It's Hanukkah time, everyone!!! Here are two of my favorite recipes for this time of year. I kid you not, the pancakes is the best recipe of its kind I have ever tried. For years I used my grandmother’s recipe, until someone else’s bubbe told me to use some mashed potatoes in my recipe . . . Kenahora! What a mitzvah that was! Enjoy.
3 large Russet baking (Idaho) potatoes
3 medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes . . . peeled, cooked, and riced
1 large yellow onion, grated
2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. ground white pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 c. matzoh meal
2 qts. vegetable oil for frying . . . I like to add a cup of rendered chicken fat for flavor
Peel and grate Russet potatoes. Rinse with cold water and drain, gently pressing to relieve excess moisture. Mix half the potatoes with the mashed potatoes. Pulse the other half of the grated potatoes with the onion in work bowl of food processor to form a coarse paste. Do not over work. Combine the two mixtures, season with salt, pepper, eggs, and matzoh meal. If your mixture is too wet, add another tablespoon or so of matzoh meal—remember, you can always run a test batch. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat enough vegetable oil to come up the sides of the pan 1/3 of an inch. When oil is 350 degrees, or a small pinch of batter instantly sizzles when dropped in, fry small 2- to 3-inch-sized patties in batches until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt and try serving with apple sauce and sour cream on half the cakes and smoked salmon and crème fraiche on the others.
Almond and Orange Cake with Poached Plum Compote
2 c. sliced almonds
12 T. flour
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 T. orange zest
In a food processor, combine 1/3 of the almonds with the flour. Reserve. Combine the remaining almonds and 1/3 of the sugar and pulse well. Reserve. Beat eggs until foamy with an electric beater and add remaining sugar and zest. Beat until light and thick. Beat in the other two mixtures. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch spring-form pan and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes until cake is done (inserted toothpick withdraws cleanly, etc.). Cool, unmold, and dust with confectioner's sugar and serve with the compote.
Poached Plums with Red Wine and Rum
12 plums, firm and ripe but not mushy, halved
2 cinnamon sticks
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. lemon zest
1 T. orange zest
1 bud star anise
1/4 vanilla bean, split
1/4 c. dark rum
2 c. red wine
1 T. lemon juice
2 c. blueberries and strawberries
Place all ingredients except berries into a 14-inch sauté pan. Add warm water to come up halfway on the plums. Bring to a simmer and continue gently simmering for 10 minutes, turning plums every 5 minutes. Move plums to a serving platter. Reduce sauce until almost glazey. Stir in berries and toss. Pour over plums and chill.