A cozy season has arrived and we are blanketed in snow. Winter came roaring into the Valley unexpectedly a couple of days before Thanksgiving. Instead of the predicted rain, two feet of snow fell – heavy, wet and fast – and we had some adventures, including hiking in the dark up to our cabin when the car got stuck, a power outage and a tree falling over our road and blocking us in. I woke the morning after to this view out our kitchen window.
I discovered that losing electricity in the winter is a little easier than the summer since we can melt snow for water and use a snowbank as a refrigerator if we don’t feel like pulling the generator out. I didn’t bake the pies I planned for Thanksgiving, but Sam made it home (hiking the last portion of the journey!) and we were all together, for which I was very thankful. Living here, I am continually learning to adapt and adjust my plans and expectations as I never know what will happen. So now in addition to snow tires and sandbags, we have headlamps and snowshoes in our cars and a chainsaw for fallen trees. And we’ll keep shoveling!
The snow signaled the start of a festive season and December has quickly become a happy blur of busy days in the store, school concerts, gathering with friends and making holiday treats. We are well into celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah and before the holiday ends I wanted to share some new latkes I made.
Latkes are small vegetable pancakes that are fried in oil and eaten during Hanukkah. Potatoes are the traditional vegetable to make them with but really, if you can grate it you can make a latke out of it, so zucchini, sweet potatoes, parsnips and even apples appear in latke form, too. With eight days of latke eating, it’s fun to try different varieties!
This year I made some with carrots and seasoned them with dukkah, the ingredient we are cooking with this month in our Tasting Jerusalem group. Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend that is popular in the Middle East. The mixes may contain nuts, dried chickpeas, seeds and spices, and they all involve freshly roasting and pounding the ingredients. There are many variations and I’ve shared my own recipe here on Eating Rules, which includes almonds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and salt.
After grating the carrots, I mixed in eggs, green onions, rice flour and a generous scoop of dukkah. I heated oil (the main ingredient in Hanukkah cooking!) and fried small patties until they were golden and smelled fragrant.
I served with them with thick, plain yogurt and a pinch of dukkah and we devoured them. The latkes were crispy outside and soft inside, and the warm, earthy flavor of the dukkah blended nicely with the carrots and creamy yogurt. A true Hanukkah treat!
Wishing you a very happy holiday season!
Dukkah-Spiced Carrot Latkes
Makes 8 latkes
1 pound carrots, scrubbed and grated (no need to peel them)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup green onions, finely diced
2 tablespoons rice flour (can substitute all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons dukkah (recipe here)
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Plain yogurt for serving
In a large bowl, combine the carrots, eggs, onions, flour and dukkah and gently stir. Add some salt and pepper and taste. If you use salt in your dukkah mix you may not need anymore.
Line a plate with paper towels to transfer your latkes to when they are fried.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and pour enough oil to cover the bottom. When the oil is hot, add ¼ cup scoops of the latke mixture to the pan (I fried 4 at a time) and lightly press each to form small pancakes. Fry for a few minutes and when golden on the bottom and gently flip to fry the other side for a few minutes.
Remove the latkes from the pan and drain them on the paper towel lined plate (there won’t be a lot of oil, but you want to remove any excess so they don’t get soggy). Fry the remaining latkes and drain them.
Serve hot with dollops of thick yogurt.