Although I will return to the homemade gift themed posts I'd like to take a break to tell you about the extent of our Hanukkah celebration.
We always light candles on the first night, and usually the second, and occasionally we make it to the third night before we forget completely. This year we didn't even make it to the third night but we did make latkes!
So why as such bad followers of tradition do we feel compelled to still make latkes every year? Because they are ridiculously good that's why. Actually I'm not sure why we don't make them more often. (That's a lie, it's because they are fried and mom only lets us make fried foods on rare occasions.)
We use the Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook for our recipe. For our potatoes this year we tried russets and they worked fabulously. The latkes were crispy on the outside but still mushy on the inside (you want a little of that) and the potatoes were dry enough that the strips of shredded potato held up and didn't become one amorphous glob of potato and egg. And although you can grate the potatoes by hand if that is your only option a food processor makes it much easier.
We served our latkes with our own take on the traditional accompaniments of sour cream and apple sauce. In past years this has meant Mott's and sour cream for me and dad but not mom (lactose intolerance).
This year we did much better: we used our homemade applesauce in place of Mott's. As a substitute for sour cream we used mom's homemade yogurt (made with lactose free milk so she can eat it). If you haven't had much experience with plain unsweetened yogurt it might sound like an odd substitute for sour cream but it really works.
Keep an eye out for future posts where I will explain how we make yogurt and its many other varied uses.