November 7, 2013

Bear Essentials: Apples
( + Apple-Cheddar Latkes )

In the year or so that I've been writing this blog, I've completely conquered my fear of frying.

I've fried chicken.  I've fried steak.  I've fried doughnuts and cheese fritters and avocados.  I've deep-fried and pan-fried, and learned that even though I own a deep-fryer, a pot and a thermometer work so well that lugging a 20-pound appliance out of the hall closet just doesn't make much sense.  We do it the old-fashioned way around here.

And I won't deny that I've had moments where I wondered if this triumph was a good thing: there's no sense in trading a fear of frying for a fear of your own cholesterol levels.

But these little guys here?  They let me know that I was right all along.  They may be impossible to photograph, but these little side-dish pancakes made with shredded apples and cheddar, bound together with just a little bit of egg and flour and then pan-fried to crisp-on-the-outside, soft-and-melty-on-the-inside perfection, are...well...perfect.

Don't skip that last sprinkling of salt.  It takes them right over the top.  

People are going to think you're a superhero.

Apple-Cheddar Latkes
barely adapted from Adrianna Adarme
at A Cozy Kitchen

Honeycrisp Apples  [ 2, peeled, cored, and halved ]
Granny Smith Apples  [ 2, peeled, cored, and halved ]
Lemon  [ 1 ]
Fine-Grained Sea Salt  [ 1/2 teaspoon, plus more for sprinkling ]
Flour  [ 1/4 cup ]
Baking Powder  [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
Black Pepper  [ 3/4 teaspoon ]
Sharp Cheddar Cheese  [ coarsely grated, 1 1/4 cups ]
Egg  [ 1 ]
Vegetable Oil  [ for frying ]

1.   Coarsely grate the Apples into a bowl.
2.   Juice Lemon and toss Apples with Lemon Juice and Salt.
3.   Allow Apples to stand for 5 minutes.
4.   In a small bowl, whisk together Flour, Baking Powder, and Pepper.
5.   In a second small bowl, lightly beat Egg.

6.   After 5 minutes are up, drain Apples.  
7.   Squeeze excess juice from Apples, either by placing them in cheesecloth and squeezing or by placing 
         between layers of paper towel and patting/pressing until towel comes away nearly dry.
8.   Return Apples to bowl and toss with Flour Mixture and Cheddar.
9.   Add Egg to Apples and mix thoroughly.     

10.   Place a pan over Medium-High heat and fill with Oil to the depth of 1/2 inch.
11.   Heat until a drop of oil flicked onto the Oil sizzles and bounces.
12.   Carefully place 1/4-cup mounds of Apple Mixture into Oil and flatten slightly.  Do not overcrowd pan.
13.   Cook until first side of Latke is golden brown [ about 2 minutes ].
14.   Gently flip Latkes over and cook until second side is golden brown [ about another 1-2 minutes ].
15.   Remove Latkes from Oil with a slotted spoon or spatula; place on paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle with 
16.   If cooking in more than 1 or 2 batches, Latkes can be placed onto a sheet pan in a 200-degree oven to 
            keep them warm while remaining Latkes are being cooked.  

Makes 8-10 Latkes

 Love you some cheddar?
Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers

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