Late-breaking latke news…

In Recipies on December 22, 2011 at 9:39 am

After a bit more experimenting with spinning latke-bound potatoes (see here), I have news…

…the spinning process works nicely if the potatoes are peeled.

The Phyne Dyner has always made his latkes au naturale (potatoes are shredded with the skins left on). The skin imparts a brownish color to the potato flesh and this “bleeds” further as the shredded stuff sits, even for a few minutes. If the skins are left on, they tend to inhibit the effectiveness of the spinning process.

Last night, while six pairs of hungry eyes peered at me from the table, I conducted a series of latke experiments. Nearly twenty years of university life would be called into action to solve this mystery.

There were discussions about the possibility that my salad spinner did not generate enough speed. This prompted proposals, which were firmly vetoed by Mrs. Phyne Dyner, involving a Tim the Toolman-esque plan to motorize the spinner. What could possibly go wrong? There were discussions about trying other types of potatoes. This was vetoed by the amount of pre-latke vodka we and our guests had already consumed.

I ended up going back to the source article (here). The author did not peel her (russet) potatoes.


Well, I did. The result was a nice, dry potato mixture that did not discolor. At that point, the experiments ceased because we could no longer hear each other over the banging of forks on the dining room table. I walked away, still muttering to myself.

In the name of experimentation, a few old tricks and a new one emerged for tasty latkes.

Add some carrots…

I never have understood adults who whimper like children if a carrot falls on their plate or if a bowl of salad is set in front of them with a mushroom or two on top. Thankfully, I have not (yet) heard a grown man or woman suddenly cry out, “The food, it’s touching!”

One of last night’s latke variations included a couple of grated carrots in the mix. It is not a new idea, but it adds a lot of (needed) color to latkes and also adds a nice caramel-like flavor.


My go-to recipe for latkes uses 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of matzo meal as a binder. Last night, I played “what if” by adding 4 tablespoons of commercial falafel mix instead.

Whoa, BABY!

Okay, part of the learning curve on this variation is to leave a bit more moisture in the potato mix and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes. Otherwise, the falafel mix is more “gritty” than “great”.

What a great combo! I dug out a jar of tahini and slathered some on these…thereby quadrupling their caloric content. What the heck, it’s Hanukkah! A bit of old-fashioned Israeli-style salad on the side made this a splendid variation.

By all means, try it.

With added features, it may be day six or seven before the latke blues set in!


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