Potato latkes with homemade applesauce

Every year I look forward to Chanukah so I have an excuse to make latkes. They are simple and delicious, and for me, completely evocative of the holiday season.

Potato latkes
1 onion
6 medium russet potatoes
5 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt + more to taste
Pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil or other oil for frying

Grate the onion and the potatoes, drain all of the liquid from them, and add them to a bowl. The drier the better! You can use your hands to wring and press out the liquid, but a clean, non-fuzzy kitchen towel works the best. Add the flour, salt, and pepper to taste.

Heat a deep cast-iron pan with about 1/4 inch of olive oil over medium heat. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in a small piece of potato. The oil is ready once the potato cooks quickly to a golden brown with out burning. Adjust the heat as necessary.

Grab a small handful of the grated potato mixture and squeeze tightly forming a disc-like patty similar to a thin burger. You will have to squeeze the liquid out or it won’t stick together. Add patties a few at a time to the hot oil. They should become golden brown fairly quickly, but still have time for the inside portion to cook.

Pull them out with a spatula and set them on a plate with a paper towel on it to drain. Adjust the heat to achieve the desired outer crispiness and inner softness.

Serve with homemade applesauce and/or sour cream.

Serves 4.

Homemade applesauce
4 cups of apples – pink ladies, gala, granny smith, other local apples
1/2 cup sugar or to taste
1 cinnamon stick
4-5 whole cloves

Cook in a pot with a little water, the cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cook covered for 20 minutes until the apples begin to fall apart.

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Orange Raisin Scones

This scone recipe comes from Savvy Vegetarian@savvyveg
Link to the recipe: Orange Raisin Scones

This recipe came up in my twitter feed one day at the beginning of April.  Here’s why I felt I had to try it:
“When I made this scone recipe for my daughter who just had a baby,
she said these scones would attract nursing mothers from miles around. Fortunately none of them came over, because she ate them all! ” – Savvy Vegetarian

As a constantly hungry pregnant person, I decided this was right up my alley and went immediately into action in the kitchen.  Now that I’m a nursing mother, maybe it’s time to make these again…

The Savvy Vegetarian has given me permission to reproduce the recipe here paired with the photos I took while making the scones.  This is the version of the recipe that I made:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup unbleached cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 /2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 cup Thompson raisins
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Juice of one orange
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place raisins in a bowl, cover with boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain into a colander and set aside
  3. Combine dry ingredients
  4. Combine buttermilk, eggs and orange juice to make 1 1/4 cups liquid
  5. Grate orange rind into the dry ingredients
  6. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture is mealy
  7. Add the raisins and liquid, mix together to make a soft dough (can even be sticky)
  8. Knead dough lightly for 5 minutes on a floured surface until it forms a ball
  9. Divide and pat into two 6 inch rounds and slice each into 6 wedges
  10. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, middle of the oven, until lightly browned
  11. Slide onto a rack to cool for a few minutes

The scones were delicious.  They made a perfect snack or breakfast when cut in half, warmed in the toaster oven, and buttered.

Yes, I think it’s time to try these again.

Charoses for Rosh Hashanah?

My favorite thing about Passover is getting to eat massive quantities of charoses (also charoset or haroset).  I always wonder though, why do we eat a dish made with apples in the spring when apples aren’t even in season?

With Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) coming up, I started thinking that maybe it wouldn’t be too sacrilegious to make charoses now, when there are lots of gorgeous local apples just waiting to be enjoyed.  After all, you’re supposed to eat apples during Rosh Hashanah too.  So if you would like to make charoses Rosh Hashanah-style, I recommend substituting honey for the sugar; that way you get in both the apples and the honey.

In April, when I realized I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to attend a Seder, I decided I still needed my yearly quota of charoses.  I called my grandma for a little help and she provided me with the general quantities and ingredients.  I list her recipe first and then the version I made, which has more exact measurements.

Whether you make this for Passover, Rosh Hashanah, or just a snack, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Grandma Gerry’s recipe:
2-3 apples (Jonathan, fuji, or gala apples)
Pecans
Cinnamon
A little sugar
Wine (sweet, red, like Manischewitz)

My version:
3 apples (I used fuji at the time, but now I’d use something local, like a honeycrisp)
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup red grape juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

I believe my grandma blends hers in the food processor, but since I prefer mine a bit chunkier, I cut the apples to the size I like.  I used an OXO Good Grips Mini Chopper to chop up the walnuts, but you could also chop them with a knife.

Mix all of the ingredients together.  You’ll want to adjust the amount of sugar you add based on the sweetness of the apples you use.

Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours to let the flavors meld.

Do you have a favorite charoses recipe you’d be willing to share?  Please leave it in the comments!

Helpful equipment:
OXO Good Grips Mini Chopper I don’t use this very often, but when I do, I find it very useful.  I mostly use it for chopping nuts.

Quiche with muenster and dried Italian herbs

Lori Allen made this quiche for a meeting I had at her house.  I couldn’t get enough of it, so I asked her if she would share the recipe with me.  It is sure to be the basis of many future quiche improvisations.

Ingredients:
1/2 recipe of Rebecca’s Savory Pie Crust or one pie crust of your choice
6 medium eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
(or just 2 cups of half and half)
1 cup grated muenster or havarti
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 dry tsp. each: basil, rosemary, thyme

1) Bake the pie crust at 400 degrees for 7 minutes.
2) Take crust out of oven to slightly cool.
3) Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees.

4) Grate cheese and put into crust.

5) Mix all other ingredients in a bowl, and beat with a fork until eggs are well incorporated.
6) Pour over cheese.

7) Bake quiche 40-45 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean.

Savory Pie Crust

This pie crust recipe is the one I make for savory foods.  I use it for quiches and other vegetable pies.  It can also be used for a sweet pie if you have an extra crust.  The difference is a little more salt and no sugar.

Pie crust:
13 Tablespoons cold butter
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 3/4 cup flour

Mix together the 1 3/4 cups flour, and 3/4 tsp. salt.

Cut in 13 Tablespoons of butter. Add the 1/4 cup cold water and quickly work together with a fork.

Switch to working with hands and as quickly as possible make the dough come together and knead briefly just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough in half and on a lightly floured surface begin rolling out the dough. Roll it out until it forms a relatively even circle.

To transfer the dough to the pie plate, fold it into quarters and position the inner corner at the center of the pie plate, then open to fill the pie plate.

Form an edge by folding over or removing and/or repositioning any excess and pressing down with the side of your thumb to form a ribbed edge. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Makes two crusts.

Back to the Blog

It’s been quite a while since I’ve made any new blog posts.  Our baby, Ariella, was born on May 19th and with her birth the blog really went out of my mind.  I can’t believe she is almost four months old now.  The individual days seem long, but the weeks keep flying by.

This morning I saw the blog of a new mother-friend (Simply Bike), and I remembered how much I enjoyed telling friends and family about the things going on in our kitchen.  Honestly, I don’t cook too many exciting things these days, we seem to eat a lot of lentil soup and pasta with zucchini, but if I do make something a little more interesting I will try to capture it here.

In the meantime, I have a number of entries that I didn’t get around to creating at the end of the pregnancy, so you can expect a few more pre-baby recipes to be coming your way.

Ariella loves her stuffed carrot.  Hopefully this will transfer to a love of real food sometime in the coming year.  I can’t wait to feed my baby!

I’ve been reading this great book called Cooking for Gracie: The Making of a Parent from Scratch by Keith Dixon.  A foodie writing about the birth and growth of his first child is a perfect combination, and speaks to me particularly at this period in my life.

Now to figure out what to call my blog now that I’m not pregnant.  Any suggestions?

Stay tuned, and please keep the comments coming!

Fresh Egg Pasta

Ingredients:
100 g all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 large egg

Use 100 grams of flour, 1 egg, and 1 pinch salt per person you are making pasta for.

Clean table or counter, and pour the flour onto the surface.  Form a well in the center of the flour.

Add the salt to the well and crack the eggs into the center.  Make sure the egg does not escape over the sides.  Sometimes I do this in a bowl, because my eggs have a tendency to spill over.

Begin gently beating the eggs with a fork and slowly incorporate some flour from the sides of the well.  Continue to slowly incorporate the flour.

Once enough flour has been incorporated that the mixture begins to get stiff, switch to working the dough with your hands.  Continue to bring in the flour from the sides and knead the dough.  Add more flour as necessary to prevent the dough from becoming too sticky.

Knead the ball for about 15 minutes to creating a uniform and smooth dough.

Cover the ball with a bowl and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.

At this point I use a pasta machine to roll out pieces of the dough and cut it, but you can also roll it out with a rolling pin and cut it by hand.  The key to rolling it out by hand is to make sure you get it really thin.

Let your pasta dry and then move to a bag or container and keep in the freezer.  Even when frozen, the pasta cooks in boiling, salted water in just a few minutes.

Helpful equipment:
A pasta machine: Marcato Atlas Wellness 150 Pasta Maker, Stainless Steel
This pasta machine is the one that I have, and I love it!

A pasta drying rack: Norpro Pasta Drying Rack
I chose to buy this drying rack, because it was inexpensive and functional.  Pasta drying racks come in a wide variety of forms and prices, so pick the one you like best.  You can also dry your pasta on a floured baking sheet.

Kitchen scale: Salter Digital Scale – Extra-Precise
This kitchen scale is a rather expensive one recommended by Lynne Rossetto Kasper from The Splendid Table.  Any reasonably accurate kitchen scale will do though.