Monday, September 21, 2009

Rosh Hashanah

For a Latin girl and a Vietnamese girl who were both raised Catholic, our first Rosh Hashanah meal went pretty smoothly. Though some of our friends have corrected us to say that using Matzo is more for Passover and Latkes is more for Hanukkah, they forgave us because our intentions were good. Ceila Cruz gave us something to dance to in the kitchen while we cooked.

It took us longer to figure out how to get the grating feature on this machine to work than it took us to actually grate the potatoes. Totally worth it. The potatoes came out perfectly grated and made grating the onions a pleasure.

Removing the moisture from the potatoes and the onions was the most difficult part of this process. I didn't have a cheesecloth so I used some paper towels instead. It took a while but I'm sure it really helped when it came to fry them. Keep some paper towels around when you finally mix it with the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. The salt pulls more moisture from the potatoes and you end up putting soggy potatoes into the frying pan which made mine spit oil at me and it seemed to make it cook unevenly. I created my little latke pancakes and then placed them on paper towels to absorb some of that liquid. The pancakes cooked to a golden brown after that.

My first latke frying up in the pan. So crispy and crunchy on the outside and full of flavor on the inside. You can really taste the onion flavor and its so good with the potato. Latkes are pretty inexpensive to make. The most expensive item to buy would be the peanut oil.

Adapted from recipe from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredient purchased at Harris Teeter

(note that we bought a five pound bag of potatoes and therefore multiplied this recipe by five.)

1 large baking potato (1 pound), peeled - $3.50 for 5lb bag
1 small onion (4 ounces), peeled - $0.99 per lb
1/4 cup all-purpose flour - free from previous purchase
1 large egg, lightly beaten - $3.99 per dozen (we bought organic ones so they were more pricey)
1 teaspoon salt - free from previous purchase
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper - free from previous purchase
Peanut oil, for frying - $3.49 for 7 oz

In a food processor or on a box grater, coarsely shred the potato and onion. For longer strands, lay the potato sideways in the chute of your food processor. Transfer to a colander or wrap in a cheesecloth sling, and squeeze as dry as possible. Let stand for 2 minutes, then squeeze dry again.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg, salt and pepper together. Stir in the potato onion mixture until all pieces are evenly coated. (note that it may seem like the mixture is kind of dry but the salt will pull some moisture from the potatoes so please don't make the mistake of adding any additional I did.)

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoon of peanut oil until shimmering. Drop packed teaspoons of the potato mixture into the skillet and flatten them with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes over moderately high heat until the edges are golden, about 1 1/2 minutes; flip and cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, adding more oil to the skillet as needed.

I wish I had some pictures of the finished product but my camera messed up and didn't save the shots I took of them.

Here are some other dishes we made that night:

Anna followed the recipe from the Barefoot Contessa's cookbook and it said to wrap the brisket in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and then put it in the oven. WHAT?!?! We checked her online recipe and it replaced the plastic wrap with parchment paper. But really? She used to wrap it in plastic? How did it not melt into the meat?

This is the first time I have ever eaten kugel and I was craving it all day today. Here is how Anna put it together:

14 ounces wide egg noodles-cooked
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese-softened
1.5 lbs cottage cheese
16 ounce apple sauce
5 eggs

Mix ingredients together and place in casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour, then uncovered for 30 mins. Allow to cool.

Chopped Liver

Again, I lost pictures I took of the chopped liver. Anna used another Barefoot Contessa recipe. She omitted the Madera wine, rendered the chicken fat, and used unsalted butter. It came out very tasty.

We had some Challah on the table and also had some apples that we dipped into honey. It was a wonderful evening with some old and new friends. Thank you Anna for putting it all together.

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