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

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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.

Granda Rosen’s Hamantaschen

These are not your grandmother’s hamantaschen. In fact, these are nothing like your grandmother’s dry, sugar cookie dough-filled triangles. These are my grandmother’s hamantaschen; made with sour cream, butter and yeast. Three ingredients that scream deliciousness.  More flaky breakfast pastry than dry, prune-filled biblical villain cap, this recipe is a family classic. Every year, my mom, my brother Micah and I would roll up our sleeves and make these. While my mom and I produced perfect three-cornered pastries, Micah’s resembled unidentifiable shapes more octagon than triangle. But, he turned out OK, despite his baking deficiency. While this recipe requires a bit of forward thinking and planning (the dough needs to rise overnight),  it is well worth the time and effort and the results will blow your friends and family away. They will never feel the same way about Purim again with these hamantaschen in their lives. I went with the classics on filling; apricot, cherry and poppy seed (the Justin Bieber of filling and my personal favorite), but feel free to get creative and use whatever filling you love. This recipe makes A LOT of hamantaschen, which is slightly problematic as my hamantaschen to friend ratio is pretty disproportional. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to eat more… Happy Purim!

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Grandma Rosen’s Hamantaschen

3-1/2 cups flour
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1/4 cup sugar


1 tsp salt


1 cup room temp. butter (2 sticks)


3 egg yolks (save whites)


1 cup sour cream


3/4 oz cake yeast OR 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast 

1/4 cup warm water


Eggs whites mixed well


Fillings of your choice (I used apricot preserves, poppy seed and cherry pie filling)

Chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix flour, sugar, salt and cut in butter until crumbly. In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water (air on the hotter side water temp wise) and set aside for about 5 minutes until frothy. In a bowl, separate the whites from the egg yolks and put the egg whites in the refrigerator.  Mix the yolks with sour cream and combine and add in the yeast mixture. Now add that to the flour mixture. Knead dough until spongy and springs back. You can knead by hand (Punch it for like 20 minutes, great rage reducer) or you can use the dough hook attachment of a stand mixer on speed 2 for about 10 minutes. Dough should not be super sticky. Cover with a piece of parchment of wax paper and refrigerate overnight.

Next day: take dough pieces about the size of a walnut and roll out into little circles with a floured rolling pin. Fill with about a teaspoon of filling.  Dip in egg white and then chopped walnuts if you want. Or just brush with the egg whites for a nice sheen. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Filling hot tip: My Grandma Marge added a little honey, golden raisins and a touch of milk to the poppy seed filling and a little bit of lemon juice and golden raisins to the apricot filling. #grandmaknowsbest #littletouches
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