Not Your Bubbe’s Kitchen

Sonja’s Luxschen Kugel Recipe

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Sonja Rubin, né Sonja Blum, mother of Sisterhood's Baihlah Rubin, was born in Berlin in 1923 to a Jewish father and a Protestant mother. After her father was picked up by the Gestapo and never heard from again, Sonja's Lutheran baptism in 1933 was probably what saved her life during the years Hitler was in power. Even though Sonja managed to survive the war, lingering anti-Semitism, still very much present in post-WWII Germany, drove her to immigrate to the United States in 1951.

Pesach is always a good time to reflect on freedom. For some people, like Sonja Rubin as she struggled to survive in Nazi Germany, the need for freedom was urgent and immediate. And she found her freedom as an immigrant to the United States, for which she was profoundly thankful. 

Sonja is no longer alive (may her memory be for a blessing), but her daughter Baihlah has kept this kugel recipe that Sonja used to make around Passover. Technically, the recipe isn't kosher for Passover. But we hope you enjoy the recipe anyway, whether you make it during Pesach or not, and maybe take a minute to reflect on your own freedom, and the people and things for which you, too, are thankful.

Sonja’s Luxschen Kugel

Ingredients

  • 1 16-oz pack of broad egg noodles
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 24-oz container of cottage cheese
  • 1 8-oz container of sour cream
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  • Boil the noodles and set aside.
  • Whip up eggs.
  • Fold in cottage cheese.
  • Fold in sour cream.
  • Fold in cooked noodles with your hands.
  • Butter or spray with non-stick spray a shallow (2-3 inch tall), 9x12 inch glass casserole pan.
  • Fill casserole pan with the noodle mixture.
  • Bake uncovered at 400ºF for 45 minutes, or until golden brown tips form on the noodles.
  • Eat and enjoy! 

Happy Pesach!

Sonja Rubin

Shakshouka

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I first heard of shakshouka a few years ago from one of my sisters, when I was completely bored with the usual toast and scrambled eggs, and was asking around for new breakfast ideas. Since then, it’s become a favorite go-to meal at any time of day, if I want something that’s quick, tasty, and easy to prepare.

Shakshouka is originally a Tunisian dish that is pretty common in Israel. It’s a little spicy, since it uses harissa — a Tunisian seasoning made from ground hot chilis, garlic, olive oil and spices. If you’ve never heard of harissa before, don’t let that stop you from making shakshouka! You can find harissa at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, or just use another hot chili-based sauce as a substitute.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, or 2-3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt to taste (optional)

Directions

In a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until onion is translucent (3-4 minutes). 

Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, and harissa, and cook for a few more minutes. 

Crack the eggs over the mixture, turn the heat to medium-low, and cover the pan with a lid. Let simmer until eggs are just cooked - about 5 minutes. 

Makes a nice breakfast, or light dinner when served with challah and a salad on the side.

French Onion Soup

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

2018 came in with a freezing roar! When it’s cold outside I like to make a big batch of soup.  One of my favorite soups to make is French Onion Soup.  Many years ago, I was in Paris in December.  I fell in love with French Onion soup. I had it every day for lunch and dinner. I would have had it for breakfast if it was on the menu! It isn’t difficult to make but it does require some attention.

French Onion Soup

  • 3 pounds sweet onions, sliced thin
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 9 cups beef broth, boiling( I use beef bouillion powder and water but you can use canned)
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • French bread or baguette
  • Swiss or Gruyere cheese, grated

Heat oil and butter in 6 quart Dutch Oven or stockpot on medium low heat. Add onions, stir to coat.  Cover,  cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover, add sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, turn heat up to medium.   Cook uncovered 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized a medium brown color. Add flour, cook stirring constantly for 3 minutes.  Away from heat, add broth and wine.  Return to heat, bring soup up to a simmer.  Partially cover, simmer 40 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed.

Slice bread into ½-1 inch pieces. Bake in a 325 degree oven until lightly browned.

Heat soup, put in a slice of bread and top with cheese.  Microwave until cheese is melted or put in a 350 degree oven till cheese is melted.

**NOTE

This soup freezes well.  Don’t freeze with bread and cheese in the soup.

- Marsha Wilson

Latkes!

Frying up some latkes

Frying up some latkes

It’s December and my thoughts turn to - latkes!  If you’re an Ashkenazi Jew, no Chanukah celebration is complete until the latkes are on the table.  Do you like them thick or thin? With onions or without?  What’s your favorite topping? Is it applesauce, sour cream, or - like my father - sugar? 

Have you ever made your own applesauce? If you have, it’s really hard to go back to the jarred version.  Below, you’ll find recipes for a traditional version for potato latkes and applesauce. 

Potato Latkes

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold or white potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed clean
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Vegetable or canola oil

The easiest way to make quantities of latkes is to use a food processor.  I once made 100 latkes and it’s much easier to utilize the processor instead of grating them by hand. You want a neutral oil for frying, not olive oil..

  1. If using the food processor, cut potatoes and onion in fourths and process, using the chopping blade.  If not, grate potatoes and onion by hand.
  2. Add eggs, then matzo meal and salt.  If mixture seems loose, add a little more matzo meal.
  3. Preheat a large frying pan to medium high heat.  Put enough oil in to cover the bottom.  Latkes aren’t deep fried.  Take 1/4-1/3 cup of latke mix and put into pan. Make sure they don’t touch. Flatten slightly with the back of  a spoon if you like thin latkes.  Turn down heat a little if they seem to be frying too quickly.  When browned, turn and fry the other side.  When done, remove immediately and place on a paper towel lined plate or rack. Salt the latkes. 

How to Freeze and Reheat Latkes

If you’re making a big quantity of latkes, making them ahead is a great option.

Take completely cooled latkes and place on a cookie sheet. Put them in the freezer.  Once frozen, put into freezer bags with parchment paper or wax paper between layers.

When it’s party time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place frozen latkes in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes until piping hot.

Homemade Applesauce

  • 7 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut in half
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Cinnamon
  1. Put apples, sugar and water into a pot.  
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  
  3. If you like chunky applesauce, use a potato masher until the applesauce is the desired consistency.  If you like smooth applesauce, process in a blender or food processor. 
  4. Add cinnamon to taste.
  5. Applesauce can be frozen

Happy Chanukah!

- Marsha Wilson

Celebrate Sukkot With These Fall Harvest Recipes

Stuffed cabbage for dinner -- yum!

Stuffed cabbage for dinner -- yum!

I love to cook. And Fall, with its brisk outdoor evening temperatures that make me want to cozy up inside a warm kitchen, is the perfect time to cook.

This is the time of year when I start pulling out my mother's recipes -- the ones she learned from her own mother. Recipes written on scraps of paper stuffed into old cookbooks, or passed along in an old e-mail chain forwarded from mother to daughter and sister to sister, or just pulled from memory and backed up by the occasional phone call.

One of my favorite recipes that my mother makes is my grandmother's Hungarian stuffed cabbage. The sauce is distinctively sweet and sour, with a mix of sauerkraut, lemon juice, and brown sugar. It takes several hours to make, but is well worth it. In case you'd like to try it, here it is.

And since my mother is a phenomenal cook, as a bonus, for you vegetarians, I've thrown in two other stuffed vegetable recipes that she used to make for my dad, who was a vegetarian -- stuffed patty pan squash, and stuffed sweet peppers with eggplant.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. Happy Fall!


Hungarian Stuffed Cabbage

Ingredients

1 head green cabbage, about 2 1/2 - 3 lbs

Sauce

  • 1/2 of 32-oz jar sauerkraut, drained (reserve other half)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 32-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup brown sugar (to taste), packed
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Filling

  • 1 lb ground sirloin (for vegetarian version, substitute with 16 oz chopped button mushrooms)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 4 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1-2 cups prepared sauce
  • 1/2 of 32-oz jar sauerkraut, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Steam or boil the cabbage until soft. Gently separate leaves and set aside.

To Prepare the Sauce

Prepare the sauce by sautéing onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sauerkraut, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Simmer until ready to add to cabbage rolls.

To Prepare the Filling

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add ground sirloin and cook until browned, then drain off fat.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked beef/onions/garlic, sauerkraut, rice, eggs, salt and pepper. Add 1-2 cups of prepared sauce and mix well.

Filling the Cabbage Leaves

Scoop about 1/4-1/2 cup of filling into the center of each cabbage leaf. Roll up the leaf around the filling as if rolling a burrito. 

Place the cabbage rolls in a shallow, lightly oiled baking dish, seam side down. (Actually this recipe will probably fill 2-3 rectangular baking dishes.) 

Pour sauce evenly over the cabbage rolls.

Baking

At this point, you can either refrigerate the cabbage rolls overnight and bake them the next day, or bake them in the oven right away. Bake for about 2 hours, until the sauce has thickened and the cabbage leaves are soft.

Serve and enjoy.


Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

Ingredients

  • 6 medium-large patty pan squash
  • 1 small red and 1 small white onion chopped
  • 1 small red pepper cored and chopped
  • Handful of garlic, chopped
  • Leaves and tops of celery, chopped (2 stalks)
  • 1-2 cups of fresh chopped spinach
  • Lots of basil (about 1 cup)
  • Cream cheese (1/2 - 1 cup)
  • 1-2 cups of grain of choice (rice, couscous, corn, etc)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Enough bread crumbs to bind filling
  • Grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top before baking
  • Pepper, salt, paprika, and red pepper flakes to taste (chef's choice)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the insides (save for filling). Put squash halves into a baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Cook your grain of choice. Especially good if vegetable broth is used as a liquid to replace water.

Melt butter and olive oil together - enough to coat the bottom of your pan. Sauté onion until soft but not brown. Add garlic, celery, red pepper and spinach, and cook down.

Take off of the heat and add cream cheese. Blend and add grain, egg, bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese (optional), basil, salt,  pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Fill your squash with the mixture. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and paprika, and spray with olive oil.

Bake in a preheated 400℉ oven until cooked and the top is brown (about 30 minutes).



Stuffed Sweet Peppers with Eggplant
 

Ingredients

  • 6 peppers, assorted colors (red, yellow, orange)

Filling

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 onion, garlic to taste, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of soft goat cheese
  • Italian herbs -- fresh if you have them
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs as needed to bind mixture
  • Salt, pepper, paprika and red pepper flakes to taste

Topping

  • 1 - 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 - 2 cups of cheese of choice cut into chunks or slices, not grated

Roast the eggplant in the oven at about 375℉ (might take up to 1 hour) until soft. Let it cool, cut in half, peel, remove the pulp and mash up with a potato masher or chop finely.

Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Spray a baking pan with olive oil and arrange pepper halves in the pan.

Saute onion, garlic and red pepper until soft. Add tomato and eggplant. Cook until soft and creamy. Add goat cheese and seasoning.

Take off of the heat and add beaten egg and bread crumbs until the mixture feels stiff. Fill peppers. Top with tomato sauce, chopped basil and cheese.

Make a foil tent, cover but don't let it touch the peppers and bake at 375℉ for 20 - 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until done, about 15 minutes or until soft but not overdone.

ENJOY!!!

Two Kugel Recipes for a Delicious Break Fast

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It’s September, and my thoughts turn to the High Holy Days — and food. Growing up, my grandma always served kugel for Rosh Hashanah and Break Fast.  She had one recipe for kugel, a sweet one. I’ve since learned that there are as many kugel recipes as there are Jewish mothers!  Sweet, savory, sweet and savory together (cheddar cheese and raisins). My grandma only used golden raisins in cakes and kugels, so that’s what I use.  Unfortunately, her kugel recipe was never written down, so it’s lost.

The sweet kugel recipe is one I got from a friend at my synagogue in Arlington, TX, Congregation Beth Shalom. I’ve made a few changes to it such as leaving off the crumb topping. I’ve been making this recipe for over 30 years and it never disappoints.

Did you know that Sisterhood makes between 35-40 kugels for our Break Fast? One of the favorites is the lox kugel. This is Susan Kerman’s recipe which she created. It’s definitely my all-time favorite savory kugel. I’ve adapted it to a family size 9x13 pan.

Do you have a favorite kugel recipe you'd like to share? Send it to us, or post it in the comments.

May you have a sweet New Year!

- Marsha Wilson


Sweet Kugel

Legend:  T=tablespoon; t=teaspoon; c=cup

  • 8 oz. egg noodles
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple in its own juice
  • ½ c. sugar
  • Cinnamon, 1-2 shakes
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ½ c. golden raisins
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350℉.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray.  Cook egg noodles, drain. Mix ingredients from sour cream through raisins. Add cooked noodles. Add melted margarine. Pour into pan.

Topping

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 t. or more to your taste cinnamon

Mix sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over mixture.

Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes, Uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes, until a knife stuck into the kugel comes out clean. This recipe freezes well.  

This recipe can be doubled. Make sure you use a deep dish 9x13 pan.  It will take longer to bake - 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

Lox Kugel

  • 12 ounces egg noodles, cooked
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped, sauteed in canola oil on medium low heat until     caramelized a medium brown color. Cool slightly
  • 2 c. milk or half and half 
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 c. cottage cheese
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 7 eggs, beaten
  • 6 ounces lox or smoked salmon, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup capers
  • 1 T. dried dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, melted

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9x13x pan with Pam. Mix cream cheese, eggs, milk, sour cream, and cottage cheese together until well mixed. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. Pour into the greased pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a butter knife in the kugel. If it comes out clean it's done. This kugel can be frozen.