Latke Night In America (Support the Troops)

Chanukah is kind of like the county fair. BBQ beef, the opportunity to win prizes, and a celebration of freedom in the best way we know how- eating fried stuff. On Chanukah, we celebrate the Maccabees beating the Greeks (‘mericans love a good fight), and the Temple menorah burning for eight straight nights (fireworks). In the spirit of the holiday, I decided to heat up my skillet and make you folks some latkes. Latkes are an ambitious undertaking for anyone, especially for those living in under-ventilated apartments. But, one bite of these golden fried latkes will make it all worthwhile. Grab your buds, grab some brews and get ready for a star-spangled fight, cuz it’s Latke Night in America.

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Latkes

Adapted from Bon Appetit photo 1

5 russet potatoes

1 large onion

2 large eggs

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

4 tbs vegetable oil (per fry session)

sour cream

lox

Peel potatoes. Grate the potatoes and onions using the large holes of a box grater or food processor. Using a paper towel ring out the moisture from the potato and onion mixture. Add eggs, baking powder, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Mix well. Heat oil over medium high heat. Using a spoon drop a small amount of latke mixture into the pan and flatten slightly with a spatula. Cook for about 2.5-3 minutes per side. Place the latkes on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Top with smoked salmon, sour cream or applesauce. Take a shower.

Rustic Roast Chicken

Simple and understated is often the best approach to food, fashion, and reacting to your friend’s horrific new haircut. It always surprises me how delicious a simple whole roast chicken is and it’s one of my absolute favorite foods.  This recipe is pretty foolproof, too. Toss the bird in with your favorite veggies and roast for an hour and a half. The trickiest part  is carving the golden bird. But, that’s where YouTube comes into play. Hope you enjoy this chicken as much as I do.

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Rustic Roasted Chicken

Adapted from Ina Garten

1 whole chicken (about 3.5 lbs)

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 bunch of thyme

1 lemon, cut in half

1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise

fingerling potatoes (small bag)

4 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 bulb of fennel, top removed and cut into wedges

2 yellow onions, cut into chunks

Preheat your oven to 425. Rinse your chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and thyme. Brush the bird with about a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss veggies with olive oil and a good amount of salt and pepper and any leftover thyme that you have. Put the veggies in a roasting pan or dutch oven and place the chicken on top. Roast for 1 1/2 hours. See YouTube for helpful carving advice.

 

 

 

Panang Tofu Curry

Mondays are rough. Not quite as bad as Sunday nights, which are pretty much the lowest depth of misery, but pretty darn close. You’ve got the weekend behind you, with all those glorious calories you consumed, and a whole 5 days of work ahead. It’s bleak, people. That’s why you need a bright, flavorful veggie dish to tide you over until your next nacho and margarita binge… tomorrow night. This dish is not hard to make and proves yet again that coconut milk makes everything better.  Tofu, butternut squash, cauliflower, potato, red pepper and carrots nestled in a delicious sauce flavored with garlic, onions, spices, peanut butter (!!!) and coconut milk. Serve with rice to soak up all that delicious goodness. You’re welcome.

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Panang Tofu Curry

Adapted from Bon Appetit 

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 tbsp finely grated peeled giner

4 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

a few shakes of red chili flakes

1 cup water

1 14-oz can of coconut milk

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 14-ounce package of firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes

3 peeled carrots cut into coins

1 peeled potato cut into 1 inch cubes

1 peeled butternut squash cut into 1 inch cubes

1 red pepper, chopped

1 head of cauliflower, broken up into bite size pieces

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, ginger, and garlic; cook until onions are tender. Add peanut butter, turmeric, cumin, and chili flakes; stir for about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup water,  coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and brown sugar; bring to  simmer. Season with salt. Add tofu, carrots, cauliflower, butternut squash, potato, red pepper and simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender. Stir occasionally and cook for about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Serve with rice and garnish with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

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Enjoying some corn on the cob over the weekend.

 

 

Vegetable Soup

With the snow rapidly falling here in New York, I had soup on the brain in a big way. And maybe a tropical beach vacation too. When my brother, Andrew, told me he was making my mom’s famous vegetable soup on his snow day, I knew I had to follow suit. Trudging through the snow, I made my way to the market to purchase the essential veggies and 45 minutes later it was soup time. Carrots, zucchini, potatoes and cabbage all in a rich tomatoey-beef broth will have you coming back for seconds. And thirds. This soup is really quite special and should not be overlooked when plotting your next pot. Add your favorite veggies, omit the ones you don’t care for, and throw in the ones already in your fridge. SOUP there it is!

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Vegetable Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced carrots (2 carrots)picstitch (47)
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced celery (2 stalks)
6 cups beef broth
2 cups canned diced tomatoes, including the liquid
1 cup peeled, diced potatoes
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup chopped cabbage or spinach
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 tpsp pepper
salt to taste
Briefly saute onion, carrots and celery over medium heat until they start to sweat a bit. Add the rest of the ingredients, minus the cabbage, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 35 minutes. Add chopped cabbage and cook at least 15 minutes longer, or until cabbage is tender. It’s very important to taste the soup and adjust the seasoning to your liking. I added more beef broth, salt and pepper and even a bit more of the canned tomatoes.
I told you I was dreaming about vacation. Does drinking this out of a stemless wine glass make it classier? Don’t answer that.

I told you I was dreaming about vacation. Does drinking this out of a stemless wine glass make it classier? Don’t answer that.

Holy Mackerel

During one cruel summer at Park Day Camp, tuna fish was declared uncool by the Sisterhood of Evil, aka my seven-year-old peers. Those who dared to consume tuna were banished to eat lunch in the projects of grassy lunchtime real estate— far away from the cool crowd. That summer, mustard (my favorite sandwich condiment) and bangs (had ’em) also qualified as abhorrent. I might as well have just become home schooled. Even in middle school there was a period where fish was again uncool to eat. What the heck people? Fish is delicious. Fish is sophisticated and healthy.  It can be prepared in any number of ways — roasted, poached, fried. It can even be served raw. Can you say the same about chicken? No.  Salmonella anyone? So needless to say, the fish-haters did not get to me and I remained a loyal and fervent fish fan. Whenever I find a fish recipe that’s not tilapia or salmon, I get very excited. This mackerel recipe definitely intrigued me. Boldly flavored fish on a bed of crispy roasted potatoes with a tangy yogurt sauce. Yum.  Quite frankly, if you don’t like it, you can sit somewhere else.

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Mackerel with Crushed Potatoes

Based on this recipe from Bon Appetitpicstitch (31)

1 whole mackerel filleted, skin left on

5 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tsp lemon zest

4 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped basil

1 lb yukon gold potatoes or fingerlings

1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp white wine vinegar

Sea salt

Preheat the broiler.  Place potatoes in a pot of boiling water, add a good amount of kosher salt. Let the potatoes cook for about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Put the potatoes on a sheet pan and using a measuring cup press the potatoes down to flatten slightly. Pour over 4 tablespoons of olive oil, crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper. Place under the broiler for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Take the potatoes out and put the fish fillets skin side up on the potatoes and pour the remaining tbsp of olive oil on the fish and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish and potatoes back under the broiler for 10-12 minutes. The  fish skin and potatoes should be crispy and delicious and the fish should flake easily. Top with basil, parsley, zest and sea salt. Spoon some yogurt sauce on your plate and top with potatoes and fish. Heaven. On. A. Plate.

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