Although January typically involves trying to figure out how to get more kale and quinoa into one's diet, I wanted to share some fried indulgences that I enjoyed toward the end of last year. Usually it's only a week or two into January that I'm ready to enjoy something crispy!
Way back in November I huffed and puffed my way through the Veterans Day 10K here in DC. The whole family agreed that doughnuts would be an appropriate reward for my efforts, so I stopped by GBD in Dupont Circle on my way home from the race. The name stands for "golden brown delicious" and they specialize in doughnuts and fried chicken. The flavors on offer range from basics like vanilla to more exotic options like grapefruit campari and tres leches. I think my favorite of this batch was the nutella doughnut (lower center), but they were all pretty fantastic. Not pictured (but equally delicious): mini-sweet potato biscuits with a chunk of fried chicken and spicy honey.
I have written about my fondness for Taylor Gourmet's sandwiches, but they also make a mean arancini. Arancini are fried risotto balls filled with melty mozzarella cheese. My only hesitation about ordering them in the past has been that the arancini by themselves are not enough for lunch, but adding them to a sandwich is a huge amount of food. I recently discovered, however, that Taylor makes a good cup of soup, and an order of arancini plus a soup is a good amount of food for lunch. I like to add a sprinkle of salt and I recommend asking for an extra container of marinara sauce to accompany them.
Finally, during Hanukkah I decided to try my hand at making latkes. I have always been a latke lover and decided not to let the fact that we don't celebrate Hanukkah stop me from enjoying some fried potato pancakes. I started with a Cook's Illustrated recipe, but decided to try to omit a couple of the more labor-intensive steps. The results were exceptional, if I do say so myself, and one of my resolutions for the new year is to make these a few more times.
Shiksa Latkes (adapted from Cook's Illustrated)
2 pounds russet potatoes
1/2 large yellow onion
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper
canola oil for frying
applesauce and sour cream for serving
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and put a baking sheet with a rack inside it in the oven. Peel the potatoes and grate them along with the onion (a food processor with a grating blade makes this step go much more quickly). Put half of the grated potato mixture into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Repeat with the other half and transfer to a bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ground pepper to taste, the two eggs, and two tablespoons flour. Now it's time to fry! Put 1/4 inch of canola oil in a large frying pan or two and turn the heat to medium-high (it will go faster if you have two pans going at once). If you have a hood over your stove turn it on--this will help keep your house from smelling like latkes for days. When the oil is shimmering, put 1/4 cupfuls of the grated potatoes into the pan (the oil should begin boiling vigorously). Leave them alone for 3-4 minutes, until the bottoms are nicely browned. Flip and cook for another 2-4 minutes, until browned all over. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate and transfer to the oven to keep warm. Serve with sour cream and applesauce. They would also make an excellent brunch with over-easy eggs and hot sauce, I bet.