egg and about 2/3 cup of flour. If I had really planned ahead, I probably would have used matzoh meal.

What I liked about these is that they were crisp on the outside, and nice and potato-y on the inside. Three potatoes yielded about 20 latkes. They're best served immediately, while they're still hot (salt them immediately), but I had a few for breakfast this morning, and they heated up nicely in the toaster oven. 

You can see in the fun .gif file above, I fried mine in a shallow, nonstick pan in batches of about three or four. I used an ice cream scoop that was about 3/4 full for each latke. If you can, dip the spatula in the oil before pressing down on the scoop of potato batter to flatten, it helps with the sticking. 

I'm pretty basic with my latkes, so I serve them with sour cream and a little coarse salt.
Check out the rest of the Let's Lunch posts today by following the hashtag #letslunch on Twitter or clicking through below. If you would like to join us next month, send us a tweet introducing yourself! I'm @emmacarew on Twitter.

Cheers to this month's host, Rashda! See all of the fabulous blog posts on her pinboard.

Annabelle's Pecan Slices at Glass of Fancy

Linda's Sorrel Cocktail at Spicebox Travels

Lucy's Ham and Cheddar Cheese Scones at A Cook and Her Books

Grace's Persimmon Salad at Hapa Mama

Joe's Orange Honey Cake