With the lunar calendar dictating the variable dates of Jewish holidays, this year, the eight crazy nights of Hanukkah coincide with the one crazy night of Thanksgiving. That's fine because you can repurpose your leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes into the traditional Hanukkah treat, latkes. You don't need to be Jewish to partake in them-they're just a variation of fried potato pancakes after all-and you can enjoy them year round, like during breakfast when they can also double as hash browns. Traditionally, latkes are served with sour cream or applesauce, but if you don't have either laying around, that's okay; they're still delicious no matter which crazy night you're celebrating.
Chopped green onions or fresh chives, for garnish, optional
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
Take the mashed potatoes and spices to taste and blend them in a food processor with 1 tablespoon water, to soften them up. There are tons of optional ingredients you can add to this mix, based on what you already have laying around the kitchen. As I pointed out earlier, the point of these recipes is to make fancy-looking dishes from your leftovers, without having to add anything other than a few kitchen staples. Anyone who's made real traditional latkes knows to add a tablespoon of flour or matzo meal, chopped onions and an egg. Add them in if you've got them. If not, that's okay; either way they're still going to taste like fried potatoes.
Fire up a skillet over medium heat with cooking oil-whatever kind you use to fry things. While that's heating up, form the potato mix into latkes with your hands, each about the size of a cookie. It's easier to shape them on top of a sheet of aluminum foil, so they are easy to pick up and peel away when they're ready to go in the frying pan.
When the oil temperature is optimal, place each latke in the pan and fry it up. Cook one whole side, about 8 minutes, before flipping each over with a spatula to fry the other side. When they're golden brown on both sides, remove them from the skillet and pat the excess oil out with a paper towel. Then garnish them with green onions or chives if you have them.