If there is one food that is off limits in our home during the week, it's Latkes (Jewish potato pancakes). Don't get me wrong, I like them just as much as the next person, but they're just completely out of the question for an ordinary weeknight.
The potatoes have to be grated fresh. Whether I grate them by hand or use the food processor, I get exhausted just thinking about doing that after a day of work.
They have to be fried fresh, on the spot, immediately before eating. (At least in my opinion. Otherwise I just don't think they're worth the effort or calories.)
But these Latkes (known in some families as Chremslach) are different. They require no grating or washing of the food processor. You can make the batter ahead of time (!). You can even fry them in advance and serve them rewarmed or cold. They make for a special treat for my kids, and are manageable even on a non-Chanukah weeknight.
Sweet Cooked Latkes
These are very different than typical latkes, which are made with raw grated potatoes and onions. They are sweet and mild, but very delicious. And manageable on a weeknight because so much of the work can be done ahead of time!
3 large Idaho potatoes
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
about 1/2 cup canola oil, for frying
Peel the potatoes, cut them in chunks and put them in a saucepan covered with water. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 1/2 hour, till they are nice and soft. You want them to mash easily.
Drain the potatoes and mash them well. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. (This part can be done up to a day ahead of time. Just refrigerate the batter till you're ready to use it. Bring to room temperature, if possible, before proceeding.)
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil's good and hot, spoon the potato batter in to form about eight roundish pancakes. Each one should be about an inch thick.
Cook the pancakes for about 10 minutes on the first side. When you spot some nice brown crispiness underneath, it's time to flip them. (This part's easy - they are not at all runny and should flip nicely!) Flip them and then let them cook on the second side for another five minutes or so, till nicely browned.
Serve immediately, or put aside for later. If you're going to serve them later, you can eat them cold, at room temperature, or rewarmed in the oven.