Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgivikkah!

I always loved Latkes... my family just called them potato pancakes.  When I was a kid, we had them every Friday night.  We ate potato pancakes hot out of the frying pan topped with a big dollop of creamy cottage cheese,  You see, my Dad’s side of the family came from Lithuania in Eastern Europe and this was the food my grandmother made.  My Dad loved them.  

This year, when I asked my brother what he wanted me to bring for Thanksgiving, he said, “Appetizers!” .  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make and finally came up with the perfect thing.  Since Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah fall on the same day this year,  I thought latkes or potato pancakes, would be the perfect appetizer to celebrate the double holiday.

On Thanksgiving day, as I slide those crispy, golden potato pancakes out of the pan and onto the platter and top them with a spoonful of crème fraiche and a thin slice of smoked salmon, I’ll think of you Dad and give thanks to the wonderful family I grew up with.   

Here's my recipe.  Hope you enjoy these as much as I do: 


4 baking potatoes
3 whole large eggs, whisked together
1/3 cup beer
¼ onion, finely diced
½ cup all purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup canola oil
Smoked salmon 6 ounces, thinly sliced
Crème fraiche

Peel the potatoes and grate them by hand into a bowl.  Let sit 30 minutes.  Drain and place the potatoes in a bowl.  Add the eggs, beer, onion and flour.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat  half of the canola oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat.  Add a few tablespoons of the potato mixture and form into a pancake.  Cook until golden on one side, 2 minutes,  Turn and continue to cook until golden on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes.

Drain on paper towels.  Garnish with salmon, a dollop of crème fraiche and chives.  Serve immediately if they make it out of the kitchen!

Serves 8 to 10 

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mom and the perfect roast holiday turkey

Remembering the Thanksgiving traditions of a childhood in New England and a mom who, it seemed, could do it all.

As a kid growing up in New England, Thanksgiving meant heading to school dressed like a pilgrim and looking forward to a few extra days to spend at home with family.  Since Mom was a professional chef, we took Thanksgiving extra seriously.  This was the time the leaves turned colors and we had bushel baskets of McIntosh apples and butternut squash stored in the cellar. 
My mother started to prepare days before, shopping for ingredients and cooking anything that could be done ahead, like the filling for pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. The night before Thanksgiving, my mother stayed up late making stuffing and flaky pie crust. My father always helped by peeling vegetables and us kids – we helped set the table.
On Thanksgiving Day, my Mom got up at dawn.  With only one oven, it was a juggling act.  I can still remember waking up to the smell of turkey roasting all the way upstairs in my room.
Probably because of the delicious food, Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine.  Plus it brings back lots of great memories.  And now, every year when I smell the roasted turkey and mash potatoes, I always think of my mom and the joy she felt sharing the table with those who were closest to her heart. For this, and so many other great memories, I'm feeling quite thankful!
I would like share my tried-and-true method for making the most perfectly moist roast turkey. Be prepared, you have to start a few days in advance, but it’s well worth it.  Here you are:

Happy Thanksgiving!