Thursday, October 02, 2008

Comfort

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)
3 eggs
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.

18 comments:

Sally said...

October will definitely be better. No doubt.

You look gorgeous in that sweater. It's fabulous!

Good bye to lice, dead batteries, and nervous children; hello to contentment, crunchy leaves on the ground, and clean hair. ;o)

SockMamaLiz said...

Oh honey. I'm right there with you. September was ROUGH! It spilled in to yesterday, too. But I hereby declare the rest of the month to be blissful, stress free, full of yummy food and good knitting.

Margene said...

Smith would love the kugel! Maybe I'll break down and make him some this weekend. Your FBS is fabulous. It's one of the most comfortable and wearable sweaters I've ever made, too.

Christie said...

That sounds so good. Overdose comfort food.

And the sweater looks great! Great choice of color and looks so easy to wear.

October is definitely looking up!

Elspeth said...

L'shana tova! You look gorgeous.

Bridget said...

Oh that recipe sounds yummy!

September did suck for me also, and I was glad to tell it goodbye.

I have been wanting to make that sweater for a long time, and am hoping once my holiday knitting is finished, I can do it. I'll probably have to buy yarn for it though, since I don't have large amount of any one thing sitting in my stash, so it may have to wait until the old bank account has time to catch up ...

It looks fabulous on you!

nova said...

LS is "slow to warm" so changes in routine tend to freak him out. I wonder if I am going to find September to be problematic in the future? I am sure your October will be better than your September, Liz! And yes, the sweater is truly awesome.

SJ said...

That kugel recipe sounds delish, and the sweater is a perfect fit!

Ann said...

I would like to testify that YES that kugel rocks the house! Liz made it for me after Rosie was born and it was the perfect comfort food. I'm so glad to have the recipe -- thanks Liz and Aunt Cookie!

Your FBS looks incredible! I love the color and the fit is perfect -- I want one too!

Kristy said...

October will be better; I can feel it in the air.

Your sweater looks great on you! Beautiful job.

(Also, the e-mail you leave with your comments on my blog is bouncing. Did you change addresses recently?)

anmiryam said...

It's amazing what a drop in temperature can do for my psyche. We're still dealing with September's overflow around her, but I think things are looking up!

punkin said...

Happy New Year!

anne marie said...

smooches! and {{{{{hugs}}}}}!

Mama-E said...

I so feel you on that.
Thanks for the Kugel recipe... my husband will love it. Maybe I can make it like his Bubby... probably not.

SpiderWomanKnits said...

LOVE the sweater! It's truly amazing. How do you like the yarn?

I had a very challenging September as well but for different reasons. School was a little rocky for my guy though since it's his first all-day experience. I think the world is in some serious transition now. So many people I know are feeling a bit funky. But here's to a new month and new beginnings!! You're kicking it off in style with that sweater!

tiennie said...

Your sweater looks wonderful on you!

September is always so crazy for us. I'm glad it's pass and I can enjoy October. :)

Robin said...

The sweater looks great on you!! Yes, a grand good-bye to September!

diana said...

Fabulous sweater! And boy do I hear you on September and School and Painful Adjustments and wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-the-boy-could-stay-home-with-me-every-day.....

Here's to a great October!!