Recipe of the Week: Cardamom-Carrot Latkes

These elegant, tasty and light fritters make the best Christmas morning breakfast treat
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Recipe of the Week is contributed by Seattle-based award-winning cookbook author, urban farmer and Seattle magazine contributor Amy Pennington.

These are my all-time favorite Christmas Morning breakfast treats. They are elegant, tasty and light enough to not spoil appetites, particularly on a day we tend to indulge.

Pulling from traditional Jewish latkes, these savory pancakes are a cross between a latke and a fritter. Equal parts potato and carrot are mixed with an abundant dose of onion, then scented substantially with freshly ground cardamom. Of course, you can serve them with the traditional accompaniments of sour cream and applesauce. If I’m feeling splurge-y I’ll also top with a dollop of crème fraiche and a piece of smoked salmon and pair it with a glass of champagne.

Prepare these for a festive weekend breakfast this holiday break, when you have a little more time in the kitchen. Consider doubling the batch—I’d be lying if I didn’t confess to eating them as a midnight snack, barefoot in the kitchen!

Cardamom–Carrot Latkes
MAKES 12 TO 16 LATKES

1 large russet potato
about 1 pound 3 green onions
1 large carrot
peeled ½ medium red onion
2 eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup stout beer
1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 to 2 cups vegetable oil

Using the largest setting of a box grater, grate the russet potatoes and immediately cover them completely with water, allowing them to soak for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, trim off the top 3 inches of the green onions and finely chop. Put them in a large bowl. Using the largest setting of a box grater, grate the carrot and the red onion. Add both to the green onions.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, stout beer, cardamom, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add to the carrot–onion mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

To strain the grated potatoes, set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and line with cheesecloth or a thin linen towel. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes from the water to the strainer, reserving the water. Let the water sit, about 10 minutes, so the starch collects in the bottom of the bowl. When all the potatoes are transferred, pick up the linen and squeeze well to remove the excess water. Really clamp down on the potatoes—you want them as dry as possible. Add 1 cup of the potatoes to carrot–onion–egg–stout mixture and stir to combine.

Slowly, pour the water into the sink, being careful to leave behind the potato starch (this is the white paste that has collected in the bowl). Add the residual potato starch to the batter and stir to combine well.

Set the vegetable oil, about half-inch deep, over medium-high heat in a large sauté pan. Using a large spoon, drop in 3-inch-wide rounds of batter, being sure not to overcrowd the pan. Stir the batter before shaping and frying each batch, as the liquid tends to pool at the bottom of the bowl. Cook the latkes until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn them over and cook the other side until golden brown, another 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the latkes from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a layer of paper towels or a paper bag to drain. Once drained, arrange them on a platter and hold in a warmed oven. Continue cooking in this fashion until all the latkes are done. Serve immediately.

PANTRY NOTE: Any leftover batter will discolor and separate, so it’s best to cook all of the latkes in one go. Leftover latkes can be held in the fridge for a few days, wrapped in parchment, or frozen and heated up in the oven when desired.

Excerpted from Fresh Pantry & Carrots--Cook Seasonally, Eat Smart & Learn to Love Your Carrots, Skipstone Books 2013

For more recipe ideas and inspiration as well and gardening tips and tricks, visit Amy’s website at www.amy-pennington.com

Mazama Mountain Cabin Makes a Cozy, Stylish Retreat: A Home Tour

Mazama Mountain Cabin Makes a Cozy, Stylish Retreat: A Home Tour

In Washington’s North Cascades, a wood-paneled vacation home provides access to views and outdoor activities
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This article originally appeared on Houzz.com.

This house nestled in the North Cascades mountains in Mazama, Washington, reflects the rugged landscape around it while also possessing a modern, airy and stylish vibe. The remote vacation house is owned by a Seattle couple who were instinctively drawn to the beautiful setting of pine forests, crystal clear rivers and diverse topography, and where they spend their free time skiing, rock climbing and hiking. 

Big Rock House
Photo by Johnston Architects - Search rustic patio pictures

Walkways lined with concrete and bluestone surround the back deck. An outdoor fire pit and teak chairs from a friend create a timeless setting for entertaining.
 
Metal fire pit: custom made by Alpine Welding and Equipment
 

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple who live full time in Seattle and work for Boeing
Location: Mazama, Washington
Size: 1,370 square feet (127 square meters); two bedrooms, two bathrooms

After finding a 1-acre plot with killer views, the couple collaborated with Mary Johnston of Johnston Architects to build a second home that would be cozy and easy to maintain. “All of the finishes used add to the rich simplicity of the home,” Johnston says. Although the site was challenging, Johnston and her team were able to incorporate the location’s spectacular views into the planning of the 1,370-square-foot residence, which has an open-plan living area, two bedrooms and ski-in, ski-out access.

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The unpretentiousness of the foursquare house begins with its exterior. The cedar siding and bluestone and concrete walkways also are durable and low-maintenance materials. Since most of their time is spent engaging in the outdoors, the couple felt it was important to have designated areas for storing sporting equipment. A long bench provides a spot for removing skis and boots. A contemporary glass door contrasts nicely with the adjacent metal grating, which offers a surface on which to lean skis and bikes while providing some lightness and texture.

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The clean look and rustic design continue past the front door and concrete floors of the entry, providing an unobstructed view to the back of the house. Pine-paneled ceilings flow throughout the house. At the far end of the hall, a custom sliding barn door leads to a gear room where the couple store sporting equipment and can sharpen their skis. The other oversized doors lead to a closet.

Paint throughout: Camouflage, Benjamin Moore

The warm wood tones are punctuated by blackened-steel pendants on the entry hallway ceiling.

Pendants: Caravaggio

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A dining room table and chairs sit between the kitchen and great room. The shelving was custom made to display accessories such as teapots, photographs and books. The couple wanted to have some fun with their other lighting choices, so instead of selecting traditional recessed lighting, they opted for black outdoor sconces that are typically used for signage lighting.

Lighting: B-K Lighting; dining room table and chairs: Room & Board

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In the sitting area of the great room, a sliding barn door hides a flat-screen TV and video equipment. A built-in bench runs the width of the room, inviting guests to curl up with a book or take in the fabulous mountain views. It is also long and deep enough to convert into a bed for two children.

Bench cushion and pillows: custom made by Manning & Son Upholstery, Seattle

Related: Cleaning Tips for Leather Furniture 

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Brown leather chairs and a sofa provide ample seating for gazing at the landscape through rows of expansive windows. A wood-burning stove brings a collected feel to the home and keeps it cozy and warm when temperatures plunge. “The homeowners spend very little time inside, but they wanted to make sure that it was very comfortable when they did,” Johnston says.

Sofa, chairs and tables: Room & Board; stove: Rais

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Sliding glass doors open the great room to the back deck.

Deck: ipe wood

Related: Why You Should Install a Sliding Barn Door in Your Home 

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The couple kept the master bedroom clean and sparsely decorated with only a bed and two end tables. Adding a bit of drama, the fir wood paneling was continued from the wall onto the ceiling.

Bed and end tables: Room & Board

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Mesh fencing on the master bedroom balcony keeps the space from appearing too dark.