Sunday, December 20th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Latkes 101: A Cooking Tweetup

A few weeks ago, Tamara Stecyk invited Mack and I to a “cooking Tweetup” she had organized, centering around a lesson in latke making. As it combined our two great loves, Twitter and food, respectively, how could we turn down the offer?

Would you like spanakopita with your latkes? (they were delicious)

Because of Tamara and Bill’s hospitality, it was also another opportunity to socialize with some of Edmonton’s most avid (and community-minded) Twitter users, including Paula, John, Debra and Jerry.

A “community” kitchen

Tamara graciously demonstrated how to make latkes using her generations-old recipe. It all started with a ten-pound bag of potatoes – washed, peeled and grated. By the time we arrived, the first two steps had already been taken care of, but we did help somewhat with the grating (and have the cuts to prove it). Though we thought using a ricer or a food processor might simplify procedures, Tamara said that neither shortcut yielded the desired results.

Mack grating potatoes

Tamara expertly took care of grating the onions, and proceeded with adding the other ingredients, which included matzo meal, eggs and salt and pepper. The mixture loosely resembled oatmeal, both in appearance and consistency.

Latke mixture

Then, in very hot oil, large teaspoon-sized dollops of batter were dropped in for frying. Tamara said they were ready to turn over once the edges started to bubble and change colour. Oil had to be continuously added to the pans (being soaked up as it were by the latkes), and she had to work faster as the oil became hotter and hotter. Had I been in front of the stove, I would have surely burned myself numerous times, but Tamara’s 20 years of latke-making experience definitely showed!

Tamara at the stove

I helped pile the finished latkes on a decorative platter as the table was set for a full meal. Where I had expected just a latke lesson, Tamara had a full meal in mind, with matzo ball soup, roast, and even babka for dessert! We were a very fortunate group indeed.

Dishing out latkes

Finished latkes

Matzo ball soup

 Babka

Thanks Tamara (and Bill) for a lovely meal, and for the lesson!

You can see the Cooking Tweetup photoset here.