Cooking with Lisa 2 – Apple and Cabbage Noodle Kugel
Hi there! It’s me again, Lisa. It’s week two of social distancing, and I’m getting a little bit of cabin fever. How have you been keeping busy? I’m seeing so many creative ideas out there to keep everyone entertained. A pizza place in my hometown was offering kits to build your own pies – YUM! Or what about all of those virtual museum tours and online crafting classes? As for me, I’ve once again found myself in the kitchen, covered in flour and running the dishwasher almost every day.
I hope you all enjoyed my last post about breakfast pizza as much as I enjoyed writing (and cooking) it! I bookmarked a lot more in More Real Life Kosher Cooking, but I’ve been struggling to pick the next recipe to share. As an extrovert, I did what I do best: talked to a wall. I had an imaginary conversation with my new best friend, cookbook author Miriam Pascal, so she could advise me on my decision. Do I jump right in and try out her Sticky Blueberry Chicken, or should we get comfortable and cozy with her Spicy Carrot Asparagus Soup? The options seemed endless and I felt a bit overwhelmed with the expectation of sharing some great content with you all out there (if anyone other than my mom is reading this!).
For me, social distancing and being out of routine has been a real setback, in more ways than one. My fitness goals have taken a back seat— #snacksfordays — and my lifestyle goals came to a screeching halt. Exercise-wise, I’ve been able to follow a few online classes but my motivation to get up and get moving is bleak. I miss the group fitness classes that kept my schedule on-track, and my fitness crew who keep me going. For my lifestyle goals, I’ve been trying to explore new places and meet new people to acclimate to my new city (I moved to the Providence area a little over a year ago), but now we’re expected to stay home. Professionally, I’ve been managing a lot of neat things at the Alliance. We were right around the corner from our Film Festival and we had two more authors scheduled in our Behind The Book series. Unfortunately, we had to postpone these until further notice. So yeah, I’m feeling a bit down these days thanks to the virus.
After all of the wallowing, and the pity party I threw for myself, I thought, “You know what? This is nothing a kugel couldn’t fix!” So I went back to the wall — I mean, my conversation with my BFF Miriam, and we turned to page 224 in her book: “Apple and Cabbage Noodle Kugel.”
I prepared all of my ingredients and had everything ready to go before I began my kugel adventure — blogging has kept me in line! I’m trying to stay organized to show my process, so I laid out everything in a picture-perfect scene beforehand. Don’t let that fool you, I’m usually pulling out dirty dishes from the sink, washing them quickly, then throwing them back in the sink, only to realize I need them again 5 seconds later. Then, repeat.
I preheated the oven and started chopping my onions. Remember, this is my comfort kugel to get me through the hard times, so when I started to cry, I wasn’t surprised. Or maybe it was from the onions? I couldn’t really tell. Either way it was cathartic to get out a good cry. I’ve heard that cutting onions with a sharp blade helps with the tears, which was why I was using my new knife. I guess it needed another sharpening; does anyone have some tips I could use to avoid the waterworks next time?
Next was the garlic. As I mentioned in my last post, cooking is a chore for me. I don’t enjoy the process of slicing, dicing, or mincing. With baking, it’s folding, whipping, and piping, all relaxing motions (for me, at least). Since we’re still isolating I have much more time on my hands, so I figured I’d go all-out and actually chop my garlic. Usually I use the jarred garlic because any time I can cheat in the kitchen, I do. So I gave it a whirl, and what do you know?! It’s just as horrible as I imagined! The garlic is so little and sticks to the knife, and my knife skills are pretty poor to begin with. But, I survived (barely).
Then came the apples and my new mantra: “Slices, Sticks, Dices,” taken from Chef Anne Burrell of Worst Cooks in America. I highly recommend it if you need a new show to binge. Add in the cabbage, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and let that simmer for a good 30 minutes. In the meantime, mix together eggs, vanilla, and cooked pasta, and combine with apple/cabbage mixture when ready. Bake for 45 minutes, until that wonderful aroma fills your kitchen.
This kugel really hit the spot. It has great texture and color, and it’s totally reminiscent of Grandma’s. It really is the perfect combination of savory and sweet. Random thought: is kugel a side-dish or a dessert? How would you describe it to your friends that have never had it before? I never know! What’s your take?
If I could make one adjustment to this moving forward, I would add a bit more sweetness with an extra spoon of honey, or one more tablespoon of brown sugar. As my saying goes: “Add some sweetness to your bite, it will make everything taste just right!”