As a kid Hanukkah was my favorite holiday (not because you get tons of gifts, this Americanized tradition is an adaption of Jews, who I believe wanted to keep up with the Christmas gifting mania) but because it usually comes around my birthday and you also get to eat as many donuts as you desire.The story of Hanukkah is about a group of people who got tired of being suppressed under the government of Antiochus IV and stood up to reclaim and rededicate the temple, that was desecrated by the Greeks. There was a little oil left in the temple, enough to keep the menorah lit for only one night, miraculously though, it burned for eight days, the exact time it takes to press a fresh supply of oil. sigh. Don't you just love it when that happens?
In commemoration of this miracle we light 8 candles and eat goods that are deep-fried in oil, here's to you another reason why Hanukkah is so great. Big puffy donuts filled with jam and covered with powdered sugar, and potato cakes (latkes or as Israelis call them: levivot). Yum, yum and yum!
I didn't eat either of those today, but the holiday has just began and I have 7 more days to deep fry and eat anything that can remind me of the brave and glorious Maccabbes.
Not too long ago I was working with a group of guys in the kitchen of one NYC restaurant, and they loved playing the: "what should we fry for dinner" game. Anything from poached eggs to a whole shepherd's pie got dipped in those fryers and luckily I was always able to make myself a sandwich and could just watch their experiments and get entertained.
For the next seven days I promise to try and find some goodies for you to deep-fry, at the top of this never ending list there is definitely some butter, personally I have no desire to try any deep-fried butter soon, but if you do, here is a recipe for fried butter balls by the queen of southern cooking, Paula Dean. Honestly, I bet these are banging!
- 2 sticks butter
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- Peanut oil, for frying
Cream the butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper together with an electric mixer until smooth. Using a very small ice cream scoop, or melon baller, form 1-inch balls of butter mixture and arrange them on a parchment or waxed paper lined sheet pan. Freezer, form until solid. Coat the frozen balls in flour, egg, and then bread crumbs and freeze again until solid.
When ready to fry, preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
Fry balls for 10 to 15 seconds until just light golden. Drain on paper towels before serving.