Sunday, December 10, 2006

Potato pancakes

Another seasonally appropriate dish--it's almost Hanukkah, after all. Actually, I think potato pancakes are good anytime of the year. See if you can get somebody to help you make them (thanks Melanie!) because it can be a pain to do it all yourself.

Grated 1 yellow onion into a really big mixing bowl. Then we grated by hand 3 pounds total (about a half-and-half mixture) of peeled Russet and Yukon Gold potatoes. This is why it's nice to have someone working with you--potatoes get all pink and discolored if you don't work quickly. Of course if you have a Cuisinart it will go pretty quick, but that seems trickier, somehow. As we were going, I sprinkled the grated potatoes with a bit of cream of tartar to slow down the discoloration. Drained the grated potatoes and tried to squeeze out some of the liquid. Added them to the grated onion in the big bowl along with 2 beaten eggs, 2 teaspoons salt and pepper. Mixed everything really well, then added 2 tablespoons matzo meal and let it absorb. The mixture still seemed too liquidy so we added another 2 tablespoons. You want the batter to be not too wet and not too dry. In a dutch oven, got two tablespoons canola oil very very hot, then added heaping spoonfuls of the batter, smooshed it down into a pancake shape. Allowed them to get crispy and browned (maybe 2 minutes?), then flipped sides. Removed to a paper towel lined dish to keep warm in the oven. Added another tablespoon of canola oil, and repeated the process. I got about 3-4 pancakes per batch in my dutch oven, which is not that large. I layered the pancakes between paper towels as they drained to offset the shocking amount of oil.

Potato pancakes are particularly delicious with sour cream and applesauce. I don't think amateurs should attempt making sour cream, but applesauce is pretty easy. I peeled and diced 5 Pink Lady apples (any softish apples will do--Jeremy thinks Braeburn apples would work well also) and put them in a pot with juice of 1 lemon. Added enough water to be visible but not to cover--maybe 3/4 of a cup. Brought to a light boil and covered partially, stirring pretty often for about 8-10 minutes, then uncovered and turned down the heat. The apples should be getting pretty mushy. Added 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a tiny pinch each of nutmeg and cardamom, and about 5 whole cloves. Let it cook down some more, then turned off heat and kept it covered until everything else was ready. You kind of have to eyeball it--when it looks like applesauce, it's probably done.

We also had a roast chicken, but I have covered that at least twice already. You know the drill--salt, pepper, 400 degrees, flip flip flip. Let rest. The only difference was that I put the separated cloves from about a head and a half of garlic in the bottom of the pan to roast during the last 20 minutes.

We put up our Christmas tree. It looks great.

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