Summer Latkes in December

Hershel from Ostropol, the famous prankster, was traveling during Chanukkah. He stopped at an inn and asked for some traditional Chanukkah food.

“Sure, -said the innkeeper, – We have three kinds of latkes (pancakes), and sufganiyot (doughnuts) with four different fillings! What’s your pleasure?”

“Bring me the latkes first,” requested Hershel.

A plate of hot, golden brown latkes, accompanied by sour cream and apple sauce, appeared in front of him in no time.

“Well, I changed my mind. Takes these back and bring me some sufganiyot.”

What could the innkeeper do? The customer is always right, so latkes were taken away, and sufganiyot brought in, two with jelly and two with jam. They looked and smell heavenly, and Hershel quickly emptied the plate, got up, and headed for the door.

“Wait, Reb Yid, – the shocked owner ran after him, – you have to pay for the doughnuts!”

“I gave you latkes for them, didn’t I? – replied Hershel and kept walking.”

“But… but… you didn’t pay for latkes either!”

“My good man, but did I eat them?”

Let’s assume, for the sake of Hershel’s good character, that it was all a joke, and eventually he did pay!

Zuc ltks 1.jpg

When my son was little, he loved zucchini latkes. So did his puppy, Benny. I would always make a double portion, and Benny would sit on the chair by the table, next to Alex, and eat from his own plate. The only thing that bothered both of them was that vegetables were seasonable, and zucchini was a summer vegetable, so we could never have these soft, delicate latkes on Chanukkah. Until we came to the U.S., that is, where all fruit and vegetables were available in stores all year round. Unfortunately, Benny had to be left behind, with friends, as we couldn’t take him with us.

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Before you start on those zucchini, you have to soak a handful of raisins in sweet red wine. Don’t worry about the alcohol content; it will cook out! Soaking raisins will plump them up, and wine will enhance the taste. While your raisins are soaking, you can grate zucchini without peeling it.

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I use my standard set of ingredients: soy flour, agave, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper, an egg (to make your latkes vegan, use egg substitute of your choice), and the key ingredient – prostokvasha, or clabbered milk (my prostokvasha is dairy free, please see instructions here). Add all this stuff to grated zucchini and mix well.

Zuc ltks 4.jpg

Add your drunken raisins – by this time, they should be nice and plump! – and mix even better. Heat a frying pan on medium, mist it with oil – I know, I know, but this is Chanukkah, and we have to fry! – and start frying. While your latkes are frying, you can entertain the kids by watching Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins.

Meanwhile, your latkes are frying and looking good!

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Fry them for about five minutes on each side. Flip them when they grow plump and start turning golden at the edges. Remove ready latkes to a plate lined with paper towels, to blot out excess oil.

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I serve them with sugar free blueberry jam, but sour cream or apple sauce are also good friends. My husband and my younger son, as usual, smother them in chocolate syrup. Either way, soft, delicate, and delicious, here they are, zucchini latkes in December – what a country!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large or 2 medium firm zucchini, grated unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon sweet red wine
  • 1/2 cup prostokvasha (clabbered milk) or any kefir, youghurt, or buttermilk of your choice
  • 1 egg or substitute
  • 1/2 cup soy flour (alternatively, chick pea flour)
  • 1 tablespoon or more agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PROCEDURE

  • Soak raisins in wine for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Wash and grate zucchini. Add the rest of ingredients, including raisins. Mix thoroughly.
  • Ladle onto preheated frying pan lightly misted with oil.
  • Fry in medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to blot out excess grease.
  • Serve hot, accompanied by a jam or sweet sauce of your choice, or sour cream.

Happy Chanukkah – enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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63 Comments Add yours

  1. callmetrav says:

    These look scrumptious !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much – I am glad you like them!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great recipe, one my son would enjoy too, as a vegetarian. Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Samantha! I am glad you like them!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Anuradha – glad you like it!

      Like

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging!

      Like

  3. lilyandardbeg says:

    They look amazing 🙂 I like all latkes (I just didn’t know they were called that, I called them fritters 🙂 )
    I make various types of veggie latkes (fritters?) with chickpea (gram) flour as it seems to work really well. I think I’m still not proficient enough to use buckwheat flour though-it’s dark and they always look burnt (I know it’s not relevant to this recipe) x

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you! Perhaps Lily and Brian might also like them, the way Benny loved them. Benny was a sky terrier, by the way, gifted to my son for his 3-year birthday, and totally adorable! You can imagine how my 6-year old son felt when he was saying Good bye to him. Heart-wrenching!
      In my perception, the difference between latkes (pancakes) and fritters is flour, i.e. I don’t put flour into fritters. However, I am just a Jewish grandmother, not a chef, so what do I know! Chickpea flour works perfectly, and so does coconut flour.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. lilyandardbeg says:

        I’m definitely not a chef so I just call stuff whatever I wish (I always change recipes anyway, so the cookery purists would definitively not be happy with me).
        I’m sorry that you had to leave Benny behind. It’s all hard (all your story, not just the fact you had to leave him). Makes me appreciate the fact that even though my family and friends are scattered around the world, we can all get together and we’re free to decide where to live.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you for your empathy! There is a book by Nikolai Ostrovsky called “How the steel was tempered.” It’s about early Soviet Russia and young communists, so I don’t recommend it for reading, but the metaphor is about people: steel is tempered and becomes, well, hard as steel through hardships. It makes one appreciate both liberty and freedom.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. lilyandardbeg says:

        Funnily enough I have read this book! My Latin teacher always said ‘ad astra per aspera’ -but I have always thought the opposite: hardship breaks people, it’s love that nourishes us…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Love certainly nourishes, but it doesn’t create hardness in reaching one’s goals. Only “aspera” – obstacles – will do that. You are an athlete, you can relate to that, I am sure. Hardships break the weak, but make the strong even stronger. Survivors of both Russian hard labor camps and Nazi concentration camps have proven that.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I usually make savory zucchini latkes, but love the idea of sweet ones! Will give them a try soon. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Ronit! I saw your recipe for savory zucchini latkes – yummy! But my son has always had a major sweet tooth, so everything had to be sweetened for him, even macaroni with farmer cheese.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to make sweet zucchini cake, so the idea of sweet Latkes makes perfect sense. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If I can inspire a chef like you, Ronit, it’s a great honor!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Learning never ends and in cooking everyone has something to contribute. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. randyjw says:

    Wow, that recipe looks fantastic! I know it’s a little bit early, but, just in case we don’t connect again before the holiday, Happy Chanukah!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same to you, and a freiliche one!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. randyjw says:

    Chanukah Sameach!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would eat at your table anytime! So much of your food looks delicious and you cook up the things I want to try but have been scared to attempt to cook.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, thank you so much! You make me blush… I’d love to have you at my table, dear, but don’t be scared to cook anything – just do it!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think I am going to. My husband and I like to try to cook new things together and we haven’t had time lately. But, I think I will make time and give some of your recipes a go! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good luck, and please let me know how things turn out! My husband and I also like to cook together – it’s wonderful!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Sumith says:

    Loved the little read! And the recipe sounds amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I am glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jessica says:

    Yum! Dolly, these sound delicious. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jessica, I am glad you like them!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You are a very creative cook! I would never have thought of sweet latkes. Off topic, but how did your kids adjust to the move? It must have been culture shock.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my latkes are sweet because my son has always had a major sweet tooth. My son was 6 when KGB came with a search warrant at 3 am. They ripped all pillows and cut the belly of his stuffed monkey, Tyapa. The shock was so great that everything else didn’t really matter to him. He totally erased everything from memory! Tyapa is alive and well and now resides in my granddaughter’s room. He is wearing shorts to hide the scar. A shul and a wonderful Chabad school with great teachers and good friends helped my son adapt very well. Our younger son was adopted here, at the age of 13. His kinderlach are just as much my grandchildren as my biological granddaughter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Why did the KGB come? Just because??? Did you know the biological family of your second son? It is difficult to bond when you miss their childhood. Kudos to you and your husband. You must be very loving people. We fostered a girl who was 12. It was terrible. It was like coming home to work. She threatened to kill herself and that was the end of that. I have seen her since, and I am happy to say that she is doing really well: married and she several kids. So, she turned out ok, despite her difficult family circumstances. But, we did not try fostering again.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. KGB never came “just because” – I was involved in the movement, in a very small role, but I had a lot of information. They were looking for it. Luckily, most of it was in my head, not on paper or film.I am not an emigrant, you know; I was expelled from there as an “Enemy of the People.” I know Dovid’s biological mother. First, we fostered him for 3 years, then they TPR’ed her, and we were able to adopt. His father passed away. I can’t say that it was easy, but I had a full school of SED kids, so it was no better and no worse! In my “Pashtida” post, Dovid talks openly about being accepted as a family member not only by my husband and myself, but the extended family as well. I would never try to foster a teenage girl, though! Physiology and hormonal changes make it almost unmanageable.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was crossing the border when I was writing my response. I think I got cut off.😕

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The border? From where to where?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. We are in Toronto visiting my mother 😊 I am so happy!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I am glad to hear that – have a great time!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Wow! You are an incredibly brave person! I can only imagine what you have been through. I must look more carefully at your “Pashtida“post. I am in awe! Please forgive my ignorance. What is“the movement“ (I can`t write a question mark on my mother`s computer. It looks like a French accent instead) I think that you do need to write a book. Your life experience is rich and varied. Truly inspirational and informative. Way beyond cooking. It was sad with the foster child. We hosted her bat mitzvah party. It was difficult for everyone, since her parents loved her, they were just unable to take care of her. David also sounds like a wonderful person. You are both blessed to have each other. Frankly, I am speechless and awed. Kudos to you.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. You call it brave, and I call it crazy! Do you know anything about the Helsinki Accords and the Helsinki Watch? In the 60’s – 70’s there were quite a few different opposition groups in the Soviet Union, loosely called movements. I was involved, in a very minor way, in helping to get Jews out of there. Many books have been written by truly important and prominent people who played vital roles, so who am I to presume. I assure you that Nathan and Avital Scharansky have a lot more to tell!

        Like

      9. Ok. This is before my time and I am a clearly very ignorant. I just tried to look it up but I didn’t find out too much except that it was to prevent human rights violations.

        Personally, if that got you expelled from your country, you must be one of the unsung heroes of the movement to help protect the rights of others. That makes you very brave in my books. It is much easier to just go along with tyranny than to stand up for truth and justice. So, not crazy, merely principled and ethical. Albert Einstein said: “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” You did something.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Yes, this is why I was first a refusenik for 7 years, and then expelled in 10 days, rather than being allowed a standard emigration procedure. I still have the original exit visa with that stamp on it. I have never considered myself a hero, and will not do so, but I am a fighter, and I tend to fight for what I think is right. In the U.S. I fought for Jewish kids with special needs to get both the services they required and a proper Jewish education. It’s just the way I am…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. kelleysdiy says:

    Looks soooo yummy! ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They really are – thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kelleysdiy says:

        I need you here! My coffee is lonely and would love you to cook up something…do you deliver?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LOL Sure I do – from the kitchen to the dining room table!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. kelleysdiy says:

        hahaaaa…is that a invitation…lol ❤️❤️❤️

        Like

      4. Certainly – my kitchen is always open for friends!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. kelleysdiy says:

        Where do you live now??? US?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Miami Beach Fl, AKA South Beach where the sun shines all year round!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. kelleysdiy says:

        I’m in Palm Springs, Ca…where it’s been really cool this winter!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Next time you make it to the East Coast, this house is always open to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. kelleysdiy says:

        Ohh thank you for the wonderful invitation!!! Your always welcome here to….

        Liked by 1 person

  12. randyjw says:

    Hahaha 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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