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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Orange Latkes

Just as the Orange Mashed Potatoes have nothing to do with oranges, likewise with the Orange Latkes.

But first, the rest of dinner. I made the French Roast Chicken in a Pot I previously posted about with no pictures. Here's what it looked like during the stovetop part of the process:

I also made the Simple Crusty Bread, and realized as I was looking back that I never put my preferred method all in one post. Here it is:
Simple Crusty Bread
(no-knead variety)
adapted from several sources

6-6 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour, or combination of all-purpose and whole wheat (not more than 1/2 whole wheat)
3 C warm tap water (100-110 degrees)
1 1/2 T active dry yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt
1 1/2 T honey (if using whole wheat flour)

Put water in a large bowl. Add salt and honey, then sprinkle yeast over top and let soften for a couple of minutes. Stir until everything is dissolved, and then add flour to make a thick, sticky dough. Cover with a slightly-dampened kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 2-5 hours. Then either cover and refrigerate, or start making loaves.

To make a loaf, sprinkle the dough with a little flour and use a serrated knife (my tomato knife works great) to cut off 1/4-1/3 of the dough. (Unless baking multiple loaves, cover remaining dough and put it in the fridge.) Knead on a flour-covered board just one or two times, to smooth the surface a little and get a little flour on the outside so it sticks less. Then form the dough into a round loaf shape, holding the dough between your hands and stretching it with your thumbs while pushing it back in on itself with your fingers. Turn it over and pinch the pushed-in parts together. Cover the board generously with flour, place loaf on board pinched side down, sprinkle with more flour, and cover loosely with a tea towel. Let rest 40-60 minutes.

One half-hour before baking, turn oven on to 450 degrees and put dutch oven (cast iron and stainless steel both seem to work fine) in to preheat. When ready to bake, take pot from oven and remove lid, slash a deep (1/2-3/4") cross in the dough, and carefully transfer dough to hot pot. Replace lid and put back in oven to bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove lid and let cook 10-30 minutes longer, until brown, crusty, and hollow-sounding when tapped on the bottom. Let cool, slice, and serve with good butter.

Now for the latkes. I originally heard this great recipe on NPR several years ago, and have made it several times since. This year I decided to see if adding garnet sweet potatoes would make as large an improvement to the latkes as it did to the mashed potatoes, and the answer is oh, yes, yes, and YES. Here is the recipe with my adaptations (HIGHLY recommended, though of course if you're allergic to sweet potatoes you can follow the original).
Orange Latkes
adapted from Judith Nathan's Jewish Cooking in America

1 lb russet potatoes
1 lb garnet sweet potatoes
1 bunch scallions, chopped (all the way up, not just the light parts)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
canola oil for frying
applesauce and sour cream for serving

1. Peel russet and sweet potatoes, and skin, trim and halve onion, and grate in a food processor (theoretically you could do this by hand, but it sounds awful, doesn't it?). Dump all grated vegetables in a bowl and mix with 3/4 t kosher salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then put in a tea towel and wring out as much liquid as you can.

Let squeezed liquid sit in bowl for another 10 minutes or so (leaving veggies in towel to minimize exposure to air), then carefully pour off, leaving white potato starch behind in the bowl.

2. Add the veggies back into the bowl, and stir in scallions, egg, a little more kosher salt, and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper.

3. Heat about 1/4" or a little less canola oil in an electric frying pan to 350 degrees. Use a medium-large portion scoop (a couple of tablespoons) to scoop up some of the potato mixture and place in pan, flattening with the back of the scoop.

Cook until golden, then flip to brown the other side.

Put on paper-towel lined plate and keep in 170-degree oven until you have a few layers saved up.

Call everyone to dinner and serve with sour cream and applesauce.

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Blogger Adriana Velez said...

Those latkes look delsh. I wonder if I could con my son into eating sweet potatoes with them.

January 6, 2009 at 2:20 PM  
Blogger ME said...

Am attempting the bread, sans Dutch oven. I have a pot that seems to be doing the trick. And I'm baking a test loaf on my pizza stone. Will let you know how it turns out. What size dutch oven do you use?

January 19, 2009 at 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used two different dutch ovens for this bread: a 7.5-qt enameled cast iron, and a 6-qt stainless steel. Both worked great.

I tried the pizza stone before, because it was recommended by one of my no-knead recipes, but the bread cooked in the dutch oven is in every way superior, so I'll keep my pizza stone for pizza and pitas only.

January 19, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

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