Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

I was so excited when, months ago, I found out that Thanksgiving was going to fall out during Chanukah this year. My first thought was that latkes were definitely going to be the potato side dish this year, and I was going to make a cranberry-applesauce to put on top of them, and it was going to be so. much. fun!

Except that for the past month or so Thanksgivukkah has been ALL over the internet. And guess what? I’m already tired of it. And it doesn’t even happen for another two and a half weeks.  It’s kinda like how pumpkin recipes started showing up everywhere on September 1st, and by the time October rolled around I was so over pumpkin recipes. Yeah, too much of a good thing can sometimes just be too much.

Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

So, I may or may not be serving latkes on Thanksgiving; I haven’t decided yet. However, I probably won’t be making a big deal about the whole Thanksgiving and Chanukah colliding thing. But if you are looking for a recipe for latkes to serve for Thanksgiving or Chanukah (or both), here’s a great one to try. They’re a little bit savory, a little bit sweet, and a whole lot delicious!

Potato-Apple Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and shredded (6 cups)

2 medium Gala apples, shredded (2 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Grapeseed oil, for frying (or use any neutral-flavored oil)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Demerara (raw) sugar, for garnish

1. Combine the potatoes, apples, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a colander. Let the mixture stand for 20 minutes, pressing down every so often with the back of a large spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

2. Pour the potato mixture into a large bowl, and add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the thyme, and black pepper. Don’t be stingy with the black pepper; you want a nice amount of it to play against the apples and the sugar. Add the flour, and mix well.

3. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat the bottom of the pan with oil. In batches, add the latke mixture to the pan by 1/3-cupfuls, and cook for several minutes on each side, until golden brown. Keep a careful eye on them. If the darken too quickly, lower the heat a bit, because you don’t want the outside to burn before the inside it cooked (I used a cast iron skillet and had to lower the temperature a bit, because the pan gets really hot!). Add more oil to the pan as needed.

4. Remove the latkes from the pan onto a plate lined with paper towels to drain. You can keep latkes warm on a sheet pan in a 200°F oven while you prepare the next batch.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and cinnamon.

5. Place the latkes on a platter, top each with a dollop of the cinnamon sour cream, sprinkle with a bit of demerara sugar, and serve.

Makes about a dozen latkes, depending on how tightly you pack the measuring cup.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

This recipe came about because I had leftover squash purée that needed to be used up. It would’ve been easy to just throw it into the freezer to use at a later date (meaning: throw it in the freezer, forget all about it, and then throw it out when it’s completely freezer burned), but I was determined to figure out a way to use it up. And not only did I do that, but the result tasted even better than i thought it would!

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom GaletteDelicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

Delicata, Chard & Mushroom Galette

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/3 cup ice water

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups delicata squash purée (see below)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) chard (I used red, but any kind will do), washed well and mostly dried

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup crumbled feta

Egg wash:

1 egg yolk whisked with one teaspoon water

Make the crust:

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the cubed butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, vinegar, and water. Pour the sour cream mixture into the food processor, and pulse just until the mixture starts to come together into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill in the fridge for at least one hour or up to 2 days.

Make the filling:

1. Combine the squash purée, salt and pepper to taste (I used lots of pepper, because I knew the topping would be on the sweet side), and thyme in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Prepare the chard: cut along both sides of the stem, to remove the stem. Cut the stem into slices (about 1/4-inch thick), and set aside in a bowl. Slice the leaves (also about a 1/4-inch thick), and place into another bowl.

3.  In a large skillet (i used my 10-inch cast iron), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook it for a few minutes until softened, stirring often. Add the chard stems and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.  Add the mushrooms, a few large pinches of kosher salt, and the crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms cook down and any water evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chard leaves and stir for 1 minute, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the dried cranberries.

Assemble and bake the galette:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. On a large piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough to a 16-inch circle (dust the top of the dough and your rolling pin with flour to keep it from sticking). (Don’t worry if your circle isn’t perfect.) Carefully slide the parchment with the dough onto a large baking sheet.

2. Spread the squash purée over the dough, stopping about 2 inches before the border. Top with the mushroom-chard mixture, and the sprinkle with the feta. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pleating to make it fit. Brush with the egg wash.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. I served this warm, but I imagine it would taste good at room temperature, too.

Delicata Squash Purée:

I used leftover purée for this, so I don’t really know how many delicata squashes you need to make 1 1/2 cups of purée (sorry!), but I think 3 would probably be more than enough. All you do is cut the squashes in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and roast in a 375°F oven for about 40 minutes (until completely soft and slightly browned). Let the squashes cool off, then remove the skin, place the flesh into a blender with a bit of water, and then purée. Simple as that!

I recommend making the purée in advance and refrigerating, because it thickens up slightly when cold, which makes it easier to spread on the dough without making a mess.

makes 1 12-inch galette

Dough recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

Remember how I mentioned a while back that I hadn’t really been in a cooking kind of mood? Unfortunately, that went on for quite a while. I’m only just starting to get back into it. I think part of it is the change of seasons (it’s finally starting to feel a little bit like fall here in SoCal). So many bloggers seem to be most inspired by summer produce. But me? I prefer the produce that comes with the cooler temps. When I see stacks of beautiful squashes, pears, apples, it makes me want to get into the kitchen and prepare something warm and comforting.

I decided I want to make a soup for dinner at least once a week throughout the fall and winter. It’s a meal that everybody loves, it can usually be made ahead of time and warmed up (essential for busy evenings after the kids come home from school), and, since it’s just as easy to make a big pot as a small pot, I can have leftovers for lunch for several days after.

I made this Beet, Fennel & Apple soup for dinner Monday night. I made a double recipe, and the hardest part was peeling the beets, which really isn’t all that hard to do. There’s just a little sautéeing, and then you throw everything else into the pot and simmer. A quick purée at the end, and you’re done!

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

With so many girls in the house, you just know that a pink soup went over very well!

Beet, Fennel & Apple Soup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish, or another use, if desired)

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Coarse sea salt

3 medium beets, peeled and roughly chopped

2 small apples, peeled and roughly chopped (I used Fuji apples)

6 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Freshly ground black pepper

Fennel fronds or chopped chives for garnish, if desired

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, garlic, and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a bout 10 minutes. You want the vegetables to be softened, but not browned.

2. Add the beets, apples, and broth to the pot. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered until the beets and apples are completely soft, about 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Blend the soup, either in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings

From It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow & Julia Turshen

(If it seems like I’ve been cooking from this book a lot—3 out of the last 5 post contain recipes from it—it’s because I have been cooking from it a lot! I really like this book, and all the recipes I’ve made from it have been wonderful.)

Rosemary Olive Bread

Rosemary Olive Bread

There are some ingredients that always seem to catch my attention and make me want to try a recipe, such as goat cheese (I absolutely adore the stuff) and just about any form of alcohol (I don’t drink much, but I love the flavor it gives to food). Kalamata olives are something else I love using. So when I came across a recipe for Rosemary Olive Bread in the Green Market Baking Book I didn’t have to think twice about trying it.

The bread was delicious, but it was a very soft bread. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (believe me, I ate a ton of it!), but with the flavors of the rosemary and olives in it I just wanted more of a chewy/crusty type of bread. I ended up adapting the flavors to a different bread recipe that I’ve made several times in the past, and it worked wonderfully! This bread is wonderful with some good olive oil or butter, and it makes a fantastic grilled cheese in the panini maker.

Rosemary Olive Bread

Notes:

While the recipe calls for an 8-10 hour rising time I only let it rise about 4 hours this time around, and it was fine.

You can mind other mixing methods for the dough (such as in the food processor, bread machine, and by hand HERE).

Rosemary Olive Bread

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped kalamata olives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1. Combine the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or dough hook attachment. Add one cup of the flour, mix to combine, and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the salt and another 1 1/4 cups flour and mix, adding more flour a little at a time if needed, until the dough just barely holds together in a loose ball. Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Leave the dough to rise at room temperature for 8 to 10 hours.

2. An hour before you want to bake the bread, take the dough out of the bowl to shape it into whatever shape you would like. If you have a baking stone, place it on a piece of parchment paper. If you do not have a baking stone, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Very lightly dust the dough with some flour to keep the dough from drying out, and let rise for about an hour. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450°F.

3. Use a large cutting board or the back of a baking sheet to transfer the loaf to the baking stone (or if you are baking it on a baking sheet, just place it in the oven). To get a nice crisp crust, mist the inside of the oven three or four times with a clean spray bottle filled with water during the first 5 to 8 minutes of baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, or eat it immediately while it’s still warm.

Makes 1 loaf, approximately 8 servings (or less, if you’re anything like me)

Adapted from King Arthur Flour; inspired by Green Market Baking Book, Laura C. Martin

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

Back in March I went with Chaim on one of his business trips to Georgia. One of the stops we made while we were there was the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base. Chaim’s gotten the kids very into airplanes, and we wanted to pick up some stuff for them at the gift shop.

Along with the gifts for the kids, I picked up a copy of The Military Wives’ Cookbook for myself. It just seemed fitting to make something from it for Memorial Day today. There are tons of recipes in there that I want to try, but I wanted something light and fresh to go along with the barbequed chicken and roasted potatoes that we had for dinner. I decided on this simple cucumber salad.

This is a slight variation on the recipe in the book, since I wanted to use what I already had on hand.

Cucumber Salad

5 Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chopped cucumbers and onions in a medium bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, mix well, and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

4-6 servings

Adapted from The Military Wives’ Cookbook, by Carolyn Quick Tillery

Camp Sumter / Andersonville Prison (Civil War POW Camp)

A small portion of Camp Sumter / Andersonville Prison (Civil War POW Camp)
(Another place we visited while in Georgia. It was heartbreaking to think that I was standing on the ground where so many men suffered and died.)