Kitchen Vignettes

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Fried is one of my favorite foods. Fried anything, but especially potatoes, onion rings, chicken wings and doughnuts.

So on Hanukkah, when “fried” is fashionable, I’m not going to be the person who makes the healthy alternative. We eat relatively healthy stuff almost all of the time. Hanukkah is a celebration of delicious little goodies cooked to a crisp in vegetable oil!

I won’t do it for the entire eight days, but at least on the first night of Hanukkah (December 1st this year) it will be fried, fried, fried. Potato latkes for sure, but I’m thinking also about “kichels”, a kind of cookie my Mom used to make.

Kichels are an old Jewish family favorite and most recipes for them tell you to bake the dough. But my mother fried them. They were ultra-thin, crispy, not too sweet and absolutely impossible to resist. Her recipe is amazingly simple and only calls for one cup of flour, but it’s enough for a family of 4-6 as a first night treat. Or whenever.

Kichels

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1/4 teaspoon white vinegar

vegetable oil for deep fat frying

Place the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the beaten eggs and vinegar and mix thoroughly until a smooth dough has formed. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough is very thin, almost like paper. Cut into squares or rectangles or odd shapes as small as 1-1/2-inches or up to 3-inches. Heat about 2-inches vegetable oil in a deep saute pan (or use a deep fryer) over medium-high heat until the oil reaches about 375 degrees (a bread crumb or tiny piece of dough will sizzle quickly). Drop the cut-outs, a few at a time into the oil (they will puff up) on both sides until they are crispy and faintly browned. Drain on paper towels. Sift confectioner’s sugar on top. Makes 4-6 servings

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