Nearly six years ago, my husband (who was then merely a newish boyfriend in my life) took me out for a lovely meal at a hip new restaurant in Washington, DC called Komi. The dinner was amazing, with course after course of Greek-inspired dishes. I couldn’t tell you exactly what we ate that night except for one absolute stand-out appetizer: mascarpone stuffed dates, which were warm out of the oven and served with a perfect sprinkling of thick, flaky sea salt. I was in love with the sweet, savory, creamy bite and went home to try and recreate it.
After several trials, I realized I must be doing something wrong because my mascarpone filling kept oozing out. Still delicious, but it wasn’t quite the recreation I was looking for. I filed the recipe away, and only years later when we went back for another meal at Komi did I try to master the dish once again.
The waiter serving us at our second amazing Komi dinner wasn’t too keen on giving up the secret of the non-oozing mascarpone, but after careful prodding from my husband, we learned that we needed to chill the stuffed dates before baking them to achieve the desired result of a warm date with creamy filling intact. I went home to test it out again, and eureka: it worked.
This dish is one of my favorite appetizers to serve for any kind of party, and great as a small bite with prosecco or other sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve. Or a random Wednesday.
- Make sure to buy the plumpest-looking medjool dates you can find.
- Don’t want to spend your time pitting the dates? Just buy them already pitted.
- You can use a regular Ziploc bag with an end snipped off to fill the dates BUT I recommend using a proper piping bag to get the filling all the way into the bottom of the date more easily.
36 pitted medjool dates (the plumper the better)
4 ounces mascarpone, left at room temperature
1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
pinch of salt
Mix mascarpone, Greek yogurt, honey and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Scoop out mixture and place in a piping or ziploc bag.
Squeeze small amount into each date. Repeat with remaining filling and dates.
Place on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or tin foil. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 375. While oven is warming up, place dates in freezer for 5-10 minutes.
Bake dates for around 4-6 minutes, until just warm but before filling begins to ooze.
Sprinkle with flaky sea salt such as maldon salt. Serve warm or room temperature.
The holiday season is sort of a strange time for me. Like many American Jews, I grew up celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah. When I decided to firmly embrace my Jewish side, I felt like I had to give up Christmas and some of the secular joys of the holiday season. To complicate matters, Christmas reminds me terribly of my mother who passed away when I was sixteen, and so while it is a connection to her, it is a bittersweet memory.
My mom really got into holidays – all holidays – whether it was Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, she was ready with some tacky earrings, decorative salt shakers and surely an ugly sweater or two as well. She loved Christmas music, and from early December through New Year’s we would be subjected to a rotation of possibly the two worst Christmas albums ever made: Johnny Matthis and Amy Grant. I cringe just thinking about those CDs of hers.
Nevertheless, the season is bittersweet as I balance my desire to connect to these memories of my mother, participate in some kind of festive activities while maintaining the strong Jewish identity of my family. I admittedly tread a fine line: baking holiday cookies every year for my husband’s office, (though not in red or green or Santa shapes) listening to The Nutcracker with my daughter and combining the flavors of chocolate and peppermint in various forms to pay homage to the season. After all, should Christians really get to drink all the skinny peppermint mochas at Starbucks!?
Two years ago I started making a chocolate peppermint bundt cake that my husband and I absolutely adored. And while I have been whipping up lots of batches of peppermint hot cocoa for my little one, I wanted to take these flavors to the next level by adding them to, what else: challah.
What makes this challah so special is not only the deep dark chocolate dough, or the melty,chocolate chips inside, but also the super gooey marshmallows dotting the top. When my daughter spotted the finished product her eyes lit up and she wanted to break into the chocolaty masterpiece right away. Who am I to say no, especially when it makes for such an adorable picture. And yes, she is wearing her ballet costume because she had been practicing her Nutcracker dance moves.
It may not be overtly Christmas-y, nor is it exactly what I did with my mother. But somehow creating something new, that touches upon the joy and spirit of the holiday season, brings me comfort, connects me to my past and allows me to create new memories for my family.
1 ½ Tbsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
4 ½-5 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp peppermint extract
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
¼ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
½ cup chopped peppermint bark or chocolate-mint candies, plus extra
Thick sea salt
In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together 1 ½ cups flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil, vanilla and peppermint extract. Mix thoroughly.
Add another 1 cup of flour and eggs + egg yolk and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer. Add chocolate chips and peppermint bark (or other mint candies).
Add another 1 ½- 2 cups of mixed flour, mixing thoroughly and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining ½ cup flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 5 minutes (or however long your hands will last).
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise at least around 3 hours, punching down at least once if possible.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Braid challah into desired shape. Allow challah to rise another 45-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light. This step is very important to ensure a light and fluffy challah.
In a small bowl beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water. Brush egg wash liberally over challah. Sprinkle with additional chopped peppermint bark (or other mint candies) and thick sea salt.
If making one large challah, bake around 27-28 minutes; if making two smaller challahs, bake 24-26 minutes.
When you have around 7-9 minutes left of baking time, working quickly, remove challahs from oven and place marshmallows on top. Finish baking.
Note: if you place marshmallows on top the entire baking time, they will become too melted and run all over the place.
In honor of Hanukkah beginning earlier this week, and an all-around appreciation for starch and fried things, Manhattan-based event planning company Great Performances hosted its annual Latke Fest, touted as the “only festival celebrating latkes in NYC!” This year marks the sixth time well-known restaurants throughout the city came to compete for the title of the ultimate latke. The event also benefits The Sylvia Center, with each year’s proceeds supporting the Center’s mission to inspire healthy eating and cooking amongst young people and their families. (Yes, yes, there’s a slight irony of frying potatoes in gallons of oil to in effect promote good food choices but I’m pretty sure nobody is complaining.) I had never attended before, and I thought there was logically only one person to ask to come with me: Shannon.
“I know this is Latke Fest but…I can’t eat any more latkes. I have been eating, and testing and frying latkes since October!” This is how Shannon greeted me when we met in front of the Metropolitan Pavilion. About 2.5 seconds later, we were both at The Plaza Hotel’s table enjoying latkes with red wine braised oxtail, horseradish sunchoke and crispy kale. And so our tour-de-latke began.
It was a packed house (albeit with ample space to move around), of people and potatoes, and, as one sign warned, also some pork. Chefs and their culinary accomplices together dished over twenty different kinds of potato pancakes. Before we had walked two feet to the next station, we had already made some observations.
First, the idea of a “crispy latke” might be a challenge in this cooking/serving environment. More often than not we ate delicious but let’s call them “softer” pancakes. Second, we were immediately perplexed by the presence of forks. But looking around the room it was evident that there were two kinds of Latke Fest people: those who used forks, and those who, well, just shoved the latkes in their mouths. We were definitely “shovers.”
Which brings me to another thought shared by Shannon: things seemed rather civilized. Nobody was elbowing each other or plowing through the crowd to get to a table like when it’s schmorg time at a bar mitzvah. Shannon was sure we would witness at least one semi-brawl over a station’s last latke.
Or, as it turns out, a donut. Or babka. Or a biyali. There were lots of latkes, but also other foods and beverages. Final observation: the grand tradition of offering tangential Jewish foods at the same time in one place was proudly being kept alive here: “Welcome to Latke Fest, have a biyali!” (Dough brought big puffy strawberry-cheesecake and passion fruit filled “sufganiyot;” there was shiny gooey babka from Bread’s Bakery; and a table of beautiful bialys and bread shaped like menorahs from Hot Bread Kitchen.)
Though, to be fair, as Shannon pointed out, isn’t everyone always in the mood for babka? And, I would add, even a donut? In anticipation of being in such a mood later that evening, we had a very brief but serious discussion about trying to sneak extra donuts into our bags. For our husbands. Definitely for our husbands, and definitely not for us (yeah, for us).
I can’t imagine we were the only ones who tried this. But what I also would have liked to smuggle to the outside world was another of Print’s sweet potato & chestnut latke in duck fat. I actively do not like chestnuts, but various layers of fat probably helped the cause. For Shannon, it was Shelsky’s sweet potato and schmaltz-fried latkes with chopped liver that made all her latke dreams come true.
After at least five more latkes (most of them not bite size), two cocktails, and several instagram photos we were stuffed. Drunk off oil and carbohydrates. Latke Fest, a success? As we made our way out of the Pavilion, Shannon said “I should have worn my maternity jeans…” So I think that means, yes, a successful evening.
Latke Fest Epilogue:
The official winners were coincidentally also some of our favorites: both Print and Shelsky’s took home wins for their latkes, Judges and People’s Choice respectively. (Mae Mae Cafe also tied for Judge’s Choice).
An honorable mention that your kosher bubby might not approve of: Mokbar’s pork latke with kimchi crema. The cool spicy cabbage was super nice against the perfectly crisp potato.
The pleasant surprise of the evening: Benchmark’s French onion soup latke with gruyere, Beef gelée & beef carpaccio. It was one of the last latkes we tried and was also one of the least appealing latkes. Nevertheless we were both wowed by the flavor despite our initial hesitation over the beef gelée & beef carpaccio. It truly tasted like a bite of french onion soup.
I have long considered myself somewhat a latke expert, with several varieties under my belt, and never a single latke leftover when serving to my friends and family. That is until I had the chance to spend time with Michelin Star Chef Bill Telepan and Pastry Chef Larissa Raphael of the acclaimed New York City restaurant Telepan last week.
Chef Bill Telepan isn’t Jewish, though his latkes might indicate otherwise. In truth, Bill grew up in suburban New Jersey eating potato pancakes every holiday season prepared by his Hungarian mother. He carries this tradition on with his own family, serving up a big Christmas breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes and, what else, latkes.
But he has also been serving up latkes at his restaurant for nearly ten years, and even won an award for his latkes at the Annual Latke Festival in New York City several years ago. He likes serving them two ways: plain with sour cream and homemade applesauce, or as an appetizer with smoked salmon and creme fraiche (a personal favorite).
So what can a Michelin Star chef teach a nice Jewish girl about frying latkes? Well, a lot. And it turns out I had been making a couple of mistakes.
Bill shared that you want to keep the natural potato starch in the mix, but also need to remove excess liquid. After mixing all the latke ingredients, he allows the mix to sit around 5-10 minutes. Then he drains it, mixes the eggs with the leftover potato starch, and adds that back into the potatoes.
Don’t squeeze out too much liquid: I had been squeezing out the liquid from my latke each time I formed a patty, but Bill told me you don’t want to do that, because then the latkes will be dry. Instead, lightly form a patty using your hands or a tablespoon to keep the moisture in, creating a fluffier and creamier latke.
Onion is key for Bill, who uses a ratio of 1 small onion to every 1 ½ lbs of russet potatoes. When I tried out this ratio over the weekend, my dad immediately said “wow, great onion flavor” so I guess Bill is really on to something.
Another key element is adding enough salt, both in the mix of the latkes, and then a small sprinkle after they come out of the hot oil. While 2 tsp of salt for 1 ½ lbs of potatoes may seem like a lot, Bill pointed out that potatoes really absorb the salt and need a little extra to bring out the flavor.
In my time at the restaurant I also had the chance to spend time with Pastry Chef Larissa Raphael, who has been serving up some of New York City’s best desserts for years, who decided to try her hand at serving Hanukkah jelly donuts this year for the first time.
You have probably had a jelly donut around Hanukkah time. And they are fine, I mean what is bad about fried dough. But what I loved about Larissa’s Hanukkah donuts is the balance of rich chocolate ganache and raspberry jam filling paired with delightfully light, bite-sized donut “holes.” After all eating several small donuts is way more fun than trying to stuff one enormous powder-sugar covered donut into your mouth.
If making donuts from scratch seems like a daunting task, Larissa shared that you can actually allow the dough to rise overnight in the fridge, a helpful tip for the busy home baker. No fancy oil for this frying: just plain old vegetable oil.
So now you can enjoy Michelin Star quality latkes and Hanukkah donuts all from the comfort of your own home.
Latkes and Hanukkah donuts will be available at Telepan from December 16th to 24th and are available both for take-out and in-house dining. Donuts will only be available for the dinner menu.
Chef Bill Telepan’s Potato Latkes, Yield: 6 latkes
1 ½ lbs of Idaho (russet) potatoes
1 small onion
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp salt
Using the large hole on a box grater, grate potatoes and the onions into a mixing bowl.
Squeeze the grated potatoes and onion and save the water from the potatoes. After the water from the potatoes has settled, pour off the water and save the starch which settled to the bottom.
Beat the eggs and add them to the starch and combine well. Add the flour and salt and combine all.
Pan fry in a sauté pan in a generous amount of vegetable oil until golden brown and crispy on the outside, and cooking through on the inside.
For the dough:
2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 medium eggs
2 Tbsp milk
3 scant Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp fresh yeast or 2 tsp dry yeast
2 ¼ tsp salt
7 Tbsp slightly softened butter
For the chocolate ganache:
2 cups + 2 Tbsp bittersweet chocolate
1 cup + 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp heavy cream
Raspberry or strawberry jam
Mix yeast, milk, flour and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, on low speed until combined. Mix in sugar and salt.
Add butter and mix on medium speed until gluten is developed, around 10 minutes. Place dough onto a floured cookie sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise to double in size. Another option is to place in refrigerator overnight.
Once the dough is doubled in size, put onto a floured surface and roll to ½ inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter (I use a 1 ½ inch round cutter) and place on a cookie sheet with parchment, or waxed paper, or lightly floured. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 20 minutes.
Heat your oil to 350. Fry the doughnuts for around 3 minutes. Break one open to check that 3 minutes is enough time and that middle is cooked through.
Roll in sugar. You can fill with chocolate or jam or both.
To make the ganache: Melt chocolate in a medium bowl over a pot of boiling water. Set aside. Place cream in a pot and heat until boiling. Pour over chocolate and mix with whisk until combined.
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.