Sunday, December 9, 2012

Potato Latkes

Happy Hanukkah! Saturday was the first night of the eight days and since we have several merging cultures in our household, we celebrated the start of the holiday season by making traditional potato latkes.  If you don't know what they are, they are also known as potato pancakes.  Quite yummy, but probably not so healthy because they are fried.

Recipe adapted from My Very Own Hanukkah Box


  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

  • frying oil (NOT olive oil)  (the recipe said do not use olive oil, but when I was researching Hanukkah on Wikipedia  it said that you should preferably use olive oil,... so who knows really)
  • lots of paper towels

1. Peel potatoes.  Rinse in cold water
2.Grate potatoes.  I used my kitchen aid... it made it so much easier then grating it all by hand!
3. Peel onion and grate into the potato.
4. Put potato and onion in colander.  Press down and remove as much liquid as possible.  Pat down with paper towels and put back into a dry bowl.  ( We got a couple cups of liquid out of ours)
5. Beat eggs, then  mix well into the potato with the flour, salt and pepper.
6. Pour a little oil into the frying pan. When hot add a heaping spoonful of the potato mix, pressing it flat with spatula.  Don't overcrowd the pan with too many pancakes.
7.Once edges are browned, turn over and fry on other side.  Both sides should be golden brown and crispy.
8.Have a plate ready with paper towels and place latkes there to drain oil.

Best served hot.

 Traditionally eaten with applesauce.  Other toppings that we use are sour cream, mustard or ketchup.  I tried googling additional topping ideas and there were some pretty creative ideas out there, but I like to keep it simple.

Light the menorah, play some dreidel, eat some chocolate gelt and have a happy eight days of Hanukkah!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Drunken Noodles

Have I mentioned how much I love Thai food?  No, well, then let me tell you, I love Thai food.  One of my favorite Thai dishes is Drunken Noodles.   Not to long ago, I was out to eat and was enjoying how delicious my meal was when I thought how great it would be if I could make it at home.

So I searched Pinterest, of course, and found this recipe.  It has a few obscure ingredients (like 3 different types of soy sauce) but if you go to your local Asian market, you should be able to find them.  And the great thing about shopping at Asian markets is that they are so cheap. I recommend buying any Asian ingredients at your local Asian grocery even if they have the item at your regular grocery store, because it will be twice as big and a quarter of the price.

So the first step to making this recipe is soaking the noodles ahead of time in warm water for about an hour.  Then I put them in boiling water for 45-50 seconds.  That's what the package recommends for soup.  For stir fry it recommends that you can just stir fry in oil for a few minutes (which is what I do with Pad Thai).  I wasn't sure which category the drunken noodles fell into so I boiled them, and it seemed to come out the texture I wanted.  But you can choose which you think works better.

Cut up the veggies.  I love how pretty they are... such vibrant and contrasting colors.

So one of the key ingredients is the Thai Basil.  This is different then regular Basil.  If you have no other option you can use regular Basil but it's not quite the same.  So if you are able to get it, take the extra trip to get the good stuff. It's totally worth it!

The other key ingredient is Thai Chili peppers.  You totally don't need that many to make it hot.  I halved the total recipe  and only had 4 Thai Chilies and it was totally hot enough.  Though that is totally dependent on your level of tolerance for hotness.  For this recipe to taste really genuine, it really needs to have a kick to it.   And look at all that garlic... Mmm, yummy!

Look at all that yummy goodness. It was totally delicious and tasted like a dish from a true Thai restaurant.  I love to go out to eat, but sometimes it's nice to be able to get the same food at only a fraction of the price.  

 If you want to try the recipe yourself:  Drunken Noodles from Epicurious.

Note:  I followed the recipe and used chicken the first time.  It turned out exactly right.  The next time I made the recipe, I used tofu.  Unfortunately the tofu didn't soak up the hotness the same way the chicken did, so it was a lot less flavorful.  I still would like to figure out how to make it with tofu so that I can add it to my meatless dish collection.  I'll update you when I figure out how to successfully do that.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood - The Cape

My favorite part of my little girl's costume this year was the cape.  I loved the color on her and the fun contrasting color peaking out from under the hood.  Here's a short little how-to on making the cape. 

I'm sorry if this is confusing.  I try to take pictures of each step but when I go to post, I realize that I should've taken even more photos.  There are all sorts of little steps that you don't notice until you go to write it up.  Ah well.   You live and learn.

It started by measuring how long I wanted it to be on her.  I folded the fabric in half so that I could get the max amount possible from my fabric.  I needed the total width to be 40 inches, while the height needed to be at least 20. 

I marked the midpoint of my fabric width (20 inches).  From there, I held my measuring tape at this point and slowly moved it around the circle marking litlte dots every quarter inch or so.  I then connected the dots and cut out my half circle.  The circle has a radius of 20 and a diameter of 40. 

Next I marked a line 5 inches from my midpoint.  I then marked the midpoint of that diameter and measured out a half circle with a 2.5 inch radius.  I cut that out creating a neckhole. 

If you look at the picture the right side is smaller than the left side.  While it's still folded, cut down the fold on the right side. This will be your front opening. Having the right side smaller makes it so the length is longest in the back but gradually becomes shorter in front. 

I then took a jacket of my daughters that fit her well and  on paper traced around the hood portion adding in seam allowances. I used this as my pattern and cut out two pieces of each fabric as shown below.

I then sewed each color set together creating two hoods. 

Next I sewed the front of the hoods right sides together.  When turned inside out, the hood piece will like the picture below.  Lastly, I put the lining inside the red fabric. My result is one red hood with a patterned lining. 

Next I matched the middle of the hood with the middle of the cape piece.  I sewed the red sides together so that when you put the hood up the back has a nice finished seam.  At this point, the inside has the raw edges.

 I then created two very long tubes with one end sewed closed.  It took forever to turn those stupid things inside out.

Before attatching the ties, I hemmed the two front sides of the cape. After ironing the ties,  I lined up the two open ends of the tube with the middle of the cape and hood. I turned under the ends so that they would not have any raw edges.   I placed them over where the hood and cape come together, covering the raw edges of the seam.  I pinned them on, and when I reached the end of the hood, I had to turn the raw edges of the cape under.  I then topstitched the tie onto the cape and then continued my topstitch all the way around the tie attatching it also to the hood. 

I then handstitched the openings of the tubes closed. 

I finished it off by hemming the bottom. 

And tada!  I now have a cute little cape for the Little Riding Hood Costume.

If you missed it, check out my post of us in our costumes.

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