Noodle Kugel with Cardamom and Apples

Hotdish : My Upper Midwest Fronds :: Kugel : Me. 

[Hotdish is to my upper Midwest fronds as kugel is to me.]

Not in the way that kugel was a dish that we ate on a regular basis for dinner growing up, but rather in the way that I just assumed that everybody grew up with it and took a nostalgic comfort in it. Like I literally thought that everyone knew kugel until last year, when Alana talked to me about her first experience about it. I was in shock that she’d never had it! It’s like a… sweet mac and cheese? It was… interesting! But in a good way! And then I met a dozen more people with the same reaction at the Fargo Hotdish Festival when Bernbaum’s brought an amazing kugel to compete with tater tot hotdishes of all sorts. It dawned on me then that not everyone knows this dish that was so central to my childhood holidays and I suddenly had to figure out a way to explain it and convince my fronds that it totally deserved to be classified as a hotdish.  

And seriously, if you bend the definition of a vegetable to mean, well, fruit then you’ve got it: the cottage cheese mixture is your sauce, the noodles are your starch, the nuts are your protein, and the raisins/cherries/apples are your produce. Hotdish. Sold. 

Flavor-wise, think of it as rice pudding made with noodles! And baked! Or, ok, a slightly sweet, a teensy bit sour, and kind of soufflé-like mac and cheese. And for all of the times I’ve made fun of Eggboy for having sweet cookie salad alongside the main course of his meal (as opposed to as dessert), I now owe him an apology because kugel, in all of its dessert-leaning glory, is part of the main course.

The kugel that my mom made growing up was based on Emeril’s recipe. It was such a great combination of richness and milkiness and it had the perfect touch of cinnamon and sugar, as well as a toasty nutty topping. It was, and continues to be, the only place that I will eat cottage cheese. For some reason it’d been a really really long time since we had it at holidays and it wasn’t until the Fargo Hotdish Festival that I was reminded of it because Bernbaum’s kugel was so similar. It brought me right back to kugel of my youth, but it had the one inspiring addition of granny smith apples. I LOVED this addition because it added color, crunch, and brightness to an otherwise super heavy dish. So I stole the idea. I added it to my family kugel, along with some cardamom and a bit of lemon for additional depth of flavor, and I fine tuned the sweetness to create the new and improved family kugel that Bernie is going to grow up with. 

And it’s of course only fitting that I’m using Our Family goodies to make Our Family Kugel! They make it easy to make this recipe since their cottage cheese and sour cream comes in big enough tubs that you end up using just a whole big tub of each. 

Make this for Rosh Hashanah or it’s also great prepped in advance, so make it for Yom Kippur break fast.

L’Shana Tovah, everyone! 


Noodle Kugel with Cardamom and Apples

Serves 8

ingredients

Kosher salt

1 lb Our Family wide egg noodles

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, divided

5 large eggs

1 lb Our Family cottage cheese

1 lb Our Family sour cream

3/4 c (150g) sugar

1 c (236 mL) whole or 2% milk

2 tsp cinnamon, divided

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tb vanilla extract

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 granny smith apples, chopped

2 c (260g) pecans, chopped

1/2 c (100g) light brown sugar

clues

Preheat oven to 350ºf. Grease a 9” x 13” casserole dish or similar (pictured is a deep 9” x 9” casserole) and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles to al dente, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and toss with 4 tablespoons of butter.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, sugar, milk, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla, lemon zest, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. In a small bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Fold the noodles and apples into the cottage cheese mixture and then transfer to the casserole dish. 

In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and add the pecans, brown sugar, remaining teaspoon of cinnamon, and a good pinch of salt. Sprinkle it all over the top of the noodles. Bake until set, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly and serve.

To prep it the day before, do everything up until the step where you top it with the nuts. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to bake, top it with the nuts and bake as directed, but tack on another few minutes to the baking time. 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

this recipe was created in partnership with our family!

garlic and onion latkes and sour cream

Zomg it’s almost Hanukkah already! Any earlier and I feel like we would have come dangerously close to reliving the Thanksgivukkah mash-up of 2013 all over again. Luckily I feel like having this week free of any feast-driven holidays has allowed us to create space for all of the latkes and sufganiyot that we’re about to eat… but who am I kidding, the entire holiday season is a feast-driven holiday?! And so is the entirety of pregnancy! Ok, this is gonna be great.

I’m cutting no corners this Hanukkah and following all of the rules for good Hanukkah food:

  1. I will not let impatience get the best of me and I will let the oil heat up completely before frying anything.

  2. I will let the potatoes sit with their salt for at least half an hour to allow the moisture to escape, for the sake of an extra crispy latke. 

  3. I will let them get appropriately browned!! Extra crispy!! Ugh, this always takes more time than I want it to, but it’s gonna be worth it.

  4. I will not go the route of frying store bought biscuit dough and calling it sufganiyot. I’m thinking of going a chocolatey brioche route this year, maybe chocolate and strawberry??

I’m so excited to be able to use Eggboy’s menorah again and, oh gosh, I just got emotional thinking about how this time next year we’ll be lighting the candles with little Poppy Seed. I can already see the Eight Days of Baby Books happening. 

Ok before I get ahead of myself, I’m gonna talk about these latkes. They’re basically an amped up version of the classic latkes that I typically make and they are sooo good. Flavor-wise, I’ve added garlic and scallions (to an already onion-y mixture) and paired them with a caramelized onion sour cream situation that’s just like French onion dip. Texture-wise, I’ve replaced my standard flour binder with panko breadcrumbs for a thicker heartier texture. I find it helps these latkes fry up more like hockey pucks, which is a good thing because we live in hockey country. I supposed you could also use matzo meal!

And since I feel like it’s been a while since we talked latkes, let’s review some tips for prepping them ahead if you’re planning on hosting a big party this year:

-For the most low maintenance route, follow the below directions but instead of transferring to a wire rack or paper towel as written, transfer the latkes in a single layer to a sheet pan covered in foil. Let cool and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to a few weeks. The foil is so that they retain that excess oil and you want them to do that so that when you reheat them on that pan (in a hot oven, 400º or 425º should do), the excess oil lightly re-fries them.

-For a slightly higher maintenance route, follow the below directions as written, taking them out of the oil just before they get to be optimum goldenness. Let cool and refrigerate for up to two days. And then when you’re ready to serve, simply fry them again. They’ll fry up faster and they’ll be super crispy because twice fried latkes are a very good thing.

-The garlic and onion sour cream can totes be made a day in advance.

And I’m using Our Family sour cream with this recipe! It’s reliable and comes in a cute package with cows all over it. And! It comes in the huge tubs, which is a must for Hanukkah. Thanks for sponsoring this post, Our Family!


garlic and onion latkes with garlic and onion sour cream

makes 20 latkes

ingredients

for the latkes:

2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes

2 medium yellow onions

4 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

4 large eggs

2 tb lemon juice

black pepper

2/3 c (40g) panko breadcrumbs

4 stalks scallions, chopped

Flavorless oil, for frying

for the garlic and onion sour cream:

2 tb olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided

1/2 tsp sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 c (240g) Our Family sour cream

1/2 tsp onion powder

black pepper

scallions, for topping

clues

Using the shredding attachment on a food processor (or mandoline), shred the potatoes, onions, and garlic. Line a colander with 2 layers of cheese cloth and set it over a bowl or in the sink. Add the potatoes/onions/garlic to the cheese cloth and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 30-45 minutes. Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and use your hands to squeeze out any excess moisture. 

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, lemon juice, a few turns of black pepper, and the breadcrumbs and add the potato mixture. Stir in the scallions.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4” of oil over medium-high heat, until shimmering. It’s ready when a strand of potato added to the oil immediately starts to sizzle. Use an ice cream scoop to add blobs of the mixture to the oil, spacing them out so as not to crowd the pan. Press the scoops down lightly with a spatula to get 1/2” thick patties. Fry until golden brown on both sides, a few minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel and sprinkle with salt or flaky salt. Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

for the garlic and onion sour cream:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium and add the onion, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and sugar. cook, stirring, until golden brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Let cool and then stir with the sour cream, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, onion powder, and a few turns of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh scallions. 


-yeh!

thank you, our family, for sponsoring this post

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen


p.s. tune into this weekend’s #girlmeetsfarm for brussels sprout latkes, lefse, pastrami meatballs, speculoos sheet cake, and marzipan chocolate bars!

caramel apple cake with cream cheese frosting

Confession time: I’m not lifting a finger this Thanksgiving! Not even a toe. There will be no cooking, no bird basting, no celery chopping, just the sweet sound of Broadway tunes from the parade on the TV. And then I’ll be waddling down to the beach. That’s it! I’m so excited. I can’t take credit for this idea, it’s all the brainchild of my mom’s side of the family who has been organizing an epic Thanksgiving weekend Florida family reunion that I have been looking forward to for months. 

My dream is that I’ll somehow be able to acquire a turkey and cranberry on rye on the beach, and I’m loosely tempted to bring boxes of pre-made stuffing for all of my relatives to hydrate in their hotel coffee pots. (Certainly weirder things have been done, no?) But if my options are poolside chicken fingers and fries with honey mustard, I won’t be mad. Because 1) we already had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner during filming for the Girl Meets Farm Thanksgiving episode, and 2) I’ll be with my awesome cool fam for the first time since cousin Ellie’s Bat Mitzvah! And that’s really what Thanksgiving is all about, right??? Being with your loved ones?? WOW, this got mushy fast. 

The one main kitchen thing that I will really miss this year is watching Eggboy make his pumpkin pie. He really hit his stride last year and, I don’t know, there is something so warm and fuzzy about seeing someone who you love so much getting excited about a thing that you love so much. Eggboy in the kitchen is truly somethin rad. Maybe he’ll make his pie for Chrismukkah…

Our plans to go to Florida reminded me of one of the last times I spent Thanksgiving in Florida, in my college days. For a few good years in a row, we all got together and cooked a feast at my cousin Jamie’s house. It was always a super solid classic Thanksgiving meal and for dessert there were definitely a few pies, but there was also this caramel apple loaf cake that looked pretty ugly but, oh goodness, it was soo good. It had a deeply caramelized flavor and it was wildly dense, but it was broken up by big chunks of crisp tart apples. It was the kind of cake that you just couldn’t walk by without shaving off *one* more sliver. A hot contender for winning the honor of Ending Bite, indeed.

This cake is inspired by that cake, which holds a place in our family cookbook. I’ve swapped in some whole wheat flour to add nuttiness and given it a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting that adds the correct amount of tang and creaminess. Also, I screwed something up so that you don’t have to: I tried making this with the gala apples from our trees and honeycrisp apples from the store. They were both too moist and the batter, as thick as it was when it went into the pan, just didn’t reach the right consistency during baking. So use Granny smiths because they are super starchy and firm and they won’t add too much moisture to the batter. But past that, this cake is very unfussy and can totally be made a day in advance. If you, like me, are not lifting a finger this Thanksgiving, or maybe you’ve got your pie lineup set in stone already, keep this cake on hand for later in the season because its warmth and coziness is perfect for any winter occasion. 

And I am using Our Family ingredients in this cake! I find I use Our Family products even more during the holidays, when time is usually tight to buy a lot of groceries for all of my holiday parties and I just need easy to find, inexpensive, very reliable ingredients. They are the perfect party planning helpers! Thanks for sponsoring this post, Our Family


caramel apple cake with cream cheese frosting

makes one loaf

Ingredients

2 1/4 c (292g) all-purpose flour

3/4 c (98g) whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking soda 

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

A pinch of ground cardamom

1 c (200g) brown sugar

1 c (200g) sugar

3/4 c (150g) flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large granny smith apples, chopped into 1/4”-1/2” pieces (4 c (368g) chopped)

Cream cheese frosting:

8 oz (226g) Our Family cream cheese, softened

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

1/4 c heavy cream

A pinch of kosher salt

Caramel:

15 storebought caramels

3 tb whole milk

a big pinch of salt

Flaky salt

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line a Pullman Loaf pan (8 1/2” X 4”, or similar) with parchment paper, allowing 1” wings to come up on two of the sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars and oil until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each, and then add the vanilla. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and then fold in the apples. It will be very thick! Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, begin checking for doneness after an hour, but it could take up to 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan and then transfer to a serving plate. (You can totally bake this a day in advance and let it cool overnight, uncovered.)

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the heavy cream and salt until combined. Spread it over the cake.

To make caramel, melt ingredients together over low heat in a saucepan while stirring (or in a microwave), and let cool slightly.

Just before serving, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with flaky salt. Enjoy!


-yeh!

thank you, our family, for sponsoring this post

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

cozy braised chickpeas with squash

Blogging on a Saturday night?? It’s like I’m back in college again! Only this time as soon as I post this I am entering a pillow fort and only resurfacing when it's time to go to brunch tomorrow, not going uptown to drink boozes at Kyle and Sam’s house and then coming back downtown and eating Gray’s Papaya hot dogs, ketchup and kraut please, Brian do you want my papaya juice?

The truth is I’ve been in recovery mode from summer camp all week, and on Wednesday when I meant to post about braised chickpeas I had a big long flight and got distracted by watching I Feel Pretty.

Summer camp was off the hook!!! We put as many foods on walls as possible and used a record amount of sprinkles. We served cinnamon rolls with tahini frosting, bougie bug juice (watermelon, mint, a.c.v., salt, fizzy water), pan pizzas, breakfast sandwiches, and vats of late night beer cheese. And I had my annual summer camp Uncrustable and it was still a little frozen but totally perfect. I also led a 90s themed cookie cake making workshop and was tasked to make marzipan boobs. A first for me! But I think I did ok?? Out of all the boobs in the world surely they looked like some of them.

Now I’m racing to the finish line of 5778 and planning my Rosh Hashanah menu. Our apple trees are looking good, the potatoes are ready to be dug up, and the squash miiiight be there?? My current menu draft is this but it will probably change because that’s just how I operate:

Potato challah
Matzo ball soup
Grilled honey chicken
Some charred corn situation
A green thing
Apple and marzipan crumble

But I want to also share with you these braised chickpeas that we’ve been enjoying on these newly cooler nights and that would make a delightful vegan main course for your new year's feasts. The concept is simple: make the same braising liquid you’d make to braise a brisket but instead of using brisket, use chickpeas and squash. Hence the name I originally gave this: Brisket Braised Chickpeas! It's like how chicken fried steak doesn't actually have chicken in it. We are braising chickpeas à la brisket, with red wine, fresh rosemary, delicious home smells, and all. Ultimately, having "brisket" in the name of a vegan dish sounded confusing. But never mind that. Potatoes or parsnips in this would also be good. And this is best enjoyed out of a bowl with a large hunk of bread, torn from the loaf, and I believe it would ring in the coziest of new years!

Shana Tovah, friends!!!


cozy braised chickpeas with squash

serves 6

1/4 c olive oil 

1 large onion, chopped

2 large or 4 small carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp cayenne

Black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 c dry red wine

1 small butternut squash, cubed

1 (14 oz) can tomatoes

2 c veggie broth

2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed

2 sprigs rosemary

2 bay leaves

chopped fresh parsley, for serving

hunks of bread, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350ºf.

In an oven-safe dutch oven or cocotte, heat olive oil over medium, until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. (Alternatively, you can work in a non-oven safe pot and transfer your mixture to an oven-safe dish when it's time to move to the oven.)

Add the cayenne, a few turns of pepper, and the garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant.

Add the red wine and cook until it's reduced by half. Add the remaining ingredients, give everything a stir, and cover.

Transfer to the oven and braise for 2 to 3 hours, until the chickpeas are soft. Discard the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs, top with parsley, serve with bread, and enjoy!