Friday, December 16, 2011

Almost Christmas!

Still no snow, nor any chilly temps, so our ice rink is still a wading pool.  But there is caroling at the store on Saturday, starting at 5:30pm, so join us for a little holiday spirit!

First, I thought I'd re-post a piece from a lovely new book from Leda Meredith, the Locavore's Handbook.  She concisely identifies an issue that I have discussed with lots of folks: how to adapt how we've learned to cook with the reality of what's seasonal and available.  In what Meredith calls it the "reverse approach to recipes", she suggests that instead of identifying recipes and then schlepping out to purchase everything needed for that recipe, check out what looks good that day, and then plan a meal around it.  Ideally, that would mean you'd be shopping every day or every other day, looking for what's freshest.  Here it means that this is the time of year to cook with lots of onions and garlic, using apples and kale and Brussel's Sprouts and squash and potatoes.
I've always loved my German uncle's potato pancakes.  This recipe comes to us from the Locavore's Kitchen, by Marilou Susko, and seems wildly appropriate for a blustery December day in the Northeast.  Everything listed here is available right now at our store.

Laura's Potato Pancakes
(Makes about 14 pancakes)

9 large russet potatoes, washed and peeled
2 carrots, grated
2 medium onions, grated
3/4 cups matzo meal or cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dash of nutmeg
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Applesauce, to accompany
Sour cream, or creme fraiche, to accompany
Chopped chives, for garnish

Place the peeled potatoes in a large bowl of cold water to slow discoloration.  Coarsely grate, using a box grater.  Drain well into a colander, squeezing to eliminate excess liquid.

In a large bowl, cobine the poatoes with the grated carrots and onions, matzo meal, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Add the eggs and mix well.

Pour enough oil into a large heavy frying pan to reach 1/4 inch up the side.  Heat over medium heat.  When a shred of potato dropped into the oil sizzles and browns quickly, the oil is ready.  Place about a 1/4 cup of the mixture into the hot oil and flatten slightly with a spatula.  Fry until golden brown on the edges, then turn to the other side and fry until golden brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven, arranged in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Serve with homemade applesauce and sour cream or creme fraiche and garnish with chopped chives, if desired.

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