November 25, 2010

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The celebration of oil (and potatoes)
Latkes are a tasty tradition
By Angel Roy aroy@hippopress.com

Food in Judaism is symbolic, said Ami Bach. For Purim, which falls between February and April, the Jewish community snacks on Hamantash, a triangle-shaped cookie filled with chocolate or fruit. The triangle represents the shape of the hat worn by Haman, a biblical figure who plotted to wipe out the Jewish population.

On Rosh Hashanah, apples are dipped in honey to symbolize a sweet new year.

And on Hanukkah, Jewish tradition is to eat only foods fried in oil to signify the oil that had burned for eight days and nights.

Topped with apple sauce or sour cream, potato latkes remain a traditional Hanukkah favorite. For the past few years, Bach and the sisterhood of the Etz Hayim Synagogue in Derry have teamed together to prepare latkes to sell at the temple’s gift shop before Hanukkah, which this year begins on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

“Buying them at the shop makes things a lot easier,” Bach said. “They can be a pain in the neck to make.”

The synagogue also runs an annual potato latke competition, allowing its congregation to get creative with the holiday staple.

Bach, of Chester, won “Best Looking” latkes a few years back with a recipe for sweet potato latkes topped with caviar and sour cream that she found online. The caviar, she said, went well with the sweet potato but would not likely be a good choice for a white potato latke.

“People have come up with all kinds of crazy ideas for toppings … I just did it because I wanted to be more creative,” Bach said. “People even put chocolate chips in them. Everybody is trying to up the ante, but the traditional ones are really the best.”

Unlike traditional latkes, Bach’s were baked.

“I wanted a healthier version, ” she said.

Traditional potato latkes are made with shredded raw potato (that can be put in a food processor to save time), egg, matzo meal, flour, salt, pepper, onion and oil, mixed together and poured into a frying pan in a pancake-like form. The latke is then fried until “golden brown and greasy,” Bach said. “They’re bad for you but delicious,” she said.

Growing up in New York, Bach had never made latkes with her family, but she began making them for her own family shortly after moving to New Hampshire.

“I wanted to raise my kids a little more traditionally than I was raised,” Bach said.

She now hosts an annual Hanukkah party at her Chester home for which she makes “tons and tons of latkes.”

When Z restaurant, 860 Elm St., Manchester, 629-9383, www.zfoodanddrink.com, was open for brunch, the menu boasted a variation of the potato latke — a potato pancake with smoked salmon. Potato cakes are now served at Z catering events with fresh corn and shrimp and topped with roasted red pepper remoulade.

Z owner and chef Tom Puskarich said he experimented with potato cakes and latkes when putting the dish together. Whereas latkes are made with raw potatoes (Puskarich recommends Russet or Yukon Gold), potato pancakes are made with mashed potatoes.

Puskarich said potato cakes were often found on the breakfast table on Sunday mornings when he was growing up, as his mother often made a roast and mashed potatoes for dinner on Saturdays.

“The latkes themselves are not a leftover product,” he said.

A good cast iron pan, heated hot but not scorching, is needed to make a potato latke, Puskarich said.

“That’s the trick — trying to find that temperature level so it gets the potatoes nice and crisp but still cooks all the way through,” he said.

For a “real classic presentation,” Puskarich recommended topping latkes with apple chutney, creme fraiche and chives.“I try not to embellish them,” Puskarich said. “Everyone wants the latkes their grandmother made.”

Ami Bach’s potato latkes
2 eggs
3 cups grated potato
4 Tablespoons grated onion
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons matzo meal (or flour)
½ cup oil
Beat eggs. Add potato and onion, salt, pepper and matzo meal. Mix gently together. Heat oil in large skillet. Form pancakes from potato mixture, put in oil and fry until golden brown. Flip pancake and fry until other side is golden brown. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.


Ami Bach’s sweet potato latkes with caviar
2 pounds tan-skinned sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
¾ cup chopped green onions
2 large eggs
1½ Tablespoons all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 ounce black caviar
fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (Can be made one day ahead; keep refrigerated.) Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate into large bowl. Stir in green onions. Whisk eggs, flour, salt and pepper in small bowl. Gently mix into potato mixture. Form mixture into 48 walnut-size balls; transfer to prepared baking sheet. (Can be made six hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 8 potato balls in skillet, pressing each gently with spatula to flatten to 1½-inch diameter. Cook until pancakes are rich golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining potato balls, adding more oil to skillet if necessary. Transfer pancakes to platter. Top each with 1 teaspoon sour cream and scant ¼ teaspoon caviar. Garnish with chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Ami Bach’s potato latkes
2 eggs
3 cups grated potato
4 Tablespoons grated onion
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons matzo meal (or flour)
½ cup oil
Beat eggs. Add potato and onion, salt, pepper and matzo meal. Mix gently together. Heat oil in large skillet. Form pancakes from potato mixture, put in oil and fry until golden brown. Flip pancake and fry until other side is golden brown. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Ami Bach’s sweet potato latkes with caviar
2 pounds tan-skinned sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)
¾ cup chopped green onions
2 large eggs
1½ Tablespoons all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 ounce black caviar
fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (Can be made one day ahead; keep refrigerated.) Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel potatoes and coarsely grate into large bowl. Stir in green onions. Whisk eggs, flour, salt and pepper in small bowl. Gently mix into potato mixture. Form mixture into 48 walnut-size balls; transfer to prepared baking sheet. (Can be made six hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place 8 potato balls in skillet, pressing each gently with spatula to flatten to 1½-inch diameter. Cook until pancakes are rich golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining potato balls, adding more oil to skillet if necessary. Transfer pancakes to platter. Top each with 1 teaspoon sour cream and scant ¼ teaspoon caviar. Garnish with chives. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Roadhouse restaurateurs reinvent
Chatham Grill has pizza, burgers, subs and calzones

11/11/2010 It's snowing veggies
11/04/2010 Making cookies at the Currier
10/28/2010 Pumpkin Sweet and Savory
10/21/2010 Special sauce and steamed buns
10/14/2010 40 restaurants on the menu
10/07/2010 Yes Concord has good food
9/30/2010 Know Your Apples
9/23/2010 Vegetarian: ‘not as scary as it sounds’
9/16/2010 It's Glendi!
9/09/2010 Take another taste
9/2/2010 Chili Week sets a hot stage
8/26/2010 Finding the fun in food
8/19/2010 Cutting remarks
8/12/2010 The world in your cup
8/5/2010 A world of food in Manchester
7/29/2010 Fun fair food from fruit to frappes
7/22/2010 Food for folks
7/15/2010 Mexican in Manch
7/8/2010 Kugelfest or falafelpalooza
7/1/2010 It's pizza from Portland
6/24/2010 A millyard dog
6/17/2010 Lamb on the grill, lamb on the skewer
6/10/2010 Take some ribbing
6/3/2010 Taste is everything
5/27/2010 Taste time in Nashua
5/20/2010 Gluten-free bread, but noone has to know
5/13/2010 Shaker Village gets a new restaurant

5/6/2010 Mother's Day meals
4/29/2010 3C's makes a move
4/22/2010 Welcome to the Pattie Shack
4/15/2010 Move over calzones
4/8/2010 A taste of Boston on the West Side
4/1/2010 Sunday's best
3/25/2010 Taste brings the towns to Nashua
3/18/2010 Coffee and creativity
3/11/2010 Where to wear the green
3/4/2010 Tedy J's is a family endeavor
2/25/2010 New chef for the Granite
2/18/2010 Choose what pig you want to eat
2/11/2010 A whole lotta love
2/4/2010 European experience, local ingredients

1/28/2010 Warm your tummy and your soul
1/21/2010 Veano's Italian Kitchen returns
1/14/2010 The co-op movement grows
1/7/2010 A new Leaf
12/31/2009 New eats and more beer
12/24/2009 Feast your way into the New Year

12/17/2009 Foodie gifts for 2009
12/10/2009 Microbrew heaven in the east
12/3/2009 Key ingredient: New Hampshire wine

11/26/2009 Enjoy south Indian cuisine in Nashua
11/19/2009 Barbecue all year
11/12/2009 Ciao Italia at Cotton
11/05/2009 Hops in Hooksett
10/29/2009 A 200-pound meatball in Concord?

10/22/2009 Hops in Hooksett
10/15/2009 A sweet little spot in the Capital City

10/8/2009 30 restaurants, one stop
10/1/2009 T-Bones: 22 new dishes for 25 years
9/24/2009 Sausage seller settles in
9/17/2009 Glendi means good times
9/10/2009 Sunny Side Up in Concord
9/3/2009 The night of 26 restaurants

8/27/2009 Milltowne at the airport
8/20/2009 Feast Day for all
8/13/2009 Beyond tacos

8/6/2009 Cooling off with a cone
7/30/2009 And the sippin is easy ...
7/23/2009 South of the border west of the river
7/16/2009 the food is the best part
7/9/2009 Today Pittsfiled, tomorrow the world
7/2/2009 The art of the sandwich

6/25/2009 Kitchens then and now
6/18/2009 Treat dad to something special

6/11/2009 Newly minted
6/4/2009 It's a stretch
5/28/2009 A South End tradition continues in Concord
5/21/2009 Nibbling through downtown
5/14/2009 Gyro, pastichio or spanakopeta?
5/7/2009 Give the gift of nobody doing dishes
4/30/2009 A Taste of old favorites, new dishes
4/23/2009 A week of eats in Manchester
4/16/2009 So happy together
4/9/2009 After candy, brunch and diner
4/2/2009 All made right here
3/26/2009 A sappy story
3/19/2009 Five-course trip to Lebanon
3/12/2009 Irish meals
3/5/2009 Get a peice of the farm

2/26/2009 Before late night eats,an evening at the pub
2/19/2009 Drinks with Dan Akroyd

2/12/2009 Crooked Birch branches out
2/5/2009 Dinner with your sweetheart
1/29/2009 Food for the 50-yard line
1/22/2009 Artisan bread at The Good Loaf

1/15/2009 "Fold, mush, turn"
1/8/2009 Once upon a time at a bistro...
1/1/2009 Zacky's to go
12/25/2008 2008 in small bites

12/18/2008 Manchestert brewing opens in Concord
12/11/2008 Delicious gifts for the foodie
12/4/2008 New chef at UnWine'd
11/27/2008 Corks pops at BVI
11/20/2008 Big plates, big food
11/13/2008 IPA first prize

11/6/2008 You want it? He'll bring it.
10/30/2008 Cooking up a mystery
10/23/2008 Running with the bulls
10/16/2008 Like grandma made it
10/9/2008 The flavor of Concord
10/2/2008 Indie donuts rising

9/25/2008 Buy a bowl, feed the hungry
9/18/2008 Oktoberfest — for a cause
9/11/2008 A slice ofGreece, Asia, France...
9/4/2008 Flavors of Manchester
8/28/2008 D.I.Y. sausage
8/21/2008 Summertime and the living is chilli
8/14/2008 Weekend of festivals
8/7/2008 Going for pizza gold
7/31/2008 Red and juicy, from vine to table
7/24/2008 Meet the Manch-vegans
7/17/2008 Meet the winemaker
7/10/2008 Pupusas, cervesa y batidos
7/03/2008 3C's Cafe opens in Highlander Inn
6/26/2008 Oh, tartar sauce!
6/19/2008 From farm to grill
6/12/2008 450 pounds of lamb
6/5/2008 Travel the culinary world at BVI
5/29/2008 Chocolate throwdown
5/22/2008 Hit the road for some Yum-Yum
5/15/2008 Local, gluten-free and ready made
5/8/2008 The return of brownies and pasta
5/1/2008 Have a fiesta
4/24/2008 Noshing and shopping
4/17/2008 Celebrating with Greek eats
4/10/2008 Drive-ins open for the season
4/3/2008 Noshing for a cause
3/20/2008 The Easter Bunny brings dinner
3/13/2008 The Irish Spirit
3/6/2008 The sweet season
2/28/2008 Cambodian (or Italian) made easy
2/21/2008 Fresh fish comes to Nashua
2/14/2008 Hearts and fibers
2/7/2008 A romantic dinner for two
1/31/2008 Celebrate Mardi Gras
1/24/2008 Morroccan in Milford
1/17/2008 The chef is inn
1/10/2008 Italian street food in NH
1/10/2008 The contorni approach
1/3/2008 Like Disneyland for foodies
12/27/2007 More food and wine events, a menu for the bar
12/20/2007 Lots of dough
12/13/2007 Gifts for gourmands
12/6/2007 Making spirits really bright
11/22/2007 Just don't ask them to cook
11/15/2007 Easy as pie
11/8/2007 Italian eats, bistro style
11/1/2007 Bringing Italia to New Hampshire
10/25/2007 Trick or treat, the grown-up version
10/18/2007 Shop where the pros go
10/11/2007 Enjoy apple season from orchard to plate
10/04/2007 Tradition on the menu
9/27/2007 Meet your pig
9/20/2007 In search of the right meat
9/20/2007 Vegan blogger branches out
9/13/2007 Get ready to eat
9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
8/30/2007 The buzz about peach fuzz
8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
3/8/2007 Shop the farmers' market year round
3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days
Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch