Wine Wednesday: Celebrate the Festival of Lights

I love the holidays.  It’s not about getting gifts (that rarely happens for me, anymore unless from a client or vendor) it’s about the celebration of family and FOOD!  I admit it; I love food (and wine, champagne, tequila you get the picture) and love sharing it with you all.

So as we head into the holidays, and this being the first day of Hanukkah this is for all my Jewish readers that will be celebrating.  While I can’t take credit for these, I am addicted to Apple-Potato Latkes, there is a sweet potato version too that is yummy!. So if anyone wants to send some my way I’ll happily accept.

As for wine choices these three Chardonnay brands: Kim Crawford, Brampton or Monjardin El Cerezo, all ‘Unoaked’, will be great wine choices.

Happy Holidays to you.

Apple-Potato Latkes With Cinnamon Sour Cream

6 tablespoons sour cream or Greek yogurt

1/4-teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2-teaspoon maple syrup

2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored

1 large russet potato, peeled

1 medium yellow onion, peeled

2/3-cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2-teaspoon black pepper

Olive oil, for frying.

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt, cinnamon and syrup. Cover and chill until ready to use.

2. Coarsely grate the apples, potato and onion. Put the mixture in a clean dishtowel and squeeze to wring out as much liquid as possible. For the crispiest pancakes, you want the least moisture.

3. Working quickly, put the mixture in a large bowl, add the flour, eggs, salt, baking powder and pepper, and mix until the flour is absorbed.

4. In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil. Once the oil is hot (a drop of batter placed in the pan should sizzle), drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the pan, cooking 3 to 4 latkes at a time. Use a spatula to flatten the scoops into disks. When the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes, flip them. Cook until the second side is deeply browned, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the latkes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with dollops of the cinnamon sour cream on top.

Yield: about 1 1/2 dozen latkes.

Babette Friedman’s Apple Cake Adapted from Daniel Rose

Top of Form

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan

1 1/3 cups plus 1-tablespoon sugar

1/8-teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 Gala or other flavorful apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 slices

1/2-teaspoon Calvados or apple brandy

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2-teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan, and set aside.

2. In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine remaining 8 ounces butter, 1 1/3 cups sugar and the salt. Mix until blended. Add eggs and whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour and baking powder until thoroughly mixed. Fold in a few of the apples, and spread batter evenly in pan.

3. In large bowl, toss remaining apples with Calvados, ginger and cinnamon. Arrange apple slices in closely fitting concentric circles on top of dough; all the slices may not be needed. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over apples.

4. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake dough comes out clean and apples are golden and tender, about 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Cheese Danish Pastries (Delkelekh) Adapted From Mindel Appel  Time: About an hour plus overnight refrigeration

FOR THE DOUGH:
1 tablespoon yeast
1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

For the filling:
12 ounces farmer’s cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg yolk
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

For assembly:
Flour, for dusting
1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Confectioners’ sugar, optional.

1. For the dough: In bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast and milk and allow to sit for a few minutes. Stir in eggs, butter, sour cream, sugar, salt and flour. Mix well until dough turns into a ball. Transfer to a covered container and allow resting for 30 minutes, and then refrigerating overnight.

2. For the filling: In bowl of an electric mixer, combine farmer’s cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, vanilla, egg yolk and lemon zest. Mix well. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed, up to 24 hours.

3. For assembly: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out dough into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 4-by-4-inch squares. Spoon about 1 tablespoon filling into center of each square. Pick up corners of each square and press points together.

4. Arrange pastries on baking sheets about 1½ inches apart. Brush with egg mixture. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and serve as is or sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: About 24 pastries.

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