- FRENCH FRIED ONION RINGS
- Toppings for latkes
- OLIVE OIL CAKE No. 4
- DISHES FEATURING CHEESE
This magic formula, adapted from FAMILY CIRCLE MAGAZINE, produces crispy, light French fried onion rings. They are a terrific nosh, and somehow watching them puff to tender crispiness adds to the already festive air in the kitchen. Most of ours never make it to the warming oven, let alone the freezer!
1½ cups flour
1½ cups beer (active or flat, cold or room temperature)
3 very large onions
3 to 4 cups oil for frying (light salad oil-- not olive)
Combine beer and flour and whisk (or blend in blender) until smooth. Cover and let sit at least 3 hours. Preheat oven to 200° for keeping rings warm, and cover a jellyroll or other large pan with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Peel onions and cut into 3/8 -inch slices; separate into rings. Heat oil 2” deep to 375°. An electric wok or frying pan is ideal because of the built-in thermostat. An electric frying pot is also good, but it has a smaller surface area that limits the cook to fewer rings per batch.
Dip the rings into the batter, holding carefully with tongs, and fry, turning once or twice, until golden. Put on papered pan and keep warm in middle of oven. Add salt to taste while eating them.
To freeze: drain on paper towels at room temperature. Arrange on unlined jellyroll pan and freeze unwrapped. When frozen, pack in plastic bags and return to freezer. Reheat without defrost¬ing, on jellyroll pan at 400° for 4 to 6 minutes.
NOTE: This batter is equally successful for frying slices of big mushrooms, sticks of eggplant, rounds or sticks of zucchini, and even string beans. (The beans should be boiled for two or three minutes to pre¬cook them a little, then dried thoroughly before being dipped in the batter.)
Of course the fried food that most often comes to mind for Hanukkah is latkes. Here’s an adaptation of a Bon Appétit magazine recipe that’s hard to beat; the originators are Bruce Aidells and Nancy Oakes. The super idea of using already shredded potatoes came from our daughter, Wendy Schapiro. This kosher product is available in the refrigerated foods section of supermarkets. If you like your latkes made with smaller pieces of potato, pulse the contents of the bag a few times in a food processor and then continue with the recipe as written. Makes about 16
1 large or extra-large egg
1 -1 lb bag Simply Potatoes (plain variety)
1/2 medium onion, grated or finely chopped and squeezed dry
2 TBSP all purpose flour
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying (I like Canola oil)
Sour cream and/or applesauce as accompaniments
Beat the egg in a large bowl. Mix in the potato shreds, then add the flour, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Place a heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat and add enough oil to reach a depth of ¼-inch. Heat the oil until a drop of batter sizzles in it. Working in batches, drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into the hot oil, flattening with back of spoon to form 2- to 3-inch-diameter, ¼-inch thick pancakes. Fry until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer latkes to paper towels to drain.
Serve the latkes with bowls of sour cream and applesauce.
Here’s my version of a recipe that my mother used to make, especially to serve with crispy broiled fish. You can use other kinds of summer squash (which of course are available all year round.) 2 medium zucchini yield 2 cups grated.
2 C coarsely shredded zucchini
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
1 small clove garlic,
minced or mashed
¼ C flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 scallion, white and half of
green, finely chopped
3 to 4 TBSP water
vegetable oil for frying (Canola)
sour cream and/or applesauce
Toss zucchini with salt in a strainer and allow to sit for about 15 minutes to draw out the liquid. Squeeze it dry (amount will now be less than 2 cups).
Beat egg with flour and baking powder. Mix in the scallion, garlic and zucchini. Add water to achieve a pancake batter consistency.
Heat a large skillet and add enough oil to produce a shallow film; heat oil until hot enough to sizzle when a drop of batter is put into the pan. Fry tablespoonfuls of batter in the oil, turning pancakes over when bottom is brown and edges are crispy. Serve with sour cream and/or unsweetened applesauce. 2 to 3 side dish servings
NOTE: While best fresh out of the pan, latkes can be kept warm in a 200˚ oven on a cookie sheet covered with a paper towel.
Here’s a tasty new take on potato latkes; it’s from a 2001 article in GOURMET.
Some readers who commented on the recipe on www.epicurious.com suggested adding flavors like cumin and nutmeg; others tried baking the latkes. I have specified garnet yams and cut down on the original amount of frying oil. About 26 pancakes
1 lb garnet yams, peeled and coarsely grated
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 C all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Canola oil for frying
Stir together potatoes, scallions, flour, eggs, salt, and pepper.
Heat 1/8-inch of oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4, spoon 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) potato mixture per latke into oil and flatten to 3-inch diameter with a slotted spatula. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until golden, about 2 minutes or more on each side. Transfer latkes with spatula to paper towels to drain. Good plain or with applesauce, sour cream or tzatziki.
This recipe is the creation of wonderfully creative chef Traci DesJardins, whose Jardinière restaurant is my choice when we are celebrating my birthday in San Francisco. These are a healthier alternative to potato latkes fried in a lot of oil and they provide some protein if they are to have the starring role in a Hanukkah supper. Serve them with plain sour cream and/or caramelized onions. Tzatziki would also be a tasty accompaniment. A crisp salad of greens with some fall fruit could fill the plate colorfully and complement the pancakes. These also go well with a fish main course.
About 24 3-inch pancakes
1 ½ C cooked chickpeas (garbanzos)
(can use canned beans, rinsed and drained)
¼ C extra virgin olive oil
3 large eggs
¼ C unbleached all-purpose flour
½ C milk
2 TBSP chopped fresh mint
2 TBSP chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ tsp kosher salt
Fresh-ground pepper to taste
2 TBSP or more canola oil for frying
In bowl of food processor or blender purée the beans with the olive oil. In a large bowl or quart-size glass measuring cup with a lip beat the eggs with the flour and milk. Add the chickpea purée, mint and parsley. Season with the salt and pepper. The batter may be made a day ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Stir well before using.
Heat oven to 200° and place in it an oven-proof pan or platter for keeping the pancakes warm. Heat 1 TBSP of the canola oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Drop batter to form 3-inch pancakes. Fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Keep each batch warm while frying successive batches, adding canola oil as needed.
A fabulous recipe for tzatziki, the Greek yogurt sauce, can be found at http://laircake.com/2013/006/10/tzatziki/ . It comes from Kokkari, a superb restaurant in San Francisco.
Chef Rachel Klein of Cambridge, MA offers this onion topping for traditional potato latkes. It is delicious with garbanzo pancakes as well. You can prepare the recipe a couple of days ahead and store it in the fridge. Serve at room temperature or warm them up in the microwave. This doesn’t make a huge batch, so consider making more if there are real onion fans at your table!
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp canola oil
1 large onion or 2 weighing a total of about ¾ lb, thinly sliced*
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp golden brown sugar
*I like to slice the onions in half from top to bottom, then slice each half into thin slices from top to bottom instead of across. If the pieces aren’t even, it doesn’t matter; after long cooking they blend into a sort of jammy consistency.
Melt the butter in the oil in a large saucepan over moderately high heat. Add the onion slices, salt and pepper. Mix well, lower heat to moderate and cook, partially covered, for about 10 minutes to soften the onions. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, up to an hour. Watch carefully to avoid scorching. Add the vinegar and brown sugar and cook until mixture is brown and almost dry, about 10 minutes. Cool and set aside or store for later use.
Pictured above are the onions at the early and middle stages of browning and then at their richly caramelized final state.
Kugel (which means pudding, but not necessarily in the dessert sense) comes in a wide range of flavors and shapes and is a standard part of many Jewish holiday menus. A book on Jewish cooking, its title now long forgotten, once told me that it was an Ashkenazi tradition to eat two kugels on a Shabbat occurring during Hanukkah, one to celebrate the holiday and one for the glory of the Sabbath. With our rich culinary heritage this is an easy and delicious practice to follow. The kugels below probably wouldn’t be featured on Shabbat because they have dairy ingredients, but they will work on any other night of Hanukkah!
This is adapted from a recipe in SO EAT, MY DARLING, A GUIDE TO THE JEWISH KITCHEN by Naf Avnon. A little bit of folklore included by co-author Uri Sella tells us that “Rabbi Pinchas, the Tzaddik of Koritz, used to say that Jews eat lots of lokshen on Shabbat because noodles are symbolic of the unity of the People of Israel: They are so entangled that they can never be separated.”
Serves 6 - 8
12 oz broad noodles (note that most noodles now come in 1-lb packages!)
boiling salted water (add salt after water reaches boil)
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
6 TBSP sugar
¾ C cream cheese (6 oz, reduced fat kind OK)
¾ C part skim ricotta cheese
¾ C sour cream (low fat OK)
½ tsp salt
¾ C dried apples, soaked in water for 30 min. if not soft,
½ C seedless raisins
additional sour cream as an accompaniment, optional
Preheat oven to 350 °. Brush a 2-qt. shallow casserole liberally with some of the melted butter. Set aside the remaining butter. Cook the noodles according to package directions until tender but firm. When the noodles are done, drain and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
While noodles cook, combine in blender jar the eggs, sugar, cream cheese, ricotta, sour cream and salt. Blend thoroughly but avoid over-blending, which would incorporate lots of air into the mixture.
Mix the remaining butter into the noodles, then add the blended egg mixture. Lastly mix in the apples and raisins. Turn the kugel into the prepared baking dish, smoothing the top and poking any visible raisins beneath noodles to keep them from burning. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until pudding sets up and top is golden and crispy. Serve warm.
You may want to add lemon or orange zest to the blender mixture to add another flavor element. The kugel can be served with sour cream as an accompaniment.
Here is my late mother-in-law's famous dairy noodle casserole—flavorful and very rich, but not sugary. Betty Lieb lovingly prepared this for us until she moved from Florida at age 97 to an assisted living facility here in Sacramento. One might also classify this delicacy in the crispy school (as opposed to fluffy or soft), and proponents of both hot and cold kugel will be able to enjoy it their way. (It’s hard to resist nibbling leftovers right from the refrigerator!) Technically this isn’t a cheese recipe, but for festive purposes we can stretch a bit—especially since it’s a traditional staple in our family for Jewish holidays.
12 oz wide noodles, cooked al dente and drained
¼ lb unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, + about 4 TBSP more
3 eggs, separated
1 pint sour cream, divided
salt to taste
sour cream to serve on the side (optional)
Rinse noodles briefly in cold water and return them to the empty cooking pot. Mix in the ¼ lb butter, egg yolks, 3 heaping TBSP of the sour cream, and the salt.
Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry, and fold into the noodle mixture. Grease a 2-quart rectangular baking dish and dot the bottom with some of the extra butter. Pour in the noodle mixture and spread on the remaining sour cream. Dot with more butter.
Bake 1 hour at 400°. Kugel should be crispy on top and around edges. Cut into pieces and serve with additional sour cream, if desired.
Note: If you want to try a sweet version of this recipe, here are some optional additions that are my own ideas—not Betty Lieb's. (Neither she nor my mother would even think of making a sweet kugel!)
Beat in 2 to 4 TBSP sugar with the egg whites
Fold in 1 or 2 thinly sliced apples.
Add ¼ C raisins or chopped dates
Sprinkle the top of the kugel with cinnamon-sugar
The unusual name for this delicious dessert is quite logical; it was the fourth and final trial (and winner!) in a project of former restaurant sous-chef ConnieThadewaldt. This is my adaptation of her recipe from her now-defunct food blog. Here the symbolic oil is used in a healthy way as part of a delicious dessert.
3/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 C corn meal (I use stone-ground)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange zest (or more if you really like orange)
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil (not too bitter) plus more for the pan.
1/2 C buttermilk
1 TBSP honey
3/4 C sugar
2 large or extra-large eggs, room temperature
TOPPING (amounts in parentheses for 9” round cake):
2 TBSP sugar (3 TBSP)
1/6 C chopped dry-roasted, salted almonds (1/4 C)
1/6 C sliced natural almonds, lightly toasted (1/4 C)
Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
(For 1/6 C measurements, fill a 1/3 C measure half full with the chopped almonds, then fill the cup with the sliced ones—it doesn't have to be exact.)
Preheat oven to 350° (325° convection) with oven rack in middle position. Oil a 9"X 5" loaf pan with olive oil OR oil a 9" round pan with a loose bottom and place a parchment round in the bottom.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and zest in a small bowl. Wisk together to make sure the zest in evenly distributed.
Combine the oil, buttermilk and honey in a measuring cup. Stir to mix these together.
In bowl of electric mixer cream the sugar and eggs at medium-high speed with paddle attachment (if you have one) until pale yellow, about a minute. On medium speed add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the wet ingredients. Don’t overbeat, but do make sure ingredients are well incorporated after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
With a rubber or silicone spatula scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the almond mixture on top. Bake in preheated oven until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour (about 50 minutes for convection). If using a 9" round pan, start checking for doneness at 35 minutes (30 for convection). Allow to cool in pan 15 minutes, then cover surface of loaf cake closely with plastic wrap and invert onto a cake rack or plate. Place another rack on the inverted cake and turn it right side up. Remove the plastic wrap and allow cake to cool completely before cutting it. (For the round pan, just remove the sides after 15 minutes.) If you can wait, it's even better the next day!
Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to two days or place in airtight box and freeze for longer storage.
Adapted from a recipe of Parisian cooking teacher Françoise Meunier
For starters, here’s a delicious treat to serve while everyone waits for the latkes to come out of the frying pan. The crackers can be made ahead and frozen in an airtight container. Defrost and test for crispness; if necessary, place in 400° oven for a few minutes to freshen them. Hors d’oeuvres for 4 people
For the crackers
1 C all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 ½ TBSP soft chèvre cheese
5 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
cumin and/or poppy seeds
Pulse the flour and salt together in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Add the cheese, divided into about 6 –8 pieces, the cold butter cubes and the egg. Pulse until mixture clings together and rough dough forms. Remove from processor and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment or a non-stick liner. Preheat oven to 400°. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8”. Sprinkle seeds evenly over the surface and roll over them with rolling pin to press them into the dough. Cut out little rounds or other shapes with a cookie cutter. Prick the crackers with the tines of a fork and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. .
For the peppers
2 red bell peppers, roasted*, cooled and cut into strips
1 clove garlic, minced
chopped flatleaf parsley
Toss the pepper strips with the remaining ingredients in amounts to taste.
Assembly: Roll up strips of pepper and center one on each a cracker. Top with a little piece of goat cheese and a sprinkle of cumin or poppy seeds.
*To roast peppers, wash and cut each into 3 or 4 lengthwise sections; remove stem, ribs and seeds. Place sections skin-side up on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Slide under pre-heated broiler and leave until blistered and charred, checking frequently to avoid over-cooking them. Remove from broiler and fold up the foil to enclose the pepper pieces. Cool about 10 minutes, then carefully remove the charred skin from the pepper sections. (This method eliminates the usual turning required when broiling whole peppers and makes them easier to cut up after roasting.)
Adapted from a Recipe by Grace Parisi in Food & Wine magazine
If you’re having a crowd on one of the nights of Hanukkah, here’s a salad that is colorful and healthy. Some of its elements can be prepared well ahead, always a plus. The cheese crisps are fun to make and really make the salad look as if it came from a restaurant kitchen.
12 SERVINGS (Amounts in parenthesis are for 4 servings)
1 large shallot, minced = ¼ cup minced shallot (1/3 large shallot)
¼ C sherry vinegar (4 tsp.)
1 TBSP Dijon mustard (1 tsp)
¼ C extra-virgin olive oil (4tsp)
6 TBSP walnut oil (2 TBSP)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 5-oz. bags washed salad, such as mixed baby greens ( 1 1/3 bags)
3 red pears, halved, cored and cut into wedges (1 pear)
1 cup dried cranberries (4 ounces) (1/3 C)
Frico (cheese crisps) for optional topping
1. In a small bowl combine the shallot, vinegar and mustard. Whisk in the olive oil, then the walnut oil in a thin, steady stream. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. (The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
2. Place the mixed greens and cranberries in a large bowl and toss with enough of the dressing to coat the leaves lightly. Divide among salad plates and top with pear sections. Drizzle with a little more dressing and serve, topping with frico if desired. If pears are firm enough not to break, the sections can be tossed with the other salad ingredients before plating the salad.
(Cheese crisps to serve with salad)
Place teaspoonfuls of grated cheese (such as Parmesan or Asiago) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flatten to 2” rounds. Place in preheated 350° oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese shreds have melted together into a wafer and are golden in color. Drape warm wafers over a rolling pin or wooden spoon handle to give them a curved shape or slide parchment onto a rack and allow them to cool flat. You can add cumin or fennel seeds to the cheese. These can be stored airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days.
A good complement to a meal with latkes, this recipe is adapted from MORE TASTE THAN TIME by the late very talented food writer Abby Mandel. The components can be prepared ahead of time and combined when you’re ready to serve the slaw. 6 – 8 servings.
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and crisped
5-oz wedge red cabbage (about ¼ medium head)
1 large scallion
¾ C canola oil
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 ½ TBSP Dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 ½ oz crumbled blue cheese
With a nonreactive knife, cut romaine crosswise into ½" strips. Cut the cabbage into paper-thin slices by hand or with ultra-thin slicing blade (1mm) of food processor. Toss these two ingredients together in a salad bowl and store in the refrigerator.
Make the dressing: mince the scallion and set aside. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the scallion and cheese. (Dressing can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated separately. Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid so that you can shake it to re-combine the ingredients later.)
To serve, toss the dressing with the chilled slaw mixture. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
This knock-out dessert should be prepared at least a day ahead; it will easily stay in the refrigerator for three days if it’s more convenient to bake it that far in advance. Be sure to store the cheesecake in an airtight container, as cheese easily picks up odors from other occupants of the refrigerator
4 TBSP butter, melted
2 TBSP sugar
1 C chocolate cookie crumbs
1 tsp cinnamon
Brush the sides, not the bottom, of a 9” springform or loose-bottom pan with some of the melted butter. Combine well the remaining butter and other ingredients. Press evenly over the bottom of the pan, not up the sides. Chill the crust while preparing the filling. Preheat oven to 375°.
2½ tsp instant coffee powder (or crushed freeze-dried)
almost ½ C unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ C sugar
24 oz cream cheese (3 pkg.), at room temperature
1 TBSP coffee liqueur
3 eggs (large or extra-large)
Put the coffee powder in a ½-cup dry measure. Fill with cocoa powder and transfer the mixture to bowl of electric mixer. (Or put the mocha powder in the mixer bowl.) Add the sugar and stir to combine the dry ingredients. Add the softened cream cheese and beat to combine well. Add the liqueur. Beat in the eggs one at a time, using medium speed to avoid making mixture too airy.
Pour filling into the prepared pan and rotate gently to level the surface. Bake in preheated oven about 30 to 40 minutes, or until edges look set and begin to get fine cracks. Middle will still appear quite soft.
Cool the cheesecake on a rack for 15 minutes; this will allow the cracks to settle and surface to level. Meanwhile prepare the topping.
1 cup + 5 TBSP sour cream
3 TBSP heavy cream
3 TBSP sugar
2½ tsp Kahlua
Put ingredients in a bowl and whisk together to combine Spread the topping over the surface of the cheesecake, going in from the edges to avoid having the weight of too much topping sink into the soft center. Return the cake to the oven for 10 more minutes.
Cool the cake on a rack, then chill at least overnight in the refrigerator.
The cheesecake may be made ahead without the topping and chilled, even frozen for storage up to a few weeks. To complete it, defrost if frozen, and place topping on cold cheesecake. (Since the cake is now firm, the topping is easier to add.) Bake in preheated 425° oven for 7 minutes. The topping will bake, but the base, being very cold, will allow the cake to cool quickly to serving temperature.
The cake may be decorated with chocolate curls, coffee bean candies, or chocolate leaves. Another possibility is a chocolate cutout made by melting an ounce or two of semi-sweet chocolate and spreading it thinly on a piece of waxed paper or parchment. Chill until the chocolate is firm but not brittle, then use a Hanukkah cookie cutter of your choice to cut out a decoration for the cheesecake. Return the chocolate to the refrigerator until it is completely firm, then carefully peel off the paper and place the cutout on top of the cake.
AN ALTERNATIVE TOPPING: BITTERSWEET or SEMI-SWEET GANACHE
Pour enough of this glaze over the surface of the cheesecake to coat it generously. Reserve the rest for future use. Chill the cheesecake to firm the glaze.
Chop 9 oz. of either kind of chocolate into very small pieces or chop into medium-sized pieces and chop until fine with steel blade of processor.
Heat 1 cup heavy cream to boiling (can do this in 4 C glass measure in microwave for about 2 minutes, 30 seconds).
Either add the chopped chocolate to the cream in the glass cup or place the chocolate in a heavy bowl or saucepan and pour the cream over it. Cover and allow to sit for a few minutes to melt the chocolate.
Stir to make a smooth mixture. Allow to cool, then store in refrigerator (for up to several weeks) or in the freezer.
The ganache can be liquefied in the microwave and used as a pour-on glaze on a cake or cheesecake or as a delicious quick sauce.