Monday, December 6, 2010

Dark Days Update #1: The Dark Days of Hanukkah

As I've already mentioned the start of the Dark Days Challenge coincided with the first night of Hanukkah. So this first update shares some of the local and festive Hanukkah eating we've been enjoying. Below you will find recipes for traditional latkes as well as butternut squash latkes, wine and maple glazed parsnips & carrots, apple butter, challah, green beans with roasted squash seeds, and finally sufganiyot (jelly donuts!).

(Potato Latkes with Apple Butter & Red Wine and Maple Glazed Carrots & Parsnips)
Potato Latkes (via Martha Stewart)
serves 4 to 6
4 large potatoes, peeled
1 small onion, finely grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Beer
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Ground Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil, for frying
--Shred potatoes into large bowl of ice water.
--With a slotted spoon transfer shredded potatoes to a second bowl, lined with a kitchen tile and squeeze the moisture out of the potatoes. Leave the original bowl of ice water for 10 minutes allowing the starch to settle on the bottom.
--Pour the water out of the bowl leaving the settled starch. Transfer the shredded potatoes to the bowl with the remaining starch.
--Add the onion to the bowl. Stir in the eggs, beer, flour, salt and pepper.
--In a heavy nonstick skillet heat 1/4-inch of oil. Transfer approximately a 1/2 cup of the mixture per pancake into the skillet. Cook the mixture in batches frying both sides 4 to 6 minutes or until golden brown.
--Transfer the finished latkes to a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet and allow the latkes to drain of excess oil.
--Serve with your choice of toppings. The traditional toppings are sour cream or applesauce.
We topped them with a thin layer of Gail's delicious homemade Apple butter. The original recipe also suggests warming the oven to 200 F and placing finished latkes on a cookie sheet into the oven to keep them warm as you make more.
Rather then go out and find a local beer I used a beer we had on hand. A delicious
Fat Tire from the good folks at New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, CO.

Apple Butter
makes 3-4 medium jars
2lbs apples, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups of water
Juice from 1 orange
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground cinnamon
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
--Put apples and water in heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer the apples for about 10 minutes, until soft.
--Sieve the fruit in batches and collect the juice and puree in a clean bowl. Put this mixture back into the pan and add the orange juice, spices, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring until the sugar has all dissolved.
--Bring the mixture back up to a boil and simmer gently for about 2 hours, or longer if needed until the mixture has sufficiently thickened, stirring occasionally to prevent mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The butter is ready when it is thick enough to rest on the back of a spoon without running off.
--Ladle into warm sterilized mason jars leaving about 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 5-10 minutes. Allow processed jars to cool down. Check that jars have sealed. IF they have store them in a cupboard for up to 6 months, if not store in refrigerator.
--Refrigerate after opening.

Red Wine and Maple Glazed Carrots & Parsnips
(adapted from Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Today)
serves 6
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 lb carrots cut diagonally into 3-inch pieces
1 lb parsnips cut diagonally into 3-inch pieces
1 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped dill
--Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides
--Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened about 4 minutes
--Add chili powder, salt, and pepper and cook about 1 minute
--Add carrots, wine, and maple syrup, bring to a simmer.
--Add parsnips and bring to a simmer.
--Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots & parsnips are tender, about 20 minutes.
--Add vinegar and boil, uncovered, until liquid has reduced down to a glaze, 3 to 5 minutes.
--Remove from heat and stir in dill

Local ingredients in the Latkes with Apple Butter & Glazed Carrots and Parsnips:
Latkes: Potatoes (Stillmans Farm), Onions (Allandale Farm), Flour (King Arthur Flour), Eggs (Baffoni's Poultry Farm)
Apple Butter: Apples (Kimball Farm)
Glazed Carrots & Parsnips: Carrots & Parsnips (Stillmans Farm), Shallots (Allandale Farm)

Next up is a delicious loaf of Challah I enjoyed with Gail's family. Her sister raises chickens in the backyard of their suburban home. The eggs in this delicious braided loaf were laid within 50 feet of the table where the bread was enjoyed.
(Challah & Red Wine)
(thanks to Jane Murphy)
makes 2 loaves
one packet active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoons salt
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs + 1 egg for glaze
6 cups all-purpose flour
--Dissolve the yeast in the water for about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, honey, oil and eggs. Gradually add the flour until incorporated. Kneed about 8 minutes on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover until double in size, about an hour.
--Divide into six equal sections, roll into ropes, and braid two challahs. Cover each with a towel and let rise about another 1/2 hour. Brush well with beaten egg.
--Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes, rotating once in the oven for even browning. Challah is done when the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Local ingredients in the Challah: Eggs (Backyard Chickens) Possibly the Honey & Flour came from local sources but I can't guarantee it.

(Butternut Squash Latkes with Cheddar & Green Beans with toasted Squash Seeds)
Butternut Squash Latkes
3 cups Grated Butternut Squash, See Instructions Below
½ cups Grated Onion, Yellow Or Sweet
2 whole Eggs
3 Tablespoons Flour, All Purpose Or Whole Wheat
¾ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Rubbed Sage Or Poultry Seasoning
½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
--Cut squash in half and de-seed like a pumpkin. With a vegetable peeler, peel the squash. You can also reverse these steps but I find it easier to peel once halved. Grate squash either using a grater with large holes. Put in a medium bowl. Grate onion and add to the bowl; try not to include lots of liquid. Add in the eggs, flour, salt, and sage and stir.
--Put olive oil in a heavy skillet or griddle on high. Heat for 30 seconds. Place a heaping tablespoonful of mixture in the pan and spread it into a 2-3 inch diameter circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cook for 1 minute, until it starts to brown, and then flip. These guys cook fast so keep a close eye on them!
--Top with applesauce, sour cream, cheddar or whatever you prefer.

Green Beans with Roasted Squash Seeds
  • 1 pound slender green beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup squash or pumpkin seeds
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • --Cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain beans and cool in colander. Cut beans into 1-inch pieces.

    --Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add Squash/Pumpkin seeds. Toss until starting to pop and brown, about 8 minutes; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Transfer to plate.

    --Let stand at room temperature

    --Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add rosemary and garlic; stir 15 seconds. Add beans and squash seeds. Toss until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper.

    Local ingredients in the Butternut Squash Latkes & Green beans with Squash Seeds

    Latkes: Butternut Squash & Onion (Stillman's Farm), Eggs (Jane Murphy's Backyard Chickens), Flour (King Arthur Flour), Cheddar (Grafton Village Cheese)

    Green Beans: Green Beans (Kimball Farm & My Garden), Squash Seeds (Stillman's Farm), Rosemary (my windowsill), Garlic (Allandale Farm).

    Hanukkah Sufganiyot (Jelly Donut)
    makes 20 donuts
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups vegetable oil, plus more for bowl
  • 1 cup your choice of jam
  • --In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • --Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, nutmeg, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a sticky dough forms. On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 8 minutes (add more flour if necessary). Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • --On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or drinking glass, cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 15 minutes
  • --In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 40 seconds. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on other side, another 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in sugar.
  • --Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #4 tip with jam. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Fit the pastry tip into a hole, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

  • Local ingredients in the Sufganiyot: Flour (King Arthur Flour), Eggs (Baffoni's Poultry Farm), Butter (Cabot Creamery), Jam ( homemade Strawberry & Tripleberry Jam from our pantry)

  • I'll be enjoying leftover latkes & green beans for lunch during the upcoming few days as well. In the first week of the Dark Days Challenge I was able to eat locally thanks to:
  • Stillmans Farm,

  • Allandale Farm, Kimball Farm, King Arthur Flour, Grafton Village Cheese, Cabot Creamery, Baffoni's Poultry Farm, Jane Murphy's Backyard Chickens, My Garden, and the rosemary plant living on my windowsill.


    mangocheeks said...

    All of it looks wonderful, but I am especially taken by the butternut latkes.

    Most of my garden herbs are now, excpet for the hardy thyme, sage and rosemary, you can always rely on rosemary.

    Anonymous said...

    I'd love to hear more about the butternut latkes. What did you think? Were they a hit? They look amazing, and I love butternut used in unusual ways (enchiladas are a fave) so I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Everything looks wonderful!


    Fred said...

    Mango- The butternet latkes were great and are worth trying out! Sadly, the only thing I have left growing is a rosemary plant on my windowsill.

    Ali- The butternut latkes were GREAT. I find traditional latkes have a funky consistency because they usually aren't shredded fine enough. I used a cheese grater to shred the butternut and onion and they cooked up great. Certainly worth making, though they are not as startchy as the potato version which is something to keep in mind.