I decided that, in honor of Hanukkah this year, I would make latkes.
I decided this mainly because a friend was talking about making them and it occurred to me that I am not sure I have ever *had* a latke, and really, how can you go wrong with a dish that involves potatoes and frying, but seeing as it is currently the middle of Hanukkah, that seemed a good time to try them out.
I did my usual recipe search on Google (all hail Google) and found a few different options. Richard went and bought potatoes and onions because we didn’t have either in the house, and I broke out the food processor and turned 3 large potatoes and 1 small sweet potato that’s been lurking in the drawer for weeks and really needed to be used, and half an onion, into something that ended up looking an awful lot like very lumpy orange sherbet. It was actually kind of….disturbing. And that is being very kind.
Then I added an egg and some flour and some baking powder and a little salt and I stirred it all together and it sat there in the bowl looking like creepy melted sherbet while I heated up a pan of oil, and then I dumped in the first glob and learned my very first Latke Lesson: make them small, because large ones will splatter oil ALL OVER THE KITCHEN. In my defense, I have never made these before – in fact, I cannot honestly recall the last time I tried to deep-fry *anything* – and the recipe did say to dump in 1/3 cup of batter at a time (serves me right for paying attention to the recipe, apparently), but that was all manner of exciting there for a while.
Eventually, however, I started getting the hang of this whole ‘frying’ thing, and I put in much smaller little globs of creepy orange sherbet goo, and added more oil to keep the pan at the proper level of sizzling + splattering (because why waste any opportunity to make even MORE of a mess in the kitchen!).
Once the first batch was done, we stood at the kitchen counter and we each tried our very first latke (well, it was *my* first latke; Richard thinks maybe he has had them once before). And oh my. Those are really, really good. A little chewy, and a little crispy, and just all around awesome. Plus, once fried, the crusty brown exterior totally disguised the fact that the inside still looked a bit like we had tried to deep fry orange sherbet.
We ate our latkes with sour cream and with dollops of homemade apple butter on top. They were absolutely delicious.
We will not speak of the current state of the kitchen, however. Or of the smell of fried things that hangs in the air all over the house. Sometimes it is just better to pretend.
‘Tis the season for Holidailies.