Zucchini Latkes with Mint & Meyer Lemon Labneh
By Lauren Braun Costello
Makes 4-6 servings.
Latkes are fried potato pancakes traditionally made to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights. But the frying is the symbolic part of the recipe, not the potato. This latke is made with grated zucchini and mint, which makes for a lighter pancake so good that even the kids won’t know they are eating their greens! Paired with a labneh (strained yogurt) spiked with Meyer lemon juice and zest, the flavor is vibrant and bright. You can serve this pretty pancake any time of year for an elegant appetizer or side dish.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; box grater or food processor with a shredder disc; measuring spoons; dry measuring cups; mixing bowls; spoons; reamer or fork; microplane or zester; large sauté pan; offset heatproof spatula
1 cup labneh
juice and zest of two Meyer Lemons
6 zucchini, skin-on
½ bunch mint leaves (stems discarded)
3 tablespoons matzo meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper or to taste
vegetable oil for frying
1. First make the labneh. Combine the Meyer Lemon zest and juice with the labneh. Season with salt, if desired. Set aside.
2. To make the latkes, grate the zucchini either in a box grater or in a food processor. Place the grated zucchini on a clean dish towel. Gather the dish towel to enclose the zucchini and squeeze the liquid from the zucchini.
3. Combine the strained zucchini, mint, salt, pepper, matzo meal and eggs in a large bowl. Beat well with a fork to combine.
4. Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil (or any high flashpoint oil) in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot and shimmering—but NOT smoking—add ¼-cup dollops of latke batter to the oil and flatten with the back of a heatproof spatula. Cook the latkes for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
Be sure to manage the heat source so that the oil does not smoke (likely medium to medium-low).
5. Drain the latkes on a tray or plate lined with paper towels. Serve immediately with the Meyer lemon labneh, or keep warm until service in a 250F oven.
By Lauren Kohr
My Favorite Latkes are actually egg-free! I started making latkes with no eggs for a client and they have become my absolute favorite. They get super super crispy because they are not wet and the crunchy edges are my favorite.
3 russet potatoes, grated
1/2 vidalia sweet onion, grated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Light oil, such as canola or vegetable for frying
1) Grate the potatoes on a box grater or with food processor. Food processor is the way to go!
2) Grate onions the same way and add to potatoes.
3) Squeeze the water out of the mixture with a clean dish towel to ensure the potatoes and onions are super dry.
4) Combine with flour, salt, pepper and baking powder.
5) Heat oil in skillet- about 4-5 Tablespoons to ensure the bottom of the skillet is completely covered.
6) Once oil is shimmering drop small handfuls of mixture pressed together into the pan. It should bubble and start to fry immediately.
7) Once the edges begin to look golden brown flip and fry on the other side. About 3 minutes per side depending on how crowded the pan is and how large the latkes are.
8) Drain immediately on a paper towel and sprinkle with finishing salt. My favorite is maldon sea salt.
I love to make a "latke topping bar" and let my guests pick their toppings.
My favorite latke topping combinations are:
Plain greek yogurt, pomegranate seeds, wild honey and salt
Creme fraiche, smoked salmon, dill and caviar
Scratch-made caramelized onion dip (or store bought) and scallions
Pulled bbq chicken with pickled onions
But my ultimate favorite is a pile of hot latkes with a runny fried egg broken on top and finished with black pepper and sea salt. It sure is messy but it is my favorite.
Spinach Feta Latkes & Dilly Yogurt Topping
By Liz Rueven
Serving: 25-35 latkes
A food processor makes quick work of grating potatoes and chopping onions
but if you don’t have one, don’t fret. Use a box grater like your grandma did.
In the same vein, a cast iron pan is a great choice for frying because it heats
up more evenly than other materials. If you don’t have one, don’t fret about
This is the first time I made latkes without peeling the potatoes. It saves a lot
of work and doesn’t affect the flavor or texture. In fact, it probably improves
the texture if you like your latkes ragged around the edges.
Prepare a cookie sheet with paper towels to place/drain your cooked latkes
Start by making the yogurt topping as it needs an hour to rest in the
refrigerator before serving.
7 oz. container of whole milk Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
⅓ cup finely chopped cucumber
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. lemon juice
½ tsp. Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for frying
6 medium Russet potatoes
2 medium white onions
4 fat scallions, washed, patted dry, green part only
3 large eggs
6 oz. feta cheese, drained
1 cup fresh spinach
¼ cup fresh dill, minced
6-7 Tb. unseasoned panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. Salt
Ground pepper to taste
Make the topping:
Before making the latkes, mix the yogurt topping. It benefits from hanging
out in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Place all ingredients for sauce in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Adjust
seasoning after it rests in the refrigerator.
Make the latkes:
Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush and pat dry with paper towels. Set
Peel onions and chop in processor. If using a knife, chop well. Set aside.
Chop scallions and set aside.
If you need to wash the spinach, spin it very dry. Chop spinach and set aside.
Have all of your ingredients at the ready before you start shredding your
Set up a large bowl and place a colander inside.
Shred the potatoes in the processor and place them in the colander. With a
clean dishtowel over the top of the mound of shredded potatoes, press down
and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Save the potato starch that gathers in the bowl. It is the talc like substance
that sinks to the bottom of the bowl. Dispose of other liquid.
Add all other latke ingredients to the same bowl, including the potato starch.
Mix well with your hands.
Be sure the ingredients are well distributed and evenly mixed.
Heat ⅛ inch oil in pan. Test to be sure it is really hot by tossing a shred of
potato into the oil. If it sizzles, it’s ready.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter into the pan, gently pressing down with the back
of a spatula to flatten.
Allow latkes to brown and flip to cook second side. Place cooked latkes on
paper towel lined cookie sheets so they can drain of excess oil.
Serve piping hot with a dollop of the dilly yogurt topping.
It’s important to have all of your ingredients measured and ready before you
begin to shred the potatoes. No need to soak them in ice water if you shred
them and immediately cover them with the rest of ingredients to provide
Latkes are best eaten hot and fresh out of the pan. Still, they can be reheated
successfully by placing them on a foil lined pan in a 400 degree F oven for 7-
8 minutes. They should be sizzling hot.
My Favorite Potato Latkes
By Netta Levy
After years of eating and making latkes, here is the go-to Latke recipe, which was inspired by an old Gourmet Magazine recipe:
Happy eating! Hope hope have a wonderful Chanukah filled with lots of fried foods and loved ones.
My upbringing has taught me the importance of gifting, of marking a momentous occasion with the appropriate monetary amount or the perfect item.
But...what's the right amount? is money ok? can I give a gift instead? what's that I hear about multiples of 18? AHHH my head if spinning!
Slow down....that's what we're here for, and we've tried to lay it all down for you in a simple way so you can just show up and enjoy the party. With the perfect gift in hand, of course.
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy or girl will love receiving money. Trust us. They just won't like the part where their parents take most of it away to put into a savings account for future use.
If you're giving cash or check, the most common rule in Jewish gifting is to gift in multiples of $18. In numerology, 18 is Chai (no, not the delicious tea latte), Hebrew for life. Giving money in multiples of $18 is symbolic of giving “chai” or life. So if you were going to give $50, give $54. If you were going to gift $100, make it $108 instead.
And that's where the rules end, and the rest is highly dependent on how close you are to the boy or girl celebrating and how many people are invited; please use the below as rough guidelines, and give what you're comfortable giving:
Giving gifts of Israel bonds is a special way to celebrate meaningful occasions.
Israel Bonds support Israel and can be redeemed in five years.
Mazel Tov Bonds, a special all-occasion gift available for an initial minimum investment of $100 can be purchased online.
E-Mitzvah bonds can be purchased for a minimum of $36.
Visit the Israel Bonds website to learn more.
There are some people who, especially for close friends, will prefer to provide a personal gift, as opposed to cash or even an Israel bond (my son may now have voting shares in the future of the State of Israel based on his current portfolio). The advantage of a personal gift is that its perceived value is oftentimes higher than the actual value, with consideration given to the thought and the time taken, providing the gift-giver additional wiggle room in terms of spend.
Judaica. A beautiful yad (torah pointer) is a unique gift they will use for life. We also love giving this Tallit Bag, which is non-leather and can be used year round. A Mezuzah is also very special, and can be engraved with a custom saying or name. This acrylic one comes in a multitude of colors! We also love the idea of giving a girl her first Star of David Necklace, and we are in love with this one. We recently gave this menorah as a Bat Mitzvah gift, it’s stunning and timeless.
Hebrew Jewelry. A necklace with their Hebrew name engraved or a Hebrew initial is something they’ll wear for years. We also love this Hebrew necklace that says Ahava (Love in Hebrew). It is delicate and dainty enough to layer with other necklaces. If you’re seeking a bracelet that’s modern and meaningful, these Everything Is Possible and Woman of Valor bracelets are the perfect pieces.
Amulets. An amulet is an object, often a charm or piece of jewelry, that is believed to possess certain magical powers of protection. The Hamsa and Evil Eye are two powerful amulets that represent protection and strength. This cz Hamsa necklace and this slightly more delicate one (has tiny diamonds) are a great gift for the girl who has it all. We also love the detail on this evil eye necklace.
Gift Within a Gift. We love providing something special that contains another surprise gift inside. For a Bat Mitzvah girl, this most often will take on the form of a jewelry box that contains a piece of jewelry inside. For a boy, cuff links in a box, or a Shabbat set.
A Gift AND a Check are also more than appropriate, so don’t think you need to find the perfect gift at the perfect price point.
We are excited to package these items for you through JEW-ishly to make the process easy and assist you in gifting in a meaningful and memorable way. Either select one of the pre-packaged gifts we have available, or contact us to create your own. And remember, we can source and customize (almost) anything with advance notice. Because gift giving shouldn’t be stressful, think of us as your Jew-ish gift concierge.
Read our updated guide:
Illustration: Michael Arnold
Woman. Wife. Mother. Daughter. Sister. American. Israeli. Zionist. Jew.
I get to define myself. I get to prioritize my labels. Daily. Hourly, if I so choose.
The world defines me as Jewish and woman. Those are the two labels I wear with my outer appearance. “You look like so-and-so” or “you must be from New York” or “I work for a Jewish woman who saves her pennies” (I got that one, completely unprompted, at the Target checkout last night while my 13-year-old raised her eyebrows at me in surprise and horror) follow me everywhere I go. And I’m OK with it. I choose to wear my Judaism as a badge of honor, with my curly hair and my larger nose, and whatever other attributes people choose to assign to a Jewish “look.”
But, in the United States, on the doorstep of 2020, I still get to define myself and how I choose to act based on the labels I assign to myself. And the label I currently assign to myself is worried. Worried that old white men with a pen once again want to take away my rights and put me in a box. Regardless of the intent, that is the consequence. Some of my right to define myself will be removed by an executive order from the 45th president, whereby Judaism will no longer be a religion, but rather a nationality.
Not all Jews define themselves as Zionist. Not all Jews even define themselves as Jews. They simply define themselves as citizens of the country where they reside. With Trump’s executive order, all American Jews will be classified as “other” and associated with a country to which they may have no spiritual or physical connection. That’s a problem. But the bigger problem, to me, is that we’re allowing someone else to define “us” and what it means to be Jewish. Each individual should have the inalienable right to define himself or herself.
Of equal concern is that this comes from Trump, who as recently as this past weekend, invoked multiple anti-Semitic tropes while addressing the Israeli American Council advocacy group in Florida. Trump has proven himself incapable of separating individuals from stereotypes, and while I may believe that he is not truly anti-Semitic, I believe he fuels the flames of anti-Semitism by perpetuating horrible labels and categories for us.
I find myself praying more these days, as hate from both sides of the aisle finds its target with Jews, and the world turns a blind eye to escalating acts of violence against Jews. I saw multiple stories about the Jersey City shooting yesterday before I realized that it was a hate crime and Jewish target, because of how the story was reported. Unfortunately, with history as my guide, I have no illusions on how this latest act by Trump will play out, and, so, I pray for the U.S., I pray for Israel, and I pray for all of us.