This is a very Jewish time of year. I should know. We’ve just had the two biggest Jewish holidays of the year, so I’m sure many people have reached their limit for Judaism, but not me! Specifically, I’m not yet (and never shall be) at capacity for Jewish food, so I was thrilled when my friends suggested the theme for our weekly brunch be “Jewish Food”. Have I told you about brunch? It started as an experiment to make Liege waffles and evolved into a weekly Sunday morning tradition. We do it potluck style and rotate bringing different courses of the meal. Booze is a course, right?
So here we have kugel. I like to describe it as sort of a bread pudding – if you lost the bread and used noodles instead. There’s an eggy, custardy base with cinnamon and sugar (and apples and raisins) that’s baked until golden and crunchy on top.Why are crunchy noodles good, by the way? We strive for “al dente” only to throw them into the oven the dry out. This is true for kugel and baked ziti and surely many other things that I can’t think of right now. The point is, crunchy, baked noodles are good, cinnamon and sugar are good, brunch is good. There’s no way to go wrong with this. Also good, is the Hebrew Hammer.
Apple and Raisin Noodle Kugel
- ½ lb wide egg noodles
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup sugar
- 8 oz cottage cheese
- 8 oz sour cream
- 4 tbsp melted butter, cooled
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 apple, peeled and chopped into small cubes (any apple will work, I used Gala)
- ½ cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and parboil noodles until al dente, 4-5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth. Whisk in cottage cheese, sour cream, and butter until combined.
Add cinnamon, salt, apple and raisins to mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in noodles. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and smooth top. Bake until top is golden and kugel is set, about 35 minutes.
Note: you can assemble the kugel the night before then bake it in the morning. This feature makes this dish fabulous for brunch!
Admittedly, this dish is not baked. I hope you won’t hold that against me. A tagine (or tajine) is a Moroccan stew-like dish and also the name of the pot it is traditionally cooked in. The good news is that you can also make this dish in a regular ol’ pot. I tweaked the original recipe a bit, mainly omitting ingredients I didn’t have or didn’t feel like using. Like any stew, this dish is totally flexible so feel free to adjust the spices and even try different vegetables. I think a swap of sweet potatoes for the squash would be delicious. I served the tagine over jasmine rice because I love jasmine rice, but you could serve it over your favorite rice or couscous or eat it all by itself.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
- 1.5 pounds stew beef
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can diced tomatoes, partially drained
- 800 ml chicken stock (~3.5 cups)
- 1 small squash ~ 1 pound (I used butternut), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 handful of prunes, chopped
For the spice rub
- Salt and pepper
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 heaping tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for a couple of hours, overnight if possible.
When you’re ready to cook, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot and fry the meat (reserve any spices left in the bowl) over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Add the remaining spices. Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 1½ hours.
At this point add your squash, prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a stir, then cover again and continue cooking for another 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.
If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve over couscous or rice.
Boys love meatballs.
Well maybe not all boys love meatballs, but all American boys love meatballs.
Alright not all American boys love meatballs, but American boys that come from Italian families love meatballs.
I’m almost certain about that last one, but in case it isn’t true at least I know for a fact that the American boy from an Italian family that I cook dinner for most often loves meatballs.
I’m not going to tell you how to make meatballs today. What a tease! I am going to tell you that you shouldn’t have spaghetti and meatballs without garlic bread. It’s just not right.
So here’s what you do: Get a baguette. Split it in half lengthwise. Spread it GENEROUSLY with butter (it helps if you let the butter sit out on the counter for a while first so that it’s soft). Sprinkle the top with as much garlic powder as you want. This amount will vary depending on your tastes and what your plans are for later that evening. Then just stick it in an oven set to 425 degrees or so. Bake until the bread is nice and toasty and delicious looking.
You can sprinkle the top with chopped parsley if you’re feeling fancy, but you could also just slice it up and eat it if you’re feeling more hungry than you are fancy. If you’re feeling especially hungry and especially non-fancy you could skip the slicing step all together. Oh yes.