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Happy Wednesday and Holidays to everyone.  As I mentioned on Sunday, this is going to be the last column of the year.  My husband and I have made it a tradition to leave for a brief respite during the Christmas rush.  We usually head to Las Vegas-but this year we had a nice surprise and had several free nights worth of points on one of our point's credit cards.  We found we were getting the biggest bang for our points in Phoenix so that's where we are heading to!  We love the area-if any of you live there and have any good restaurant ideas, please send them to me!  We've already got The Big Breakfast and My Big Fat Greek Dinner ready in our minds!

I promised to give some tips today for our family's traditional dishes:  Latkes (potato pancakes) and homemade applesauce
Here they are:
On the latkes-no matter what recipe you are using, have patience. The tendency to turn them over too quickly makes them less crispy! Before you get to that point, make sure you add freshly minced onion and garlic-chopped pieces tend to make the latkes fall apart. Another very good tip-once you've shredded the potatoes, added the onion and garlic-put the mix into clean tea towels or cheese cloth and squeeze as much water out of them as possible! Get those veggies as dry as you possibly can before adding the salt, pepper, flour and egg! This will ensure a much tighter batter and then they will brown and crisp up much nicer. Don't be afraid to use oil and get it really hot! Be careful putting the potatoes onto the griddle.
Again-give them the proper time to get nice and crispy and brown, replenish the oil as needed.  It's only once a year!  Have the oven pre-heated to 275 and have paper towels on the cookie sheets waiting for the finished latkes.  Enjoy!

On the applesauce-use more than one variety!  I like to mix the tart Granny Smith with some Fuji and either golden or red delicious.  This way you not only get a mix on the taste, but the texture as well.  Leave a few of the apples peels on-again it's a texture thing.  Don't think you must add sugar, unless you like the sauce very sweet.  I like to use 100% cranberry juice for the liquid in my applesauce.  Not only does it give the applesauce a nice pink hue, but it really adds a nice flavor as well.  If you have any fresh or frozen cranberries left, add a ½ cup of them, chopped to the pot.  I like to use a bit of ginger for a change of pace from usual cinnamon.
And there you have it, two traditional Hanukah foods that everyone can enjoy-all year round.

Again, may all of you have a wonderful and heartfelt holiday with the people who mean the most to you.  Happy Holidays!


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