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David (The Latke King) Firestone's Latkes



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"What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be
a pretty decent sort of fellow."

~ A. A. Milne

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"Chanukah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival
of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish
month of Kislev.
Jewish Year 5771: sunset December 1, 2010 - nightfall December 9, 2010
(first candle: night of 12/1 last candle: night of 12/8)"
More info here.

So why are we publishing a recipe for latkes in the breakfast category? Well,
for starters, good breakfast recipes are hard to come by! How many ways are
there to cook eggs, pancakes, and French toast? Also, please note that this is
the Breakfast/BRUNCH category, okay? Latkes are heartwarming for break-
fast and superb for brunch. And furthermore, they can be eaten any time of
day. Or night. Trust me.

David (The Latke King) Firestone’s Latkes
(in his own words)

New York Cookbook:
From Pelham Bay to Park Avenue,
Firehouses to Four-Star Restaurants

by Molly O’Neill, 1992, Workman Publishing

“Every year around Chanukah, David ‘The Latke King’ Firestone, a
journalist, gives a party in honor of the latke in his home in Sunnyside,
Queens. ’The country tosses nervously in its bed each night, moaning
vaguely for potatoes, fried potatoes, throw in a little onion, please. It
wakes up instead to cold cereal and baked beans, a corroded economy
and a failed national promise,’ read the announcement of one year’s party.
The Latke King knows what you need. The Latke King knows what this
country needs. Sadly only a portion of the country can fit into our home
in Queens,’ the invitation continued. For those who can’t fit into his
home, The Latke King offers this formula.”

[In the year 2010 (Jewish Year 5769), the setting of the
sun on December 1st marks the beginning of Chanukah.]

2 1/2 pounds Idaho baking potatoes, unpeeled
1 large yellow onion, quartered
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup matzoh meal
4 to 5 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups olive oil
1 large jar (16 ounces) unsweetened applesauce

1. Pick up the potatoes and admire their heft, their pure starchiness.
Then scrub them with a brush.
2. Place the onion in a food processor. Pulse the blade a few times until
the onion is diced into crunchy bits. Remove the blade and scrape the
onion bits into a small bowl. Return the goof processor bowl to the
machine. No need to wash it yet.
3. Cut the potatoes lengthwise to fit in the food processor feed tube. Find
the medium-coarse food processor shredding disk, which you’ve never
used. Put it into the machine and turn it on. Begin feeding the potato
slices into the machine.
4. When the potatoes are shredded, put them in a colander over a large
bowl. Dump in the onion bits and mix everything around with your
hands, squeezing the potato moisture out as you work. Let the mixture
drip for a few minutes while you put on a recording of Kitty Carlisle
singing ‘Beat Out That Rhythm on a Drum’.
5. Pour out the potato liquid from the bowl, but leave the starch that
clings to the bowl. This is good for you. Dump in the shredded potato
and onion mix. Add the eggs, the matzoh meal, the parsley, the salt, and
the pepper. Stir the mixture eagerly. Then let it sit for about 10 minutes.
6. In a large cast-iron skillet, pour in 1/4 inch of oil. Over high heat, get
the oil very hot, but don’t set off the smoke detector. Using a 1/4-cup
measure or a long-handled serving spoon, start spooning the batter into
the skillet. Flatten each with a metal spatula to a diameter of 4 to 5
inches. Do not try to make the latkes uniformly round. Reduce the
heat to medium and cook the latkes until golden brown on one side.
Then turn over and fry them some more. When crispy on the outside
and moist inside, about 5 minutes per side, remove and place on
several thicknesses of paper towels. Keep doing this until you run
out of batter.
7. Remove from the room anyone who prefers latkes with sour cream.
Serve the latkes immediately. With applesauce.

Makes about 16 latkes, which is all you should eat the first night. By
the end of Chanukah, you should be able to eat twice that many.

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