There’s just something about comfort food that always gets me excited to eat. Give me some mac n’ cheese, tuna casserole or a grilled cheese sandwich and I am good to go. Can you tell that I love dairy? Hanukkah, which is traditionally celebrated with oily and cheesy foods, really is the perfect holiday for me!
On Hanukkah we eat foods fried in oil to symbolize the oil that lasted eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Greeks. The dairy is to celebrate Judith’s victory when she saved her village from the Babylonians. Basically, she served the General of the Babylonian army a basket of wine and salty cheese (the salt made him thirsty and got him very drunk). When he passed out, she beheaded him and scared away his army. It’s a bit graphic but definitely worth celebrating!
So now let’s get back to my comfort food, which really does tie in to Hanukkah beautifully. I decided that what this holiday really needed was a crispy latke fried in oil then sandwiched together with cheese. Sounds good, right?!? Jewish-American comfort food taken to the max.
2-3 large potatoes, peeled (2 cups grated)
3 Tbsp plain bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp light olive oil
5-10 slices cheddar cheese
Line a large bowl with a kitchen towel and line a baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.
Peel and grate the potatoes and place them in the towel then squeeze out all of the liquid from the potatoes. Discard the liquid then place the dried potatoes in the bowl.
Stir in the egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper until combined.
In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. To test if the oil/butter mixture is hot enough, drop a small piece of the potato mixture into the pan and if bubbles form around the edges, the oil is ready.
Carefully place two ¼ cup-sized scoops of the potato mixture in the pan and cook for two minutes, until the latkes are browning on the bottom.
Flip the latkes over carefully with a spatula and place 1-2 slices of cheddar cheese on one latke. Cook for one more minute then place the second latke on top of the cheese and press down. Cook for 30 seconds then flip over the grilled cheese latke sandwich, press down and cook for 30 more seconds.
Place the hot grilled cheese latkes on the paper towels to drain then repeat this process to make 3-4 more sandwiches.
Once the latkes have drained, it’s time to eat!
If you want to take these grilled cheese latkes to the next level, you can add avocado or spinach to the cheese while cooking or switch it up with your favorite cheese.
Summer is here and it’s time for fresh, easy and quick recipes so you can be out at the beach or by the pool instead of working hard in the kitchen. And hey, it never hurts to make dishes that you can eat outside WHILE you’re enjoying the beautiful weather. With only a few simple ingredients and a sharp knife, this light and refreshing ceviche will definitely become a staple in your house.
Unlike a traditional ceviche, which can include tons of ingredients to chop like jalapenos, avocado, red onion, bell peppers and garlic, I’ve developed a simple recipe inspired by Israeli salad using tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and fresh lemon juice. Not too much chopping but an incredible amount of flavor.
Since I usually enjoy Israeli salad with fresh pita bread and I love to snack on ceviche with crunchy taco chips, I decided to bake my own healthy and oil free homemade tortilla chips for this combination Israeli Salad Ceviche. I flavored my baked corn tortillas with cumin and salt but you can use whatever spices you want on your own chips, including garlic, chili powder, turmeric or whatever else your heart desires. They’re your chips!
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Ingredients for Ceviche:
2-3 Persian cucumbers (½ cup chopped)
8 oz. heirloom cherry tomatoes (½ cup chopped)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 ounces sushi-grade tuna
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for Tortilla Chips:
5 corn tortillas
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp salt
To make the Homemade Tortilla Chips:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Slice the corn tortillas into triangles and place them on the baking sheet in one layer, making sure none of the tortilla pieces are touching. Sprinkle the tortillas with the salt and cumin and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the chips are crunchy. Set them aside to cool and harden even further. Store the chips in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To make the Israeli Salad Ceviche:
Chop the Persian cucumbers, heirloom cherry tomatoes and sushi-grade tuna into small pieces, making sure that the pieces are all similar in size.
Add the chopped fresh parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Set the ceviche aside for 5 minutes for the tuna to cook slightly in the acidic lemon juice.
Ceviche is better fresh but can be refrigerated for 1-2 days. The fish will cook in the lemon juice so be prepared for cooked fish if you are eating leftovers the next day.