Modern Hostess: Hosting a Christmukah Party
The holiday season is the perfect time to host a cozy party at home. Once it starts getting cold outside, people are more likely to want to stay in rather than bearing the cold and wind while waiting in line for a club or a cab. More importantly, who wants to run the risk of ruining their shoes in the snow or the salt they use to “melt” it?
This Christmukah, why not treat your friends to a fun party at your house that includes some festive holiday favourites? That’s exactly what I did last weekend, when I invited some friends over for a winter holiday-themed party. I didn’t have to spend much time at all thinking about what I would serve as an appetizer: potato latkes, a treat that I always looked forward to as a child when the holiday season was coming up. I also served a traditional holiday beverage: egg nog (with a little bit of rum).
There are several different ways to make potato latkes, and most recipes seem to have been passed down from peoples’ bubbies, who likely were taught to make them by their bubbies (Bubbies = grandmothers)! Whether you make them thin or thick, chunky or smooth, potato latkes are delicious and require simple ingredients: potatoes, onions, salt and pepper, and some egg and flour to keep it all together. Some people use baking powder to fluff them up. Personally, I prefer to keep mine thin and crispy, and I love topping them off with lots of sour cream. Applesauce is another traditional topping for potato latkes. You can feel free to use any topping you’d like… and there are lots of options that would taste good with them. Why not go wild and experiment with pesto, yogurt, or salsa? If you prefer something sweet, try maple syrup or fruit jam. The latkes themselves have a fairly neutral taste, so the possibilities for toppings are practically endless!
To make potato latkes, grate about 6 potatoes and an onion, place in a colander, and let most of the liquid drain out. Combine potatoes and onion with 2 tbsp flour and 1 egg. Season with salt and pepper (I also add chopped fresh parsley – optional).
In a frying pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. When hot, add the potato mixture about 1 tbsp at a time, being sure to flatten (if you want them crispy. You can also leave them thicker if you prefer that). Fry until golden brown around the edges, about 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel. Add more oil between batches if necessary.