Chanukah, celebrating the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabees defeated Antiochus and the Syrian army in 165 B.C.E., is a joyous occasion, a time for parties AND for latkes. Foods fried in oil symbolize the flame that miraculously burned for eight days in the great Temple of Jerusalem with just one small vial of oil. What’s with the dairy? It’s because Holofernes, the leader of Nebuchadnezzar’s Assyrian army, had become enamored of the beautiful widow Judith. She went to his tent and fed him salted cheese, after which he drank several cups of wine to quench his thirst. When he fell asleep, she cut off his head with his own sword, and brought it to Jerusalem to show his soldiers. Terrified, they fled the city. Dairy dishes eaten at Chanukah honor her heroic act. Serve you Potato Latkes with sour cream and applesauce.
2 1/2 Pounds Peeled & Quartered Potatoes
2 Large Grated Onions
3 Beaten Eggs
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 Cup Corn Oil
1 Cup Unbleached Flour
2 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
2 Cup Matzo Meal
1/2 Cup Corn Oil For Frying
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, fine-grate potatoes. Do not liquefy. Leave some texture. Strain to eliminate excess liquid. Don’t overdo it. Just let the water drain out. Fine-grate onions, and mix in a large-size bowl with potatoes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grind the potatoes and onions in a meat grinder. Add eggs, baking powder, 3/4 cup corn oil, flour, kosher salt, and pepper. Mix well. Fold in matzo meal; making sure that everything is very well blended. Heat 1/2 cup corn oil in a deep skillet. Using a large kitchen spoon, spoon batter into the pan to create pancakes about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Fry on a low heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the underside is a deep golden brown. Turn to fry for another minute or two. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Transfer to serving platter and serve with applesauce and sour cream. Makes about 20.