Mazel Tov & Opa! The Hellenized Latke
By Annette Keen*
There are as many recipes for Chanukah potato pancakes, latkes, as there are countries and cultures around the world where Jews have lived, not always happily, across the millennia. But for shear historical irony and a certain kind of Jewish mischievousness, what can compete with the Hellenized Latke?
As the story of Chanukah tells us, the Jews of Judea through the exploits of Judah Maccabbee, staved off forcible conversion to the Greek way of life, Hellenism, but as elsewhere in our long history, Jewish culture survives because it is able to absorb pleasing aspects of various world cultures without blurring its distinctiveness. That is, it absorbs, without being absorbed into a larger culture.
As a light-hearted example, I offer the Hellenized Latke, a recipe that incorporates feta, the traditional Greek cheese, into the traditional Jewish potato latke. The recipe is only one of several variations that appear in the international best-selling and multi-award-winning cookbook, "Divine tm Kosher Cuisine," co-authored by chefs Rise Routenberg and Barbara Wasser, with text written by Annette Keen. (Order a copy in time for holiday cooking and gift-giving, at www. divinekosher.com.)
2 ½ cups grated zucchini
1 cup peeled, shredded potatoes
1 cup peeled, shredded carrots
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
½ teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
¾ cup flour
½ cup chopped parsley or dill
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
vegetable oil for frying
Place zucchini, potatoes and carrots in colander, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and drain 15 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid. Place in bowl. Add eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in flour and parsley or dill. Add feta cheese. Heat oil in large skillet. Drop mixture by spoonfuls and fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
* Annette Keen is a freelance writer in Upstate New York.
from the December 2009 Edition of the Jewish Magazine