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Michelin Star Latkes and Sufganiyot

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.

Telepan latkes2

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.

TelepanDonuts2

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.

TelepanLatkes2

Chef Bill Telepan’s Potato Latkes, Yield: 6 latkes

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs of Idaho (russet) potatoes

1 small onion

2 eggs

2 Tbsp flour

2 tsp salt

Directions:

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.

Larissa Raphael’s Chocolate and Raspberry Sufganiyot

Posted on December 15, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Loaded Baked Potato Latkes

Yield:
2 dozen latkes

Loaded Baked Potato Latkes3 w text

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.

Loaded Baked Potato Latkes1

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.

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Loaded Baked Potato Latkes

Posted on December 14, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings

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.

Pumpkin rings1

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.

pumpkin rings prep

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.

pumpkin rings2

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Beer Battered Pumpkin Rings

Posted on December 11, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Peanut Butter & Jelly Donuts

single PB&J sufganiya4

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.

Shannon w doughnut

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.

PB&J sufganiyot1

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Donuts

Posted on December 8, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Grilled Cheese Latkes

Yield:
4-5 latke sandwiches

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! 

Grilled Cheese Latkes Nosher2

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!

Grilled Cheese Latkes Nosher3

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.

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Grilled Cheese Latkes

Posted on December 4, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Pulled Brisket-Topped Latkes

Yield:
4 dozen latkes

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.

SONY DSC

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.

SONY DSC Love Jewish food? Sign up for our weekly Nosher recipe newsletter!

Pulled Brisket-Topped Latkes

Posted on December 1, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Homemade Almond Milk Smoothie

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.

Almond milk smoothie1

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.

Almond milk smoothie2

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Homemade Almond Milk and Vanilla Banana Smoothie

Posted on November 28, 2014

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Mashed Potato Burekas

Yield:
16 burekas

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.

Mashed Potato Burekas1

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.

Mashed Potato Burekas

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Mashed Potato Burekas

Posted on November 25, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jeweled Veggie Orzo with Wheatberries

Yield:
6-8 servings

Oh, how I love pasta. Almost all of my favorite comfort foods involve pasta: egg noodles with cottage cheese (a childhood favorite); any kind of gnocchi smothered in just about any kind of sauce; and my pregnancy comfort food, spaghetti with butter and Parmesan.

But I have been trying to cut back on my pasta recently, adding in bulgur and even zucchini noodles as an alternate.

SONY DSC

For Thanksgiving though I really wanted to create (and eat) an orzo side dish. Orzo somehow seems like a compromise of carb: it looks like rice, but it’s actually pasta.  And to make it a little healthier than just some plain old pasta, I added some hearty wheatberries, an array of colorful vegetables and even some vitamin-rich pumpkin seeds into the mix.

The result is a scrumptious and satisfying side dish that can also serve as an entree for any vegetarian guests. Want to add some more protein into the mix? Add 1/2 cup cooked lentils or small white beans and you have a complete dish.

If you can’t find purple carrots at your local market, you can use a roasted beet instead to achieve the same color and texture. I also love this dish because you can prepare it a day ahead and either serve room temperature, or heat it back up to serve.

SONY DSC

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Jeweled Veggie Orzo with Wheatberries

Posted on November 23, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Thanksgiving Chutney Three Ways

This Thanksgiving, I’m adding an array of chutneys to my holiday spread as a way to jazz up the traditional meal with simmered combinations of fruits or veggies. Chutneys are the perfect accompaniment to long roasted, rich turkey or braised meats because their vinegary bases help to balance the fat of heavier proteins and side dishes.

This selection of chutneys cover a range of flavors to please any palate. With that in mind, I simmered one sweet, one savory and one spicy condiment. They make use of seasonal ingredients and readily available herbs and spices. Best of all, they come together in one pot and with little fuss. And each of these combinations will be tastier and more nuanced when prepared in advance.

sweet cranberry chutney

Sweet Cranberry and Cherry Chutney

This chutney hints at Thanksgiving tradition with ruby red cranberries, nuts and dried fruit. It is believed that cranberries were served at the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

Serve this Cranberry and Cherry Chutney alongside roasted meat, turkey or chicken. Add a few tablespoons to mayonnaise and use as a spread on lightly toasted challah for turkey sandwiches with leftovers from your feast. Or place this chutney in a small serving dish alongside creamy, mild cheeses as a sweet element on a cheese plate.

Note: This chutney has a very strong vinegar odor when it’s simmering. The first time I made this, I was alarmed by the strength of the vinegary presence. After it’s cooked, cooled and refrigerated, the vinegar- sugar- honey combination settles into a perfectly balanced, slightly sweet condiment for your holiday meal.

Ingredients:

2 cups dried tart cherries
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp honey
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup fresh cranberries (rinsed)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 cup raisins or currants
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
6 Tbsp water (or a little more if the pan appears too dry)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart. saucepan over medium heat. Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring well.

Cranberries should burst open. The texture should be slightly sticky and chunky, with little liquid remaining after the simmer. Chutney will continue to thicken as it cools.

Cover and refrigerate for up to one week. Serve at room temperature.

cauliflower chutney

Savory Cauliflower and Lentil Chutney

This vegetable and legume based chutney doesn’t include any added sweetness, making it a welcome savory addition to a holiday meal that tends to include lots of sweet flavors. It’s warm spices and toasted undertones provide unexpected flavors next to traditional dishes like sweet or mashed potatoes. This dish could easily be the star dish for vegetarians at your table.

Serve alongside turkey leftovers or as a condiment with pan-seared fish. If using this as a main dish for vegetarians at your Thanksgiving table, be sure to make stuffing without chicken or turkey broth so that they may enjoy stuffing with this savory chutney.

Ingredients:

¼ cup good olive oil
1 large red onion, finely diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp ras- el- hanout*
½ tsp mustard powder
1 cup dry red lentils
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups cauliflower florets, small pieces
1 ½ cups canned diced tomatoes
½ cup water
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp paprika
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves- minced
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
*Middle Eastern spice mix found at well stocked markets like Whole Foods or at online on Amazon

Directions:

Heat oil and add onion, shallot and ginger until softened, about 4-5 minutes.

Add ras-el-hanout and mustard powder and stir, cooking one minute.

Rinse and examine lentils for particles of debris. Remove if found. Add lentils and wine to onion and spice mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cover pot and cook 10 minutes.

Add cauliflower, tomatoes, water, salt and pepper and paprika.

Cover and cook over medium heat, covered, for 20-25 minutes until lentils and cauliflower are tender but not mushy. Stir occasionally. Add ¼- ½ cup more water if chutney appears dry.

Cool mixture and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

May be refrigerated for up to one week in airtight container. Serve at room temperature.

tomato chutney

Spicy Tomato Chutney

Posted on November 19, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy