Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hanukkah :: Bright Lights & a Lively Table

I've always loved celebrating Hanukkah.  The warmth and inviting light of candles inside, chilly winter weather outside and traditions that revolve almost completely around food and coming together at the table -- latkes may be fried, but they're so delicious (thankfully my family would only make them but once over the course of the 8 day holiday).  Hanukkah may not be the beacon of a 'healthy holiday' - the more oil and frying the better in memory of an ancient miracle thousands of years ago - but sometimes culture takes precedence and so does moderation.  Balance a latke and sufganiyot (fried donuts)-heavy meal with a simple green salad and lean filet of salmon or brisket and there's always ways of highlighting even the smallest bit of good health.  
With just a few days of the holiday remaining, here's a few photos to feast on and because they were so tasty last year, I'm reposting my recipe for sweet potato latkes with siriacha creme fraiche.  Normally I wouldn't deviate from the tradition of pan-frying, but these mini latkes came out perfectly browned and crispy with far less oil required. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Latkes with Siriacha Creme Fraiche
Makes 16 mini latkes (double the recipe for more)

1 large sweet potato (or 2 small), peeled and grated
1/2 onion, peeled and grated
1 egg
1 Tbsp flour
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
dash of cayenne pepper *literally a pinch, it's hot!
canola oil for the baking sheet
1/2 cup creme fraiche (a fancified version of sour cream)
1 to 2 tsp siriacha hot sauce (more or less to taste, depending on desired spiciness)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Mix grated sweet potato, onion, egg, salt, cayenne and black pepper and soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.
3. Brush a baking sheet with a good amount of canola oil, about 1 Tbsp or so.
4. Make mini latkes from mixture, each about a small handful's worth. Press out excess liquid before placing on baking sheet.
5. Bake at 425 for about 12 minutes, flip latkes and bake another 10-12 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy.
6. Mix creme fraiche and siriacha and serve with latkes.

Photos: 1, 3, 4 - new york times; 2 -

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