Sunday, May 24, 2015

Flower Power - Meshuggah Kugel

I love the flower girl
Oh, I don't know just why
She simply caught my eye
I love the flower girl she seemed so sweet and kind.
She crept into my mind.

Landscaping at Ye Old Homestead:  So, we head over to Lowe's; I point, Rob pays, James does all the heavy lifting.  We have very little property to work with, which is fine with me.  We have no backyard or side yard for that matter.  We do have a rather nice parking lot with a handicapped slot and everything.  Part of the little bit of lawn we do have is devoted to being a ditch for proper water drainage.  Somehow, with all those restrictions we still managed to plan out some pretty planting beds with hibiscus and crotons, my favorite trees, magnolia, kumquat and crape myrtle, a gorgeous bougainvillea, and best of all, an herb and vegetable garden.  It's not done yet, but the herbs are in and I can't wait to go out and clip some rosemary or basil to use in cooking.

One thing I managed to do was organize my refrigerator, and while checking on cooked foods, I realized there were no starchy-type side dishes.  Vegetables, yes. But no potato or pasta or rice or noodle dish.  I watch enough Fox News to know that is neither fair nor balanced.

So I made a kugel.  New recipe, out of my own fevered brain. So very good, and pretty easy.  Not overly sweet, so it works as a dessert or a side dish.  I've made a lot of kugels during the course of my cooking life.  It's one of those things you do if you do Jewish cooking, and God knows I do Jewish cooking.

My grandmother was more likely to make a potato kugel (kugel translates to pudding) than a noodle kugel.  She could make a mean potato kugel, and I learned it directly from her, which was a rare treat.  She was a great cook, but a lousy teacher, so if I wanted to learn how to cook a particular dish, I had to hang out in the kitchen, keep out of her way, and absorb whatever information she chose to share.

Noodle puddings - lukshen kugels in Yiddish - are an entirely different breed of recipe.  Every Jewish cook has her (his) own recipe which they will swear is the best because they got the recipe from their mother, grandmother, or favorite aunt.  I got my noodle kugel recipes from a favorite cookbook, from another cookbook because that recipe sounded exactly like the one prepared by the cook at the kosher catering hall, and another from the back of a box of noodles.  I was supposed to get the recipe for my Aunt Anna's noodle pudding, but unfortunately that didn't happen, I think because I moved to Florida and forgot to follow up with Aunt Anna's daughter, my beloved cousin Marcia.  Then there's my mother-in-law's Hungarian noodle pudding and one of my ex-sisters-in-law's (I have more than one) very rich, very sweet noodle pudding.

My friend Terry would rather have one of my noodle kugels over a regular cake for her birthday.  Now that's a compliment.

Meshuggah Kugel from a Fevered Brain

12 oz. medium egg noodles, cooked according to package directions, drained
8 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained
11 oz. can Mandarin oranges, drained
14.5 oz. can tart cherries, drained
1 stick butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese (Philadelphia soft pineapple)
8 oz. large curd cottage cheese
8 oz. dairy sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt

Place the butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream in a medium mixing bowl and beat for about a minute.  Add the sugar, beat until completely incorporated.  Add the egg yolks and pinch of salt, and beat them into the mixture.  With clean beaters, whip the eggs until peaks form.  Add the teaspoon of sugar about halfway through.

Both the golden brown and white parts of the topping are done. Some of the egg whites have baked up like a proper meringue.    Looks good, tastes good.

In a 9 x 13 aluminum baking dish that has been sprayed with some no-stick stuff, combine the noodles and the drained fruits. Use your fingers to gently combine them so that the noodles don't stick together and the fruit is evenly distributed.  Pour in the beaten egg yolk and dairy mixture and fold into the noodles with a rubber spatula.  Then fold the beaten egg whites in, very gently, to lighten the kugel.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 60 minutes.

Watching me, watching you

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