Recipe in Spotlight – Aunt Leona’s Kugel
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series highlighting recipes used by the White House Staff for the Jewish High Holidays.
My Aunt Leona was 10 years older than my mother. In fact, she got to name my mother, Dolores, because by the time my mother came along my immigrant grandparents, Sam and Molly, were running a dress shop and tailoring business in Washington Heights, Manhattan, near or on Dyckman Street. They had survived immigration from Eastern Europe, separately; they met in NYC. They fought in and lived through WWI; the death of a son; another daughter 10 years or more older than Leona; a move from the lower East Side up to Washington Heights, and then came my mother. They were probably a little tired. No? So, when you asked a 10 year old girl born and raised in Washington Heights, Manhattan, for a name for her brand new baby sister in 1931, that 10 year old is going to say “Dolores,” naming my mother for the STAR of the day: Dolores Del Rio.
Aunt Leona made this kugel for all holiday meals that I recall. I don’t remember ever specifically asking her about it or sitting with her when she made it; I don’t even really remember the first time I made it - it’s just always been a part of my family. A sweet kugel for a sweet new year!
Aunt Leona’s Kugel
- 1 package of Egg Noodles (the really broad ones)
- 1 container of cottage cheese (small curd is the best) – 12 or 16 ounces depending on how much you like cottage cheese-y-ness
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup or a cup of sugar, depending on how sweet you like your kugel
- A pinch of salt
- A sprinkling of vanilla
- Raisins (black or white or both)
- Brown sugar
- Cook the Egg Noodles until done. Drain and rinse.
- In a separate bowl, mix the cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla.
- Mix the cooked Egg Noodles in with the cheese mixture.
- Add raisins into the eggs and cheese- it doesn’t really matter how many as long as everyone gets some raisins in their serving.
- Place kugel in a heavily buttered baking dish – your call as to size since it will depend: do you like a tall, thick creamy kugel or do you like a flatter, shorter, crispier kugel?
- Before baking, sprinkle brown sugar and butter crumbled together and cinnamon on top of the kugel.
- Cook until done at 350 degrees. (Your house should smell like a home when it’s done.)
Sarah Bittleman is Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture