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Dec 12 2020

Health and Fitness News

Ed.: I am back to work saving lives, or at least trying to. Needless to say, with the epidemic we are busy and I occasionally need to sleep. Expect to see the usual articles but just a little of their normal times. Wear a Mask; Socially Distance; Stay Home when possible; Wash Your Hands, Don’t Touch Your Face; Stay Healthy

Health and Fitness News Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

 

What To Cook

 

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, began Thursday evening at sunset. It celebrates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a menorah (or hanukkiah). One branch is typically placed above or below the others and its candle is used to light the other eight candles. This unique candle is called the shamash (Hebrew: שַׁמָּשׁ‎, “attendant”). Each night, one additional candle is lit by the shamash until all eight candles are lit together on the final night of the festival.

The evening is a family celebration with traditional playing the game of dreidel and, of course, food, especially potato latkes. The usual preparation involves grating several pounds of peeled russet potatoes and several onions. Then wrapping the potatoes in cotton towels and wringing them as dry as possible. My sister-in-law spins them dry in a salad spinner.

This year I discover an easier way with a recipe with just one ingredient – potatoes that have been partially baked. The theory to getting latkes crispy on the outside and soft n the center is you need a dry potato with not too much starch. Partially baking the potato cooks out the some of the moisture by leaves the center raw. Grate the cooled potatoes with a box grater for the best results, using the skin to protect your knuckles. Form into patties, put them on a platter in the refrigerator until your ready to cook them. Going from the cold of the refrigerator to the hot oil renders the perfect latke with a tenth of the work and hassle. If you are vegan or gluten-free, this is the latke for you.

This recipe uses four potatoes which makes 8 latkes. You can easily use as many as you might need.

Pure Potato Latkes

Ingredients

  • 4 large Idaho or russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 8 ounces sliced smoked salmon (optional)
  • Crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh chives, for serving (optional)

Preparation

  1. Adjust the rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Bake the potatoes directly on the rack for 30 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes until they are hot throughout but still raw in the middle. Remove and let cool for about 30 minutes.
  2. Slice the potatoes in half widthwise. Holding the curved peel side with one hand, grate the flat, flesh side of each piece using the large holes of a box grater. The grating process should open them up like a jacket, leaving you with potato skins perfect for frying later, if you’d like. (You could also use a food processor with a grating blade instead; just peel your potatoes beforehand.) Sprinkle the grated potatoes with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  3. Take about 1/2 cup grated potato in your hands and gently squeeze between your palms to form a patty. Press the patty until about 1/2-inch thick and carefully set the latke on a plate. Repeat with the remaining grated potatoes to make about 8 latkes. Cover and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
  4. Just before serving, heat a large, heavy skillet with about 1/4 inch of canola oil over medium-high. When it is hot, a shred of potato dropped into the oil should sizzle. Working in two batches, gently fry four latkes until crisp and deep golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels or a paper bag to drain, and repeat with remaining latkes.
  5. Serve hot, topped with a slice of smoked salmon, a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and a few sprinkles of chives, if you like.

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