Healthy Eating: Baked latkes for Chanukah

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I was raised in the Midwest in a reform Jewish household. The cultural aspects of growing up Jewish continue to be important to me and part of that legacy involves delicious food memories from the holidays.  I am sorry that I did not pay more attention to my paternal grandmother’s cooking and capture some of her delicious recipes. The food memories of sitting around her dining room table during Jewish holidays are magical and powerful.
During the Festival of Light that we know as Chanukah, she served the most delicious latkes. While most everyone loves potato latkes, you might not love the mess of frying them or the guilt associated with eating them. These latkes are baked in the oven which makes them a healthier version of the fried ones. But they are just as tasty. You need to watch them carefully while they are baking in the oven, so they do not burn. Please do not leave sight of them while they are baking! The Pickled Applesauce is basically a tangy-spicy applesauce that is a nice accompaniment to a savory dish. You can also serve these with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
POTATO AND SCALLION LATKES WITH PICKLED APPLESAUCE

LATKES

2 tablespoons sunflower, safflower oil, or grapeseed oil (use more if needed)

½ medium onion, quartered

3 scallions, ends trimmed, cut into thin slices or chopped into small pieces

3 medium potatoes (about 1½ pounds), scrubbed clean and unpeeled

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 large eggs

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons potato starch  (you can use matzo meal or flour as a substitute)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper
 
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F. When the oven is hot, pour 2 tablespoons of oil onto 2 jelly roll pans and turn them in every direction so that the oil coats the pans. Heat the pans in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Place the onions and scallions in the bowl of a food processor and chop them into small pieces. Place them in a medium bowl. Shred the potatoes by hand on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor with the shredding blade, and place in the bowl. Add the lemon juice, eggs, baking powder, potato starch, salt, and pepper and mix well.
  • Very carefully and very slowly,  remove one of the pans and use your hands or a spoon to scoop up and drop clumps of the potato mixture, a little less than ¼ cup, onto the pan. I use my hands. Press the mixture down to flatten it a little.
  • Place the pan in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes and immediately remove the second oiled pan. Repeat the same process with the remaining potato mixture and bake the second pan of latkes for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake them until the edges are well browned, and then with a slotted spatula turn them over and cook the latkes for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned. These latkes can be made 2 days in advance and reheated in the oven.

PICKLED APPLESAUCE

1 teaspoon sunflower or safflower oil

1/3 cup red onions, chopped into ¼-inch pieces

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 apples, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes

¼ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 cinnamon stick

¼ teaspoon salt
  • Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and cook them for 3 minutes or until they soften.
  • Add the vinegar and brown sugar and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the apples, coriander, ginger, cinnamon stick, salt, and pepper, and cook, covered, on low heat for 15 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
  • Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes and then purée it, using an immersion blender or a food processor.
  • The applesauce can be made 4 days in advance and served warm or cold.

— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at [email protected].

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