Thanks to my two fantastic Jewish roomies in LA, when fall rolls around, I get excited for the Jewish holidays and their gift of out of this world food traditions.
Do you think I married a Jewish man by accident?! I think NOT.
Al’s favorite traditional Jewish foods include; matzo ball soup and potato latkes.
Last year I attempted matzo ball soup from scratch and accidentally added so many cloves that it was a bigger culinary bomb than anything I’ve ever attempted. This year I planned to redeem myself, but I’m suffering from a MAJOR case of preggo brain (32 weeks!) and ended up ordering from Manny’s Deli.
HOWEVER- I did re create my famous latkes which are honestly so stupid simple, that anyone can make them. And now I’ll share them with you.
The Wifey’s Shiska Potato Latkes
What You Need/Grocery List:
- a bag of frozen hash browns (they should be left out to thaw before starting your cooking)
- a small yellow onion
- two eggs
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- sour cream/greek yogurt and or apple sauce for dipping
- a strainer
- a slotted spoon
- a large plate and paper towels
What To Do:
- pour your vegetable oil until it’s about a half an inch in a large pan and heat on low/medium. you DONT want it to burn but it needs to pass the sizzle test when ready. (drop a piece of hash brown in there and if it sizzles then it’s ready to go)
- put your thawed bag of hash browns into a strainer, cover with a napkin or paper towel and smash them down till most of the water has drained
- chop your yellow onion into small pieces (you can also buy pre chopped onion)
- dump 3 tablespoons of flour into a bowl
- good job! now add your two eggs, and chopped onion, plus a dash of salt and pepper and stir it all up.
- it should mix pretty well and look like this. now add your hash browns and give them a bath of your egg mix
- now is a GREAT time to check your oil since we’re almost ready to start cooking.
- now is also a great time to get out a large plate and line it with paper towels for blotting.
- oil is perfect? great, use your hands and roll these little bad boys into little balls- about the same size as if you were making cookies. (not huge, but not tiny)
- now, CAREFULLY lower about 3 of the potato balls into the oil at a time. If you drop them, the oil will fly everywhere, ruin your cute outfit and burn like hell…so don’t. then flatten them into “pancakes” with your slotted spoon.
- let them cook for about two mins- please resist the urge to check them every 10 seconds or they will fall apart.
- after your 2 mins are up , then you are allowed to pick them up with your slotted spoon and take a look at the other side- are they golden brown? great- then flip them over. if not- wait another 30 seconds or so and check again.
- depending on how you and your love like them cooked, they should look something like this. if you prefer more well done, let them sit longer (duh).
- let the pancakes sizzle for around two mins on the other side, do a check and if they look ready, ONE AT A TIME- use your slotted spoon to lift them out (let the oil drain thru the spoon) and put them on the plate with paper towel, blot them.
oh hey, aren’t I pretty??
- you’ll want to serve these right away – unless you are cooking for a ton of people and in that case, cover them in foil to keep them warm
- serve them with dipper of your choice and watch everyone fall in love with you as they eat them. MAZEL.
our holiday table for two
Let’s be honest- having people over is stressful…unless:
A: You are a total dude (like my husband) and you think a few bags of doritos and burger patties =’s party central
B: You are a gazillionaire and have party planners, caters, and servers
C: You just don’t give a snake’s rattle and you enjoy things as they come (if this is you, let’s talk…I’ll $$$ for your info on how you do it)
You have The Wifey’s Survival Advice!
I used to attend BBQ’s like a deer in headlights- stunned by my friend’s abilities to put on a culinary show and was terrified to try to follow their efforts.
Then I realized something: people like to eat. And drink. And enjoy themselves. If you serve them enough to fill them up they will be happy.
Also? People love tacos. Which is how I came up with Wifey Fiesta Night- a DIY extravaganza. And now I’m sharing the wealth*.
You ready? Let’s Get Wife’d Up!
What You Need/Grocery List:
- fish/shrimps/meat/chicken of your choice (I like to get pre seasoned shrimp and fish from the counter if they have have it)
- tortillas (I polled the ladies and flour wins every time) – a package of flour tortillas is perfect
- salsa/pico de gallo- it’s your choice (I’d include a mild and medium…if you serve a pico de gallo- you also get your onion serving in there)
- gauc- make your own or buy pre made – *I like to buy pre made
- cheese- Mexican blend cheese ideal
- sour cream/greek yogurt
- hot sauces of choice
- tortilla chips! ( I like to have a low fat/organic option and an old stand by as well)
- put out every hot sauce you own- the more the merrier
- I like to serve a fruit salad as well, for those who don’t feel like Mexican
- cut up a few avocados and serve those – they make everything look a little more fancy
- a tequila drink or Coronas with cut limes
What To Do:
- KNOW YOUR GUEST ARRIVAL TIME- For a fiesta- most things need to happen right before or as guests arrive
- fire up your grill
- put our your guac, hot sauce, salsas, cheese, sour cream/yogut, chips…..
- set out tortillas in tin foil and put to the side ( they will go on the grill for 2 mins per side at the last moment)
- grill ears of corn for about 10 mins on medium, turning every 4 mins or so, season with salt. pepper and a little butter. Cut off ear and serve as a side.
- microwave a bag of instant Spanish rice (90 seconds) and serve in a fancy bowl
- Amy’s brand refried beans (or any brand really), is so simple to make- put the beans in a microwave safe dish, nuke for a min or so and stir, serve in a fancy bowl
- cut some limes up for people to squeeze over the shrimp/fish/meat and beer
- throw your shrimp on the grill, cook for about 2 mins per side or until shrimp isn’t pink or translucent
- toss foil wrapped tortillas on – 2 mins per side- then serve on a plate or in a basket , covered with a napkin
- set everything else out with some pretty plates (paper or not), silverware and napkins and FIESTA!
There are dozens of restaurants I love in Chicago, but for some reason when date night rolls around- my mind draws a total blank when it comes to choosing a place.
This post is dedicated to *THAT* exact moment.
- Doc B’s– it’s healthy, cozy and not two expensive.
- 25 Degrees– they have outdoor seating when it’s warm and delicious brunch, burgers and salads
- Big Bowl– when we’re in the mood for a healthy stir fry
- Taco Joint– quick, major taco selection and the best street corn I’ve ever tasted.
- Beatrix– try the Straight A salad and potato salad deviled eggs. Great brunch too
- Friends Sushi– unassuming sushi joint with no prevention and lots of rolls to choose from
- El Barco– go when you are in the mood to eat- portions of Mexican and seafood are ginormous
- Volare– the best vodka gnocchi in zee city
- Purple Pig– hands down my favorite restaurant in Chicago- they don’t take resos so put your name in and shop around for a bit
- Hub51– sure you might run into people you’re not interested in socializing with- but the food makes up for it.
- The bar at Shaw’s– way less stuffy than the restaurant side and they always have oyster specials around happy hour time.
- The Bristol- dressed up food without having to dress up
- GT Fish– when you’re in the mood to put on heels but not get too fancy
- The bar at Hugo’s– give me their crab cake, a baked potato, dirty martini and the game and I’m happy
LET’s CELEBRATE (and drop some $)
- Kai Zan– I’m not sure if it’s cause Alex and I had our first dinner date there, or because every time we go back it’s perfection- but I’m a huge fan. Plus- it’s BYOB!
- Bavette’s– good luck trying to get a reso, we like to go early and snag a walk in. I love this place because it’s big food and service in a sexy laid back atmosphere.
- El Ideas– never the same and always memorable.
- Joe’s , Mastero’s and Cut- there’s just something about a steak house
And there you go. There are several other places we love and go to often, but these are at the top of my list right now.