Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hanukkah and Latkes with Applesauce

Happy Hanukkah! I have to hand it to my mother again. Growing up, it was not unusual to have a lesson on Hanukkah and latke-making from some of our Jewish friends. We grew up celebrating Hanukkah in our Christian household, learning to appreciate the Festival of Lights and its beautiful origin. Later I gained a greater appreciation for the meaning of the holiday, while living in Jerusalem as a study-abroad student. I'm just kicking myself for not buying a dreidle when I was there! That's why I have to post these cartoon dreidles, and not my own lovely wooden dreidle.
Hanukah commemorates a battle for religious freedom that took place over two thousand years ago. The Macabees reclaimed a temple that had been usurped by the Greeks. The Macabees were able to rededicate the temple by lighting the Menorah with only a small amount of oil that miraculously burned for eight days. Jewish families still light the menorah during Hanukkah and give thanks to God for their blessings. After the Menorah is lit, games are played, including the spinning dreidle game. I'm so mad at myself for not getting a dreidle in Jerusalem, but that hasn't stopped us from playing the game. I made myself a ramshackle little paper dreidle and wrote the characters on the side. It's such a humble little squished-up construction paper dreidle, that just this moment, I've decided to buy a dreidle on line. Today. On with the game: To play, you'll need a bowl of pennies or little candies. Divide them evenly among the players. To start everyone should put a candy in the bowl. Whenever a player takes a turn, no matter the outcome, each player will add another candy to the bowl. If the a player lands on Shin.... he will put an extra candy in the bowl. If a player lands on Hay....he will take half of the candies in the bowl. If a player lands on Nun...he will do nothing. If a player lands on Gimel...then he takes the entire bowl. Remember to have each player add a candy to the bowl on every turn. The game is over-kind of like Monopoly-when there is nothing left or else everyone is bored of playing.
And the best part of Hanukkah, as everyone knows, is the crispy potato pancakes-"latkes," covered in warm apple sauce and sour cream. As an added bonus, they are about the most inexpensive holiday food that you could ever make. I like to add green onion and grated carrot to mine for color and texture. Be sure to hand grate your potatoes for a truly authentic latke. If you have time to make homemade applesauce, they'll be even better. Happy Hanukkah- starting tonight!
Hanukkah Latkes
Estimated Cost: $2.00 for 10 latkes
4 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely grated (optional)
2 green onions, cut into matchstick pieces (optional)
1 egg
1 tablespoon flour or matzo
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
about 1/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion, carrot, green onions, egg, flour, and salt and pepper. Mix well. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Using hands shape mixture into 3 inch pancakes. Place in frying pan. Cook each patty about four minutes per side, or until golden brown. Repeat with all latkes. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce if desired.
Up Next:
Christmas Cupcakes, Butterscotch Pudding, Christmas In Italy...and not necessarily in that order.

33 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Happy Hanukkah and hooray for latkes!! :-D

Miryam said...

Hi - I really enjoy your blog and recipes. If you really want a dreidle, find any Jewish family with kids - chances are they've got about 8,000 and would be happy to give you one (temples hand them out like candy during the holidays, so we've all got extensive dreidle collections). Alternatively, you can buy a cheap one or a nice one from any temple in the area. Just wanted to share!

Michal said...

i have the same bowl from jerusalem as the one you used for your dreidle game. and i didn't get a dreidle either. somehow when i was a college student, motherhood felt so far off!:)
i can't wait to make these tomorrow night when our jewish friend comes over for dinner and to teach our kids about hanukkah. thanks for the recipes (as always), dear prudy. (and i just sent my husband out to deliver my last batch of cinnamon rolls with maple cream cheese frosting.)

gigi said...

We are always learning from you, Prudy. Thanks. Can't wait for the Cupcakes, Butterscotch Pudding, and Christmas In Italy! Sounds fun to me.

Lisa said...

Love latkes. Our neighbor invites us over since they celebrate Hannukah. Yours look delicious!

Ali said...

I love the idea of using candies instead of pennies. We've held off playing the game as pennies are just a little too small for the wee ones in our house. Although we are a "Christ"mas celebrating family as well, I'd love to include a bit of my mother's Jewish heritage in our holiday celebrating and maybe using candy for the game would be a nice beginning.

Bunny Trails said...

Happy Hanukkah, Prudy!! Thank you so so much for posting this. I know what's for breakfast in the am :)

Prudy said...

Miryam, thanks so much for your comment. We live in such a small town that there is no synagogue or temple here. My mom just told me that she is calling our best Jewish friend and tell her of my burning desire for my own Hanukkah dreidle. Thanks so much for reading and Happy Hanukkah.

Mary Ann said...

Prudy,
these latkes look so yummy and we still have so many potatoes from the garden that are sitting in the garage waiting to be used. Homemade applesauce is one of my favorite things too. I need to fit these in somewhere.
The info about Hanukkah is so interesting too. Any game that includes candy, has my interest!

Girl Japan said...

I like Kosher, and grew up on Kosher and REALLY miss all-things-kosher = (

In Japan... you'll never guess how much an H&H bagel is... thank you for sharing this foodie delight proody.. I am on vay cay but I had to stop by and see your yummy food.. I've never made Latkes before = )

Di said...

Mmm, the latkes look delicious. I like the idea of adding carrot and scallion. And you can never go wrong with homemade applesauce--I think there are some aging apples in my fruit drawer that would be good for that. =)

anudivya said...

The latkes look great, mine tends to fall apart because of all the water in the potato... happy hanukkah!

An Apron Straitjacket said...

Latkes, one of the best reasons to be Jewish!

Happy Hanukkah!

Darius T. Williams said...

I'm not Jewish - but I LOVE latkes!

jenjen said...

Those latkes looks wonderful! Happy Hanukkah Prudie!

XOXOXOXOX
Jen

PS -- I made about 7 batches of you fudge yesterday and it turned out great. Thanks again!

Cristine said...

Great post! I never knew how the driedle game was played... sounds like fun!!!

Aggie said...

Happy Hanukkah! We made latkes last night...my husband's family is Jewish and this is my first time making them. I made a sweet potato version, they were yummy!

I used to play dreidel as a child in NY...I should get my kids one. Thanks for the refresher on how to play!

Your latkes look delish, love your add ins.

Tanji said...

Prudy, thanks for doing this in your spare holiday time. You are such a giver! I remember eating latkes at my jewish friends house when we were little. I remember being so jelous of her because not only did she get presents for 8 days, but she also pointed out to me (many times) that the Fonz was Jewish too. Oh, the humanity!!

Dawn said...

My hubby loves latkes! You did a wonderful job on them--truly authentic indeed. Your kids are lucky to have you teach them the various festivites in diff. cultures during the holidays.

Patsyk said...

Your latkes look perfectly crisp and delicious! I'm making mine later in the week since we'll have the whole family over toward the end of the holiday.

Happy Holidays to you and your family! I've been enjoying your trip around the world the last few weeks!

Catherine said...

Happy Hanukkah, Prudy! I wish I had more time this holiday season. We havne't had our Polar Express Party yet, we haven't celebrated Hanukkah yet, we haven't had our nativity yet, and tommorow we leave to spend the Christmas holidays with Mom and Dad and you! Thankyou for posting this recipe. I'll probably make these in January and celebrate Hannukah then!

We made 4 batches of your fudge yesterday and they were delicious! I think my favorite is the Oreo, because it tastes so much like a White Fudge Covered Oreo, only so much better!

casaamiga said...

Thank you for the lesson. I think I'm going to make these for my family and teach my little one a bit about Hanukkah. I'm not Jewish and have very few acquaintances that are, so this is a nice treat to read about it hear. I think my son will find the game fun and the latkes delicious.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and all the great recipes!

The Blonde Duck said...

I love how multi-cultural your kids are going to be. Unlike me, who snarls at change and different things, they can get along in the world without thinking they are a blond duck.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow awesome recipe dear. I love the background song playing in the blog.

Marie said...

Happy Hanukkah! Those Latkes look fabulous. They are one of my favourite things!

Lisa's Place said...

Potato Latkes are wonderful. I had the opportunity a few years ago to work with a Jewish woman. She did a lesson on hanukkah with one of our first grade classes. I aslo have a recipe for latkes given to me by a member of my church. The latkes are yummy.

Aunt Spicy said...

Every year growing up we went to our neighborhood "First night of Hanukkah" party and then had everyone over to our house for Christmas Eve! When we moved we kept the tradition going and all make some mad-good latkes! I wish I knew you needed a dreidle, we have extras and I could have sent you one!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I lived with a jewish family for a while and learned to love their festivities and latkes. Happy Hanukkah!

1freshstart said...

I never knew the background of Hanukkah. Thanks for sharing!
~Cat

Anonymous said...

I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.
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