This post is brought to you by Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream. Squeeze more out of the holidays with a #DollopOfDaisy.
While most of you are trimming trees and putting out cookies for Santa Claus before he ho, ho, ho’s down the chimney, I will be celebrating Hanukkah, aka: The Festival of Lights.
There is an old Jewish joke that says the summary of all of our holidays is like this: They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat! Hanukkah is no exception.
The story of Hanukkah is simple:
Jews fought the Syrians for control of Judea (now called Israel) and won! The Jews cleaned up the holy Temple and in order to celebrate and restore the holiness of the Temple, they lit a menorah using sacrosanct oil. Unfortunately they only had a very small amount of this special oil and they thought it would only last one night. But a miracle happened and it actually burned for eight nights, which was just enough time to make more of the blessed oil.
To celebrate this miracle, Jews all over the world light a menorah which is a candelabra that holds nine candles. Eight of the candles represent the eight nights the oil burned and the ninth candle is the “shamash” which is the “helper” or “servant” candle. It is lit first and then we use the shamash to light the other candles. The burning candles are why we call this holiday the festival of lights.
Besides the menorah, another way we celebrate Hanukkah is by eating food fried in oil.
Yes, you read that correctly! It is actually part of our celebration to eat fried food! How awesome is that?
Like I said, they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!
One of the most popular fried foods that we eat on Hanukkah, is the latke.
A latke is essentially a potato and onion cake deep fried in hot oil, though in these modern times I have seen sweet potato latkes, beet latkes, and even butternut squash and leek latkes!
Though the latke itself is a perfect combination of earthy potato touched with the sweet bite of onion, crunchy on the edges with a soft, almost fluffy interior, it is in my opinion that the latke is merely a starting point; a suggestion, if you will.
The true miracle of the latke is the fact you can use it as a vehicle for a myriad of taste bud popping, mouth watering, piles of toppings!
Oh, you thought a fried potato cake was celebration enough? Oh no.
A true latke is one piled high with multiple delectable garnishes such as spiced applesauce, flavored sour cream, and if you are feeling especially decadent, you can even eat them with expensive caviar!
In my home, we always celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with a simple potato pancake party. Why the first night? Because we simply can’t wait to devour all things latke!
Considering the focus of the feast is on the toppings, I usually keep my latkes simple. But for the garnishes I go all out! Here is a sampling of what I usually serve:
- Trio of Daisy Sour Cream Spreads- Crack Dip, Creamy Greek Green Goddess Dip, Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
- Cardamom Spiced Applesauce
- Leek and Gruyere cheese Dip
- Cranberry Brie Dip
- Ketchup (for the kids!)
- Caviar (for the adults!)
Notice I have the trio of Daisy sour cream at the top of the list. That is because it is my favorite topping for a latke. Oh sure, there are traditionalists that feel a savory latke should be balanced with the sweet and lightly spiced applesauce. But I disagree. I love how the sour cream cuts through the unctuous and sapid flavors of the latke and highlights the different textures in each bite.
This year I am serving a version of what is being called “crack dip” on Pinterest. It is essentially a next level ranch dip with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and fakin’ (fake bacon, though you can easily substitute real bacon). They call it crack dip because it is so darn addicting!
The second spread is a take on the herbaceous green goddess dressing. Blended with fresh basil, scallions and mint, this dip is full of bright verdant flavors that commingle perfectly with the savory potato latke.
And finally, to change things up a bit, I thought a creamy sun dried tomato pesto would be a splendid accompaniment. When tomatoes are dried it brings out their natural sweet essence, the tangy sour cream brightens all of the flavors, and the flecks of vermilion are as beautiful to look at as they are to eat.
For the purists who only want plain sour cream, I always put out Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream. I adore how easy it is to use, especially because then I have fewer messy dishes and spoons to clean up.
Of course you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy a latke party, and if frying potato cakes in oil is too much for you to handle, why not simply have a celebration and serve these dips with potato chips and toasted bread?
They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!
This post was sponsored by Daisy Sour Cream but all opinions are my own.