Noodle Kugel

So I promised you a noodle kugel recipe, didn’t I?

First, for you non-Jews out there, what the heel is a kugel anyway? Well, according to Wikipedia; “Kugel is a baked Ashkenazi Jewish pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from egg noodles (Lokshen kugel) or potatoes, though at times made of zucchini, apples, spinach, broccoli, cranberry, or sweet potato.” I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description except for the thing about pie. Kugel is nothing like pie.

Though, as Wikipedia mentions, kugels can be made with a variety of things, most commonly kugel refers to the potato or noodle variety. The potato version, which everyone loves except me, is always a savory dish; whereas the noodle version straddles the line between sweet and savory. Though noodle kugel is a sweet dish, often making use of things like raisins and cinnamon, it’s commonly served at brunches alongside bagels and things.

The version my family makes is from a recipe given to my grandmother by a friend back in Brooklyn and as far as I’m concerned it is the best noodle kugel around. I’m not planning on making another one anytime soon so forgive that I’m recycling the photos I took when I made a noodle kugel for Mandy and her mom.

That's Mandy's kitchen, not mine.

That’s Mandy’s kitchen, not mine.

Noodle Kugel

  • 5-6 oz medium egg noodles (I usually eyeball this)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 16 oz pot cheese (or low fat cottage cheese)*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 sleeve of cinnamon graham crackers* crushed in to crumbs.
Hot out the oven!

Hot out the oven.

Preheat the over to 350 and grease an 8×8 baking dish.

Cook noodles per package directions.

Meanwhile, mix together all other ingredients except for the butter and graham cracker crumbs.

When the noodles have finished cooking, drain them and then add to cheese mixture.

Pour the noodle in to your greased pan. Mixture will be quite loose.

Melt the butter in a small bowl and then mix with the graham cracker crumbs. Cover noodle mixture with buttered graham cracker crumbs.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve.

Yields 8-10 servings

Yum!

Yum!

Cooks Notes:
* Pot cheese is often labeled pot style cottage cheese. If you can’t find that use a reduced fat (NOT non-fat) cottage cheese as it will be thicker.

*You guys get what I mean by “sleeve,” right? Like you buy a box of graham crackers and it comes with 3 separate plastic packaged sleeves inside of it. Use one of those.

This is a dish that reheats extremely well. For individual servings I suggest just cutting yourself a square and then microwaving it for 10-20 seconds just to bring it up to room temperature.

Enjoy!

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A Foodies Day Without Food

Ok so I’m STILL playing catch up, but I’m determined to be all caught up by the end of this week, especially since I plan to make both my Q and R recipes this weekend.

Two weeks ago Jews all around the world observed Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. As you probably know on Yom Kippur we refrain from eating or drinking anything (yes, even water) from sundown to sundown. It’s a time for personal reflection and repentance. As we are starting a new year we look back at wrongs we’ve done in the past year and pledge to do our best to be better in the new year.

Fasting sucks. Really really sucks. But guess what, 364 days of the year I am privileged to have access to safe and nourishing food and clean drinking water.  So on Yom Kippur I choose not only to reflect inwardly, but also globally. I say prayers of gratitude that I always have enough food to eat and water to drink and I pray for the same for every other human being I share this earth with. I do believe though, that prayer is nothing without action so on Yom Kippur I also recommit myself to the fight against food insecurity, GMO’s, climate change, and the fight for labor rights and access to clean water and so much more.

If you’d like to join the fight, I feel that I can speak for all of us who are committed to sustainable food systems and access to clean water when I say, “We’d love to have you!” A few easy things that you can do; stop drinking bottled water, try to reduce your food waste by buying only what you will consume, bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping, commit to incorporating vegetarian meals in to your diet a couple of times a week and of course use your consumer dollars and your votes to send a message to companies and law makers.

As for the observance of Yom Kippur itself, like all Jewish holy days, it starts at night so before heading off to synagogue we eat a big meal since it’s all we’ll eat for the next full day.

Challah, a traditional Jewish bread, is usually braided, but for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur it’s baked in to a spiral to symbolize the circle of life as one year flows in to another.

This one had raisins in it so it was extra delicious.

My mom made brisket with egg noodles and roasted brussel sprouts. Yum! To paraphrase Anthony Bourdain, the only people who really know how to cook brisket are Jews and Texans.

A hearty meal before the fast.

Obviously the best part of the day is when you actually get to break the fast. Since no one is cooking while they’re fasting, most people break the fast with bagels and what Jews call, “appetizing” aka all the fixin’s that go with bagels like cream cheeses, smoked fish, lox, side salads, etc or what my mom calls, “Jewish Soul Food.”

Setting out the appetizing

Sadly today what often passes as a bagel is really just a roll with a whole in the middle. Luckily there are still a few places, like my personal favorite, Absolute Bagels, that still make authentic bagels.

Egg bagels are my favorite. Do they have egg bagels outside of New York?

If I had to choose the meal I’d want on my death-bed it would be a tie between some form of gooey cheesy baked pasta or a toasted egg bagel with cream cheese (plain or scallion), whitefish salad (which is smokey, but not fishy btw) and a thick slice of tomato.

Pretty much my perfect meal

And so, refueled after my fast I’m ready to return to the fight!

Ancient Holidays, New Traditions

Tonight is the start of Passover which just happens to be my favorite holiday. How could I not love a holiday that combines singing, food and emphasizes social justice.

I’m a big believer that rules are meant to be broken while traditions are meant to be kept. If this blog was about life and not food, I’d explain that further, but for now just go with it, k?

One of the coolest thing about Passover is that it steeped heavily in age-old traditions and still leaves room to begin new traditions. On the first two nights of Passover we have a Seder where we retell the story of our enslavement and coming out of Egypt, sing songs and eat a big delicious meal. In the center of the table is a Seder plate and on the Seder plate are certain foods that have symbolic meanings behind them. These foods have appeared on our Seder plates for centuries, but in modern times families often add new foods as symbols.

A few years ago my family started adding an orange to our Seder plates. There are a few interpretations of what the orange symbolizes, but I’ll tell you what it means to us. To my family the orange represents the inclusion of ALL people in our traditions and most especially the inclusion of Gays and Lesbians. See the orange isn’t something that’s been a traditional part of the Seder, but that’s no reason not to welcome it.

This year will be adding another symbol too, a tomato. No, the tomato doesn’t represent that we’re from New Jersey and are very proud of our tomatoes (though that is true), instead the tomato is there to remind us that, while we celebrate our own freedom from slavery , slavery still exists. Unfortunately much of this slavery exists in the supply chain of our food system and some of the most egregious examples are from the tomato growers in Florida.

The tomato on our Seder plate serves as a reminder that we may be free, but our fight is far from over. Our fight will not be over until all slaves are free, until all workers are guaranteed fair wages and safe conditions.

I hope you have a wonderful Passover, Easter or just a great weekend! Enjoy time with your family and friends, but please try to fill your table with only good quality, fair trade, sustainable food. And if this holiday weekend involves prayer for you, take a minute to pray that we will one day live in a world where all people are free.