These are like potato pancakes but instead of making them with the traditional potato we make them perfectly autumnal by using beets, carrots, and sweet potato. Latkes are of Eastern European decent and are historically served on Hanukkah, the first recorded Jewish holiday celebrating religious freedom. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem, wrecked by idol worshippers and recaptured by the Maccabees and their followers around 165 BCE. Only one day’s worth of sacramental oil for the Eternal Light was found, but miraculously it lasted the eight days needed to prepare more. Thus, Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights – with one more candle on the nine-branched menorah lit each night – and also the festival of fried foods! Latkes are typically fried but I bake them for a healthier alternative. Serve with apple sauce and Horseradish-Dill Sour Cream!
2 cups peeled, shredded beets (about 3 average-size beets)
1 cup peeled, shredded carrot (about 1 average-size carrot)
1 cup peeled, shredded sweet potato (you guessed it, 1 average-size sweet potato)
1 shallot, chopped finely (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several dashes of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 350°
Combine the shredded veggies in a large mixing bowl. Add the shallot, flour, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and fennel seeds. Use a wooden spoon to mix everything well; the flour mixture should evenly coat all the veggies. Add the water and stir again, until all the flour is dissolved.
Form the beet mixture into balls the diameter of a quarter, then flatten into 1 1/2-inch medallions. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Horseradish-Dill Sour Cream
This is beyond delicious and is a great dip for cucumbers when the latkes run out. I use fresh horseradish but if you can only find the jarred kind, go ahead and use it. Since it’s stronger than fresh, add a tablespoon at first and taste from there.
1 pound soft tofu
2 tablespoons fresh, grated horseradish
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave or real maple syrup
3/4 teaspoons salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup loosely packed fresh dill
REMOVE THE tofu from the package and shake off any excess water. Place in a blender or food processor (a food processor works better) along with horseradish, apple cider vinegar, agave, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Preheat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Place the crushed garlic and grapeseed oil in the pan. Cook gently, sitting occasionally, for about 2 minutes. The garlic should be blondir (that means “lightly brown”) but not burnt. Remove the garlic from the oil and discard. Add the oil to the tofu ,mixture and blend again until smooth. Add the dill and horseradish, and blend until smooth- the cream will be light green with some flecks of dill. Scrape down the sides to make sure you get everything. Taste and adjust the salt and vinegar, if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and seal tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.