When I was in college, my friends and I would gather at each other’s apartments for family dinners. I consider these semi-weekly events integral to my college experience. I’ve said this a thousand times, but making food for someone else, is giving part of yourself to them. Whether you use a family recipe that’s been handed down for five generations or something you found on the Internet, it’s time and love and work that you spent and gave and did to meet one of the most basic needs of another human.
My friends Lindsay and Anna lived together for a time, and one night one or both of them hosted latke night. Latkes are potato pancakes traditionally served during Hanukkah. The oil that the pancake fries in represents the tiny bit of oil that miraculously burned for eight days and eight nights. I bet I used more oil in making these than the oil that burned at the Second Temple of Ancient Israel. Lindsay describes it as an “ungodly amount of oil,” which is funny, given the circumstances.
I found the night Lindsay stood in the kitchen making latkes for us especially special, because latkes, like regular flour-filled pancakes, have to be made a couple at a time. She was feeding, like, 25 people and essentially had to stand over the stove all night flipping latkes and bringing them out for us to swarm.
I’ve been trying to master this recipe for a year now. Lindsay sent me the recipe when she read latkes as one of my goals from 2012. The secret really truly is squeezing as much water as physically possible from the shredded potatoes. It took me half a dozen separate attempts before I finally made a batch where I squeezed enough water out. (If there’s too much water, the pancakes fall apart and you get a big pile of hashbrowns, which are also delicious but not pancakes.)
I started my chopping one whole onion in my food process and dumping that into my mixing bowl. [Read more...]