Today, we are having potato latkes and noodle kugel, as described here. This is because, being only Jewish, I thought today was the last night of Chanukah. It was actually Thursday night, as we discovered when we ran out of candles on Thursday night. Oops! But there’s definitely no rule you can only have latkes and kugel during Chanukah, so away we go.
I’m about to put my kugel in the oven. I goosed my childhood recipe with apple bits and blonde raisins soaked in rum, and a little of this and that, and I think it’s going to be delicious. The kids are positively disposed toward it, because “kugel” is a silly word.
Latkes recipe:Jump to Recipe
Kugel recipe:Jump to Recipe
Here’s what else we had this week:
Lasagna, birthday cake
Speaking of delicious, we had Benny’s birthday party this weekend, and she requested Damien’s famous lasagna.This is a Burneko recipe and he really puts you through your paces, with a béchamel sauce, a pork ragu, fresh mozzarella and parmesan, and the works. It takes about 300 hours to make and it is heavenly. I always get bad pictures, but it is pure bliss.
Slightly better picture from the next day, when I had leftovers for lunch:
Since we couldn’t invite people over for a party, we had a spa day in the living room. I decorated with yards and yards of tulle, and we hung paper birds from threads, and blew up dozens of balloons.
We had assorted fancy snacks (mini eclairs, chocolate kiss pretzel bites, chocolate covered cherries, etc.) and grape soda with bendy straws, and then we proceeded to put on terrifying facial masks and tried to balance chilled cucumbers on our eyes.
When we had enough of that, we painted each other’s nails while listening to Taylor Swift. It was everything a spa day ought to be.
Benny and I made some birds out of marzipan, which is harder than I expected. We colored them with gel food coloring and watercolor brushes. Then we made little nests out of melted chocolate and shredded coconut. The end result was . . . really something.
Anyway, we had fun, and Benny was happy. Here she is wearing her new bird dress and wearing the glasses that make rainbow hearts appear around light sources, including birthday candle flames.
Oh, we also made these cute little caprese ladybug snacks. A cracker, a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf, and a tomato half with an olive head.
The dots are, unfortunately, icing. We need to figure out something savory that clings like icing.
Meatloaf, roast potatoes and squash
I honestly don’t remember Sunday. We were definitely running around. Damien made the meatloafJump to Recipe
and I cut up some butternut squash and questionable potatoes, and roasted them with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Yes, we are eating meatloaf on paper plates. I started using paper plates when I was pregnant, and oopsie, never stopped.
I feel like I always say this, but just in case: To easily cut and peel butternut squash, stab it several times with a fork and the microwave it for 4 minutes. This doesn’t cook it, but loosens it up enough that you can process it without needing a machete or chainsaw.
Easy peasy. I cooked up some ground beef with orange powder from some envelopes, sprinkled it over tortilla chips, and topped it with shredded cheese from a bag, then heated it up. I set out red and green salsa, sour cream, and jalapeño slices, and I think that’s it. Bloop.
I also have this little jar of corn queso that I keep taking in and out of the fridge. I’m afraid to open it and heat it up, because what if nobody wants it, and it goes to waste? So I put it out on the table unopened, and if someone wants it, they can open it. Of course they don’t, because it’s not open, and they’re afraid I’ll yell at them for opening it. Then, after everyone’s eaten, I put it back in the fridge. I wish there were some way of getting paid for being this stupid. At this point, it’s an actual achievement.
Sandwiches, carrot cake
Tubesday was my birthday! I only had a little work to do and barely lifted a finger, while Damien did all the driving and meal prep. He made (and, this is important: shopped for) the delicious sandwiches I requested.
He splits some baguettes and gives them a good olive oiling, then lays on — I don’t even know what, prosciutto, capicola, salami, provolone, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, and misc. They are delicious.
He also bought an assortment of frozen appetizers, and some excellent carrot cakes.
Well, first, for reasons unclear to me, the girls brought in an invisible cake
then Damien brought in the carrot cake
and I managed to blow out the candles with only eleven tries
Now I am 46. I had a lovely day and am happy to be alive with this family for another year!
Pepperoncini beef sandwiches, fries, pomegranates
A very tasty meal with minimal effort. You chunk some roasts into the slow cooker with a jar of pepperoncini and juice and shake in a good amount of Worcestershire sauce. I’m very excited about Worcestershire sauce these days. Cook, shred the meat,
pick out a few peppers, and serve on crusty rolls with provolone and mayonnaise.
A fine sammich.
Hamburgers and chips
It was supposed to be a meal of summery picnic food (honey mustard chicken drumsticks, biscuits, coleslaw), but we all spent the day digging out of two feet of snow, so I switched to something heartier. I did make a big pot of hot chocolate, and we also fed the birds (recipes in the post). We got our first junco yesterday! We’ve had lots of chickadees and tufted titmice, plus regular visits from wrens, nuthatches, cardinals, and the occasional bluejay. We like to watch birds, and we also like to watch the dog watching the cat watching birds. At least it’s an ethos.
If that stimulus money ever comes through, we may actually buy a snowblower this year. There was so much snow, I was reduced to actually helping with the shoveling, and I’m too old, dammit. I have a horrible feeling a snowblower is going to be one of those things you spend more time fixing than using, but it can’t be worse than shoveling your driveway by the light of the headlights.
Today, the potato latkes with sour cream and applesauce, and noodle kugel with rum raisins and apple! I’m waiting for the boy to come back from the store with eggs. Yes indeed, another child with a license.
Word on the street is you can rinse your shredded potato in cold water and that will prevent them from turning grey. I always thought they had to be actually covered in cold water to prevent discoloration, which makes them harder to squeeze out properly. I will report my findings. I don’t actually care if the potatoes turn grey — it doesn’t affect the taste, and they turn golden brown when they cook — but it would be nice not to frighten the children.
And that’s it! It’s the kids’ last day of school. We’re all going to confession, and then I’m taking the little girls Christmas shopping. This feels like the wrong order of events. I may sedate myself first.
Serve with sour cream and/or apple sauce for Hanukkah or ANY TIME. Makes about 25+ latkes
- 4 lbs potatoes, peeled
- 6 eggs beaten
- 6 Tbsp flour (substitute matzoh meal for Passover)
- salt and pepper
- oil for frying
Grate the potatoes. Let them sit in a colander for a while, if you can, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Mix together the eggs, salt and pepper, and flour. Stir into the potato mixture and mix well.
Turn the oven on to 350 and put a paper-lined pan in the oven to receive the latkes and keep them warm while you're frying.
Put 1/4 to 1/2 and inch of oil in your frying pan and heat it up until a drop of batter will bubble.
Take a handful of the potato mixture, flatten it slightly, and lay it in the pan, leaving room between latkes. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, making several batches to leave room in between latkes. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Eat right away or keep warm in oven, but not too long.
Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce or apple slices.
Noodle kugel with apple and rum raisins
A cozy baked noodle custard. Some people make savory kugels, but this one is decidedly sweet.
- 2 cups raisins, regular or blonde
- 1 cup spiced rum
- 1 lb egg noodles
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 lbs cottage cheese
- 4 cups sour cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 12 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4 apples peeled, cored, and cut into bits
Put the raisins and rum in a dish and let them soak for at least half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375.
While the raisins are soaking, boil and strain the noodles.
Strain the raisins. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and stir in the raisins, then stir in the drained noodles.
Pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes or more, until the custard is set and the top is golden brown.
Meatloaf (actually two giant meatloaves)
- 5 lbs ground beef
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 8 eggs
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cup milk OR red wine
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
plenty of salt, pepper, garlic powder or fresh garlic, onion powder, fresh parsley, etc.
- ketchup for the top
- 2 onions diced and fried (optional)
Preheat oven to 450
Mix all meat, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together with your hands until well blended.
Form meat into two oblong loaves on pan with drainage
Squirt ketchup all over the outside of the loaves and spread to cover with spatula. Don't pretend you're too good for this. It's delicious.
Bake for an hour or so, until meat is cooked all the way through. Slice and serve.
Beef pepperoncini sandwiches
- 1 hunk beef
- 1 jar pepperoncini
- several glugs Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- sliced provolone
Put the beef in a slow cooker with a jar of pepperoncini and the juice. If you like, cut the stems off the pepperoncini. If there isn't enough juice, add some beer. Add the worcestershire sauce if you want a slightly more savory juice.
Cover, set to low, and let it cook for several hours until the meat falls apart when poked with a fork.
Shred the meat. If you like, chop up a few of the pepperoncini.
Serve meat on rolls with mayo if you like. Lay sliced provolone over the meat and slide it under the broiler to toast the bread and melt the cheese. Serve the juice on the side for dipping.