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Cooking with Cloudflare

Presented by Chaat Butsunturn, Adam Zolot
Originally aired on 

Happy Holidays! In this edition of Cooking with Cloudflare, Chaat and special guest Adam Zolot will prepare his time-tested recipe for Latkes.

If you want to follow along, check out the ingredients and recipe here:

Check out Adam's other cooking demos on his YouTube channel, manscapeArchitect!


Transcript (Beta)

It's five o'clock. Hi, everyone. This is Chaat Butsunturn, your host of Cooking with Cloudflare.

And today's guest, my friend, Adam Zolot. How are you doing, Adam?

I'm great, Chaat. How are you? Well, well, thanks. So Adam and I go way back, but one of the reasons why I invited him today, not only is he a great cook, but one of his specialties is very timely for the season.

So happy holidays to everyone. We have Hanukkah coming up next week.

And so we're going to make latkes. I really appreciate that you're joining us, Adam.

So latkes, is there a backstory to latkes? There's certainly a backstory.

I mean, growing up, it was the holiday I look forward to the most, I think, not just because of the presents.

As you may know, that we have eight nights of getting presents and Hanukkah.

So that was always a big thing.

But we ate a lot of latkes. And to me, it was, yeah, the Passover and Hanukkah are the two big holidays for me for food.

And I'm sort of a latke obsessive.

I have spent years and years working out the fine details of my recipe. And I was named by the Jewish Food Society, the latke king of Hanukkah Heights, which is what I jokingly called the neighborhood I grew up in.

And they wrote it up with the recipe.

So I think you shared the link with everybody, but this is the result of that.

There you go. Well, Adam, I appreciate like last year, I knew you hosted your 78th annual vodka latke party.

It was a real pleasure to be a guest.

Thank you so much. And you made, you know, not just standard latkes, but like five, six different kinds of latkes and various dips and everything.

But I think today, we're focusing on the gold standard.

Is that right? It is the gold standard.

We're going to do the traditional potato latke. Though, as we get into it, I'll talk about why the potato latke isn't actually the original latke of Hanukkah, but it has become that.

And it is the standard. The top line story of it goes that we're cooking potatoes in oil.

The oil represents the eternal light that was burning, that is part of the Hanukkah story.

So that's the modern interpretation.

But in fact, it's not reality. And somebody made up a great story, but it doesn't link to any historical fact.

But hey, I'm not going to turn it down.

But I think we should probably get started because time may wind up being- Okay, yeah.

We have 60 minutes. Actually, we're down to 57. So let's do it.

All right. So for those that are cooking at home, they probably got the recipe, but we should have potatoes, eggs, onions, matzo meal.

Of those, you don't want to substitute anything.

You could use a shallot instead of an onion. But eggs, you could probably use a non-vegan egg if you're trying to do that.

Potatoes, I like to use russets.

I think that it has the best texture. You could use other types of potatoes.

But honestly, what I'm looking for on the crispiness and the fluffiness on the inside, the russet tends to be the best.

Matzo meal. Matzo meal is basically just ground up matzo.

You could use flour instead, or you could take some crackers and put it through a food processor.

But matzo meal has a particular flavor that I really like.

Is the matzo meal about the flavor or the texture? It's a little bit of both.

So matzo is basically unleavened bread. And then they take that and grind it up.

So if you were looking for something comparable, you just take a cracker.

But you can use any sort of meal. You can use almond meal. You can use flour.

Can you use panko? Say again? Can you use panko? Yeah, you could use panko. It would probably come out a little bit crispier or crunchier with panko.

But yeah, conceivably could work.

It's a little matzo meal is a finer grain than panko.

And then the fat. So you can use any kind of vegetable oil, you can use avocado oil, you can use canola oil, which I have here olive oil.

The I like to inject what's called schmaltz.

So in traditional Jewish cooking, render down chicken fat.

And chicken fat has this unbelievably unctuous flavor that gets infused into it when you add a little I usually will put a tablespoon of the schmaltz into the vegetable oil when it's in the pan.

So we'll get to that. I have two kinds of salts.

I have diamond kosher for the basic seasoning. And then I have a Maldon salt, which is great for the right has a great texture at the end.

I've got my I've got my diamond kosher.

And I've got my Maldon. So I'm all set on that. I've got my matzo meal, an onion, three potatoes, which seemed like Oh, well, is there going to be enough because my family's gonna they're gonna go to town on this.

They're gonna go fast. They cook fast. No, they're gonna get eaten fast. So you'll find that you'll be digging back into this recipe soon, I'm sure.

Probably next week.

Yeah. As far as gear, I've got two bowls, one of which I'm going to fill with water.

I've got a large cast iron pan, but you can use any kind of a fry pan, it can be stainless, it can be nonstick.

I've got a wire rack and a sheet pan to catch them afterwards when they're greasy.

I've got a spatula. I love the fish spatula.

If you've seen these before, great for flipping. And then I've got a box grater.

Something like this. That'll work. And then I've got a box grater. And I also have, as Chad mentioned, I do an annual party called the Vodka Latke Party.

And I have some horseradish infused vodka that I make.

I take a Tito's and put some some horseradish root in the bottom of it and let it sit for a couple weeks.

And it's good.

Um, I don't have schmaltz, but I do have duck fat. Yes. So duck fat is a good substitute.

It's a little more gamey. So when you're using it, maybe use a little bit less to cut it down, but it'll still give you that.

It's just is a word that I think best represents it.

It's sort of in an umami realm. It's, it's gamey. I mean, I think gamey may be the best word for it.

But yeah, we use it a lot in Jewish cooking.

So duck fat is a close substitute. I remember one Thanksgiving, we actually had a turkey that we put a cheesecloth soaked in duck fat on top of the turkey.

It was delicious. Yeah, I like that. Okay, so first step is we're going to fill up a bowl.

I have a large mixing bowl. And I'm going to fill that up with water because after we peel our potatoes, we want to put them in the water so that they don't brown.

We're working against the clock with potatoes. So once you peel potatoes, you have to make every effort to keep them from browning.

Well, if I buy two bowls, should I use the bigger one for the potatoes?

Sure, either one as long as the potatoes will fit in there submerged.

Okay, so I'm going to fill that up with water.

So I'm going to use three potatoes since you're using three, I think the recipe calls for four.

Here's my thing on recipes. I'm not all about measurements and specific ingredients.

I like to give you a framework so that you can, you can work your own magic on it, put your own spin on it.

And, and not be concerned about very specific ingredients, especially because potatoes come in all different sizes.

So we're going to do three. So what we want to do is peel them and put them right in the water.

And that's step one. So I'm going to get peeling on my potatoes.

I'm going to peel over the sink here so I don't make a mess. So I'll tell you the first little bit of fun fact trivia.

As I said, the potato latke is not the original latke of Hanukkah.

In fact, what is more traditional or what is more authentic is a cheese latke.

And I made them last year, you might remember.

Yeah. But they didn't actually have potatoes. Potatoes are an Andean tuber and didn't come to Europe until I want to say 1600s.

So they weren't certainly part of any original ancient celebrations.

And apparently before the potato became the primary ingredient, there were buckwheat.

So the original latkes were cheese, and then they shifted to some sort of grain, buckwheat most likely, and then landed on potato latkes.

So I like to make, there's an amazing recipe online for cheese latkes that uses ricotta that I make every year.

And then the other interesting thing is that there would not have been olive oil back when they did this.

So the schmaltz is actually the original fat they would have used.

So they just fried it straight up in the fat. Yeah, that they didn't have olive oil.

I remember back in the day, I feel like McDonald's fries used to be cooked in fat.

Yeah, and beef tallow. Oh, man. All right, I'm gonna compost my skins.

And you'll, as I was saying, you just we're trying to arrest the browning of the potato, putting it in water stops it in this first step, because what we're going to do is we're going to shred the potatoes.

But we want to have an onion ready to go.

Because in the second step, after we shred them, the onion is what keeps them from browning.

Oh, and then the final step, we're going to wring the water out of them.

And by wringing the water out of them, that will be the final way to keep them from browning.

So it's an interesting thing along the way that we do these things.

Okay, so I got my I got my potatoes in the water. Okay, so now we're gonna take an onion, and we're just gonna take the skin off of the onion and cut it in half.

So I'm going to cut it in half. First by cutting opposite the root end, just a little slice off the end.

And then I'm going to cut right in the middle of the root so that it cuts in half.

And that's how I'm going to use it when I grate.

I'm going to peel the skin off of this. Let me peel the skin off here. Give me a little zoom in action there.

So here. Okay, got it. All right. This is normally how I start almost any onion preparation will be by cutting off the opposite the root end, and then having it and then peeling off the skin.

By this thing here, it's like a Christmas ornament.

Yeah, that would be an interesting Christmas tree. The Jewish Christmas tree has onions and potatoes on it.

Okay, so I'm gonna cut this in half, he said.

And you want me to cut it like, whoa, yeah, cut it. Cut it down right through the root.

And then what we're gonna do is we're gonna grate the onion right into the bowl.

Into the bowl, a different bowl. Yeah, into the second bowl, not the water bowl.

So you're going to use the, the fat grate on your, your box grater, what Shadi has there.

If you want to use a food processor for this, the disc on the food processor that does the grating actually does a pretty good job.

I used to be against it because I kind of believe that getting a little blood on your knuckles is is a good part of the recipe.

I call it a little protein. I mean, I think the taste of the latkes growing up would my Bubbies, you know, bloody knuckles in every batch.

So, you know, going against the grain so that it doesn't fall apart on you.

Go ahead and just grate the onion into the bowl. Try not to cry.

Technically, if you're doing it with still attached, you shouldn't cry. There you go.

Yeah, you already got some blood on your knuckle. Keep your hand open when you do it like I use my the heel of my hand to drive it.

And I keep my hand pretty open.

I use my thumb to sort of press it down. And then you'll probably leave the last segment.

It'll be hard to to grate that. So you can just throw away like the last little segment.

All right. Smell that onion. Yeah, you'll see there's a lot of liquid that comes out.

Oh, look at that.

Modern innovation there. This is from my mandolin. So, OK, so this part I can just discard.

Yeah. What you can't grate is discard. OK, that one got me right.

So the relative volume of onion to potato is somewhere south of about a quarter.

So it comes out in volume and not in numbers of potatoes versus onions, because onions produce less volume than the potatoes do.

Usually there's more water content.

Say again, it's because there's more water content. No, it's just the relative size of them.

An onion, you know, you're looking for somewhere less than a quarter final content of onion versus potato.

So after we do the onion, we're going to take our potato on the same box grater.

You can do it straight into the bowl or you can do it on the cutting board.

And what I like to do is I like shorter strands.

So I'm going to do it on the short side and I'm going to grate the potato back into the same thing.

You can do it in the same bowl. I'm doing it on the cutting board and then I'll transfer it over.

But you can do it straight into the bowl if that's convenient for you.

But so I have a mandolin, which is pretty handy.

This is I'm just going to. That's fantastic. Save my knuckles. All right. Whoa.

All right. A little action here. So this is the most tedious part of it. Like I said, for those that have the processor attachment, I have one, but I kind of wanted to torture you a little bit that you found a way around it.

Too clever. And then you want to take your potato and put it straight in the bowl with the onion and mix it around so that the onion reacts to it and prevents the browning.

It's going to be a nice wet mess to start and put it right here, right?

Yeah. Put it in there and then mix the onion around with it.

All right. So that it retards the browning and then get on your next potato.

All right. So is there anything wrong with the browning?

Is it like an aesthetic thing or what?

You know, I really have no idea. My general take is that it's aesthetic. I don't think anything actually happens texturally, but it's like an apple.

I mean, you could probably eat a brown apple, but do you want to eat a brown apple?

Right. Same with bananas, I guess, too. I like black bananas. I like to make banana bread, so I intentionally buy too many.

Yeah, I agree. I agree. I also like zucchini bread.

I'm going to come over and turn up the volume because when I'm doing this, I can't hear you over the sound of grating potatoes.

So I'm going to mix it again when I put in the second potato.

Okay. I'm going to mix mine again, too. And this is a nice mix of potato and onion.

Yeah. Smells good. There we go. More volume. There we go. And the last one.

So here's the thing. If you're using four potatoes, you use your small onion for three potatoes.

If you're doing four potatoes, do a large onion. If you're doing five potatoes, six potatoes, do two small onions, etc.

I'll do, usually I'll do for the Vodka Latke Party, I'll do about 10 pounds of potatoes.

My goodness. Yeah.

And that usually winds up being somewhere between around two pounds, two and a half pounds of onion.

So that's like three or four onions. My math is good on that.

My gazinces aren't very good, but. Great. I'm making quick work of this. Yeah, you're done?

Okay, three. Look at that. You just took down the Latke King. That's from my cheater stick.

Yeah, but I got blood in mine, so. All right. Need my knuckles.

Okay, so I'm going to clean off the box grater. Now, the next step is the secret to making latkes.

If you don't do this next step, you will not get crispy, lovely, golden lattices that you're looking for.

Okay, well, hold on. Let me just mix this up here.

Yeah, mix it up. I don't want to miss any important steps here.

Oh, I won't let you miss this one. All right. I'm going to clean off my cutting board, too.

So Becca will appreciate this as you clean as you go. Oh, yeah.

I'll do the same here.

I'm going to take my cutting board. I'll be right back. This is some pro chef stuff, cleaning up as you go, which I didn't do when I was married, and that's probably why I'm divorced.

Okay, clean space.

So look at you. I'm mostly clean. I still have some shreds of potato here and there, but all right.

So now the big thing is you want a clean dish towel, and in the dish towel, you're going to take probably half of the mixture and lay it out in the center of the towel like a long tube.

Okay, think about half of it. Yeah, about half of it right down the center of the towel.

Okay, give me one second here.

Make it some space here, and we're going to put my, here it is.

Okay. So take about half of it, put it in, and then you're going to roll a burrito.

Okay, so I'm going to get this little onion skin on there.

Take about half of it and just lay it out in a tube in the middle, and then what you're going to do is you're going to take the towel, wrap it over the edge, and sort of pull it back, and then roll it up like this.

Yeah, tuck the edge under. Yeah, and now roll it, and then what you're going to do is you're going to twist the ends.

Once it's totally rolled up, you're going to twist the ends in opposite ways.

Okay, so look at how I have this, and I'm going to go this way with this way and that way with that way over the sink.

So you're going to have to go over the sink, and you're going to twist super hard, and you're going to squeeze out all of the water.

Okay, let's see. Going in opposite directions and really squeeze.

It's a super workout, and you'll start to see it.

It starts to rain out. Really squeeze it. You can see how hard I'm getting on this, and it's still coming out.

Okay, I got to really twist this thing here.

Yeah, get into it. The harder you twist, the crispier latkes will be because you want to remove moisture.

There you go, and you've got multiple layers of towel there, so it's probably absorbing a bit.

The next one you do, the second batch will produce even more, and then what I do is I take the towel.

I hold it at the top like this, Jack, and I shake it.

Let the bottom open, and then everything just falls out of the bottom.

Okay, and you're putting that into a different I cleaned out the bowl.

Yeah, I cleaned out the first bowl. Sorry, just wipe it out with a towel, and look how white the potatoes are.

You can see that they haven't browned a bit because of what we've been doing all the way through, and again, it's going to be aesthetic, but in the end, that looks nice when you're frying up your latkes.

Okay, let me see here.

So now I'm taking this, and I'm going to just open it up. Yeah, and then shake it until the bottom opens, but hold the top, and it'll fall out.

Oh yeah, here we go, and your potatoes should be nice and white, and then do it again with the second batch.

Unroll it. Okay, wow, look at that.

And what I do is, because there's so much liquid in the bottom of this bowl, I'm just scraping it out with my hand, but I'm trying to minimize the liquid that I'm pulling out of the bottom of the bowl with the ends of this, and then I'm going to toss that extra liquid into the center.

So I'm doing the second round here, rolling it up, so you guys can see and then I'm going to go like this.

You know what, I'll do it over the bowl so everybody can see it up close for the second batch.

All right, watch how much water comes out.

Whoa, that's a lot of water. Okay, here I go.

I'm going to try my burrito. Turning it, and then you can really get your hands in there and grab it.

You're not going to hurt the potatoes by doing that, and that's it.

So I got about a cup of liquid. There you go, check that out. If you're not doing that when you make your latkes, your life is about to change, because that's everything.

And quite honestly, I do that for other things. If I'm making hash browns, I started doing that.

That makes sense. Yeah, or if you're making rosti, which is a Swiss potato treat.

And this is just the water content of the potato.

And a little bit of the onion. Yeah, but now the potatoes will sit like this while you're working with it, and it will not brown on you, which is the objective.

All right, okay. Now we're going to prepare ourselves for frying before we mix everything up, because it does take the oil a little time to heat up.

So give me one second here. I just want to do a recap here. So we just did, this here is going to be a concoction of potatoes and onion.

And the onion is not only for flavor, but also to seize the browning.

Is that right? Yes, sir. I'm going to crack open a beer.

I'm going to do a shot of this horseradish vodka, warms my cockles.

There's a restaurant up in Portland called Pachka, and it's on their vodka tasting menu.

And they won't ship to San Francisco. So I just started making it myself.

And I do about five bottles every year, gift it or drink it. And man, it's good.

Hey, Adam, here's to you, buddy. Good to see you. L'chaim. Okay, now we've got the potatoes ready.

And are we moving to the pan now? We're going to just get our pan going.

And we're going to finish up here. So I'm just going to turn on the heat to sort of a medium heat.

And I'm going to put oil in the pan. So as I was saying, Yeah, talk to me about oil, because I got a bunch of oil options.

And so Becca tells me that I should use it for cooking on high heat, use something like grapeseed oil or peanut oil or coconut oil, something that takes a high heat.

We're not really doing that high heat.

So that's why you can get away with a canola oil or an olive oil, because I'll go olive oil, olive oil gives you flavor.

But honestly, if you're doing the duck fat, you could do canola oil and rely on the flavor of the duck fat.

And you'll you'll get plenty you won't get up to the smoke point of canola oil.

So avocado oil, canola oil, olive oil, I'm going to use canola oil.

And what I'm going to do is I'm going to put like an eighth of an inch layer in the pan.

You want to coat the pan pretty well. So I have, I don't know if this is like vegetable oil or canola oil.

That looks fine. It's fine. That looks like Wesson.

So it's either canola or vegetable, you're fine with that. Because you don't want too much of the flavor of the oil, except for the schmaltz flavor to get into the latke.

You want to taste it. Because honestly, I'll tell you what I use this for.

I use for when I make wings. Well, deep frying is what I use. Yeah. I don't know how long I've had this oil.

Does that matter? Should I use a fresh? Is it recycled?

No, no, no. Before? No, then it's fine. Yeah, no, you're fine. All right, use that and then take, take like a teaspoon of your fat.

Oh, an eighth of an inch, you said?

Yeah, about an eighth of an inch in the bottom of the pan. Okay. And then a teaspoon of your fat, your duck fat and put that in.

And then as we fry, just keep the duck fat nearby.

You're going to keep adding it in and the oil because these things absorb a lot of oil.

So I'm going to put in a little bit of my, my duck fat so everybody can see it.

Got some duck fat. So here's my take. Honestly, if you can get chicken fat, use chicken fat.

Duck fat to me is not as, as nuanced.

Duck fat is, is a little stronger. And like I said, it's a little game here.

So first choice would be chicken fat, but if you can't find chicken fat, it's hard to find.

Then, then go for duck fat. So put the pan on medium to medium high and let it go.

And I'm just checking on time. We're about 530. So we're good.

And now we're going to, we're going to make our batter. So I'm going to get a fork out to mix it.

I'm going to show people my, here's my pan. There you go.

I'm just fry pan right there. Okay. So what we're doing now is we're going to add a couple of wet ingredients and dry ingredients for binding.

I'm getting my sour cream, my applesauce out of the fridge.

So my recipe is unique. My recipe is unique.

Not a lot of people will put sour cream in the batter itself. I find that it adds a really lovely creaminess.

I don't put much. So for three, these three potatoes, three medium sized potatoes, I'm probably going to put, I'm eyeballing this, but I'm going to put one big tablespoon, two big tablespoons of sour cream.

Oh, I like, I am a huge sour cream fan. Nice. You'll definitely be putting a lot on afterwards too.

One of my favorite snacks is I love crinkle cut kettle chips and sour cream.

Nice. All right. So my fat is dissolved into the pan. Now I'm going to take, and I think, don't lose me here.

I'm putting into two, two nice big tablespoons.

If you want more, you can put more in. We're just, we're going to, we're going to get a batter that is just simply to bind the latke together.

So we don't want it to, we want it to be predominantly potato.

Okay. So this is where the eggs come in.

I'm going to, I'm going to beat up. I'm looking at this and I'm thinking two eggs.

I'm going to beat up two eggs. I may not use both of them, but I'm going to mix them up in this bowl and then I'll start pouring them in and we'll see.

All I put in here right now is sour cream.

That's it. Correct. And now you're going to crack a couple eggs in a bowl.

All right. Mix them up. Before putting them into, now what we're trying not to do is to make it too wet.

So with this, I'm going to crack a couple eggs in here and yeah.

What? Yeah. Caprico eggs in a, in a small bowl.

Okay. And then once you get that done, let me know. You want me to mix them up a little bit?

Yeah. Mix them up. All right. You know, mix up my eggs.

And then we're going to pour, I would say pour most of it in, leave a little bit behind and then mix up your potatoes with the egg and see if it looks like you're getting a good coating.

Once you, you really get it all mixed in, it should change it a little yellow enough that it looks like when you add the matzo meal that it'll bind.

And if it's not quite there, it looks like I'm 80% there. So I am going to put the rest of this egg in this egg area.

Sure. And then just mix it up and make sure it gets all incorporated.

And then.

All right. We're going to add our matzo meal. Okay. Hold on a second. Let me give it a good stir here.

Yeah. So you, you're seeing, this is what mine looks like right here.

Can you see the, the light is really bright. I mean, that's all good.

And I can tell you can see it. Yeah. So it just, it gets all incorporated.

And then I'm going to take the matzo meal. Hold on a second. I want to be where you are.

Yes, sir. All right. Gotcha. And. So it's probably going to be about a quarter cup of matzo meal.

Here's the thing. This is, this is the key to finishing it all up is the matzo meal is there to bind.

And when you grab it with your hands, after you put it in and you mix it, when you grab it with your hands, it should loosely stick together.

So you're looking for almost like a grainy, sandy texture.

When you grab it with your hands. So I'm thinking that it's probably going to be about a quarter cup.

So I'm going to start with. What looks like about two or three tablespoons.

And then I'm going to mix it in. So do I want to measure this?

Because if you're, but for those people at home that don't have the trained eyeball.

They're going to, they're going to, they're going to hear from me now.

What they're looking for. It's better to go with this because you don't know the size of the potatoes.

Everybody has, you don't know the size of the onion. If I give you like, if I measured it out in grams, then I could give it to you specifically, but you're going to have to just learn to trust.

So I put in about two to three tablespoons of this.

And it's holding when I, when I clump it together, it's holding pretty well.

Let me check this out. I want it to be wet in there. What I think was probably about.

All right. I'm, I'm looking at this and I'm kind of digging.

Maybe I want a little more. Well, feel it with your hands. So clump it with your fingers once it's mixed in.

And if it, if it just starts to hold together, you're okay.

Okay. And it shouldn't be too wet. It shouldn't be dry. You definitely don't want to dry.

It can be a little wet, like clump it together with your fingers.

Don't don't like squeeze it. And if it holds together fairly well here, look, so here's mine.

Okay. Now watch when I do that, I can feel it holding together and it's, it's taking shape.

I need more. Don't put too much more.

Okay. And after you do that, then you're going to salt it. Okay. Hold on. Let me mix it.

Do you like to stir with a spatula? I'm using a fork. You do what? I'm using a fork.

Use a fork. Yeah. Is there any particular reason? Is it just because it helps to break up the clumps that form.

And I'm going to use the fork. Okay.

So I'm using a fork. I'm mixing in, I'm stirring it up and that's looking a little bit better.

If I grab it's holding, look at that. Right. Oh, it shouldn't hold loosely.

Here's the thing. You squeeze it, grab and squeeze, and then it should give you like a little clump.

Oh yeah. So like this. So you're good. Yeah. And now we want to salt it.

So again, with the eyeball, I would say I'm taking a sizable pinch of the diamond kosher.

And I'm going to mix it in. All right. And then I'm going to do another sizable pinch and mix it in.

And I'm starting to smell my oil, by the way.

Yeah. So turn it down a little bit. If it's, if it's too hot, you don't want it to smoke, but I smell mine as well.

I smoke it. So I'm actually going to just kill it.

Well, no, we're, we're about to get on it. Don't kill it. Don't kill it.

We're about to get on it. So here's the, here's the batter, everyone. It's, it's thickish.

It resists when I, when I spin it, it's got ample salt in it. If I push it down with a fork, it forms a cake.

So two healthy pinches should be good on salt.

And we'll taste the first one and adjust.

So we always taste. Sorry, when you're tasting this, I'm just grabbing some and tasting, or am I dipping my finger in it or what?

No, no, we're going to, we're going to fry one off.

Okay. So your oil should be hot. If I put, so mine's a little hot.

It's, it should be around 350 to 403. Yeah. Mine's at 355. That's basic frying temperature.

If you're, if you're gauging, but just, you don't want it to smoke.

And when you put your first latke in, it's going to, it's going to sizzle hard.

All right. Here's how we eat them. It's smaller than a golf ball.

My size. When I make them, I make them probably about two thirds, the size of a golf ball.

I grabbed that ball. And as a round ball, I put it in the pan and then push it down.

So just use your fingers and not your hands. Cause you don't want that much.

Right. I'm looking for a surface that's going to, it's going to lead you to about a two inch.

Yeah. Ish. Maybe that might even be a little much, but this is what I've got right here.

All right. And then I'm going to put it right in the oil.

You'll hear it fry and then press it down. Press it down with what?

Your fingers. And then let it go. And this is going to be our tester. All right.

Is it sizzling nicely for you? Yeah, it's sizzling nice. Should I bring my camera over so people can see it or just leave it on yours?

Oh, we can leave it on mine.

If mine is doing what you're, what it's supposed to be doing. And I guess we could do that.

Whatever's convenient for you, Adam. One thing I do want to do is take a breather because I know that people are.

I know from, from watching your show with my wife that, uh, try to keep pace with Adam is, uh, is an exercise.

You're doing great. Um, okay. The heat is my heat time. I got to turn it up to medium again because I had turned it down, but it looked really hot.

Starting to Brown at the edges.

Yeah. So yeah. So Browning at the edges is good. And once it reaches a pretty nice Brown on the edges, you're going to flip it.

Um, give it a sec, be patient with it, but that's how you tell when they're ready to flip.

You'll, you'll start to get a feel for the edging, uh, the Browning on the edges.

We're looking for, you know, a crisp lattice like consistency.

Um, usually the first ones are, you know, the burners.

Those are the ones that you, you get your process down.

Um, go ahead and it looks like yours might be ready to flip. I think so.

I'm going to flip it. Yeah. Whoops. Use the edge of your pan. So you see how it's, it's lighter in the middle and darker on the outside.

So I would say that your oil might be a little hot when it went in.

So, yeah, cause I, mine's definitely like darker on the edges and then lighter.

It's hard to tell with the lighting here, right?

It looks good though. It looks good.

So you're going to, mine is, is almost where yours is. Should I do another shot of vodka?

Yeah, I've been drinking. Does everything taste better that way?

I'm actually not a very good cook. I just get people drunk when I'm cooking.

Nobody realizes that I'm going to disagree with you, Adam.

I'm faking it, brother. All right. I'm going to turn this. Ah, that looks good.

All right. Let me see if I can get this camera over. Yeah, we are curious.

Everyone's really curious. All right. Let me see if I don't screw this whole thing up.

So you have a food blog for a time, right? The Epicurean Zealot.

I did. Is that, is that live still? No, we lost the video. Oh, we lost the video.

Okay. Hold on. Here it comes. All right. And hold on. I got to switch to the camera.

We have live television. There we go. There he goes again. Meanwhile, we can look at mine.

How do I know when it's to pull? And do you, do you, when you, when you pull it off, do you put it onto a paper towel or just put it on?

Wire rack is for. All right. So there's my Latke. You can see it's nice and evenly browned across the top.

I see how the light affects that. What if I turn it?

Yeah. Look at that. I turned the light down. Oh, how'd you do that? I just turned the light down on my stove.

See, oh, look at this. I'll just cover my stove with my hand.

Yours is actually more even than, than I had thought. So mine's getting close to being done.

You can look at the bottom, the underside of it, and it just wants to match the top.

Mine is kind of dark on the, on the, when I flip it. Then what you want to do is when you're done, pull it out and put it on.

I have a wire rack like this.

Yeah. And put yours on that and then let it cool to touch and put a little finishing salt on it.

So Maldon sea salt. And then I like to top my Latkes with both sour cream and, uh, applesauce.

There are, there are people who prefer just sour cream, just applesauce.

There's a little Maldon. Yeah. Just a tiny bit. All right.

Hey, for those not in the know, I just wanted to share. Oh, I guess I got rid of my, uh, my Maldon, my box of Maldon, but okay.

So I just, I just have mine, um, just so everybody can see.

Okay. Here's my Latke. Here's my Latke. It looks great, Chad.

You did fantastic. There's mine. I think we're looking like twinsies. Oh yeah.

All right. And that's the other side of it. So both sides are brown and crispy.

Um, and then the proper way that I eat them is I take it, I hit it with a little Maldon.

Or I should get a little plate, huh? I hit it with a little applesauce.

And then I hit it with a little sour cream.

And I'll tell you, this is my first Latke of the year.

I'm going to be eating many of them throughout the season, but that's what.

Okay. I'm ready to try this. Shall we do it? Let's do it. Is it going to be hot still or what?

Probably. Oh, I lost the picture again.

I don't know what's going on with my camera. Wow. Yeah. The real deal.

It's so good.

Yeah. I think I got the salt right too. It's crispy on the outside, fluffy on the middle.

There's a lot of texture, surface texture with the crisp on it to give you that bite.

But yet it's, it's warm and fluffy in the middle. Okay. So what about the size of these things?

So you, you met, we were talking about it before the show about the side, because I always think of Latkes is like, you know, like this.

I think that those are too big. What happens is when you do them that big, you're, you're blowing out the ratios.

I want more crisp per Latke. And that means smaller in a ratio gives you more surface area for crispness.

So I find that big Latkes are one harder to eat.

I want them to be, you know, almost finger size, bite size.

And I prefer them to have that crisp ratio. So I swear by the size of mine, you can try to do them bigger, but for me, it really works in that about a two inch diameter.

Hmm. And, you know, now that your pan is hot, we've tested for seasoning.

We've got enough salt. Then you want to go into production mode, right? Let's do it.

And production mode means that you're going to fill up the pan. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take those clumps and I'm going to go all the way across the pan.

I'm probably going to get a pretty big pan. I'm just doing it with my, with one hand, just clumping it up.

Yeah, just one hand, clump, drop, push.

And this is what I do with the party. I always fry my Latkes live at the party.

I will never serve you a reheated Latkes. So I spent all night with two of these big pans going with six different kinds of Latkes.

I remember them. They kept coming off every, every 10 minutes.

There's like new batch. Yeah. Which one was the most popular last at the party?

Um, I remember you had some that were made out of, was it beet?

Yeah, I did some beet and goat cheese. I did, um, I did, uh, arancini, some rice fritters.

I did, uh, I do regularly. I make a zucchini, um, and feta.

Okay. So here's the pan with production mode, two, four, six, eight, nine going in that pan.

Pretty well spaced out, um, so that they don't sit on top of each other.

And this is where you just kind of watch for the edges to brown. Looks like for me, I'm going to be able to fit five, six, seven of them then.

Right. Basically.

And yeah, you get your, um, you get your, uh, uh, your batch going. And this is how, when you have a group of people, you're able to start churning out a production level.

You have multiple pans going at a party? Oh yeah. I'll have two of these 14 inch, um, cast iron.

The cast iron is good because it retains, uh, it retains the high heat for consistent periods.

Oh, I forgot to do my vodka. So what do you do when you're cooking?

I mean, like, look at this. This always happens.

I got, now I got to like. Just wash it off on the sink. What? Wash it off in the sink.

All right.

So. All right. These are crisping up nicely.

I'm going to separate them, make sure that they're all not touching.

So again, the, um, the, the matzo meal. It's like a glue. It becomes kind of a mortar.

The binding. Yeah. Binding along with the egg. It's like you add them together.

Yeah. Essentially you're, you're, you're adding moisture and flavor and, um, and, and the glue to hold it all together.

Because if you were to just put the potatoes in there, then it would just fall apart.

It would be hash browns.

So to make it into a latke or a pancake, as they call it. They're going to put more, um, duck fat in there, right?

Yes. Well, I do it usually every, every one or two batches.

You haven't really used a lot of duck fat because of the, uh, you only fried off one tester, but I'm going to put a little more in there.

You, if you like the flavor of duck fat, then go for it.

Well, we'll see. I like the flavor of these latkes.

I'll tell you that much. So they're, they're, they're pretty bad-ass.

I think, uh, I, I had the honor. Um, this is an Israeli woman who's a friend of mine who runs the Jewish food society.

When she came and I made these for her in New York, she said that they were the best latkes she's ever had.

And that was such an honor.

Wow. Um, as well as, uh, I don't know if you know, Chris Cosentino.

Um, Chris is a local celebrity chef and he came to one of my vodka latke parties, said it was the best.

So I feel like Donald Trump here, uh, tooting my own horn, but.

Well, I remember the last year's, uh, I had the good fortune of it falling on my birthday, which was a fun way to celebrate with y'all.

That's coming up.

It is. Damn. I know. It's crazy. Are you, you're going to be 30, right? Yes. It sounds about right.

I look 30. Yes. It's a good year. I understand. Um, this is great.

So 548 and we're, we're, we've got a bunch of, I still have, um, how much in here?

It's hard, hard to say why different pots spots on the pan because of the size of my burner are at different temperatures.

So I'm turning them at different times, but you can see, Oh, you have a rather large, um, I have about a, uh, probably about a 10 inch.

It looks like yours is a 12 inch. 14. 14. Maybe mine's totally right.

It doesn't sit very well on this burner. I'm using the closer burner.

My wider burner is over here. So, you know, I, to get the, the even heat, um, I'll have to move them in a little bit closer.

Um, but you get the point. I do. I do.

Yeah. You know, it's not usually Adam, like a lot, cause not necessarily a meal per se.

So like, what do you typically, huh? I'd be happy just eating latkes, right?

If you're putting a menu together with latkes, um, there's a bunch of different things you can do.

I think the cut, the grease, I would do a green salad, um, and particularly maybe a citrus dressing of sorts.

Um, oftentimes when I do the latke party, I'll do, um, you know, like a butter lettuce salad with some toasted hazelnuts.

And then I'll do a supreme, um, grapefruit, um, and put segments of grapefruit in there with a grapefruit based dressing.

So you've got that bright, fresh citrus to balance out the heavy, greasy, um, latkes.

Um, I know people, Russians like to take latkes and they serve it with caviar.

So you put the sour cream and caviar on it. Wow. Really? Decadent.

Um, so yeah, I mean, I think it can be a meal unto itself. I don't think anybody can eat just one.

Those look fantastic. Chatty. Look at that, man. They look, they're just turned out great.

Yeah. She is a lucky wife tonight.

Look at that. Wow. Those are good. And your wife is Jewish.

So you're, you're gonna, you're gonna nail this on multiple levels. You're, you're getting props for this.

Yes. This is, this is great. This is the perfect menu for tonight.

So, uh, the other things that I was going to make for dinner, uh, tonight are, yes, we had salad in mind.

And then for a protein, I was going to make some Bachwurst.

I'm a big fan of Bach. You have some, maybe some sauerkraut, get the sour cream and the, and the apple sauce.

That works fine. Yeah.

I mean, Jews would typically roast the chicken or do brisket, but, um, you know, you want to serve a pork sausage with your latkes.

Go for it. Hey, I got to bring some of the Filipino out.

Right. So yeah, I mean, I think that sounds like a lovely menu and all right.

All right. Well, I'll remember that for, if I'm going to go, you know, pure kosher, do not serve Bachwurst with my latkes.

I'll go brisket or you could serve it to me. I will. All right. When we can actually hang out together in person.

Oh man, I can't wait. When's that going to happen?

Right. Well, we've cheated a little bit. Yeah, we have, but we've done it from a distance.

Yeah. Hey, how's your water thing been going for, for my, like, uh, for everyone tuning in, FYI, Adam, um, lives near the, um, in Potrero Hill near the water.

So they open up a park right across, uh, like really right outside your window.

And it's, it's really gorgeous. And you can paddleboard straight from there.

Exactly. It's called Crane Cove Park. And I started a thing called the Dogpatch Paddle Club.

We've got about 650 members already in like, I don't know, less than two months since we started it.

And it's mostly for information, um, sharing of information, community connection.

People can get out on the water together.

We've done multiple events, um, where we do like a group paddle.

Um, we publish a map. I have a webcam for people to watch the park to check out conditions.

So yeah, if there's paddlers that are watching, come out and paddle with us in, uh, in Crane Cove.

It's awesome. Um, how are your latkes? Are you, are you on your second batch?

I'm on it. Well, I'm still on the first batch because as I look underneath it, it is, um, they're, they're not quite okay.

Now they're starting to brown underneath.

Yeah. All right. I'm going to put my last batch on here and then we can, uh, we can toast one more.

We're getting close to the end here.

Yes, we are. We have six minutes. Okay. I'm going to put a little more oil in my pan here and a little more fat.

Doing pretty good here. These are, this is, this is great success.

I would say that we, we nailed this. Look at this. The difference between gorgeous.

Yeah. Wow. The difference between my latkes and other latkes, I don't think you'll find a lot of recipes that put the sour cream in the batter.

Um, I think that that adds just, there's something to it. There's a creaminess to it.

I kind of want to put more. More sour cream in your batter. Look at you.

I'm a big sour cream fan. So the beauty of the recipe though, everybody gets to do their own thing.

Oftentimes I wouldn't do it with duck fat, but if I have schmaltz, I will put schmaltz in the batter.

So you wouldn't do it with, but you wouldn't do it with a duck fat, huh?

Well, I think the duck fat is too much flavor.

You might like it though. You might say, you know what, I'm going to put duck fat in my batter too.

Um, but I'll always do it if I, if I have schmaltz, um, I'll throw a little bit in there just because I like the flavor so much in the latke.

So is it a concern if the, my wife is telling me your oil is smoking, your oil is smoking.

Turn it down a little. A lot of the technique here is, is temperature control is managing the fire so that you're, you're constantly at a decent frying temperature.

Um, I'm, I'm adjusting it up and down as I go along and, you know, checking the latkes for even brownness.

So I would say that, you know, as you make them, that is your main responsibility is to just make sure that you're, you're managing the level of the fire.

All right. Um, I'm going to serve myself one up.

Looks like this is probably gonna, with these last. I see you're squeezing them pretty hard.

I wouldn't squeeze them that hard. I literally just grab them with my fingers and drop them in.

Cause I feel like when you squeeze them, you're making the inside denser and I like it to be loose.

I like it to be. That's a great pointer.

Okay. I just noticed that on camera. Yeah, no, that's great.

Good. I like to know the technique. Here is, I'm going to have my wife control the heat because she's telling me it's got too hot.

There is another finished latke. Should we toast one last one?

Yeah, we still got three minutes. Although we, you know, honestly we can sign off at any time, but yeah, let me, uh.

We did it in an hour.

That's, we did it in an hour. Yeah, we get a batch in an hour. That's great.

So I'm going to get my. And here's the thing.

If you're having a party, make these fresh the night of, um, you can make them in advance, undercook them a little bit, freeze them and, and then pull them out.

If you really want to do that and you don't want to be burdened the night of the party, I don't recommend it.

I think they're better fresh. Um, the other thing is that I always make way more than I'm going to eat for the party because I will give them as gifts to people to take home or I'll put them in my freezer and I'll reheat them over the next few weeks.

Um, they, they reheat really well and they're, they're great snacks.

Um, yeah, I was putting a little bit more schmaltz in or, uh, duck fat in my, my last batch there.

Did you, can you, I gotta say I'm a, I'm a fan of that stuff.

Nice. All right. Well, here is. Let me, uh, I'm going to prepare one of these here.

Look at that. Oh yes. I gotta hear what your wife thinks about them.

Hey, Becca. Have one of these. No, I'm sure it's fine right now.

A little sour cream on there. Oh my God. So much for my diet.

Okay, here we go. You guys off air? No, we're still on air. All right, here we go.

All right. Becca, I need the Jewish opinion. Okay. I can't believe my husband brought up.

Ready? So good.

I should have used four potatoes though.

Oh, you're going to, I'm going to use like five pounds of them.

We need to make a whole nother batch. I'm going to have to run up to the market to get more out.

We're going to be making them all the time now throughout the holiday season.

Yeah. It actually wasn't as much work as I thought it would be.

Maybe the cleanup is where more of the work is. Nah, it's super easy.

Oh, so good. This is great. So I want to share with you guys and the Cloudflare people.

Adam, I want to thank you so much for joining me on Cooking with Cloudflare, especially sharing your wonderful recipe.

I have on our, on the Cloudflare TV website, we'll have this recipe linked to our segment.

So when it gets to the archives and becomes searchable, people can just go find something and follow along with us.

But this has been real fun. Awesome. Thank you, Chatty. Yeah, you bet. All right.

Well, I guess we got 40 seconds, but I'll... We got 40 seconds. Let's do a dance machine or something.

30 seconds. Okay. We can do a TikTok dance. I'll do this.

We're getting ready for our menorah here. Representing. There you go. Betty is doing the TikTok dance.

Nobody does it, not on this show. Not on command, though.

Latkes have the best crisp factor of any latke I've ever eaten. Yeah. Okay. Well, in the last 10 seconds, I'm going to sign off so I can flip the latkes.

Thanks so much, Adam.

Bye, guys. All right. Bye, everyone. Shalom.

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