Loaded baked potatoes have always intrigued me. There are tons of vegetarian versions to enjoy, but there is something about the classic version that always captured my attention: steaming hot with melted cheddar cheese, a big dollop of sour cream, and of course, crispy bacon on top.
So I decided to take the plunge, and turn my affection-from-afar for the loaded baked potato into a latke version. The classic potato latke got a makeover with some grated cheddar cheese and scallions, and then I topped it all with tangy sour cream, more scallions and bacon bits. Ok everyone, don’t get your panties in a twist. Not real bacon: the fake kind they sell in the salad dressing aisle.
Of course, what could be bad about this combination of ingredients? Pretty much nothing.
An unexpected surprise of this recipe? The red and green from the scallions and bacon bits create a little Chrismukkah action. So for those of you who might be from interfaith families, or just like getting into the red and green holiday spirit, this recipe has your name all over it.
8 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1 small onion
2 cups diced green onions (around 10)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup flour
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Pareve “bacon” bits
Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a hand grater, coarsely great potatoes and onions. Place in a large bowl.
Add flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until completely combined. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes. Drain excess liquid. Add grated cheddar cheese and half of the chopped scallions.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using your hands or large spoon, make a latke patty and place in the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on wire cooling rack placed on a baking sheet, which you can place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Top latkes with sour cream, additional scallions and bacon bits.
What do Jews do on Christmas? Go to the movies and eat Chinese food of course. Which is why Soy Vay, a sauce company started by a Jewish boy and a Chinese girl, is offering the ultimate gift package to help you cook your own Chinese cuisine this Christmas Eve. And we are so excited that we get to give away gift packages to 10 lucky winners.
The gift package includes:
-$50 grocery delivery gift card
-$25 Netflix gift card
-Soy Vay products: Veri Veri Teriyaki, Island Teriyaki, and Hoisin Garlic
-Soy Vay recipe cards: Veri Veri Teriyaki Saucy Vegetable Chow Mein, Island Teriyaki Mango Chicken, and Hoisin Garlic Beef and Asparagus Stir-fry
-Decorations for the Christmas Eve parties including paper lanterns, chopsticks, and toys/games (Mahjong and Dreidel)
But wait, there’s more! The 10 winners are then encouraged to host a Soy Vay ShalomLomein house parties where they prepare their chosen Soy Vay dish for their family and friends and post photos via social media channels, using the Soy Vay hashtag #ShalomLomein on Wednesday, December 24 (that would be Christmas Eve). All the winners will also be automatically entered to win a grand prize grand–a $100 gift card for a cooking class or personal chef.
So, are you ready to get cooking? To enter, fill out the form below and we’ll choose 10 winners next Tuesday, December 16th. Good luck!
Hanukkah would have to be my favorite time of year. I was born on the fifth night and I even got married on my birthday! No, I don’t usually get three presents, but I always felt lucky to be surrounded by so much mazal on my wedding day.
With so much to celebrate during the holiday I try to switch things up during all the frying. There’s only so many latkes and jelly donuts you can eat (ok, maybe not). Fried zucchini parmesan chips have become a family favorite, so this year, I decided to go sweet with a different type of fried veggie: delicata squash.
Delicata squash is such an easy squash to prepare because the peel is edible, so you can just slice and bake – or fry! To take the squash flavor a step further, I decided to make a pumpkin beer batter and I finish it off with a Greek yogurt dipping sauce, to honor the Hanukkah miracle, and the tradition of eating dairy during the holiday. I love how they look just like donuts, but you get to without quite as much guilt because, after all, you’re really getting in a serving of veggies.
1 delicata squash, seeds removed, thinly sliced into rings
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
pinch of salt
1 12oz bottle of pumpkin beer
canola oil, for frying
For the cinnamon-scented powdered sugar:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the Greek yogurt dipping sauce:
1 6 oz container plain Greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp brown sugar
Add the flour, cornstarch, sugar, spices and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the beer and stir until a thick batter forms. It should be a little thicker than pancake batter. You'll need most of the bottle of beer (with about 1/2 cup left over).
Heat a few inches of oil in a saucepan to 350 degrees.
Dip the squash in the beer batter and place in the hot oil. Fry a few at a time until golden brown on one side, and then flip over to brown the other side.
Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towels.
To make the cinnamon-scented powdered sugar: Place the cinnamon and powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk until the cinnamon is completely incorporated.
To make the Greek yogurt dipping sauce: Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine.
Dust with cinnamon-scented powdered sugar and serve immediately or remove to a rack, to keep crisp and reserve for later. Serve with greek yogurt dipping sauce.
Ok guys, it’s go time. Hanukkah starts next Tuesday December 16th, so besides the latke frying and sufaniyot scarfing, better stock up on some gifts for your loved ones. And like always, we want to help with some of our top holiday picks.
The cookbook hoarders in your life will covet a copy of Jewish Soul Food: From Minsk To Marrakesh, by Janna Gur or Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere, by Dorie Greenspan.
Donuts were never really my thing. That is, until I was pregnant a few years ago and my husband brought me to New York City’s famous Doughnut Plant where I sampled several amazing flavors, including their peanut butter & jelly variety. I was in love, and it wasn’t just the pregnancy hormones.
Check out my elated face.
So this year when I was thinking about something fun and sweet to make for Hanukkah, I knew I wanted to try my hand at making an Israeli-style sufganiya, but with a classic American flavor pairing. After all, who doesn’t love peanut butter and jelly?! And most importantly, I love it, and I loved making these donuts. They were so delicious I might have eaten two. (I did).
If you have a peanut allergy in your family, you can swap out the peanut butter for almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower butter. Instead of adding chopped peanuts to the top, add chopped salted almonds or cashews.
For the donuts:
1 ½ Tbsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup lukewarm water
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp salt
Vegetable oil for frying
For the glaze:
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup chopped, salted peanuts (or other salted nuts)
For the filling:
1 ½ cups raspberry jam
Combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar and water in a small bowl. Mix gently and allow to sit until top gets foamy, around 5-10 minutes.
In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, add flour, sugar, eggs, butter, nutmeg and salt. Add yeast mixture and mix on low for 2 minutes. Increase speed and mix another 5 minutes. You can also do this by hand with a wooden spoon, which will take slightly longer.
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise 2 1/2 -3 hours.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a round biscuit cutter or drinking glass, cut rounds. Place on a large plate, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise another 20 minutes.
While doughnuts are rising again, whisk the milk, peanut butter, powdered sugar and chopped peanuts together to make the glaze.
In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat until a thermometer reads around 370 degrees. Fry each round for around 30-40 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Immediately spoon peanut butter glaze over the top.
Fill a pastry bag with jam and cut tip. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Wiggle the toothpick around a bit to open up the inside of the doughnut. Fit the pastry bag into the hole, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
Add an extra dot of jam on top if desired.
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.
What do we love as much as Jewish food?
a) edible gifts
b) free cookbooks
c) Hanukkah presents
d) all of the above
For our Hanukkah 2014 giveaway we’re celebrating in three’s! For our grand prize winners, we’re teaming up with Soom Foods, a great new 3-sister kosher tahini startup, to share 3 delicious chocolate-sesame tahini sample packs with our readers.
I would like to say that this is the first time I have combined brisket and latkes into one recipe, but I would be lying. I just love finding ways to use brisket, like the brisket latkes I created last year and one of my newer creations: brisket-stuffed cabbage.
Like so many great recipes, this one was created by accident. At a Hanukkah party several years ago I served potato latkes, pulled brisket and some homemade challah rolls. Pretty soon my friends ditched the rolls and started topping their latkes with the brisket. And a new star was born.
If you are asking yourself, “can I use my family’s beloved brisket recipe for this?” The answer is absolutely. As long as the recipe calls for a significant amount of liquid so that it has a bit of sauce to it, whatever recipe you fancy will work great.
You don’t have to stop with brisket as a topping for your latkes. You can make a “top your own latke” party this Hanukkah season, serving up grilled pastrami, pulled brisket, caramelized onions or any other fun topping you like. Watch as your guests get creative with their latkes. You can also shake it up by adding some sweet potato latkes or parsnip latkes into the mix.
For the brisket:
2-3 lb brisket
1 Tbsp salt
½ Tbsp freshly grated black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1 can beer
1 can ginger ale
1 bottle red wine
4 oz tomato paste
4 medium carrots, cut into medium size pieces
2 onions, cut into quarters
For the latkes:
12 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 small onions, or 1 medium-large onion, cut into large chunks
4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
¾ -1 cup flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ Tbsp salt
½ Tbsp pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
To make the brisket:
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley. Spread dry rub on both sides of brisket evenly. Preheat the oven to 300F degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or pot on medium high heat. Sear the brisket on both sides "until the smoke detector goes off." Remove meat and set aside.
Using the remaining oil and "good bits" on the bottom of the pan, sauté carrots and onions, scraping the bottom until the veggies are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Put the brisket back in the pan, and cover with the bottle of red wine, beer and ginger ale. Place the entire pot with brisket into the oven, and cook for at least 3-4 hours, until meat is completely tender.
When the meat is fork tender, remove the meat and set aside on a large cutting board.
Let the sludge rise to the top of the pot liquid and skim it off. Strain out the carrots and onions and using a food processor, blend them with 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid, then return the blended mixture to the rest of the liquid and simmer to reduce slightly.
On the cutting board using two forks, carefully shred the brisket into small strands. Add 1-2 cups of the pureed cooking liquid to the pulled brisket for additional moisture and flavor.
Serve in a large bowl and allow guests to top latkes, or spoon small amounts of brisket on each latke for a more elegant presentation.
To make the latkes:
Using the shredding attachment of a food processor or a hand grater, coarsely great potatoes, onions and garlic. Place in a large bowl.
Add flour, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until completely combined. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes. Drain excess liquid.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Using your hands, make a small latke patty and squeeze out excess liquid again. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on wire cooling rack placed on a baking sheet, which you can place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
I recently started my second round with a diet/food-cleanse called Whole 30, in which you eat nothing but unprocessed, unrefined, sugar-free food, while also cutting out entire food groups such as dairy, soy, and grains (oh and booze too). I am sure to many it sounds a bit crazy, but I will share that throughout the 30 days I woke up easier and stayed awake throughout the day, my body felt physically and mentally alive in a way it had not in years past and I felt stronger when I worked out.
Cutting out dairy, sugar, grains and booze? Ok, I could do it. But I could never do without my coffee, which thankfully you are allowed. In order to enjoy my one permitted cup of coffee, I needed to make my own almond milk since almost all sold in stores contain added sugar. I also wanted to find a natural way to sweeten the almond milk to make my coffee a little more enjoyable. So I added 1 medjool date when making the almond milk for the sweetness I craved with my coffee, but without any sugar.
I have come to love making my own almond milk so much that I do it even when I am not on the diet. There is something gratifying about knowing exactly what is in your food and drink. If you are going to try your hand at this I highly recommend buying a nut milk bag, but if you have a cheesecloth available that will work fine.
Homemade almond milk is for more than just crazy diets: it is great for baking, especially when making nondairy desserts, for making smoothies, in your cereal or oatmeal or just drinking too.
For the almond milk:
1 cup raw almonds
3 cups water
1 pitted medjool date
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the vanilla banana smoothie:
1 ¼ cup home made almond milk
1 ½ frozen banana
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp honey
To make the almond milk:
Soak the almonds in 3 cups of water for 12-24 hours. Drain the water from the almonds.
Place the almonds, 3 cups of water, the date, cinnamon and salt in a blender. Start on a low speed and quickly accelerate to high speed until all the nuts are completely pulverized. Pour the nut milk into the bag to strain.
Tip: Don’t waste the almond meal left after straining the liquid. Save it and dehydrate it. It becomes perfect almond flour.
To make the smoothie:
Place almond milk, frozen banana, cinnamon, vanilla and honey in the blender and pulse until smooth. Sprinkle some cinnamon or unsweetened cocoa powder on top.
Burekas are one of my favorite Israeli treats, and they are the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes from your Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is as easy and delicious as it gets – the best kind of recipe when you need a pick-me-up from all that Black Friday shopping. These are also fantastic during Shabbat dinner to serve with a salad course. You can even serve them with leftover gravy for a delicious dipping sauce.
I used a pareve (nondairy) phyllo dough in this recipe for ease, but you are welcome to make your favorite bureka dough if you prefer. You can also switch up the fillings with whatever leftovers you have on hand: turkey and cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and even stuffing all make fantastic fillings.
1 package phyllo dough, defrosted
leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
freshly ground black pepper
leftover gravy for dipping
Preheat oven to 350°.
Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp of water. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick cooking pad.
Roll out phyllo dough carefully to prevent splitting. I like to divide the layers of the phyllo in half so I can get four sheets instead of two. If the layers seem too brittle and dry, brush with vegetable oil. Working quickly, cut each sheet horizontally into 4 strips.
Lightly brush a strip with the egg wash. Place a scant teaspoon of mashed potatoes at the right end of the strip and fold the right bottom corner up and to the left to create a triangle shape. Continue wrapping the triangle into the remaining strip, being careful to preserve the triangle shape. Seal the end with egg wash if necessary and place end down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining strips.
Lightly brush the tops of the burekas with egg wash and sprinkle with dried thyme and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warmed leftover gravy.