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A Whole Latke Love From Williamsburg Community Center

By November 14, 2018General, In the City

The 10th Annual Latke Festival is right around the corner and our Sylvia Center students are ready to compete for the title of Best Latke!

Our Cooks for Health students from the Williamsburg Community Center recently tested out creative latke recipes with Community Chef Sam. In order to create their signature latke, the class took recipes from two very different cultural backgrounds to bring together new flavors and textures.

Chef Sam proposed taking the traditional fried potato pancakes of latkes and melding it with inspiration from an alcapurria recipe. Alcapurria is a Puerto Rican fritter dish made with green bananas or yautia. Unlike a latke, alcapurria takes on the form of a cylinder and is stuffed with a savory meat filling.

One of the highlights of the day was how our students worked together on each step to create these delicious new latkes. They started with prep work by grating the potatoes and dicing the onions. Then they moved on to transferring the potato mixture to a clean towel to wring out as much excess liquid as possible. Next flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder were measured and combined until finally an egg was added and folded into the mix.

Other students began working on their new D.I.Y. sazón using coriander, cumin, annatto, garlic powder, oregano, and black pepper. Students took turns with the mortar and pestle to grind and combine the spices. Then students made their alcapurria-inspired filling, which was made by sautéing ground beef with onions. All this activity created quite the bustling kitchen!

After seasoning the latke mix with their homemade sazón, our students took about half an ice cream scoop full of batter and flattened it slightly. The beef filling was placed in the middle with enough surface around the edges to fold in the sides to seal everything in tight. Once the meat was enclosed in the mix, the batter mix was flattened again to ensure both sides could get crispy. Once the oil in the pan started sizzling, the latkes were gentled fried until golden brown. Our students were pleased with their results and proud of their teamwork.

Although it’s hard to resist anything fried, a few students still hesitated in trying a completely new food. One student shared, “I don’t like eating onions, but it’s good in here!” Trying new ingredients and cooking familiar foods in different ways opens our students up to new possibilities, and encourages young people to re-try ingredients they may have not liked before.

You can join us for The Latke Festival on December 3, 2018 at The Brooklyn Museum to sample our Williamsburg students latkes, as well as latkes from more than 25 of the best chefs and restaurants in the city. All proceeds raised that evening will directly benefit our students and programs across New York.

Three titles will be awarded that evening — Best Traditional Latke, Best Creative Latke, and Best Overall Latke. Our students are surely in the running for a title this year!

To buy tickets or find our more about this special holiday event, visit latkefest2018.eventbrite.com