Food, friends, and latkes

Happy Hanukkah! For those who might not know, today is the first day of Hanukkah. As Adam Sandler has pointed out, there are eight nights in total. It’s not actually a huge holiday for us, but thanks to the timing Christmas, we’ve placed a little more emphasis over the years. The best part about Jewish holidays is that we are huge fans of food, music, and talking. So to help celebrate my first Hanukkah in CO, I decided to give my gentile friends a mini-Hanukkah celebration.

We’re having latkes (potato pancakes), playing dreidel with gelt (chocolate coins), listening to music, drinking Manischewitz, and lighting the menorah. And since this is their first Jewish celebratory experience, I thought I would also give them some challah (bread) and lekach (honey cake), which aren’t typically eaten on Hanukkah (challah might be eaten if it falls on a Sabbath), but they’re still fun to have.

If anyone would like to join in on the fun, here is a recipe for latkes that can be found on jewfaq.org:

Ingredients:

4 medium potatoes

1 medium onion

2 eggs

3/4 c. matzah meal

salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil

Shred the potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Press out all excess liquid.  Add eggs and mix well. Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (You may not need the whole amount–it depends on how well you drained the veggies.) Add a few dashes of salt and black pepper. Don’t worry if the batter turns a little orange; that will go away when it fries.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat. Form the batter into thin patties about the size of your palm. Fry batter in oil. Be patient: this takes time, and too much flipping will burn the outside without cooking the inside.  Flip when the bottom is golden brown.

Place the finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce (I actually prefer ketchup).

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