Saturday, September 25, 2010

50 mile breakfast! - Latkes, herbed goat cheese, ruby relish.

I was telling my Gramma the other day what I've been doing for work lately. Since, you know, not-for-profit work in CLT is incredibly difficult to come by these days. "Yeah, I've been cooking food for people." I told her. "Vegan and vegetarian stuff with a local focus."
She found this totally amusing - turns out my great grandpa was big into cooking to, which was news to me. There really aren't a ton of "happy" cooks in my close fam - my aunt, me, and.... yeah, that's it. "He made amazing latkes." She said, kinda wistfully.

Basically, I've had a tater pancake craving ever since. Ze time to satisfy is at hand!

Bjinte Potato Latkes 

Everyone's got their little secrets when making latkes. Mine is kind of a wimp out.

Cook the potatoes first.

None of this soaking business (adds too much liquid). None of this raw, crunchy mistake stuff (if you just go to it with freshly grated 'taters, you could end up with uncooked shreds at the center of your cake). Make it easy. Parboil!

5 medium potatoes such as Bjinte or a good, sturdy baking potato
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
2 eggs
Dash milk or cream
A fistful of flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter

Boil a pot of water, add your unpeeled taters, and cook 10 minutes. Set them in a colander under cold running water for a couple of minutes to cool. Peel 'em with a vegetable peeler.

In a large bowl, grate your potatoes, then onion. Add garlic, salt, pepper, mix well with your hands. Add your eggs, beat them where they land a little, and mix it all together.

Add your flour and baking soda and mix, then add a dash of milk. You want a coating on each shred of potato, but no pooling batter, like in the photo above. Add flour then milk, little bit by little bit, until the consistency looks good.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet until the foam subsides. Reduce heat to medium, and using a slotted spoon, spoon about a tablespoon of batter into the skillet. Repeat 3-4 times, depending on the size of your pan.

See how it's holding its shape? Yay.

Cook 2-3 minutes a side. You'll smell their toastiness and know it's time to flip:

Cook until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

And on the side, we have...

Herbed Goat Cheese

5 oz fresh goat cheese
Dash cream
Large handful chives, chopped

Mix it all together, with a fork. Set aside.

Ruby Relish

1 pear, sliced thin
1/8 red cabbage, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
Splash sherry or bourbon
1 tablespoon honey
1 tsp Salt
2 tablespoons butter

Melt your butter in a small saucepan and add onions and cabbage. Over medium-high heat, get a little browning happening. Add your sliced pears, cook 2-3 minutes. Add your bourbon, honey, salt, and a splash of water. Lower heat to low and simmer 20 minutes, adding water as needed to prevent sticking.

Once everything is nicely softened, throw it in your blender and pulse 6-8 times, until things are uniformly small. Return to saucepan and heat to serve.

Best way to go at these babies is with a schmear of both goat cheese and relish on each bite, but to preserve crispness, serve your sauces on the side and let your pals do their own.


  1. yummy - I love potato pancakes and haven't made them for ages. I think that would be a good recipe to do with zucchini also but you'd sure have to press all the liquid out of them. I do believe latkes are on the menu for tonight!

  2. Sweet! Can't wait to see if you pair one of your amazing cheeses with them!

    I remember when the shortening ban went into effect in NYC - latke lovers all over the city cried, and quickly compiled a list of places you could get them "prepared properly". It really is the best thing to fry them in - you just can't get that awesome, crisp crust any other way.