Saturday, December 11, 2004

Just Call Me Mollie*--Updated!

I updated this after cooking it today and realizing that some of the directions below were somewhat... um... misleading. Misleading, that is, if you're hoping to come out with latkes that resemble pancakes rather than very large brown potato chips. So I fixed them. Enjoy!

*Katzen, that is.

I don't usually post recipes; heck, I don't usually use recipes, these days, unless "Open box. Remove plastic wrap. Cook for 20 minutes in 375-degree oven or for 4 minutes in microwave." counts as a recipe.

But in honor of tomorrow's big Chanukah/Solstice/Jul party at our house, I, like some others in the blogosphere, will be cooking latkes. Many, many latkes. In the old days, BP (Before Parenthood), we had this party every year, and my latkes became famous. I also became very crabby because I would spend the entire party in the kitchen, frying and sweating and getting coated in layers of grease, as everyone else cavorted and made cute little ornaments and played dreidel.

Finally, around the time we became parents and realized we had to get organized, I did two things:

  1. Admitted to myself that it really does take three hours to make latkes for a crowd, and timed the procedure accordingly
  2. Wrote up a recipe so I could remember how to do it again once I'd come up with a method that kept the potatoes from getting discolored.

And this is what I came up with:


Equipment needed:

  • At least two large bowls
  • Large pot with lid
  • Three or four large frying pans (nonstick preferred), or two griddles
  • Colander
  • Sharp knife
  • Wooden spoons
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Spatula
  • Grater (I like to grate the potatoes by hand, 'cause I'm nuts)
  • Food processor (for onions and potato ends, because my craziness has limits)
  • All the cookie sheets you own, plus broiling pans, old LP covers, etc.
  • Paper towels
Ingredients needed:

  • 15-18 potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • about 1 cup of flour
  • 4 to 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp or more of salt
  • pepper to taste
  • oil for frying
  • applesauce and sour cream
Before Starting:

  • Wash all dishes
  • Run dishwasher and put dishes away
  • Dismantle all smoke alarms
  • Open window (even if it's cold outside. Trust me on this.)
To Cook:

  1. Grate onions in food processor. Set aside.
  2. Put on a big pot of water to boil.
  3. Grate potatoes into cold water.
  4. Plunge grated potatoes into boiling water and parboil for 2 to 5 minutes.
  5. Drain potatoes into colander and rinse with cold water.
  6. Mix all ingredients (except oil, applesauce, and sour cream). Use two bowls if necessary.
  7. Coat frying pans with oil and heat until a drop of water sizzles. Turn heat down to about medium.
  8. Drop batter into pans to make pancakes about three to four inches in diameter. Smoosh down with spatula.
  9. Go take a quick shower while latkes are frying, as otherwise you will just be standing around poking at them while they refuse to turn brown.
  10. Return from shower. Are latkes on stove golden brown on one side yet? No? Do some kitchen cleanup.
  11. Poke at latkes. Are they falling apart? Put a little more flour in the rest of the batter.
  12. When latkes are golden brown on one side, turn over and fry some more; it shouldn't take quite as long this time.
  13. Put some paper towels on some cookie sheets. Put cooked latkes on paper towels to drain and keep in 200-degree oven until guests arrive.
  14. Repeat steps 7-13 (without the shower) until all batter is cooked and your counters are covered with greasy latkes. (This is where you will find out whether you really dismantled all the smoke alarms.)
  15. Note: If your stove and pans are like mine, each individual latke will cook at its own unique rate, like they're always telling us about children. So you'll be kept busy from here on out pushing them around the pans, moving them from one pan to another, moving the pans around on the stove, etc. in an effort to even everything out.
  16. About half an hour before guests are due to arrive, put all cooked latkes in preheated 150-degree or "warm" stove.
  17. Shower again if necessary. Change into party clothes.
  18. Put batteries back in smoke alarms.
  19. Beam and collect compliments as guests devour latkes with applesauce and sour cream on top.


Blogger The Lioness said...

Oy. But this might just induce me to make some myself next year. Maybe. (I ruin everything. But maybe!)

12:45 AM  
Blogger LilySea said...

Thanks! This is one of my favorite foods and there are exactly ZERO good Jewish delis in Champaign, Illinois. Ask for a bagel in this town, and they hand you a frosty plastic sack of ice-blocks that thaw into perfect spare tires.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

oooh! your recipe sounds great! we had a latke party at our house tonight! i made chili. and a mama from my austinmamas yahoogroups email list (who i'd never met before!) came with her husband and adorable 8 month old baby...and did all of the latke making. the others in attendance were not jewish, and i'm not sure if they'd EVER eaten a latke before! the latkes were AWESOME! and i think we made some new friends! ah!...cyberspace is a wonderful place to make friends!

8:26 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

They sound yummy. And congrats on your BoB nomination :-)

10:55 PM  
Blogger WordsRock said...

Wow, you make latkes sound so appealing! Even to those of us who usually don't like potatoes no matter how they are prepared. :)

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

Happy Hanukkah!! We just had our latkefest here - we parboil the potatoes whole, then "shock" them with cold water, and grate them afterwards. It's a recipe from the Washington Post, very similar to yours but with fewer potatoes. I wonder if it makes a difference whether you grate first or after?

6:48 PM  

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