Seasons Greetings from Bloghungry, Popmuse, and Lily.
My journey to make the latke more exciting continues. People wept with joy when I served these this year. The mix of melted cheese, creamy bechemel, crispy fried latkes and deli turkey on toasted Challah is truly a reason to celebrate.
Open-Faced Latke and Turkey Croque Madame on Challah
4 large or 8 small latkes, fried
4 slices Challah bread
4 large eggs
8 slices deli Swiss cheese
8 slices deli turkey
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard
Place a small sauce pot over medium low heat and melt 2 tablespoons butter in it. Whisk in a rounded tablespoon of flour and cook 1 minute or so. Whisk in milk and bring to a bubble then drop heat to low. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Dijon. When sauce coats back of a spoon, turn off heat.
Preheat oven to broil. Heat 2 nonstick skillets over medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of butter in each. Add 2 slices bread to each pan and toast lightly on each side. Top each toasted bread with 1-2 latkes (depending on size), 2 slices of the turkey and 2 slices of cheese. Put all toasts with turkey and cheese on a cookie sheet in the oven for 1-3 minutes, watching them carefully to make sure they do not burn.
Reusing the 2 skillets for the eggs, Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in each skillet over medium low heat. When butter melts add 2 large eggs to each skillet, keeping the whites separate from each other. Cook each egg sunny side up. Turn egg over and cook about 3 minutes. The egg white should be cooked but the yolk should be runny.
Place 1 fried egg atop each toasted/melted sandwich. Top with a couple healthy spoonfuls of the bechamel. Serve sandwich immediately.
After a few years of latkes with apple sauce or sour cream, I decided that we could all do better. Let's face it apple sauce on fried potatoes is a little strange. I like an egg yolk and a meaty hash with my fried potatoes. It's tasty, simple, and can be a whole meal. If you are exhausted from frying your latkes you can buy a premade canned hash and pan fry with butter until browned on both sides. Otherwise follow the recipes below and layer latke, hash, and egg on a plate.
Basic Beef Hash
6 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (12 ounce) can corned beef, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup beef broth
In a large deep skillet, over medium heat, combine the potatoes, corned beef, onion, and beef broth. Cover and simmer until potatoes are of mashing consistency, and the liquid is almost gone. Mix well, and serve.
Over Easy Eggs
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Heat a small non-stick skillet over low heat and add butter. As soon as the butter stops foaming, crack the eggs into the pan. Lift the handle about an inch so that the eggs pool in the far corner of the pan. Hold for 30 seconds or until the whites start to set, then lower the handle and give the pan a jiggle just to make sure there's no sticking. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and continue to cook over low heat until the whites become opaque. Carefully slide spatula, under the egg and flip to cook on the other side. The goal is to avoid breaking the yolks. If you succeed, count to 10 slowly then flip the eggs again, slide them onto a plate and serve. If the yolks do break, act like you meant them to, fry for another minute and serve. They'll still taste great.
Looking for Hanukkah music to fill the next 7 nights? Need a break from Adam Sandler? Listen to samples of the LeeVees on their site, or download them on itunes. You can also download Orrin Hatch's "Eight Days of Hanukkah" free or listen to a free streaming Hanukkah play list from Idelshon. Until more acceptable Hanukkah music comes along, just create a playlist of songs about lights, candles, or oil. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Hanukkah gelt are chocolate coins that are traditionally gambled away by kids playing dreidel. If you have never tasted gelt, you aren't missing anything. Gelt is made from the most stale and waxy chocolate money can buy and is only produced by random companies that lead you to wonder how old the candy is and if the manufacturer is still in existence.
Until the Hanukkah gelt chocolate becomes edible, I suggest making your own "gelt" at home. Don't worry about molding or tempering chocolate, just take a page from the New York Jewish deli tradition of black and white cookies. They are round, tasty, and pre-sectioned for dividing into half if "Hay" should turn up on your dreidel. For Hannukah, I made them blue and white cookies because there is far too much brown food in Hanukkah already. This kid-friendly cookie recipe that won a Betty Crocker award in 2007.Hanukkah Blue and White Cookies
I've always found it pretty intense that Hanukkah's most popular activity was a gambling game for children. Given my experience working with children it seems like it can only end in tears or conflict. However, I think it has a lot of potential if the rules are clear and the stakes are higher than Hanukkah gelt.
cookies, candy, or chocolate chips
dimes and nickels
1. Each player begins the game with an equal number of game pieces (about 10-15).
2. At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center "pot." In addition, every time the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player should put one in the pot.3. Every time it's your turn, spin the dreidel once. Depending on the outcome, you give or get game pieces from the pot:
Nun: "nothing" The player does nothing.
Gimmel: "everything". The player takes everything in the pot.
Hay: "half". The player takes half of the pot.
Shin: "put in". The player adds one game piece to the pot.
4. If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either "out" or may ask a fellow player for a "loan."
If you've been in the dark about the meaning of Hanukkah, you're not alone. Part of the failed marketing of the holiday is the complexity of the back story. I've read through some long and dry historical accounts and here's a quick rundown:
The Hannukah Story
A Greco-Syrian king tried to turn the Jews' temple into a temple for Zeus. A small group of Jewish bothers fought to reclaim the temple for the Jews. The brothers won back their temple and discovered the Greeks used up all of their oil. There was only enough oil to burn the temple’s menorah for one day. By a miracle of energy efficiency, the menorah stayed lit for eight days.
Hanukkah starts this Friday and I am gearing up. I have been leading the charge on Hanukkah celebrations with my Jewish husband for the 7 years we've been together. I've done the menorah, dreidel, gelt, latkes, apple sauce, brisket, matzo ball soup, challah bread, and more. Over the years, I have come to realize that Hanukkah is a holiday for children created by old people that reek of gefilte fish. This year I vow to try start more modern Hanukkah traditions that my family can enjoy.
Jewish themed merchandise not yellowing from age can be hard to find. Here are a few links to check out for your last minute Hanukkah needs:Modern Tribe