The giggles and excitement from the kids (even though it's mainly derived from the absurd amount of presents they get (not from me!)), is contagious. They have a special fascination with the flames burning from the wicks and oil that's inspiring. I wish I still had that unadulterated curiosity.
On Chanukah, we spend eight nights lighting our menorahs in our homes, night after night, remembering the miracles and bringing light to the world.
The Torah Sages teach us that "a little bit of truth will conquer a lot of falsehood, just as a little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness." (Chovot Halevavot, Ch.5)
Just as the days of Chanukah progress and we increase the amount of candles we light, one by one, throughout the 8 nights, likewise we should spend those days increasing the good deeds we perform. Chanukah is the time to do extra acts of kindness, come closer to our spiritual self, and connect to the G-dliness around us. With every act of loving kindness we are bringing down a special spiritual light and thereby brightening the world with goodness. How special is that?
So this Chanukah, make yourself a checklist of the small ways you can increase light and love in the world. You can brighten someone's day with a simple call or a short visit. You can be a little thoughtful and slip notes in your children's lunches. You can bring some doughnuts to the neighbor whose name you can't recall (this is where I need to take my own advice). And if you make them homemade, try these Cinnamon-Sugar Coconut Doughnuts. You can find my recipe here on Kveller.
And since you're already frying, you must make these Mexican Latkes. They will change the world, I assure you.
The tender, pillowy potato batter is the perfect backdrop for the spiciness of the jalapeno and onion. Worry not, it's not unbearably spicy (unfortunately for me), but gives a hint of tanginess with the aid of some cayenne pepper.
I like to believe that this is a little Sephardic twist on this traditional fare.
We had these two nights in a row, and I must retire this recipe from my repertoire because it's highly addictive and dangerous. Give it a try, and thank me later.
Oh, and the winner of the Chic Cookbook is random number 38: Frieda Kogan. Contact me with your info so you can get the book as soon as possible.
Mexican Latke Recipe
3.5lb Russett potatoes, peeled and grated
3 zucchinis, grated
1 red onion, grated
1 jalapeno, grated or finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
oil, for frying
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients until fully incorporated. In a large skillet, heat oil for frying. Once the oil reaches 375F or once it's really hot, form round patties and drop them in the oil. Cook on both sides until the latkes get a rich golden color, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Tip: Try to remove as much excess liquid as you can from the potatoes, by squeezing out the liquid as you form the round shape.