a whole lotta latke!

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It’s officially holiday season!  Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, a holiday where you’re supposed to eat fried foods to commemorate the miracle of a small amount of oil burning for 8 nights.  Somehow, the traditional foods that evolved from this are potato latkes (i.e. potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts.  That sounds pretty good, but Chanukah lasts 8 days, and although I’m a huge proponent of sticking to tradition, 8 days of fried potato and dough can really wreak havoc on your body.  So while I think eating the fried stuff sparingly is fine, if you’d like to lighten up some of your holiday dinners this week (and try some creative twists on traditional foods) then keep up with the blog.  Today’s post is traditional potato latkes and zucchini-lemon latkes, and I’ll be posting on sweet potato-vanilla bean latkes and healthier doughnuts later this weekend!

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Tudy already made some delicious potato pancakes that she pan-fried with cooking spray.  I think this is a fantastic alternative to frying the pancakes in a pan full of oil.  Since I’m away from home for the holiday, I’m going to try to make my mom’s latkes (I grew up eating them – they’re delicious and obviously hold a special place in my heart!).  I made one batch fried the traditional way, and another batch baked in the oven, and let me tell you – the baked ones are amazing!!! Just as tasty as the fried latkes, but they use far less oil (I used a little less than 1 tsp. olive oil per 10 pancakes).  They take a bit more time to make, but are very easy and very much worth it!

The zucchini latkes are a lighter take on potato latkes.  Fewer carbs and no oil make them a great healthy alternative, and the lemon flavor makes them absolutely delicious!

Baked Traditional Potato Latkes (makes about 40 small latkes)

2 russet potatoes
1 medium yellow onion
1 tbsp. salt
pinch black pepper (optional)
10 tbsp. whole-wheat flour
2 egg whites
about 4 tsp. olive oil
non-stick cooking spray
applesauce, low-fat sour cream/non-fat plain yogurt, for serving

Preheat oven to 425.

Peel the potatoes.  Chop the onion and potatoes into about 1″ pieces and place numberswiki.com

in a blender/food processor.  Puree until just smooth.  In a bowl, combine the potatoes, salt, pepper and egg whites.  Slowly add in the flour, 2 tbsp. at a time, stirring the mixture until it thickens.  

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray and place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes to pre-heat.  Remove pan from the oven, and using a tablespoon, spoon out the potato mixture onto the baking sheet (one baking sheet should fit 10-12 tablespoon-sized pancakes).  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  

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Remove after 10 minutes, and using a pastry brush, brush each side of the potato pancakes with olive oil.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove, flip pancakes, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until latkes have turned light brown and crisp.  Serve immediately with applesauce, low-fat sour cream or plain non-fat yogurt.

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Lemony Zucchini Latkes (makes about 24 latkes)

2 zucchini, coarsely grated
1 white onion, coarsely grated
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 tbsp. whole wheat flour
non-stick cooking spray
applesauce, low-fat sour cream/non-fat plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to 425.
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Combine the grated zucchini, onion and salt in a bowl.  Let stand for 30 minutes, place in the center of a kitchen towel, and squeeze out as much water as possible.  Place drained zucchini and onion in a bowl and combine with remaining ingredients.  Stir well. 

Spray a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray and place in the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and spoon the zucchini mixture onto the sheet using a tablespoon.  

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Each baking sheet should hold about 8 pancakes.  Lightly spray the tops of the zucchini pancakes with cooking spray.  Bake for 15 minutes, flip pancakes, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until latkes are golden brown all over.  Serve with non-fat yogurt/low-fat sour cream and/or applesauce.

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