I'm going to be honest and tell you that my September pretty much sucked. I am not one of those super-controlling Moms (really, I'm not), but I find it difficult to release my children to the big bad world of elementary school. I prefer them in my supportive and accepting bubble of Mom-Love. And since my firstborn takes a long time to warm up to new situations, there's always a long period of Getting Used To It that requires a lot more Mom-Love and Mom-Listening and Mom-Deep-Breathing than the usual amount. Throw in a case of Back-to-School head lice (yep, it seems the buggers really like us XRK families), car batteries dying at very inopportune moments, serious overscheduling, colds and allergies, the collapse of the American economy, and a flooded laundry room, and I was so ready to see the end to the month of September.
I was ready for some comfort, and thanks to my husband and his Jewish traditions, this week brought us Rosh Hashanah. I needed to celebrate a New Beginning. I needed to ask for blessings for a sweet new year, and I needed matzo ball soup, challah and a big hunk of Aunt Cookie's kugel. Mr S's Aunt Cookie makes the most astoundingly good kugel. It is sweet and delicious and incredibly fatty and decadently comforting. And it makes total sense, since Aunt Cookie herself is among the most gentle, comforting people I have ever had the privilege to know. I've never shared a recipe here before, but I do believe I owe the world the chance to eat Aunt Cookie's Kugel. It's a basic noodle pudding recipe. I've slightly modified the recipe that appeared in her synagogue cookbook (I xeroxed it in full years ago) to make it slightly less fatty and to reduce the overall size of the dish.
Aunt Cookie's Kugel
This recipe is easily doubled and it is not necessary to be exact about the quantities. It's comfort food.)
4 oz wide egg noodles (I use Manischewitz brand, and I basically use about 3/4 of the bag)
1/4 lb cottage cheese (I use low-fat, but Aunt Cookie never would)
1/4 lb cream cheese (see above)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 stick of butter (or less, but don't skimp here)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
optional: 1/3 cup of either/all: golden raisins, dried figs, dried apricots
Preheat oven to 350. Cook noodles and drain. Add any dried fruits to the warm noodles. In a separate bowl, cream cheeses together. Add sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla to the cheeses. Add noodles and fruit to the cheese mixture. Generously coat bottom and sides of a baking dish (probably 8x8 or thereabouts) with butter. Add the noodle/milk mixture, and dot the top with more butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for about 1 hour, until the milk sets and the top begins to brown slightly.
After a meal like that, with candles and prayers and the most comforting of foods, things began to look up. The calendar page turned from September to October. The Phillies are still playing baseball, and the first brisk days of fall are upon us. I finally got to pull out the wool sweaters. The latest, most comfortingly warm and perfect is Pam's February Lady Sweater, knit with Louet Riverstone yarn. Seriously, I love this sweater. I finished it ages ago, and it has been slung over the chair on the bedroom, waiting to be worn. The length is perfect, the fit is great, and the yarn was a great match. I raveled it here if you want details on my mods, which were minimal.
October will be better, I'm sure of it.