above: Liz Rueven – Photo by Emily Hamilton Laux
The holiday season is full of warm family gatherings and delicious, rich food. However, before you pile up a plate with brisket, challah and gravy, take a helpful and healthful tip from Liz Rueven. She founded her blog, KOSHER LIKE ME (kosherlikeme.com), during Rosh Hashanah in 2011. A new empty-nester at the time, Liz found a satisfying purpose and passion in researching where she and her husband could eat kosher while dining out. She also enjoyed incorporating locally grown, organic produce in the kitchen, as rooted in the Jewish tradition set by her grandparents. A proud flexitarian, Liz creates recipes that adhere to a vegetarian-based diet—lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables—but her culinary creations don’t restrict other foods, as long as they are properly grown and ethically sourced. At right, her top-three mindful eating practices to avoid guilt and those five extra pounds. She shares her healthy take on a classic Chanukah recipe at westportmag.com; find plenty more, and food-related finds, on her blog.
Go Green: “I shop at the Westport Farmers’ Market to buy the freshest vegetables and fruit to incorporate into Chanukah meals. Buying produce grown and stored locally is wise—not only will these ingredients yield better flavors, you’ll be supporting our local economy and reducing your carbon footprint.”
Add Fruit: “When you’re at the market, seek out farmers who have stored autumn fruit, like apples and pears. Be sure to make a fresh-fruit compote to accompany traditional potato pancakes or other celebratory dishes you may be serving.”
Limit the Latkes: ““While it’s traditional to eat fried foods during Chanukah, I don’t want the eight nights of the holiday to be a weight-gaining celebration. I try to limit my latke—potato pancakes—consumption to one night with my family and one night with friends.”
Don’t miss Liz’s healthy take on a classic Chanukah recipe.
Liz Rueven’s Broccoli and Cauliflower Latkes with Herbed Yogurt Topping
While it’s traditional to serve potato pancakes during the eight nights of Chanukah, this recipe includes more nutritious, raw broccoli and cauliflower as the base. Frying in oil is non-negotiable, but these cruciferous veggies absorb less than potatoes. Yogurt topping, mixed with Middle Eastern spices and citrus, keep the flavors bright and light. Yield: 10-12 latkes
For Yogurt Topping:
7 ounces whole milk Greek yogurt
teaspoon za’atar* or 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
One-third cup finely chopped cucumber
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest, reserved
Freshly ground pepper
For the Latkes:
2 cups raw broccoli florets
2 cups raw cauliflower florets
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
2 teaspoons za’atar* (or fresh dill)
1 teaspoon salt
cracked pepper, 4-5 turns of the pepper grinder, or more to taste
One half cup white whole wheat flour
One half cup canola oil, divided
Make the topping: Place all ingredients for the topping, except lemon zest, in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning, adding more salt or black pepper, after it rests in the refrigerator. Put lemon zest aside and sprinkle on yogurt mixture when serving.
Make the latkes:
Pulse broccoli and cauliflower in food processor in 2 batches. Texture should be like cauliflower rice and you should have 3 cups, combined. Using a spatula, empty pulsed mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Do not rinse processor bowl.
Pulse garlic and onion until minced and empty into mixing bowl.
Place eggs, za’atar, salt and pepper into processor bowl and mix for 8-10 seconds.
Empty into mixing bowl.
Using a large spoon, combine all ingredients in the mixing bowl and add flour. Mix until well combined. Mixture should feel dry. If not, add 1-2 more tablespoons of flour.
Heat a quarter cup oil in frying pan over medium/ high heat. Be sure your oil is hot.
Using a quarter cup dry measuring cup, scoop mixture into the frying pan. Flatten batter lightly and fry 3-4 into the pan. Do not overcrowd the pan. Allow latkes to brown for 3-4 minutes (try not to peek too often) and flip to fry the other side. Remove golden latkes to a paper towel lined sheet pan. Mix the batter once or twice before starting each batch and continue frying until all latkes are cooked.
Pat latkes gently with paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve piping hot with a dollop of herbed yogurt and a sprinkle of lemon zest.