Month: December 2012

Dumb Luck-ta, and drink your Gin and Tonica!

Ok, I agree that is a stupid title for a post about lakes. But it sounded funny in my brain.

Latkes 2012

Latkes 2012

Quick: informal poll:

What’s your favourite part of latkes?

  • The special something grated knuckles give to the potatoes?
  • The stink in the house the day after?
  • Or the layer of grease on your face/glasses/kitchen?

The best latke award goes to my friend Nancy. Her latkes are always delicious, regardless if she goes traditional, or does beet/sweet potato or …any root vegetable combination.  The only award mine wins is for the least knuckleful and by far the easiest.

Potato Latke for Dummies

Makes 3 to 31/2 dozen small latkes.

I’ve adapted this recipe only slightly from the one in the new edition of Marcy Goldman’s cookbook.

5 or medium to large red skinned potatoes, unpeeled

4 eggs, lightly whisked

1 small to medium onion, finely grated

1 tablespoon (15 mL) matzo meal or all-purpose flour or panko

1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt,

¼ teaspoon (1 mL) pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

Place potatoes in a medium size pot and just cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

As soon as the pot comes to a boil, set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes.

When the timer rings, remove potatoes from the stove and add cold water to cover.

Drain immediately and re-cover potatoes with very cold water. Let sit 5 minutes, and then drain and pat them dry.

With a hand grater, use the largest holes or use medium grater on a food processor and grate the potatoes. Discard peel as it separates from potato, but don’t worry if bits of it are grated in. (This is the magical part of the whole thing – by par-boiling the potatoes, they lose their slipperiness and grating them is a cinch!)

In a large bowl, mix the shredded potatoes, eggs, onion, flour or matzo meal/panko, salt and pepper.

Into a large, deep frying pan or a wok, pour in enough vegetable oil to reach at least half-way up the pan and heat.

Drop the potato batter by the teaspoonful into the hot oil, flattening slightly with a spatula if desired. Take care not to overcrowd the pan. Flip over when latkes are golden.I find tongs are the easiest way to do it.

***NEW VERSION*** – coat the latkes in a layer of panko before frying for extra crispiness. YUM.

Enjoy with apple sauce or sour cream (or both)

WAIT – they are worthy of another award – yes, they are mythical and worth every greasy,smelly calorie

Next question:

What do you eat with latkes?

I made Ottolenghi’s Harissa Chicken. It is my new obsession (thank you Nancy (yes, the same Nancy) and it isn’t as spicy as it sounds).

Ottoleghni's Harissa Chicken

Ottoleghni’s Harissa Chicken

Here is the recipe and a lame photo. It is beyond delicious!

Harissa-marinated chicken with pink grapefruit salad

Serves 4

800 g chicken thighs

For the harissa marinade
1 red pepper
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 mild fresh red chillies, seeded and roughly chopped
1 dried red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Greek yogurt (or strained plain yogurt)

For the pink grapefruit salad
2 pink grapefruits
120 g peppery wild rocket (arugula)
1 tsp olive oil
course sea salt and black pepper

For the sauce
150 ml pink grapefruit juice
130o ml lemon juice
150 ml maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 tsp salt
a pinch ground cinnamon
1 star anise

1 First make the marinade for the chicken. Over a gas ring or under a very hot grill, toast the red pepper until blackened on the out side. This should typically take about 8 min on an open flame, 15-20 min under a very hot grill. Place the pepper in a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to cool. Peel the pepper and discard the seeds.

2 Place a dry frying pan on a low heat and lightly toast the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds for 2 min. You should be able to smell the aromas of the spices. Transfer them to a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.

3 Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic, and fresh and dried chillies and fry until they turn a dark, smoky colour. Blitz together all the marinade ingredients except the yogurt in a food processor or blender; you will have a pure harissa paste.

4 To marinate the chicken, mix the paste with the yogurt and use your hands to rub it all over the chicken thighs. Layer them in a plastic container, seal and refrigerate overnight.

5 The next day, take each grapefruit and use a small, sharp knife to slice off the top and tail. Now cut down its sides, following its natural lines, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to remove the individual segments. Squeeze any remaining juice into a bowl and keep to make up the 150 ml juice required for the sauce.

6 Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Lay out the marinated chicken pieces, spaced well apart, on a large baking tray and place in the hot oven. After 5 min, reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees C and cook for another 12-15 min, until the chicken is almost cooked. Now place the chicken under a hot grill to give it extra colour and cook it through completely.

7 Meanwhile, place all the sauce ingredients in a small pan and bring to a light simmer. Simmer for about 20 min, or until reduced to a third.

8 To serve, toss the rocket and grapefruit segments with the olive oil, salt and pepper, Pile in the centre of 4 serving plates, put the warm chicken on top and drizzle about a tablespoonful of the sauce over each portion

And finally, for those of you who don’t know the song or the newest one...