Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cheese Kugel for Shavuot

My mother started making this for me around the time of my bar mitzvah, after I tasted somebody else's cheese kugel and begged her to learn to make it. She came up with this recipe and it's been a favorite of mine since. I prepared this kugel to bring to a wonderful family that's hosting me for lunch over Shavuot and I just had to do some quality control and taste test. (Shhh, don't tell them!)  Well, it was delicious and if you make this kugel I guarantee you will think so too.

Chag sameach!

Cheese Kugel

1 lb medium egg noodles
5 eggs (room temperature) beaten until bubbly
1/2 lb cottage cheese (small curd)
1/2 lb cream cheese
1/2 lb pot cheese
1/2 lb farmers cheese
1/4 lb sweet butter
1 pint sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
8 oz whole milk
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/2 c light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.

In a mixer, mix together the eggs and the sugar.

Add all the dairy ingredients except for the milk and mix on a low setting for 3 minutes.

Very slowly add the milk, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg.

Combine the cheese mixture  in a very large mixing bowl with the drained noodles and mix thoroughly.

Pour the mixture slowly into a greased 9"x13" pan or baking dish. Place onto a cookie sheet to catch spillover and for easier transport.

Bake for 1/2 hour. While baking, mix together the brown sugar and almonds in a small bowl.

Remove the kugel from the oven and and sprinkle the topping evenly over the noodles. Bake for 1 hour.

For easiest slicing, refrigerate the kugel overnight and slice it while cold before reheating. The kugel also freezes beautifully if tightly wrapped up. 

Sloppy Joes (Dairy) for Shavuot

A lot of kosher restaurants seem to think Sloppy Joes mean sandwiches with layered slices of various deli meats. I'm talking about classic Sloppy Joes here ground beef, tomato sauce, and spices. This is just like what they served at camp or the school cafeteria. They're messy and they're delicious.

And in this case, they're dairy.

I used MorningStar Farms soy ground beef crumbles, which are dairy. So technically, these are not 100 percent traditional Sloppy Joes, but you can easily swap out the soy beef for real ground beef and the rest of the recipe will remain the same. I chose to use the fake stuff because 1) I just watched Bobby Flay do a Sloppy Joe throwdown on Food Network and got inspired, and B) I wanted something tasty to bring to a Shavuot potluck this weekend.

And let me tell you, this is delicious. If you didn't know it was fake beef, you wouldn't know the difference once it's piled high on a bun and you're biting in.

Sloppy Joes

1 tbs chopped garlic
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
½ cup tomato sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp mustard powder
1 medium size onion, diced
1 c water
2 tbs vegetable oil
Hamburger or slider rolls (how many depends on how sloppy you want to make your sandwiches)

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Sweat the onions, stirring frequently, until they are nearly translucent. Add the ground beef and garlic and stir to combine.

Separately, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce, mustard powder, and Worcestershire sauce.  Fold the sauce into the “meat” mixture and then add 1 cup of water. Stir in 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. 

Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.  If it starts to look too dry, add a little more water.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on toasted hamburger buns.  And, since this recipe uses fake ground beef, feel free to add a slice of American cheese on top.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Stuffed French Toast Part Deux

Shavuot is coming and that means dairy! And with a three-day Yom Tov you'll probably be stocking up on lots of challah. Remember the stuffed French toast from a few months back? As you recall, I made that one spur of the moment with some whole-wheat bread I had on hand, but when it comes to French toast as with many other recipes challah just makes it better.

The recipe is exactly the same, except instead of making a cream cheese sandwich, you're going to cut a 1-inch pocket into a slice of challah (cut thick from the loaf, about 2 inches) and then stuff that with cream cheese. Then proceed to dunk the bread into your egg mixture, fry, and enjoy!

Chag sameach!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Hummus Day!

Yes, apparently - as I just learned on Facebook - today is Hummus Day! Calloo Callay! I was actually thinking earlier today about making some hummus, and now I really have no excuse not to.

One of my favorite Youtube sensations is Remmy, who does a hilarious hummus rap, which should be the anthem for the day.

I'll leave you now with an oldie but goodie, my recipe for hummus.  B'tayavon!

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Kosher Bachelor and the Sweet Genius

OK, you got me. This is not a recipe. I just felt like bragging a little bit because earlier this month I got to meet  Food Network star Ron Ben-Israel, host of "Sweet Genius." I interviewed him in his New York bake shop for a piece about his life growing up in Israel, his career as a professional dancer, and how he became a "Sweet Genius."

Click here to read my profile on Ron.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sausage with Onions and Peppers

I do love my Sausage and Broccoli Rabe, but I was in the mood for trying something different with the sausage tonight.  Classically, green peppers and onions go really well with sausage, and then I started experimenting with a sauce that, if I say so myself, came out marvelously. Enjoy.

As you may remember from Brust Deckle, there are varieties of Worcestershire sauce that do not contain anchovies, so be sure to check your labels.

Sausage with Onions and Peppers

1 12-oz package brown-and-serve spicy Italian beef and veal sausage (I use 999 or Meal Mart brand)
1 medium yellow onion
1 green bell pepper
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs  spicy brown mustard

Cut the sausage, pepper, and onion into medium-size chunks, while you heat the olive oil in a pan with a lid. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and give it a quick stir to flavor the oil. Do not let it brown.

Turn the flame to medium heat and add in the sausage, peppers, and onions. Mix until the vegetables begin to soften. Add in the worsterchire sauce, mustard, and 1 tsp pepper and stir to combine all the ingredients.

Cover and reduce heat to low and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Salt to taste, about a teaspoon should do it, and stir. Do not let the sausage sit much longer on the flame or it will overcook and become tough.  If making ahead, cover and place in the oven on low to keep warm. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Queso Nachos

I'm a day late for Cinco De Mayo, but I couldn't resist posting this recipe because what food is more symbolic of bachelorhood than nachos?

There are many, many ways to make nachos. As a kid I melted the cheese on the chips in the microwave. As an adult I typically melt the cheese on the chips in the oven and top with veggies and salsa. When the choice was queso sauce or melted cheese, I always went for the melted cheese because I just like the texture better.

Queso sauces can be good, however. I have had several good ones and decided it was time for me to branch out. Here is a simple recipe I put together that can be made for a crowd or just a delicious dinner for one, with a little guilt on the side, of course, for finishing the entire plate. All I can say is, good thing I ran 7 miles this morning!

Queso Nachos

1 whole jalapeno pepper, diced (keep the seeds for flavor)
4 oz shredded Mexican cheese (If you can't find a pre-shredded Mexican blend, use cheddar and Jack)
4 oz heavy cream
1 tsp crushed garlic
Romaine lettuce
Sour cream
Hot sauce

Pour the cream into a small saucepan on a medium flame. When it starts to bubble, add the garlic and jalapenos. Slowly add in the cheese, stirring the mixture to make sure the cheese doesn't stick to the bottom or burn.  Add salt to taste.

Pile a handful of tortilla chips onto a serving dish and then pour the sauce on top. Top with shredded lettuce, hot sauce (I like to use jalapeno Tabasco, which is milder but adds a nice flavor), a dollop of sour cream, and salsa. Sprinkle some more shredded cheese on top (or directly onto the sauce so it melts a little).

Serve with your favorite cerveza and you are ready to celebrate Cinco De Mayo or Shavuot.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


The weather has been kind of gray and rainy lately. These are the types of days when you just want to curl up with a hot bowl of soup and watch a video.

Well, this soup is great for that or for serving  with Shabbat dinner, like I did last week. This is a Polish potato soup recipe I got from my mother, who got it from her father who got it from... you get the point. 

Toss in some mandel for a little crunch and this soup is perfect for any occasion. 


3-5 lbs potatoes
3-4 stalks celery
3-4 carrots
Kosher salt, 3 tsp
White pepper, 1 tsp
1 onion (baseball size)
2 tbs margarine
2 tbs flour

Peel and cube the potatoes into approximately 1-cm. pieces. Coarsely dice the carrots and celery.

Put the potatoes, carrots, and celery into a large pot and fill it with cold water 1-2 inches from the top to yield half-volume water and half-volume vegetables. 

Bring the pot to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add salt and pepper, and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the kitchen smells good.

After simmering, make your roux for the soup. Dice the onion and saute in 2 tbs margarine in a frying pan until golden brown. Work in two heaping tablespoons of baking flour and stir until the flour has been absorbed by the onions. (If you don't want to use margarine, you can use Crisco or shmaltz to make the roux.) Add this roux to the soup. 

Let the soup simmer for another hour, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer or cover the pot and turn off the heat until ready to serve.