Each year in December, food bloggers from all over the world participate in a charity event called Menu for Hope. Menu for Hope was started by Pim of Chez Pim as a response to the devastating Tsunami five years ago, and the event has grown each year, raising over $250,000 toward ending world hunger through the UN World Food Program.
To quote Pim, “The WFP is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good. This year, we are supporting a new initiative at the WFP called Purchase for Progress (P4P). P4P enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation. P4P helps farmers improves farming practices and puts more cash directly into their pockets in return for their crops. This will also help buoy local economy by creating jobs and income locally. We food bloggers understand the importance of buying locally and supporting our local farms, P4P helps do the same for farmers in low income countries around the world.”
You can find for more information on P4P here.
Menu for Hope is a like a giant online raffle. Bloggers from across the globe offer all sorts of great bid items. If you want to win one of them, all you have to do is donate $10 toward the charity. Each $10 spent gives you the chance to win a particular bid item.
Since Healthy Green Kitchen hasn’t been around all that long (I started this blog in May), I haven’t participated before. But when I heard about Menu for Hope 6, I really wanted to get involved. I have something pretty cool to give away, and I’ll be announcing it on Monday, December 14th when the event goes “live” online.
I think Shauna from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef says it best: “we food bloggers are such a lucky lot…we have enough food on our tables that we can take the time to photograph it. It’s good to be reminded of that blessing. And give back to others, if we can.”
So check back here next week so you can learn about what I (and all the other participating bloggers out there!) am giving away. I’ll tell you how to purchase your $10 tickets, and of course the more you buy, the greater your chances of winning. It’s all for such a great cause, so I do hope you’ll help out:)
To learn more about Menu for Hope 6, please visit Pim’s Blog!
The Jewish holiday Hannukah (The Festival of Lights) begins tomorrow night. Food-wise for me, that means pretty much one thing. Latkes.
Latkes are pancakes made from grated potatoes and onion. They are fried in oil (to symbolize the one day’s worth of oil that miraculously burned for 8 days so many years ago) to crisp deliciousness. While there are many ways to make latkes, one thing is for sure: you want to make sure they don’t turn out soggy by pressing as much water out of the grated potatoes as possible.
While purists will say that there should be no flour or other fillers added to potato pancakes and that they should be fried very thin, I find that adding 2 tablespoons of flour (or matzoh meal or leftover mashed potatoes, if you have them), helps everything stay together nicely (you’ll end up with thicker latkes, though, like the ones in the picture above). The egg acts as a binder, as well, though I’ve made them without eggs and they worked out just fine. If you are looking for even thicker latkes, you can add an additional egg and a bit more flour (or matzoh meal or leftover mashed potatoes).
While you may, of course, grate the potatoes by hand, it is much much easier to use a food processor. In fact, I initially got my food processor because my family loves latkes so much. It really makes preparing them a snap; so much so that my kids are more likely to ask for and get these than they are regular pancakes on weekend mornings (and now I use the food processor for so many other tasks so I’m so happy I have it).
Once you master traditional potato pancakes, you can branch out and vary them in numerous ways. I’ve added grated apple and different herbs such as chives and parsley; I’ve used shallot and garlic instead of onion; I’ve made sweet potato zucchini latkes with ginger, cilantro, and chilies and I’ve seen recipes featuring parsnips and carrots, as well (Joan Nathan has some great recipes in her book Jewish Cooking in America).
Grapeseed oil is my frying oil of choice when it comes to latkes (for sweet potato latkes, I generally use in coconut oil).
Latkes are best when eaten right after they’ve cooked, but if absolutely necessary, you can freeze them and then warm them in a 350°F oven before serving.
By the way, this is my entry for Holiday Food Fest, hosted this week by Shirley from Gluten Free Easily!
How to Make Latkes
yield: 12-24 depending on how big they are
*2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (or use starchy baking potatoes like russet or Idaho), peeled
*1 egg, beaten
*Course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
*2 Tb. all purpose flour or matzoh meal or mashed potatoes
*Grapeseed oil for frying
1. Using a hand grater or a food processor, grate the potatoes and the onion. Place in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and squeeze out the water.
2. Mix the potato and onion in a bowl with the egg, season with salt and pepper, and add the optional flour or mashed potatoes. Mix well.
3. Heat a cast iron skillet or a griddle and coat with a thin layer of the oil (about 1/2 inch). Place spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the oil, flattening each one with a spatula.
4. Fry several minutes, until golden brown, and then flip over and continue frying until both sides are well browned. Drain on paper towels. Add additional oil to the pan as needed to fry the rest of the latkes.
5. Serve immediately with crème fraîche or organic sour cream and applesauce.
Do you have an interesting variation on latkes? I’d love to hear about it!
I’m struggling to write something really interesting about this Arugula Salad with Pomegranate, Avocado and Goat Cheese. I’ve erased the first sentence of this post at lease ten times…
The fact is, this salad is made up of what needed to be eaten out of my refrigerator last night. I got home from my kids’ sports practices pretty late, I was starving, and there you go.
While it may seem like a random combination of ingredients- the bitter arugula, the sweet and crunchy pomegranate, the creamy avocado and the slightly salty goat cheese- it just works. If you don’t have pomegranate molasses for the dressing, you can use honey instead, or just leave out the sweetener.
This arugula salad is lovely on its own, or feel free to add some protein for a more complete meal: cooked chicken or meat, or some beans and/or nuts or seeds would all work (I had it with leftover roast chicken…yummy).
A word about “dealing with” pomegranates: I’ve always loved pomegranates but used to rarely buy them because removing the seeds seemed so difficult and messy. Then I learned about de-seeding the cut pomegranate in a bowl of water- super easy and no more mess! Check out Elise from Simple Recipes’ directions for cutting and de-seeding a pomegranate here.
Arugula Salad with Pomegranate, Avocado and Goat Cheese
*2 large handfuls of baby arugula
*seeds/arils from 1/2 pomegranate
*1 avocado, sliced
*2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
*1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled-optional
*coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or balsamic vinegar or to taste
*1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1. Toss the salad ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. In a smaller bowl, mix the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.
3. Sprinkle with course salt and freshly ground black pepper.
This Arugula Salad is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Laurie from Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska. WHB is managed by Haalo!