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Ask A Tampa Bay Chef: Best Latke Recipes For Hanukkah

November 22, 2013 7:00 AM

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(Photo credit ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Tampa is a city founded in diversity. Shaped by the influences of Native Americans, Spanish, Greek, Italian, German, Cuban and many other peoples and cultures, the diversity of people in this region makes Tampa Bay such an interesting, and delicious, place to live. For this holiday season, we highlight the traditions of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah and one of the largest communities in Tampa. To guide us, Dina Dubrowski offered to share some of her favorite holiday recipes for potato latkes, doughnuts and Hanukkah’s classic chicken soup.

Dina Dubrowski
Dina’s Kitchen at Chabad South Tampa
202 S. Audubon Ave #1
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 287-1795
www.chabadsouthtampa.com

Dina describes her approach to cuisine as, “Where gourmet meets homemade.” A native of Brooklyn, Nechama Dina Dubrowski studied at the Beth Rivkah Academy, a school specializing in the development of future educators. She spent her summers canvassing the globe to assist local Jewish communities and lived and studied for a year in Israel. After her travels, she worked as an early childhood education expert in Manhattan. Through these experiences and her travels, Dina became passionate about the importance of eating healthy and making food with fresh ingredients.

For the last five years, Dina has been living in Tampa with her husband Rabbi Mendy Dubrowski who directs a Jewish outreach organization called Chabad of South Tampa. Dina also runs a catering service called Dina’s Kitchen, which offers a variety of classic Jewish dishes as well as modern American favorites. With the blessing of Mendy, Dina’s Kitchen provides Kosher-certified baked goods, dairy, meat, poultry and other dishes with both pick-up and delivery service available.

Latkes, a favorite for all ages, can seem intimidating at first, but once you have the essentials down, it’s hard to mess them up. In fact, the same holds true for the traditional doughnut and chicken soup recipes. While each recipe requires a decent amount of preparation time, you can rest assured that all three will surprise your family and friends by their deliciousness.

Potato Latkes
4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Clean and peel potatoes and onion. Use a grater, food processor or blender with a bit of water to grind the potatoes.
  2. Remove extra water by pressing out the ground potatoes in a colander. Combine and mix with flour, eggs and seasoning
  3. Warm oil in a skillet, then add tablespoon-sized balls of the batter one at a time. They will turn golden brown in roughly five minutes, then flip and repeat.
  4. Pat dry if desired and serve. Enjoy while warm!

Options: Garnish with applesauce on the side, or try replacing some of the potatoes by adding vegetables, such as carrots or zucchini.

Related: Best Ways To Celebrate Passover 2013 With Kids In Tampa Bay

Traditional Doughnuts
Makes two dozen doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 4 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Frying oil
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in water and sugar in a big bowl and let sit for several minutes until bubbles begin to form.
  2. Add other ingredients and mix together until thoroughly combined, which can take 15 minutes. Place dough in a warm and humid environment, or simply cover it and wait an hour until it appears to double in volume.
  3. Flatten dough on a surface covered with flour using a pastry roller until it reaches a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut circle-shaped rounds with a doughnut cutter or other batter knife. Let dough sit again for another 30 minutes until it doubles once more in volume.
  4. Add oil to a large pot, enough to submerge the doughnuts (at least three inches). Fry the doughnuts with the pot covered, as this will encourage them to expand.
  5. Check intermittently, and once the doughnuts are golden brown in color, remove the cover. Flip doughnuts over and brown on the other side.
  6. Remove finished doughnuts with a slotted spoon. Allow to cool on paper towels to remove the extra oil, then dip the doughnuts or sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar.

Classic Chicken Soup
Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken, cut into quarters
  • 12 cups water
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 parsnips
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • Dash of pepper

Optional:

  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Fresh dill
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 zucchini

Directions:

  1. Clean chicken and remove any excess fat. Fill a large pot (at least 8 quarts) with the water and bring to a boil. Add chicken and vegetables to pot, as well as the salt and pepper.
  2. For the optional ingredients, chop the parsley and dill, and peel the garlic. Rather than cutting it, leave garlic whole. You can also pierce it with a toothpick to make it easier to remove. Add all three to the soup.
  3. Cut the sweet potato and zucchini into medium-sized slices and add to soup.
  4. Simmer the soup with the lid covered for roughly two hours.
  5. When done, remove garlic before serving.

Chef’s tip: Remove excess fat by making the soup a day in advance and refrigerating it overnight. The fat will congeal on the top of the soup, making it easy to remove. Reheat soup before serving.

Related: Ask A Tampa Bay Expert: Best Workout Recipes

Aaron Phillips has experience in marketing and journalism. Recently back to his hometown, he’s excited to discover and share what Tampa has to offer. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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