Carrot Cake Latke with Whipped Cream Cheese Jewhungry Kosher Food Blog

 

Here’s something I forgot to prep for: My Jewish kid wondering who that rather large man in the red suit is. Now that the kiddo is old enough to be aware of her surroundings, I’m struggling with how to make sure she has a place in this Christmas-dominant world. I gotta say, this is one area where the kid’s obsession with Frozen is coming in handy because I basically tell her that every single house/building that is covered in twinkling Christmas lights is, in fact, Arendelle.  I’d like to take a moment now to personally thank the city of Beverly Hills for going WAY overboard with their Christmas lights.  It makes the kid feel like she is literally walking in Arendelle every. Single. Night.

 

Carrot Cake Latke with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting JEwhungry Kosher Food Blog

Nothing is wrong with Christmas. In fact, I kinda like it. I like the twinkling lights and the holiday cheer and the food is phenomenal. And I certainly don’t want to pretend that Hanukkah is anything like Christmas. I’m kinda frustrated that someone has gone ahead and taken the whole “Elf on the Shelf” thing and tried to Hanukkah-ize it with Mensch on a Bench. I feel very strong in the fact that making Hanukkah more ‘like’ Christmas isn’t going to make Jewish kids feel less alienated during the Christmas season. I feel, more than anything, that what’s going to help Jewish kids feel less alienated or less ‘left out’ is to work on creating a strong sense of ownership at home over Hanukkah and your family’s traditions. I think it’s OK to feel ‘left out’. Feeling ‘left out’ is what creates resiliency and confidence over one’s choices and values. I used to sit in church and watch my dad sing in the choir on Christmas Eve but I could do that because my mom provided us an extremely prevalent and tangible Jewish home life.

Carrot Cake Latke with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting JEwhungry Kosher Food Blog

 

Carrot Cake Latke with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting JEwhungry Kosher Food Blog

 

OK, enough of my soap box and let’s talk about these here latkes. These latkes can be eaten without the whipped cream cheese frosting. I mean, one could choose to eat them without the frosting but why would one do that? I originally conceived of this dish as a latke and dip but the fact of the matter is is that I like my latkes SUPER crispy and if you do decide to dip these in the frosting, they might fall off. Therefore, in my expert opinion, I think you should just go ahead and shmear that frosting right on top of the latke. Heck, you can sandwich it between two latkes and make it a ‘carrot cake’ latke sandwich! Either way, I hope you enjoy and Happy Chanukkah!

However you take them, just TAKE THEM. They're so good.

However you take them, just TAKE THEM. They’re so good.

“Carrot Cake” Latkes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients for Latkes:
(Makes 8 – 10 latkes)

3 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup baby carrot sticks OR 5 – 6 large/fat carrots
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp coconut or light brown sugar
1/2 tbsp cardamom
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
Sunflower oil

Ingredients for Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz Cream cheese at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream OR half & half

How to Make Latkes:

First, set up a large bowl of ice water in the sink.  You will pour the shredded sweet potatoes and carrots in the ice bath immediately after shredding.

Peel sweet potatoes.  Using the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor, shred the sweet potatoes and carrots (they can be done in the same bowl). Transfer to the ice bath so as to prevent browning.  Let soak for a few minutes while you clean out your food processor.  Next, transfer to a clean dishtowel or cheesecloth sling and wring out as much juice as you can.

Transfer grated sweet potato and carrot mixture to a medium bowl. In a small dish, whisk flour, cardamom, cinnamon and baking powder and toss with the sweet potatoes and carrots, coating them evenly. Whisk eggs in this small dish until lightly beaten and stir into mixture.

Add sunflower oil to a large frying pan that reaches a depth of 1/8 inch. Heat slowly over medium to about 365 degrees F. Scoop mixture out with large kitchen spoon (usually I lose the spoon after a while and just get in there with my hands). Squeeze the mixture firmly in your palm over an empty dish to remove any excess liquid. (If you squeezed the potatoes out thoroughly in the cloth, you may not have much excess liquid to squeeze out).  Shape the mixture into a tight ball.

Carefully test the heat of your oil by dropping a few droplets of water into the oil. If it sizzles immediately, it’s ready.  Next, place the ball carefully into the hot oil. After a couple seconds, using a spatula, press down into the ball . If you can get them into the hot oil in one piece, chances are they will stick together – frying them is like the “glue” that holds them together. It takes a gentle touch, and it may take you some practice to get the “feel” for it.

The oil should sizzle, but not pop when the latke hits it; if the oil jumps wildly or smokes, it is too hot. If it only bubbles weakly, the oil is not hot enough. Use the first latke to test the oil temperature, and don’t fry a whole batch until the temperature is right.

Continue shaping the latkes in this way, using 2 tablespoons of mixture for each latke. Fry in batches of 4-5 latkes at a time (no more than that – don’t crowd the pan) for 2-3 minutes per side until brown and crispy. Remove the latkes from the frying pan and let oil soak on paper towel.

How to Make Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat the cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and quickly and briefly beat to combine.

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Chowder Kosher Jewhungry Food Blog

 

Team! It’s happened! I blogged! I’ve had these pictures and this recipe for roughly 3 weeks and I finally got my stuff together enough to churn out this post. One of the reasons, besides lack of time, that I haven’t been blogging is that the natural light in my apartment stinks so the pictures I was taking weren’t the greatest.  It’s not like I’m churning out award-winning food photography here, but the pictures I just weren’t up to snuff.  So the solution? I now take pictures at the window at the end of my floor’s hallway. If my elegant, ever-stylish French next door neighbor were to step out her front door during one of my ‘photo shoots’ (I should mention that my assistant is my 2 year-old) I’m not sure how I’d explain my way out of the situation.  Maybe I’ll just keep some brie on me and throw it to her, you know, just in case I need back up. Anywho,  the word, “poop show” doesn’t quite describe the scene of me taking pictures of soup while asking my 2 year-old photography assistant to please hold the cardboard back-drop for mommy cause I really need that light to hit a certain angle.  There might be a few promises of Sesame Street time throw out to photography assistant from photographer but hey, it gets the job done. Thanks, Big Bird!

My photography assistant. Noticed the kitchen towel. She was great at quick clean ups . . . that she had caused.

My photography assistant. Noticed the kitchen towel. She was great at quick clean ups . . . that she had caused.

 

Chowder Jewhungry Kosher Food Blog

 

 

Chowder Kosher Food Blog

Ok, the soup. THE SOUP! This is one of those time-saving, supremely filling recipes that was born out of a need to get vegetables into the kid AND the need for a delicious meal that we can both enjoy. It’s actually been cold in LA so this soup was a warm and comforting friend on a particularly chilly night. The recipe below will net you roughly 5 -6 servings. I had dinner for two nights plus lunch for two days. Also, just to note, I throw smoked paprika into this recipe in an attempt to capture the traditional corn chowder flavor of bacon/ham.  So yes, this recipe is kosher but mainly, it’s vegetarian.  I have actually had traditional corn chowder made with ham, back in my pre-kosher days.  It was good.  I cannot tell a lie.  But since going kosher, I feel that smoked paprika has become a close friend in helping me turn dishes traditionally made with ham or bacon and into delightful little kosher (read: vegetarian) dishes.  Oh! I also used organic frozen vegetables in this recipe, which are cheaper and ready for use; the perfect solution for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. I hope you enjoy!

 

Chowder  Kosher Jewhungry Food Blog

 

 

 

Quick and Easy {kosher} Corn Chowder:

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen bell peppers
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 cup of milk
1 cup half and half
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese-optional, for serving

Directions:

1.  In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in the vegetable oil over medium high heat for 5 minutes until the onions are soft.

2. Stir in the bell peppers and corn;  season the corn/onion/pepper mixture with a large pinch of salt and pepper.  Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine. Pour in broth and stir well. Allow this to thicken for 3 or 4 minutes, then reduce heat to low.

3. Stir in milk and half-and-half, then cover and allow to simmer/thicken for 15 minutes or so. Once thicken, add 3/4 cup of the Pepper Jack and stir to combine.  Taste and adjust seasoning according to your taste preference.  Serve in individual bowls and top with remaining 1/4 cheese.

 

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brisket jewhungry kosher blog

our girl, molly, is getting married.  she’s getting married and dang it, i’m coming out of my self-imposed (kind of not self-imposed but LIFE-imposed) blogging hiatus to make her a pie. but not just any pie, brisket pie with honey garlic mashed potatoes and topped with a little brocollini bouquet, you know, to class it up and stuff. and the super coolest part for me? molly and her mama will be recreating this pie for her wedding day. pretty cool, right?

(you’ll also notice, to further honor our kallah, bride, i’ve adapted her quirky little habit of only writing in lower case. it’s killing me but you know, what we do for friendship).

brisket kosher jewhungry blog

 

 

brisket kosher jewhungry blog

the story of how little ol’ me got asked by THE molly yeh to make a recipe for her wedding is an interesting one, to me at least. if the food blogging world were a high school, molly would be its queen bee, only she’d be everyone’s ideal queen bee; the one that is nice and is inclusive of everyone. the thing is, the food blogging world is a little high school and a lot of the top bloggers who could really be amazing mentors to up-and-comers like me don’t actually engage with outside their successful network of fellow bloggers. not miss molly. we became pen pals after she left a comment on my shakshuka recipe from almost a year ago. i was so frikkin’ excited that a fellow food blogger, whose talent and skill inspire me so much, had read my blog and commented on it that i immediately emailed my kosher connection gang. one of them, melinda, suggested that i send molly an email thanking her for her comment and telling her how much i admire her work. so i did and, long story short, we’ve been writing to each other ever since. heck, she even made a cake for my kiddo’s 2nd birthday. the least i could do is rep her jewish heritage by putting brisket in pie form.

let’s break down this pie. because it’s for a wedding (you should know that molly requested only savory pies) and out of the insanely amazing bloggers that she asked (talented folks such as renee shuman of will frolic for food, stephanie le of i am a food blog, izzy hossack of top with cinnamon, and emma galloway of my darling lemon thyme), i’m the only one repping the kosher/jewish crowd. knowing that, i wanted to make sure that the pie was dripping in kosher/jewish wedding, or ‘smachot’ (hebrew word meaning ‘celebrations’), symbolism.

the world knows that jews love to eat, especially when it comes to any kind of jewish celebration of any kind. it’s basically your usual, ‘ain’t no party like a jewish party cause a jewish part has tons of booze and food’ situation. but, what the world might not know is that a lot  jews believe that there MUST be meat at a celebration or ceremonial meal in order for it to be considered a ‘true’ celebration. as with a lot of immigrant communities, our history is steeped in poverty but no matter how little we had (and by ‘we’, i mean my great, great, great grandparents and so on and so forth), we would make sure that if there was a celebration to be had or a holiday to commemorate, there would be meat. meat came to symbolize celebration and happiness.  the same can be said for wine. no holiday meal or celebration is complete without the blessing over the wine, otherwise known as ‘kiddush’. in fact, tradition has it that if a single person were to drink from the kiddish cup at a sheva brachot, they would be the next to marry. so, let’s just all agree that meat and wine are a big deal for jews.

and finally, the honey. there’s yet another custom, this one involving challah and honey. tradition has it that newly weds should dip their challah in honey during the first shabbat meal they spend together so as to guarantee a sweet life together. my husband and i took it one step further and continued that tradition with every shabbat we’ve ever shared together as a married couple. i mean, also, it’s honey and honey is good.

ok, let me get serious for just one moment. it is an honor and a privilege to have been asked to create this post. blogging and having time for myself just doesn’t happen these days. this temporary single parent/full-time director of school counseling gig has sucked all my energy/time. i can barely set up a seen for a photo, much less the energy it takes to keep up with it multiple times a month. my viewership has plummeted and my love of cooking has suffered because of it. that being said, this small request has reinvigorated my quest for creativity. whether through tweets, actually reading and commenting on my rare post or telling all of China to check out jewhungry, molly has been 100% supportive throughout my sojourn from blogging by not-so-silently encouraging me to get back out there and i am eternally grateful to her for it. molly is one of the greats. she is living our food blogging dream. but more than anything, she is living her dream and i wish her and her eggboy all the best for this very inspiring step in their lives. marrying my husband was the #1 best decision i ever made in my life and i am deeply touched by the kavod, honor, molly has given me to be a part of this beautiful decision in her life. mazal tov, molly.

 

brisket kosher jewhungry blog

 

brisket ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions sliced into rounds
2 – 3 pounds beef brisket
coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup whole baby carrots
1 cup beef/mushroom/vegetable broth
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red cooking wine (or the real stuff if you’re a baller)
1 tablespoon soy sauce

 

cooking the brisket:

heat a deep sauté pan over medium heat with the olive oil. add the onions and cook on medium-low to medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the onions have caramelized lightly.

while the onions are cooking, take the brisket out of its packaging and pat it dry. season the meat generously with salt and pepper. heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat and turn on your vent or fan, if you have one. sear the brisket until a golden brown crust appears on both sides of the meat. Remove and place in a slow cooker insert, fatty side up.

sprinkle the minced garlic over the meat. when the onions are lightly browned, pile them on top and around the meat. Mix the broth, worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce, and pour into the slow cooker insert.

cover and cook in the slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or until the brisket is very tender. let the brisket rest for at least 20. using two forks, shred the brisket until there are barely any large chunks. cut up the carrots while you’re at it so that they are bite-sized. scoop the meat and carrots into a pie pan with some of the meat juice enough so that there is roughly half a cup or so of meat juice in the pan along with the meat but not so much that it’s meat soup.

ingredients for honey garlic mashed potatoes:

3 pounds of yukon gold potatoes (roughly 5 – 6 potatoes)
2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1 cup almond milk
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp earth balance
3 – 4 tbsp honey

cooking the honey garlic mashed potatoes

place the potatoes and garlic in a large stock pot. cover with 1 to 2 inches cold water and season generously with salt. bring the pot of water to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. drain out the water from the pot. keep potatoes and garlic in the stock pot and using either a masher or large fork, mash up the potatoes.  add the earth balance and almond milk. stir all together with mashed potatoes and garlic.  add the honey.  if potatoes are not fluffy enough, add a little more almond milk until you reach desired fluffy mashed potato consistency. taste as you go, adjusting seasoning as needed. i like my mashed potatoes a bit sweet to juxtapose the brisket but you should season and flavor yours to your liking.

using a spatula, scoop out mashed potatoes onto brisket in pie pan and smooth.  you should have at least a 1/2 in. layer of mashed potato on there. broccolini bouquet is optional.  enjoy! mazal tov, molly!

 

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