We're happy holidays folks in our household, not because we hate Christmas and everything it stands for—we both grew up celebrating Christmas at home and at church—but because we have a wide and varied circle of friends who celebrate the range of early winter holidays, and we want to include them. We want the transition between the old and new, the days of dwindling light and growing darkness, to be filled with warmth and love. And, in our minds, that's what all of the holidays do. (save Festivus, but that's a whole other post).
On the solstice, which was also the second day of Hanukah, I made latkes, using the recipe from the red tome of awesomeness otherwise known as the New York Times Cookbook. I riffed a little on the recipe, adding finely chopped rosemary to the batter, and using regular flour (having neither potato flour nor matzo meal). I fried them in less oil than called for, and used a mixture of olive and canola.
In lieu of the traditional applesauce, I made a chunky pear sauce, infused with vanilla bean and topped with a hint of cinnamon sugar.
The latkes were tender inside and crisp outside. The pears were edging on sweetness and fragrant. The sour cream, which these two dairy lovers couldn't resist, was tangy.
As we ate next to our Christmas tree and observed the crystalline night sky, we felt warmth, and most of all, love.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!