Welcome to Our Pancake Blog

Welcome to Our Pancake Blog!

So, what does a married couple with no children and free time do? Why think of creative ways to eat of course. So begins the Around the World in Pancake Sundays project.

One day while eating pancakes made from sprouted wheat and chocolate chips, we started talking about how fun it would be to eat a different type of pancake each Sunday. I know, you must be stuck on the whole sprouted wheat pancakes. I'm sure many are thinking eeeeewwww, sounds yucky right now. However, they are actually quite tasty. We were given our first taste of them by a friend last New Year's Eve (well, technically the morning after New Year's Eve). We were so enamored of them that we went searching for our own sprouted wheat to make some for ourselves a couple of months later.

O.K., enough digressing. While eating the above mentioned pancakes, the conversation started about eating a different type of pancake each Sunday. We began to wonder if we could find a different type of pancake for each Sunday for a whole year. So we set ourselves the challenge of finding a unique pancake recipe to try out each Sunday.

We continued to talk about this idea for the next couple of weeks. We started thinking about how most cultures actually have their own versions of pancakes. This led us to try to find a pancake from each country in the world. We finally began our project last Sunday, and decided to chronicle it here in this blog.

So welcome to our pancake blog, we hope you enjoy it as much as we are sure to enjoy making and eating them! Heck, we hope you make some and enjoy them too!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

On the First Night of Chanukah My Latke Gave To Me, A Traditional Potato Pancake

Welcome to our eight nights of pancakes, or rather, I should say latkes.  We decided to prolong our break from our "travels" since it's Chanukah, and instead we are exploring the many different types of latkes that people are making during this time of year.

Traditionally latkes (yiddish for pancake) are made out of potatoes; however, as often happens over time with many things, the view of latkes as always being potato pancakes is being challenged and changed.  Because of this, we decided to devote each night of celebration to a newer idea of what a latke can be.

For the first night of Chanukah we decided to stay somewhat traditional in our latkes in that we did make potato pancakes.  However, we used a slightly different recipe than what we would normally use.  Generally speaking, we usually grate the potato in large shreds, but this year we did the smaller shreds.  We also opted to leave off the traditional applesauce or sour cream topping.  You may recall in an earlier post a recipe I stumbled upon for an everything potato pancake, well, we decided this would be the perfect potato pancake for the first night of Chanukah.  Without further ado, here is what you need to make the everything latke:

Topping:

sesame seeds
poppy seeds
caraway seeds
minced dried onion
minced dried garlic
salt
black pepper

For the latke:

3 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons of flour
oil for frying

The first thing you'll want to do is mix all of the ingredients for the topping, except for the minced dried garlic, in a small skillet.  I didn't use any measurements for this, I just made additions until the mixture looked like the top of an everything bagel.  Once you've done this, heat the toppings over medium heat until toasty.  Once they are toasty, add the minced dried garlic and continue toasting for one more minute.


After everything is all toasty and light brown, you'll want to remove your toppings from the heat.


Set aside the toppings and prepare to make the latkes.  First you'll need to shred the onion.  Use a box shredder, and using the fine shred side, shred the onion and then transfer to a large bowl.


Now prepare to shred the potatoes.  Using the same side of the box shredder, shred all of the potatoes.  Once they are all shredded, repeatedly press them between paper towels until most of the moisture has been removed.


The potatoes should be pretty dry.  Here's a picture of what they looked like as I added them to the bowl with the shredded onion.


Now that the onion and potatoes are shredded, add the beaten eggs and flour, and mix everything all up. Heat a pan with about 1 1/2 inches of oil.  We used a cast iron skillet so this so that we could maintain a constant temperature.  Once the oil is heated up, you're ready to spoon the potato mixture into the hot oil.  I usually use the "heel" of one of the shredded potatoes to see if the oil is hot enough.  Once that potato bit has bubbles all around it, your oil is hot enough to spoon in the latke mixture.  Use heaping tablespoons to make your latkes.


The little one is my potato tester.  Gently press down to make the pancakes flat and let them fry until you see that the bottom edges are golden brown (about 4-5 minutes).  My burner's flame is usually set somewhere between medium and medium high during the frying process.  Any hotter, and the oil begins to burn, any lower, and all that happens is soggy oil filled latkes.  Once they're golden brown, flip the latke and fry the other side.


I could have fried mine a little bit more, but this color is a good starting point.  Fry for a few more minutes once you've flipped them.  As you take them out of the oil, flip them onto a cooling rack that is placed over a cookie sheet to let the oil drain and prevent them from getting soggy.  If you put them on paper towels to drain, then you're risking soggy latkes.  Anyway, as you put them on the cooling rack, flip them so that the side that was just in the oil is facing up.  Quickly sprinkle and gently press your topping on each latke.


The oil will help the topping stick, and as you can see, any mess you make from putting the topping on gets contained on the cookie sheet underneath the cooling rack.  Makes for easier cleanup.  Continue cooking in this manner until all of the potato mixture is used up.  The original recipe for this calls for a dollop of creme fraiche on top, but we opted to eat them as is.  You could probably put a smear of cream cheese on top if you wanted to, and then they would be like two Jewish traditions in one!




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