Sweet Potato Latkes

   Sweet Potato Latkes with Applesauce

Sweet Potato Latkes with Applesauce

Latkes became a part of my life when I married Barry, and am I ever happy about that!  Traditional at Hannukah, they are also good all year long as a side or appetizer.  When I catered during the holidays, I often served mini-latkes as a hot, passed appetizer to rave reviews.  White potato latkes are the standard, but this sweet potato version from my old favorite Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Hoildays by Marlene Sorosky is a favorite of mine.  You will want to give this recipe a try!

Equipment needed:   Food Processor    or    Box grater   Instant-read thermometer

1 pound sweet potatoes or yams, peeled

2 Tablespoons finely-minced ginger

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Vegetable oil, for frying

Applesauce, for serving (optional)

Make the batter:  Shred the sweet potatoes with the shredding disk of a food processor, or on a box grater by hand.  Place in a large bowl,  Add the ginger. Process the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to combine. (Alternately, beat with a hand mixer until very smooth, or by hand until very smooth, no lumps.)  Add to the sweet potatoes and toss together until well-mixed.

Cook the Latkes:  In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of the oil over medium-high heat until it registers about 365-degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  Drop about 1/3 cup batter into the skillet for each latke, flattening the batter a bit, to make a 4 to 5-inch pancake.  (For appetizer size, drop a Tablespoon for each latke).  Cook until golden on the bottom, 3-4 minutes.  If they brown too fast, or take too long to brown, decrease or increase the heat.  Turn and brown on the other side, 3-4 minutes.  (The appetizer size will take less time.)  Remove and place on a sheet pan lined with paper towels.  Blot the tops with paper towel.  Serve with applesauce, if desired.  (You can make these up to a day in advance, layered with wax paper in an air tight container, and refrigerated. Reheat in a 400-degree oven for until heated through, 5-6 minutes.  Appetizer size will take less time, so watch them carefully.)

To Freeze and Reheat: Freeze on baking sheets in single layers.  When they are solid, layer in an airtight container with wax paper and store in the freezer.  To reheat, do not defrost.  Arrange in a single layer on baking sheets and bake at 400-degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until hot and crisp.  Appetizer size will take less time, so watch carefully.)

Makes 10 large, or about 50 appetizer size.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms & Crispy Shallots

 Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Crispy Shallots

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Crispy Shallots

This dish features two fall favorites; mushrooms and Brussels sprouts!  This is a terrific side dish for Thanksgiving dinner, or any autumn or winter supper.  There are tips for doing as much as possible ahead of serving, a help when there are several dishes on the menu.  The fried shallots are fantastic used in lot of applications, from topping a creamy soup to a salad.  Equipment needed:  Deep-fry thermometer, Sheet Pan, skillet, spider

For Brussels Sprouts:

1 1/2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt

For Shallots:

1 cup vegetable oil

4 ounces shallots, cleaned cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices and separated into rings

For Mushrooms:

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 ounce) unsalted butter

12 ounces mixed fresh wild mushrooms, or domestic in a variety of kinds (chanterelle & oyster are great choices!)

2 Tablespoons dry white wine

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup water

Prep the Brussels Sprouts:

*The sprouts can be roasted 4-5 hours ahead of time, kept covered at room temperature, then reheated at 400-degrees just before combining with the mushroom mixture.

Preheat the oven to 450-degrees and place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.

Toss the sprouts with the oil, garlic, salt, and pepper; spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Roast, stirring occasionally and rotating the pan halfway through for about 25-35 minutes, or until they are tender and browned.

Prepare the shallots and mushrooms while the sprouts roast.

Prep the shallots:

*Note: shallots may be prepared a day ahead, cooled completely, and kept in an airtight container lined with paper towels at room temperature

Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy 10-inch skillet over moderate heat until the temperature reaches 250-degrees Fahrenheit (You may need to place the thermometer at an angle in the oil to get an accurate read.  If the thermometer is long enough, you can rest it on the top of the pan so that the bulb is covered by oil.  Check often.)  Fry the shallots in 2 batches, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown, 3-5 minutes per batch (Watch closely, as they can go from golden to burnt in a flash!) Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels in a single layer.  Pour the oil into a heat-proof container, do not wipe out the pan.

Saute the Mushrooms:

*Mushrooms can be prepared an hour ahead, and kept in the skillet, partially covered.  Reheat when ready to add the sprouts.

Heat 2 1/2 Tablespoons of butter in the skillet over moderately-high heat until the foam subsides, then saute the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the wine, thyme, salt, and pepper and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, a couple of minutes.  Add the 1/4 cup water and the remaining butt and simmer, swirling the skillet, until the butter is melted.  Transfer to a serving dish and stir in the Brussels sprouts.  Sprinkle some of the shallots over the top, put the rest in a small bowl and serve them on the side.

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Thanksgiving Oyster Dressing

 Thanksgiving Oyster Dressing made with Challah

Thanksgiving Oyster Dressing made with Challah

This is my absolute favorite side dish for Thanksgiving!  It is a family tradition, and the thing that makes the meal for me.  The flavor is amazing!  If the oysters are really large, cut them into bite-sized pieces.  If you just can't abide the thought of oyster ANYTHING, omit them.  I can't wait for Thanksgiving dinner! (Click the button above to see the video!)

12-3/4" Slices stale Challah, Brioche, or other (“eggy” bread) crusts removed, cut into cubes (The bread should not be overly sweet, such as a Hawaiian and some Brioches.  You can use French or white bread, if you prefer.)

4 Tablespoons Butter or 2 ounces

1 Medium Onion, diced fine

2 Celery Ribs, diced into 1/4" pieces

1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/8 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne

2 Tablespoons Cognac

2 Dozen Fresh Shucked Oysters (purchase them in the seafood section; they usually come in a half-pint plastic container, you will need two containers, or 1 pint.  Of course, you can shuck your own if you like!)

1/3 Cup Oyster Liquor

1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

2 extra-large eggs

1 1/2 Cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, plus additional as needed

          2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley 

Heat the oven to 350-degrees.  Cut brioche into 3/4-inch cubes.  Spread on a 17 x 12-inch baking sheet; bake until dry, 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  When hot, add onion, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes.  Add nutmeg, cayenne, cognac, and oyster liquor; cook until liquid is absorbed, 1 minute.  Add oysters and cream, cook 30 seconds.  Remove from heat. In a large bowl beat the eggs and beat in the chicken broth.  Add the bread cubes, oyster mixture, and parsley. The mixture should be very “loose” with plenty of liquid to avoid a dry dressing. 

Spread in a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan.  Bake covered, about 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake until golden brown and puffed all over.  Serve hot.

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