Monday, December 13, 2004

Strange propensity to not post. It may have to do with cooking latkes all week. But I'm reading others' posts as they arrive.

How I make latkes: for each pound of (russet) potatoes, a decent-sized onion. Grate with the large-holed grating option. Squeeze a little, to get water out, and leave for a little time, in a deepish pot, with the grated potatoes and onions in a mound to one side, so the water can collect to the other. Pour off the water, careful to reserve the potato starch collected on the bottom. Crack in an egg or two or three, depending on how many potatoes you have, add some flour or matzoh meal (I use garbanzo bean flour, nice and nutty), salt, mix together with your hands. In wide nonstick pans, heat oil (depth your choice, the deeper (up to ~ 1/3 inch) the tastier) on pretty high, form latkes with your hands, slip them in. Don't worry if they're loose, they'll firm up. Cook to a crispy niceness, flip with a spatula, press down w/ spatula on cooked side, salt a little immediately, leave a few more minutes until done. Drain on paper towels/bags, eat with applesauce &/or sour cream as soon as possible, repeat. For even more richness (as well as historicity) use olive oil, maybe cut with some canola if it gets too smoky.

No one else in my extended family makes them anymore, so I am the go-to guy.

In other hanukkah cooking news, yesterday my brother & his fiancee gave us The French Laundry Cookbook. If cooking were a religion, it wouldn't be a bible (I think cooking would rely predominantly on oral tradition, were it a religion), but it would be a devotional of the first order, like the Book of Kells. Have you seen this thing? It is minute and unreasonably obsessive. I may never cook a single recipe from it. I love it.

We've given Jonah a bunch of toys, like lego Knights' Kingdom knights, a big legos Tie Bomber, a video game (Pangea Soft's "Nanosaur II"), Lincoln Logs, some little transformers, a spider-man bopping bag. His face gets so happy and his body. Then he goes downstairs and listens to Harry Potter book tapes and plays with his stuff. Being five has an entire consumer vocabulary that, really, is fun. And overpriced. But fun. I'm teaching him Go, a little here and there. And Chess, via mostly checkers. And backgammon. That will be fun, when he can play those games with skill.

Interesting post at HCE this week. Evocative, I'm only noting one or two random thoughts here, because of the many I had reading it, they are what I remember.

One: I'd think of poetry less as where you play chess with yourself than as (one of the places) where the chess you play with yourself becomes manifest. But nice thought, especially in context of his unashamedly long replies to the questions.

Two: his views of cancer and genetics are interesting and, from what I understand of the topic, worth some research and pursuit. It's a shame medicine has its orthodoxies like any other religion does, though it only seems so (a shame, that is), I guess, because we are supposed to believe that medicine is not a religion.

Thanks for the recipe for latkes. I'm going to make them tomorrow. I have the French Laundry cookbook. It's a beautiful book, really gorgeous. The recipe for kuchen in the back (I think it's in the back) is really delicious, and beautiful with the cranberries spread out.
Great--let me know how they turn out.
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