A new take on an old kugel

Spinach and Salty Cheese Kugel

Spinach and Salty Cheese Kugel

WordPress was misbehaving when I wanted to post this last week, so I posted it directly to Facebook, and  now I can finally add it here. So it’s a bit late for Shavuot here, but you really can serve this whenever you want with any dairy meal. It’s a modern twist on the old fashioned kugel. Instead of the traditional sweet elements like sugar and raisins, this version uses spinach and salty cheese for a slightly healthier take. Don’t worry – it’s still full of starch and oil, so the Ashkenazi cuisine markers are still present.

Spinach and Salty Cheese Kugel

Ingredients

500 g (1 lb) fettuccini (or any other flat) noodles
600 g fresh spinach
1/3 cup olive oil
4 large eggs (or 5 medium)
250 g (1/2 lb) feta or Bulgarian cheese (feta is saltier…) cut into small cubes
200 g ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (adjust depending on the saltiness of the cheese you use)

How to do it
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (325°F).
2. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the instructions will just al dente. Strain and add some olive oil and mix so the pasta doesn’t stick together. Set aside to cool.
3. While the pasta is cooking, rinse and chop the spinach finely. In a large unoiled skillet or wok, saute the spinach until soft. Remove from the heat and place in a strainer to get rid of excess liquid.

Mix the spinach with the pasta and eggs

Mix the spinach with the pasta and eggs

4. In a very large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the oil, cheeses, salt pepper and mix. Add the pasta and the spinach and mix so that the spinach is evenly mixed throughout.
5. Grease a large deep baking dish. Place the kugel mixture into the dish and flatten with a spoon. Cover with foil. Bake for between 1.75-2 hours. Remove the foil. If the kugel hasn’t slightly browned, then increase the temperature of the over to about 200°C (400°F) and bake for another 5 minutes. Otherwise remove from the oven, cut into small wedges or squares and serve.

Serves about 12-15 as a side dish.

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Parmesan and Potato Muffins for Shavuot

Potato and Parmesan Muffins

Potato and Parmesan Muffins

Ahead of Shavuot, I tried out a recipe for potato muffins that my husband found in a local newspaper. Every now and again he shoves a recipe cutting at me to try out (he has a good eye…). So with nothing on the menu for dinner last night, I decided to give these a go. As with all new recipes I try out, I am very critical and look to see how to improve on them. But as my family was devouring them rapidly, I realized that this recipe works very well as is and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t find too much to change (I have upped with original cheese quantity…)

I love the combination of fresh herbs that give these muffins a really aromatic flavor. You can add the herbs you like and you can increase the quantities as well. I tried to maintain a balance so the kids wouldn’t turn up their noses. If you want to add a little decadence to this recipe, grate extra cheese and sprinkle it over the muffins as soon as they come out of the oven.

Serve these warm out of the oven for best results.

Here’s a PS…one day later, I had these cold, and as delicious as they are warm, I think they’re even better cold! Serve them as a substitute for rolls at a dairy meal, just don’t eat them all before they make it to your table.

POTATO AND PARMESAN MUFFINS

Ingredients

2 medium sized potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes (1cm)

1 large onion finely diced

3-4 cloves of garlic crushed

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

About 1 tablespoon each of fresh chopped parsley and rosemary (you can increase these quantities to taste)

3 large eggs beaten

200 g (7 oz) sour cream (one container)

100 g (3½ oz) softened butter

150 g (about 1½ cups) grated Parmesan cheese

1¾ cups self raising flour

1 teaspoon salt

How to do it

1.  In a pot of salted water, boil the cubed potatoes until just soft, drain and allow to cool down.

2. Saute the onions in the olive oil until just golden brown. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute. Remove from the heat.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)

4. In a medium size down, combine the potatoes, onions, garlic and the rest of the ingredients.

5. Fill your muffin cups to ¾ full. They will not even out in the oven, so you can smooth them out if you are concerned about appearances.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the muffins start getting golden brown on top.

Optional: Grate extra cheese and sprinkle it over the muffins as soon as they come out of the oven.

Serve warm. Makes about 18-20 muffins.