I love Shabbat. I love it so much. With a job that requires A LOT of giving and taking care of others, my need for ‘me’ time and being able to be with my hubby and daughter is invaluable. As a result, I get a little selfish with my Shabbat. I don’t like sharing my Shabbat time. I want to be able to sleep when I want, eat when I want and relax on my time-table (well, the time-table that is Siona’s time-table, but whatever). I get kind of sweaty when a proposal is made to go out for Shabbat, even if the invitation is from a loved-one. I can’t help it. My first thought is generally whether or not the host will have coffee and then that thought is quickly followed by a frantic search for my ear plugs in case there is some sort of noise-issue that I’ll need to cancel out (I’ve mentioned my anxiety before, right?) Anywho, a happy compromise of my own selfish need to NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE for one whole day has resulted in inviting our loved ones to us. It works out perfectly. I get to cook, sleep in my own bed and I KNOW there will be coffee. This Shabbat we hosted our dear friends, Zak and Batsheva (they happen to be bakers. They happen to have brought AMAZING food with them). It was a wonderful Shabbat. I am so grateful.
And yet, here it is, 2pm on Sunday and all that rest from Shabbat has gone out the window. Thanks to the awesomeness that is the ending of Daylight Savings Time, Siona woke up at ‘new’ 5:30. Rather than wallowing in being awake WAY too early, we decided to make some delicious lemonade out of extremely tired lemons and hit the beach for a sunrise picnic breakfast. So yes, it’s 2pm, I’ve already lost any remaining ‘restful’ feeling I may have had from this past Shabbat but I’m already in love with this weekend so much. And if an amazing picnic breakfast wasn’t enough, we topped this off with an insanely decadent lunch of latkes with Sriracha cheddar sauce. I’m sure I’ve written about my insane love of cheese fries before, right? Just as a recap, I love them. I love them so much. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Well if you love them so much, why don’t you just marry them?” I would. I would so marry cheese fries. It had been a while since I enjoyed a nice basket of cheese fry-glory and my craving was getting intense. And then it hit me. Holy crap. Latkes. Thanksgivukkah is just around the corner. I need to get a latke recipe out there and latkes are basically Jewish French fries. Might as well make some latkes and top them with a boat-load of cheddar sauce so, badda boom badda bing, latkes with cheddar sauce. And while I was on the subject, might as well throw some Sriracha in there and make it a party, right? Right.
And now for your latke-viewing pleasure . . .
Potato Latkes with Sriracha Cheddar Sauce (latke recipe adapted from The Shiksa )
- 2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp corn or potato starch
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Canola or Vegetable oil for frying (about 1 1/2 cups)
I really believe in the power of the cast iron skillet and only use it to cook my latkes. I really think that it makes a crisper latke. Also, have your oven preheated to 200 degrees and place your finished latkes in the oven on a cookie sheet to keep them warm and crispy while making your Sriracha sauce.
Peel the potatoes, then, using a hand grater or food processor shredding attachment with fine holes (small shreds) shred the potatoes. Place shredded potatoes into a bowl and immediately cover with cold ice water. Soak in ice bath for 5 minutes (now’s a good time to clean that food processor just to get it out of the way).
Drain the potato shreds in a colander then transfer to the center of a clean tea towel or multiple layers of cheesecloth. Wrap the shreds up in the cloth, twisting the cloth to secure the bundle, and squeeze firmly to remove excess liquid from the shreds.
Add oil to a large cast iron frying pan that reaches a depth of 1/8 inch. Heat slowly over medium to about 365 degrees F. While oil is heating, in a separate bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper together. Add the flour and cornstarch to the mixture and mix well. Pour over the potato shreds and mix well. If you find the mixture is too watery, add 1 more tbsp of flour.
Scoop mixture using a small ice cream scooper or with your 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 potato mixture into a tightly compacted disk.
Place the disk carefully into the hot oil. Latkes can break apart at this point, they’re very delicate. 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 potato 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.
Sriracha Cheddar Sauce
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 tbsp Sriracha (add more as needed)
Melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; whisk continuously until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 3 minutes.
Remove sauce pan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the Sriracha until well combined. Taste and add more Sriracha as needed.