5 Tips For Hosting a Casual Hanukkah Party Plus A Latke Recipe
(This post is sponsored by Kitchen Stuff Plus. You can read the original post that first appeared on November 21, 2018, directly on their website, here; all opinions are my own.)
As we approach the darkest days of the year, celebrating Hanukkah is one of the most anticipated events in the Jewish calendar.
Hanukkah is an 8-day holiday observed in November or December, depending on the Hebrew lunar calendar. This year it begins on the evening of December 2nd.
Often referred to as the ‘festival of lights’, Hanukkah refers to the rededication of the Holy Temple after the Maccabees defeated their Greek-Syrian oppressors. When the Jews went to light the menorah, or candelabra, oil that should’ve lasted for one day burned for eight.
Hanukkah is celebrated in as many ways as there are family traditions, but almost all Hanukkah party celebrations include lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, singing songs, opening gifts; and, eating latkes, gelt, and sufganiyot.
I only started making latkes when my kids came home from school one day raving about the latkes a mom had made in their classroom. Since then, my family looks forward to the one or two days when I go all out making latkes: they like to invite friends over to enjoy the party!
Here are 5 tips for hosting a casual Hanukkah party:
Tip 1: Use any variation of blue, white, grey, silver, and gold linens and platters that you have.
I’ve been hooked on making homemade latkes ever since my kids introduced me to these delicious potato pancakes years ago!
My kids came home one day, raving about the latkes a mom had made in the classroom to celebrate Hanukkah. I just had to learn how to make these potato latkes, and I’m so glad I did.
Latkes are the star of any Hanukkah celebration because they are fried in oil. Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish celebration that commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple after the Maccabees defeated their Greek-Syrian oppressors. Oil in the menorah lasted for eight days instead of one, which is why oily foods are eaten during this holiday.
Hanukkah also includes lighting the menorah, singing songs, opening small gifts, playing dreidel, and eating chocolate gelt. (Look for an upcoming post on hosting a casual Hanukkah party.)
Of course, you can buy latkes at stores during this time of year, but nothing compares to making them yourself! They taste so much better, straight out of the frying pan. They’re fresh and sizzling and hot. When you buy latkes, you have to reheat them at home, and they just don’t taste the same.
So, how do you make these golden, scrumptious potato latkes? There are many recipes out there and all involve grated potatoes, eggs, flour, salt, and pepper. It’s a time-consuming process to make latkes at home, but it is so worth it, in my opinion! The house stinks for a few days, but my family always accepts this fact because of how good homemade latkes are. Every time I make them, I’m always glad that I do.
I make my latkes with the usual ingredients, but I add in a sweet potato, a carrot, and an onion. One year, my friend came by to pick up her daughter after one of our casual latke parties and went home to make latkes with added grated zucchini. She said her family loved them! There is definitely room to be creative with this recipe. After all, you’re going to be frying the latke in hot oil – what food doesn’t taste good when fried?
Ingredients: 10 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and washed
1 large sweet potato, peeled and washed
1 large carrot
1 large onion
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp baking powder
3 T flour
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Sour Cream and Applesauce for toppings
Coarsely grate the regular and sweet potatoes.
Place the potatoes in an old tea towel and squeeze out all the liquid you can. Do not rinse the potatoes.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl and coarsely grate the carrot and onions on top.
Add the dry ingredients and the eggs. Mix well.
Place 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick pan and heat over medium-high heat. The oil just needs to cover the bottom of the pan; it does not need to be deep.
Using a ¼ cup measure, place each latke carefully into the hot oil. Each pan should hold 3-4 latkes on average.
Fry for 3-4 minutes a side, flipping when you can see that the latkes are getting golden brown.
Keep moving the pan around and adding oil to ensure each latke is always frying in oil, to avoid burning and sticking.
Fry in batches, adding oil in between.
Be careful: the oil and pan get hot and the latkes splatter.
Place between paper towels and serve with sour cream and applesauce!
Do you make latkes at home? I’d love to hear your recipe variations!