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HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM JEANNE BARRACK
It was purely the luck of the draw that there were only two dates left for the SIN advent calendar and one of them was the 11th. Since this year Chanukah begins on the 12th and we light the first of eight candles on Friday evening, the 11th, I grabbed the day.
No matter how you say it, or spell it in English, the most common meaning of the word is “dedication”. This link is actually the best one I’ve found about the holiday. It gathers together in one place, just about anything you’d want to know about Chanukah and its traditions.Still, for most of us, the food enjoyed at our different holiday celebrations are the things we remember the best.
The potato pancakes in the recipe below would have been gobbled up by the characters in my stories in Bend in the Road
Recipe ~ Latkes (European/Ashkenazic)
There are as many different latke (potato pancake) recipes as there are countries in Europe. <g> The one constant is that the pancakes be fried as most traditional foods associated with Chanukah use oil in remembrance of the oil used in dedicating the Temple. Recipes using dairy products are also traditional — but that’s another story. (If you click on the holiday link above, you’ll eventually find your way to the explanation for this custom.)
My grandmother never used a measuring cup or spoons, so each female in the family developed their own way of making latkes. Here’s a quick and easy recipe.
2 lbs potatoes (any kind works)
2 large eggs
Salt to taste
About a 1/4 cup of flour to help bind the mixture
- Heat the oven to about 300 degrees to keep the finished latkes hot.
- Oil for frying (I use canola, but any vegetable oil works. If you want to use olive oil, the taste is different and you must be more careful of the temperature of the oil)
- Peel and finely grate the potatoes. (BTW, I don’t usually peel the potatoes, but scrub them very hard. More vitamins in the peel and I usually don’t grate the potatoes that fine. My husband likes the potato bits chunky.) Put them straight into cold water, then drain and squeeze them as dry as you can by pressing them with your hands in a colander. This gets rid of the starchy liquid, which makes the latkes soggy.
- Beat the eggs lightly with salt, add to the potatoes, and stir well. Add the flour a little at a time until the mixture clings together a bit. Cover the bottom of a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat. Take tablespoonfuls, or as much as 1/4 cup, of the mixture and drop into the hot oil. Flatten a little, and lower the heat so that the latkes cook through evenly. When one side is brown, turn over and brown the other. Do not crowd the pancakes. Lift out and place each batch on the cookie sheet and into the oven until all the pancakes are made. Serve very hot with sour cream for a dairy meal or with apple sauce for a meal with meat as the main course.
You may add black pepper, chopped parsley, and finely chopped onion to the egg and potato mixture. I usually add about a 1/4 cup onion to my latkes. You can also substitute sweet potatoes, carrots or a mixture of the different veggies. Experiment. It’s fun.Links to other recipes
Ceciarchiata Taiglach – The Jewish community in Italy has been present for a very long time. Jewish influences can still be found in traditional Italian cooking.
“Ceciarchiata means “chickpeas” or “little bits” in Italian. This festive taiglach is similar in nature to the French croquembouche, though it’s a crown, not a mountain. It is a spectacular centerpiece with its clusters of dough and nuts, and is totally addictive.” http://tinyurl.com/ceciarchiata-taiglach
Sufganiyot - Israeli jelly donuts. Although this is a Martha Stewart recipe, this is the easiest (and one of the best) ones I’ve found.
Happy holidays and Happy Chanukah or Hanukkuh or…
The Sweet Flag, was Jeanne’s first m/m story with IR/MC, erotic, and paranormal themes. She also is proud of her participation in the I Do! Anthology for marriage equality. Among Jeanne’s goals for her m/m writing are stories set in her cultural heritage, be they historical or paranormal — or both. With the publication of Bend in the Road, an historical novel set in the 1880s, Jeanne is well on the way to fulfilling this goal.
Advent Calendar Giveaway!
Jeanne is offering a very pretty small Israeli perfume bottle that can be used for a flask for a purse or as a decoration.
Simply check the link to the holiday and name one thing about Chanukah, leave a comment here and Jeanne will pick one winner which will be announced on Christmas Day.