Last night marked the first of the eight nights of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. In addition to lighting the candles and spinning the dreidel, cooking foods fried in oil is also an important holiday tradition. This symbolizes the ancient miracle of Chanukah in which oil sufficient for only a day continued to burn for eight days in an oil lamp known as the eternal light, a lamp found in all Jewish places of worship that once lit is never to be extinguished. This light had been extinguished during the ransacking of the temple by Syrian-Greek invaders more than 2000 years ago. Once the enemies were defeated, the Jewish people were eager to rededicate their temple by lighting this sacred lamp, but all they could manage to find was oil enough for one day. Miraculously, it lasted for eight, enough time to procure a fresh supply. Click here for the complete story of Chanukah.
Last week the Hartford Courant published a great article that included recipes for eight nights of latkes, the crispy potato pancakes that are one of the hallmarks of this holiday. These recipes all utilize frozen shredded potatoes, which makes them perfect for busy parents and hungry children.
For the first night of Chanukah, we sampled the chive latkes (#7 on the list). They were delicious and so super easy thanks to the no-prep potatoes.
So whether you celebrate Chanukah, or you just feel like trying these hashbrowns with a twist, give your potato peeler the night off and pick up a few bags of frozen shredded potatoes on your next trip to the store (I can always find them in the freezer section at Whole Foods). As the article suggests, it’s the modern Chanukah miracle 🙂