By Nora Mounce
As a college freshman, I rented a room in a brown shingle house blocks away from the “Gourmet Ghetto” in North Berkeley, California. I loved retreating from the relentless energy of the Cal campus to my quiet tree-lined neighborhood, where gourmet eateries lined Shattuck Avenue.
My favorite spot was Saul’s Deli, where red overstuffed booths, and a black and white checkered floor looked more like a New York City diner than home. Still, given its charm, Saul’s became a refuge from my collegiate homesickness. Brought up by Midwestern parents, I was fascinated by the classic Jewish cuisine – piles of paper-thin roast beef, overflowing bowls of egg salad and giant pickles filled the deli case. For breakfast, I would order a plate of fluffy Challah French Toast doused in maple syrup. Lunch was usually a salted bagel with lox. I wasn’t adventurous enough to order Saul’s Famous chopped liver sandwich. But I do remember the potato latkes. Shattering the tight weave of grated potatoes with every bite, the freshly fried latkes were topped with applesauce and sour cream, expertly blending the sweet with the savory. I was hooked.
To honor the immeasurable contribution of Jewish culture to American cuisine, make time for latkes in your life this holiday season. Though a decent amount of preparation is necessary, I used cauliflower rice* in lieu of potatoes, resulting in a paleo, gluten-free latke. Often served around Hanukkah, latkes are a wonderful dish to share, as the sturdy discs travel well and can be served as appetizers or a main dish. For this recipe, I topped each latke with a dollop of goat yogurt infused with activated kief and a spot of Diane’s Sweet Heat, a peach-habanero jam made in Northern California. Guests can control how much cannabis they consume by personally garnishing with the canna-yogurt.
*The paleo community has talked about cauliflower rice for years. But I was finally inspired to try it after I found a bag at Costco! Already “riced,” (cooked and shredded), I simply measured out 4 cups of the organic cauliflower rice for the latke recipe. It was much quicker than grating potatoes and just as delicious!
4 cups cauliflower rice (follow instructions here if making your own)
1 cup gluten-free flour
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, optional
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup hot water, or as needed
1 cup goat yogurt
½ gram activated kief
In a large mixing bowl, mix cauliflower, flour, garlic, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Then, add 1 tablespoon of hot water at a time, adding more if the mixture needs more moisture to form patties.
In a large skillet, heat at least 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. When hot, pat about a ¼ cup of batter into a patty. Fry until golden brown on the bottom, 4-6 minutes. Flip and repeat on second side. Repeat with remaining batter.
Top each with canna-yogurt and peach-pepper jam, or serve on the side.
Extra latkes freeze well or are delicious served cold on a green salad.
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