While cooking, listen to this: You're The Best Thing About Me - U2 (from their new album!)
You know those days where you wake up and immediately suspect a bad day is afoot? Like, a day that's a worthy rival of Alexander's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (a favorite in the Adler household growing up)? That was what yesterday was like.
For starters, it was a Monday. Nothing good happens on a Monday. Even holiday weekend Mondays are really just Sundays in disguise. But this Monday started with a wake up call from my parents checking in on me after hearing a pipe bomb went off at Port Authority. No casualties, thankfully. Then, five minutes later, the fire department comes barreling down my street, with firefighters in full gear clamoring up the stairs of my building. It was just steam, they said, thankfully. The worst part of these incidents was that I realized how New York I've become. I was not scared to ride the subway or be in a burning building. I was worried about being late for work and possibly having to evacuate in my pajamas.
After an incredibly sweaty bike ride to work and an office quick change, the day morphed into something, well, pleasant. Two coworkers and I made plans to do a hot yoga class. There was a cute dog on the subway home. A spin class with a friend turned into a nice dinner with her and another friend. The killer birthday gifts I bought for my brothers finally arrived, after a month-long wait. The night ended with my favorite (vegan!) soft serve in the city, Chloe's. And I found two wooden dreidels, just in time for Chanukah!
Which brings me to this recipe. Oh, these latkes. I mean, is there ever a bad time to have fried potatoes? Of course not, but Chanukah is one of my favorite holidays, often over-hyped by the Christmas culture to be eight nights of gift giving, when really it's all about the food. Last week, we poured out our hearts and souls into two sufganiyot recipes (which Rina recreated this weekend using some pretty bomb flavors, including coffee whipped cream!). This week, we bring you the second half of the Channukah food duo - latkes.
But not just any latkes, friends, sweet potato latkes. When we ordered our groceries, we somehow ended up with Japanese sweet potatoes, so they might not look like your friendly neighborhood yam, but believe me they were fantastic. And what's better than plain sweet potato latkes? Sweet potato latkes dipped in chipotle sauce. You might recognize this sauce from the make-your-own Mexican tortas we posted about a month ago. After all, this sauce is a versatile fellow that replaces your typical sour cream with something a tad more stellar.
So, whether you need an excuse to eat fried potatoes, or are looking for the perfect recipe to compliment your holiday cheer, look no further. We've got the secret to stopping a case of the Mondays in it's tracks. Stay safe out there, friends!
3 pounds Japanese white sweet potatoes (2-3)*
2 large eggs
¼ cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
¾ cup raw cashews
½ cup milk of choice (you can also use water, but it will be less creamy)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon maple syrup/agave/honey/sweetener of choice
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon of adobo sauce
1-2 Tablespoons neutral oil, optional (for creaminess)
*Rina ordered these ones by mistake and they worked super well, but don't feel tied down to it if you don't like them or can't find them.
Soak the cashews: in a large bowl, or in the bowl of the blender/processor you're going to use, add the cashews and cover with boiling-hot water. Let rest for 1 hour, then drain thoroughly.
Peel, grate and squeeze the potatoes: grate the potatoes using the large-hole side of a box grater. Place the potato strands in a clean kitchen towel, and wring out all of the liquid you can over the sink. Open the towel and loosen the strands, then wring out one more time.
Prepare latke mixture: in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, breadcrumbs, baking powder, salt and pepper together. Add the potato strands and, using your hands, mix until well coated. The mixture should be wet and thick, but not soupy.
Prepare the chipotle mayo: in the bowl of your blender/processor, add the cashews, milk of choice/water, lemon juice, maple syrup, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and oil, if using. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides if necessary. If it's too thick, add a bit more milk/water, and adjust to suit your taste.
Prepare the latke station: place a few sheets of paper towel on a large rimmed baking sheet or cooling rack. In a cast-iron skillet or large frying pan, add about 4 Tablespoons of vegetable oil and place on medium-high heat. After a few minutes, test the oil by dropping a tiny amount of latke mixture into it. If it starts sizzling, you're good to go. The oil should NOT be smoking - that means the heat is too high and it's starting to burn.
Fry the latkes: drop large spoonfuls of latke batter into the oil (you can honestly make them as big or small as you like, go nuts) and press down gently with the back of a spatula to flatten. Cook on each side for 2 ½ - 3 minutes, until each side is golden brown and the latkes are cooked through. If potato stragglers start to burn, carefully fish them out.
To serve: serve the latkes warm with the chipotle aioli, as well as sour cream., applesauce or anything else you feel like dipping them into.
To keep: both the aioli and the latkes can be kept in the fridge for a few days in tightly sealed containers.