Cooking with Crosby Roamann: Brisket & Latkes

The title “Cooking with Crosby Roamann” lends too much credence to our extremely humble kitchen work.  The recipes we like to share tend to come from cookbooks we’ve collected over the years, or friends and family. The recipe for our Chanukah latkes comes from one of our favorites, the “Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook” by Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford (identical twins, like our daughters).

Neither of us remembers who bought this cookbook for us almost a decade ago when we were first married, but we both know which cookbook we’re talking about when we say, “It’s in that cookbook.” A couple of our favorites: the buttermilk pancakes with melted berries, the maple-glazed spiced carrots, the flaky piecrust, and oh yes, the latkes: page 164.

The trick to great latkes, we’ve learned, is processing the onions with the potatoes and squeezing the juice out of it all before mixing it with beaten eggs and matzoh meal. We serve them with both apple sauce and sour cream — everyone tries them both. If we’ve been especially naughty, we may also add a little dollop of caviar.

We love the recipe for Sweet and Sour Brisket from Mary and Sara as well, but nine times out of ten we go with a modified version of a recipe (we use a slow cooker) from an old friend of the family, Suzanne Bartash:

  • 2lb brisket (1st cut)
  • 2 onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 hits Tabasco
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • pepper to taste

Season the brisket on all sides, then sauté the brisket in vegetable oil for 4-5 minutes on each side before transferring it to a slow cooker. Sauté the onions in the brisket fat and remaining oil till they’re lightly browned, then transfer them to the slow cooker as well, with any remaining juices. Mix the garlic, sugar, Tabasco, vinegar, ketchup, water, and salt in a small bowl till it’s consistent, then add it to the pot. We slow cook the brisket for 6-8 hours on “medium,” then remove it, slice it against the grain, and return it to the pot to continue cooking on low until dinner.