Right now, as you read this, Nana and her boyfriend Burt are on a cruise around South America. In just 46, excuse me 48 months, (because Burt did correct my husband on this number on Thanksgiving lest anyone get it wrong) these two 85 year old love birds have been to China, New York, the Caribbean and up and down the coast at least a dozen times, just because. Spend 5 minutes with them and you’ll see that their love of all things life only gets greater each day. It’s inspiring, awesome, and frankly, makes me downright excited to know that life just gets better and better.
I could go on and on about Nana and Burt, but the whole reason I’m writing this post is to actually talk about something that makes their travel this year even more unique. You see, my Nana is the queen, and I mean, THE QUEEN of Potato Latkes. I’m sure many of you out there think you have a great recipe or think oh, a latke is just a latke. But, I’m here to tell you a) you don’t and b) you’re wrong. My nana’s latkes, like her brisket, could possibly end wars. They’re that good. THIS IS WHY I AM WRITING THIS… BECAUSE, this year Nana and Burt are GONE during Hanukkah. But have no fear… you see, Nana in all her brilliantness MADE the latkes (and froze them) ahead of time. Thank god. We will not starve and Hanukkah will be glorious and greasy as the Macabees intended it to be.
Well with Hanukkah just a few days away, I’m excited to share this family favorite with you. A little helpful hint: these puppies require time, an open window (hello grease smell) and a badass food processor. If you’ve got those things, then you can probably do this. I’m not going to sugar coat it though, Nana’s will always be better. Just because.
Nana Jean’s Potato Latkes
makes about 30 pancakes
1 vitamin C tablet
2 1/2 lbs baking potatoes
2 lg eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp flour or matzoh meal (Jennifer uses 1 Tbsp of each)
1. In a small bowl, dissolve vitamin C tablet with 2 tablespoons of water. In the meantime, shred 3/4 of the potatoes using the shredding blade of food processor; set aside in a large bowl.
2. Switch to the chop blade of your food processor and chop onion and remainder of potatoes. Add to the shredded potatoes.
3. Add dissolved vitamin C to the beaten eggs. Mix the combination into the potatoes, then add flour and/or matzoh meal, salt and baking powder. Mix well to combine.
4. In large skillet, heat 1/2″ oil over moderate high heat. Using a slotted spoon, place batter into hot oil and flatten lightly. (Jennifer notes that she sometimes uses a large serving spoon instead of a slotted one, which works even though the liquid doesn’t drain.) Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning only once. Be careful not to crowd pancakes in pan. Remove pancakes to baking trays covered with brown paper. You can also dab the tops with paper towels.
You can serve these immediately, store for a day or two in the refrigerator or freeze them. If freezing, make sure to put the cakes in the freezer in single layers. Don’t pile up until completely frozen. To reheat, bake in a 450 degree oven for 5-10 minutes or until crisp and bubbling.