Latkes with Apple-Horseradish Sauce

I’ve been trying to incorporate some of my husband’s Jewish roots into my cooking and was so excited to find Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe for potato latkes. I made these, along with matzoh ball soup, and my husband was transported back to his childhood.

Marcus Samuelsson’s Latkes with Apple-Horseradish Sauce

1 lb. Idaho potatoes, peeled

1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled

2 red onions

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

2 T. cornstarch

1 tsp. paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 c. canola oil

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Grate the potatoes and onions on the large holes of a box grater or with a grating attachment on a food processor. Combine the grated potatoes and onions with the garlic, flour, cornstarch and paprika in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Working in three batches, heat 1/4 c. canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon 1/4 c. of the batter for each latke onto the hot skillet, using a spoon to push each mound down into an even layer, if necessary, and cook until the latkes are golden, about 4 min. per side. Remove from the pan and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add another 1/4 c. of the oil to the skillet and repeat for each batch. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 min. Serve with the apple-horseradish sauce.

Apple-Horseradish Sauce

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lime

2 T. apple cider vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 scallion, white and light green parts, finely chopped

One 3-inch piece horseradish, peeled and grated

1/2 tsp. wasabi

Combine the apples, ginger, lime juice, vinegar and 1/2 c. water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the apples are tender, about 15 min. Strain.

Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions, horseradish and wasabi.

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Book Signing – with Marcus Samuelsson

I had so much fun meeting Chef Marcus Samuelsson at the Central Market Cooking School in Houston. He autographed copies of his “New American Table” cookbook and “Yes, Chef” memoir for me. I gave a copy of his cookbook to my brother and we’ve both enjoyed making some of his dishes.

Roasted Tomato-Bread Soup

One of the dishes that I saw on nearly every menu in Italy was Pappa al Pomodoro – a tomato soup thickened with bread. I ordered it at the Golden View Ristorante in Florence and loved it. Claire Robinson’s Roasted Tomato-Bread Soup recipe is very similar to the the one I had in Italy.

Roasted Tomato-Bread Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons garlic-infused extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced fresh basil leaves, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 1(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 loaf sourdough baguette (day-old) or 1/4 loaf country bread, torn into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast until the tomatoes are softened and the edges are beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the basil and stir for about 30 seconds. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice and the water; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the bread and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir the oven-roasted tomatoes and any cooking juices into the saucepan and simmer for another 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of garlic olive oil and basil leaves.

Tiny No. 5’s Crab and Avocado Salad

I recently ate at Tiny No. 5’s in Houston, Texas for a piece I was working on for West U Essentials magazine. The executive chef sent out their Crab and Avocado Salad for me to try and I simply adored it. The dish was on their summer menu for August and it’s a shame that it’s not available all year. The salad tastes as good as it looks. It’s made with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, fresh crab and topped with micro greens. The dish is streaked with a balsamic reduction and served with grilled bread.

Saltimbocca – “jumps in the mouth”

I had Saltimbocca for the first time in Rome at the Piccolo Arancio. Translated it means “jumps in the mouth.” The dish is made with veal scallapini, sage leaves and prosciutto and then ladled with a white white and butter sauce. I purchased an Italian cookbook in Rome called “Lezioni di Cucina,” which I can’t read but I can still use because it has pictures of each step.

Saltimbocca

1 lb. veal scallapini

3.5 ounces prosciutto crudo

Sage leaves

Salt and pepper

Olive Oil

Butter

1 c. white wine

Salt and pepper each side of veal to taste. Fasten a sage leaf and a piece of prosciutto to one side of veal with a toothpick. Dredge the veal in flour. Melt butter and olive oil in a pan and brown veal on both sides. Keep saltimbocca warm in the oven while you make the sauce. Melt a pad of butter in the man and add 1 c. white wine, scapping the brown bits off the pan, until it is reduced by half. Pour sauce over veal and serve.

Osteria della Pizza, Rome

When my husband and I were honeymooning in Rome, we stumbled upon a restaurant near the Spanish Steps called Osteria della Pizza. It was the first time we had pizza in Italy and we loved it so much we had it every day after. I had a Margherita Pizza and my husband had the San Daniele Pizza. The closest restaurant we’ve found to authentic Italian pizza is Piola in Houston, Texas. Every time we eat there we are transported back to Italy.