"Grammie, will you make some latkes?" asked my five-year-old grand daughter.
Having enjoyed Christmas in Ohio (see yesterday's post) we were now enjoying Chanukah, which began on December 24, in Los Angeles.
As my daughter Maria was raised in a Christian background and her husband Justin's family is Jewish,
"Sure I'll make the latkes," replied I, never mind that I never even eaten a latke, let alone knew how to make one.
But then that's what the internet is for, right?
I looked up few latke recipes on line and learned that they generally call for the same basic ingredients and methodology: grated raw potatoes, eggs, flour, and onions, mixed together and fried in oil.
I have a phobia about frying things, probably because I have so little experience at frying things, except for bacon, which I've tried a couple of times and burned. I've also burned a few pork chops and a steak once when I tried cooking these items in a frying pan on the stove.
So I usually shy away from trying to fry anything.
But fortunately I found a recipe for oven-fried latkes, which I felt would be more in my culinary comfort zone.
I ended up making a couple of changes to the oven-latke recipe - I took out the onions and cut down on the oil - but here's my version of the recipe:
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pounds peeled Yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
vegetable oil spray
applesauce and/or sour cream
2. Heat oven to 450° F. Spray two baking sheets with vegetable oil spray.
3. Using a box grater or a food processor fitted with a shredding blade,
I made a pot of home-made apple sauce to go with the latkes, which everyone pronounced quite yummy, though, I was told, not as as crispy as the traditional pan-fried version. But then I figured, what you lose in extra-crispiness you also lose in fat and calories, right?
On my daughter's kitchen counter sat a sweet potato of exceptional size and unusual shape. As upon inquiry I'd been informed that this extraordinary sweet potato had been sitting on the counter for a couple of weeks already and it's future was up for grabs, I decided to bake it up for the family's enjoyment that very evening.
However, probably as I was still feeling stoked over the previous day's success at creating a signature oven-baked latke, an idea popped into my head: what about an oven-fried sweet potato latke?!
I figured I'd use my original latke recipe and substitute the sweet potato for the Yukon gold potatoes.
But just before I began the process I took a look at the sweet potato and, noticing that it bore an uncanny resemblance to a little sea otter, I pointed out this resemblance to my grand daughters, who immediately fell in love with the sweet potato sea otter and wouldn't hear of me grating it up and turning it into a latke.
I made the sweet potato latkes according to the original recipe, the only change being that when I flipped the latkes mid-baking I re-sprayed the pan, as the sweet potatoes seemed to soak up the first round of spray more than the regular potatoes did. I guess, though, I could have just sprayed the tops of the latkes before flipping them instead of re-spraying the pan, which was kind of a pain.
In truth these latkes didn't hold together as well as the originals, and sort of turned into sweet potato hash browns,