Summer Latkes in December

I am not done with latkes yet, Beautiful People! In 1989, the Supreme Court ruling upheld displaying Chanukkah menorahs in public places as a symbol of “universal religious freedom.” Last night, on the last night of Chanukkah, our Rabbi invited the entire community to light the menorah outside, at Miami Beach Marina, with festive music, latkes, and sufganiyot (doughnuts).

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On the foreground of this photo, right in front of Rabbi Mann, stands his oldest son, Mendele, a very special boy, a miracle child, as he is known in the community. Without disclosing the diagnosis, I can tell you, Beautiful People, that the doctors’ opinion was that Mendele would never walk, never talk, and never look like “normal people.” It’s only through the heroic efforts of his parents and siblings, as well as support of the entire community,  that he has proven the doctors wrong! Mendele not only walks – he runs! He is a veritable social butterfly who welcomes every newcomer to services, circulates among crowds, and never forgets to invite guests to the table – yes, he talks, and quite legibly! Mazal Tov! – Mendele has just been Bar Mitzvah, and as you see, he stands upright and looks like any other boy his age. He is still very special in our hearts, as is Chabad in South Beach, under the leadership of Rabbi Shraga and Mrs Devorah Mann, whose message is clearly expressed on the shirt of their son Chanan, known as Honey: BE HAPPY, BE KIND!

Image result for hershel of ostropol images

Before we get to the recipe, here is a story about both latkes and sufganiyot.

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!

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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 Chanukkah 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.

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!

70 Comments Add yours

  1. The Mendele story is inspirational. A fine prankster joke. I’m sorry about Benny. May go back ti the video later.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The video is more for kids, than for adults. Thank you for your kind words, Derrick.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love latkes. Those look so good. I never would have thought of putting raisins in them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Jeanne; I am so glad you like them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One day, I will get the chance to enjoy them in person, shared over a glass or two of wine with you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am so looking forward to that day! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Me too! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yum! These look so good, and I love the story!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, dear Dorothy! Happy holiday season to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Garfield Hug says:

    Never tried latkes before but looks tasty.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, darling. They are so very easy to make!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Looks so very yummy.. 😋😋

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, darling!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. GP Cox says:

    When something nice happens in December it is often called a Christmas miracle, but I think Mendele’s case qualifies as a Chanukkah miracle!! 🕎
    Latkes are a favorite of my better half, (and I like them too), so yes, I will be giving this recipes a try!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, GP, for a lovely and kind comment. I hope you do try my recipe and enjoy latkes!
      I am trying to catch up on all your posts that I’ve missed due to final exams. Whew…
      Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a joyous holiday season!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. GP Cox says:

        I know yours is over now, but you can still enjoy ours!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Dear friend, I enjoy every chance to celebrate – mine and everybody else’s. Just love a party, even under lockdown rules!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. How wonderful that Mendele is doing so well. One of my children was supposed to have all kinds of trouble, never be able to live on her own, etc. She graduated college this past year. My hat is off to your rabbi’s family and the community for working so hard to help this young man.

    If you’ve ever seen the old movie Life With Father, you might remember a similar notion to Hershel’s, involving a dog statue and a suit of clothes, and the mother thinking they could trade one for the other without the first being paid yet. In her case, she just did not understand why it wouldn’t work.

    Zucchini is a favorite here, thank you for sharing such a wonderful way to prepare it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kudos o your daughter and your entire family for supporting her, dear Mimi!
      I have not seen the movie but will look it up; thank you for recommending it.
      I am so pleased you like my recipe, dear friend!

      Like

  8. Gracee1409 says:

    Haha, the Hershel story was so good. And the latkes look so delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Lavanya; I am so glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Plumping the raisins is the secret, isn’t it? 👏👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not sure it’s such a big secret – not in my grandmother’s kitchen, anyway. But it works. Thank you for stopping by, dear Gail!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was trying to reference your “dunking” of fresh herbs today when I snipped some rosemary to use as a garnish. Was it ice water or cold salt water??🧊💦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Iced salt water, and let the ice melt, then rinse.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks very much! Mwah! 👏

        Like

      4. My pleasure, dear Gail! Hugs! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Since I had to snip some rosemary, I thought I might to propagate it. We’ll see how it goes. 🌿

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I hope it’s successful. Let me know how it goes, please.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing Mendele’s uplifting story, Dolly. I hope you had a wonderful Hanukkah! Love, A. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have, and I wish you a joyous holiday season, full of light, dear Anna!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a wonderful family, yes. And they had twin boys, too, last year – so adorable! Taking care of 9 kids under Covid conditions and providing spiritual guidance to the community deserves the highest admiration.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. purpleslob says:

        Yes!! Even without the Covid, it does!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True, but Covid made all kids stay home and go all squirrelly with “virtual educational environment.” Even though schools are open and are supposed to be safe, every day someone or other gets exposed, and kids are told to stay home for two weeks. This is what just happened to my grandkids.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. purpleslob says:

        Wow!! My oldest just got out of the hospitalfrom Covid and pneumonia. She was sick a week before that. And I spent the night with her. So, hubby and I are lonely! At least we have each other. I couldn’t get a test appt, so I got one sent to me! I didn’t know they did tha! How was your Channukah?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Chanukkah was isolated – just the two of us, but meaningful and full of light.
        I hope you are well, dear purple person!
        Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2021 to you and yours!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. purpleslob says:

        You too!! This new year is gonna be so much better!!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. We hope and pray! 😻

        Liked by 1 person

      7. purpleslob says:

        I have faith it will be!!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. The Mendele story is amazing, Dolly! I am surprise about the different versions of latkes. This one is something like a statement of my mom, using alcohol instead of baking powder “Don’t worry about the alcohol content; it will cook out!” 😉 I am some times a little concerned, but at least the alcohol got really lost. Thank you, and enjoy your week. Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alcohol does cook out, and all it does is intensify the taste of the food. You can actually make latkes of almost any fruit or vegetable, Michael. You too, have a wonderful week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great to hear, Dolly! Lets test out something. 😉 Thank you, enjoy your week too. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My pleasure, Michael.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. jkaybay says:

    I love zucchini bread so I think I’ll love these too 🙂
    Better than buying from Trader Joe’s. Would regular flour work?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Regular floor will work just fine, darling. The only reason I am using all these different flours is my husband’s diet.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jkaybay says:

        Cool! Thanks for the info and nice recipe and happy holidays!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, darling, same to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for this wonderful post.
    Convey our best wishes and happy new year to Mendele.
    Happy new year to you and your family Dolly.
    Thank you for the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, I don’t go to services, but my husband does, so I’ll have him convey your kind wishes.
      Happy, healthy, and safe New Year to you and yours as well, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure, dear Philo.

        Like

  14. Ren says:

    We grow and eat a lot of zucchini at this house. This recipe will be greatly appreciated here.

    Thank you for the wonderful story sharing. Bless the family and community for listening to and following their hearts.

    Injoy your joyous season fully, Dolly! (I know you will) Hugz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for a lovely comment, dear Ren. If you like zucchini, you might appreciate the next post coming up – stay tuned.
      Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season,
      D

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ren says:

        I will be waiting for it!
        May you have a most injoyable and expansive season, dear Dolly.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s up right here: https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2020/12/25/zucchini-soup-and-the-splendor-of-xanadu
        Sending blessings your way for an enjoyable holiday season and a happy 2021!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    LATKES THAT SQUASH THE COMPETITION—IF ANY 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging, dear friend.
      Best wishes and heartfelt prayers for a happy, healthy, and safe New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. THANK YOU—we’ll be home—safe and sound!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope you had an enjoyable New Year celebration, dear friend, and I wish you the best of health and happiness – Happy 2021!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. thanks! WERE YOU AWARE THAT I PICKED UP AN ADOPTED DAUGHTER M BY GOD’S WORD? HELPED HER THROUGH A ROUGH PATCH, FAITH-WISE,IT’S A FRIENDSHIP ON LINE, ESSENTIALLT! 😀 RUELHA IS HER NAME (AND HER BLOG’S NAME) I PROMISE I WON’T IGNORE ANYONE ELSE!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I also follow this gorgeous girl, and I remember you calling her Sister. I guess daughter is more age-appropriate, but regardless, you have earned heavenly rewards for helping her!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. TANK YOU—I THINK SO! SHE WANTED TO CLASSIFT ME AS AN ANGEL—TOO KIND TO BE HUMAN! BECOMING A SPIRITUAL DAD AND RUELHA AN ADOPTIVE DAUGHTER. IN THE LORD/ HER POETRY IS FANTASTIC!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Sometimes He speaks and acts through human agents, and this looks like one of those cases. Yes, I also appreciate her poetry – a very talented girl.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. AND MY WIFE HAS GIVEN HER QUALIFIED OKAY—YES, R. IS!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. As long as the lady of the house approves, you are doing the right thing.

        Liked by 1 person

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