Fiesta Latkes For Chanukkah!

These fiesta latkes, are spicy, delicious and colorfully festive.  You can accompany them with that good old sour cream and applesauce, or you can do what we did, by accompanying them with a sweet and spicy Jalapeño jelly, or  a schmear of refried beans!

Fiesta Latkes

  • 3 Russet potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 carrot peeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 Serrano chilli pepper finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove mashed
  • 1/3 cup parsley
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup corn flour – Masa Harina (all-purpose flour or matzoh meal are o.k. too)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Canola or olive oil as needed for frying the latkes

Blanche the potatoes and the carrot in boiling water for three minutes, remove from water and allow them to cool.  Once cool, shred them in a food processor along with the zucchini and onion.  Transfer mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.

Pour about ¼ cup of oil into a frying pan and heat well.  Take about ¼ cup measurements of mixture and place one by one in the hot oil, flattening out each latke with the back of a spatula.  It will take about 5 minutes for the latkes to brown, then turn them over and brown them on the opposite side.  As each latke is ready remove it to a baking pan lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Serve the latkes while still warm.  They may be accompanied by applesauce and or sour cream.  We accompanied them with Jalapeño jelly from the farmer’s market and Crema Mexicana, a delicious Mexican style cream.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen latkes.

Delicious Refried Beans

Refried beans are the ultimate comfort food and they are great as an appetizer with chips or to accompany almost any meal.  I serve them as a side dish with my Tacos, Taquitos, Tostadas, Enchiladas, quesadillas and even with my Chanukkah Latkes!  Just a plain taco of these refried beans in a hot corn tortilla is incredible. My recipe is straightforward..too many ingredients and spices interfere with the pure delicious flavor of the beans.


  • 1 lb. package dry black beans
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 large garlic cloves whole
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 onions chopped


Inspect the beans for any small stones or other particles and remove. Place the beans in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water, and then pour them into a bowl and let them soak for 2 hours.

Pour the beans into a pot,  add the quartered onion and garlic cloves and cover with water.  Bring the beans to a boil, then lower to a medium high heat, and allow them to simmer rapidly for about one hour or until they are softened.   It is IMPORTANT that you add water every so often until the beans are cooked.  You want to end up with plenty of bean broth.  When the beans are very tender and edible add salt, stir, and allow to simmer 10 more minutes.

Place canola oil in a large frying pan and heat well.  Add the chopped onions and stirring them constantly allow them to become a very deep golden brown, (almost, but not burnt)

Using a slotted spoon add the beans  to the onions and begin mashing them with a masher, then slowly add the bean broth constantly mixing it in, while at the same time mashing the beans.  The broth will evaporate and as it does add more broth. It is up to you how dry you want your beans.  When I am serving them as an appetizer with chips, I allow the broth to evaporate to the point where they become almost a paste.  If I am serving them as a side dish I leave them a bit moist.  If you find that the beans need more salt add it at this point.

Try out this recipe and let me know how it goes.


Thanksgiving…Without Mom

Lists written down,  assignments confirmed, shopping trips made – all was put into action like a general about to enter the battlefield, everything was perfectly and strategically planned.   My mother’s Thanksgiving preparation swung into full gear.  This was her holiday.  She was 88 but her mind was sharp. “Susie”, she said to me just a year ago,  “I got the yams and the cranberry sauce and the peas you love.  You’ll make the Guacamole, the stuffing and the salad as usual…what kind of wine does Iche like again? I got all of the kids’ favorite appetizers and oh, I ordered the turkeys from Doheny Kosher, can you just confirm that they’ll be delivered by 2:00 p.m., sliced?  You know how Michael gets impatient with me if I call him too much…”  Those were some of the words uttered by my mother as Thanksgiving approached.

This year Thanksgiving is making me look at loss in the face.  The dull ache somewhere between my stomach and my heart grows more intense as the day approaches.   I feel adrift again without my guide…my mom.    We’ve decided to have Thanksgiving at my mother and father’s house, where we’ve had it for 38 years.   We will affirm life without denying the difficulty of loss, as our family comes together, because it’s what we all want. It will be so hard without my mom, but I know that we honor her memory by being together, a family united at the dining room table with the mirrored wall behind. One by one, we will each rise to say what we are thankful for.  I just know mommy, we will all be thankful for being together, because that was the greatest value you imparted…time shared with those you love.   We will affirm how thankful we all are for having had you in our lives.

May all of you have a beautiful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love!

Shabbat Dinner for 60 by Susie

Susie with the dishes right before they go out the door (sorry it’s not a great photo)

Hello everyone — Alex here.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted but I just had to on this auspicious occasion because I don’t think my Mom will brag about it enough! I am so proud of her because she just sent off dinner for 60 people for her first catering job. The event is a young Jewish professionals Shabbat dinner in Santa Monica. Here’s what’s on the menu:

– Best Guacamole & Spicy Salsa Verde

– Fideos (Mexican Lokshen)

– Aztec Portobello & Corn

– Breaded Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce

– Hungarian Roasted Paprika Chicken

– Classic Salad with Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

We will update with photos of the dishes once we receive them after the event.

60 people isn’t too much more than my Mom has done here at the house for one of our Sukkot dinners, so she has the organization before such an event down pat. No hectic moments. It was very cool (and a little odd) to pack it all up in aluminum, label it and send it off. But it was a very happy and proud moment.

Also: I’d like to announce that this is the beginning of our availability as caterers for certain select events around the Los Angeles area!  Please get in touch if you want to discuss at 

Thanks as always for reading and sticking with us through our Mexican Jewish journey.