Good, old-time (Jewish) cookin' returns

November 12, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

For Sybil Schiffman of Hagerstown, kugel is a savory dish that was passed down from her grandmother, who was from Lithuania.

For Randi Numbers of Myersville, Md., kugel is a sweet dish passed down from her Grandma Lottie, who grew up in Romania.

Sweet kugel. Savory kugel. Noodle kugel. Potato kugel. Even carrot kugel.

Kugel, a crusty, baked pudding typically made with potatoes or noodles is a popular Jewish dish that can be served as a side dish or dessert dish and can easily vary.

The Jewish Food Festival this Sunday at Congregation B'nai Abraham's synagogue in Hagerstown will have several kugels, as well as brisket, stuffed cabbage, blintzes, chopped liver, matzo ball soup and other Jewish favorites. There also will be homemade baked goods and breads.


The food festival raises money for the upkeep of the synagogue as well as for educational programs, said Schiffman, festival committee member. The synagogue last held the festival in 2005.

The sweet kugels being prepared for Sunday will include Grandma Lottie's version, prepared by Numbers.

"Everybody does something different. I think most people want sweet (kugel)," Numbers said.

While potatoes or noodles (lukshen) are often the base for kugel, about three years ago Numbers made one using carrots so she could add color to the Seder table. She added honey and golden raisins to the carrot kugel.

Numbers remembers walking up the creaky steps to Grandma Lottie's little white house in Washington, N.J., opening the door and being hit by the wonderful smell of kugel baking in the oven.

"It smells really good when it's cooking, and she has a really small kitchen," Numbers said.

While Numbers has altered some recipes handed down, such as brisket, changing Grandma Lottie's kugel is a no-no.

"The kugel I've never changed, because I like my mom's and I like my grandmom's," she said. "I've started keeping recipes I copied from my grandmother," she added, and rewriting them for her daughter, Leah.

Kugel is one of Leah's favorite dishes.

"Pretty much, it's up there with deviled eggs," said Leah, 17. She also likes mom's matzo ball soup and chopped liver. She'll eat kugel as a side dish and if there's any leftover after dinner, have it for dessert too.

If you go ...

WHAT: Jewish Food Festival

WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16

WHERE: Congregation B'nai Abraham's synagogue, 53 E. Baltimore St., Hagerstown

COST: a la carte

MORE: Eat in or carry out. Includes bakery. Sanctuary tours at noon and 1 p.m.

CONTACT: For more information, call 301-733-5039 or go to

Lukshen Kugel

8 ounces of wide noodles
1/4 cup butter
3 eggs beaten
12 ounces cottage cheese, large curd (see cook's note)
4 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil the noodles in salty water until tender and drain.

In a large bowl, loosely mix the butter, eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper.

Grease a long 2 1/2-quart casserole dish and let it get warm in the oven.

Add noodles to the egg mixture and mix. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The top will be brown and crunchy.

Serves 8 to 12

Cook's note: Sybil Schiffman's grandmother used farmer's cheese instead of cottage cheese. Her mother started substituting cottage cheese when it became difficult to find farmer's cheese. If you can find it, use the same amount of farmer's cheese as you would cottage cheese.

- Courtesy of Sybil Schiffman of Hagerstown

Grandma's sweet noodle kugel

2 tablespoons, melted butter
8 ounces cottage cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces of broad egg noodles, cooked
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
About 1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, sugar, raisins and vanilla.

Gently fold in cooked noodles.

Spoon mixture into a greased 13-inch-by-9-inch pan.

In a bowl, beat eggs, milk and sugar.

Drizzle egg mix over noodles, filling in the nooks and crannies.

Let stand five hours at room temperature.

Dot top of mixture with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake for one hour.

Serves 20 to 25.

- Courtesy of Randi Numbers of Myersville, Md.

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