Sunday, September 27, 2009

If It Comes From Arthur, It Has to Be Good

Here is Arthur Schwartz' recipe for noodle kugel. Who's Arthur Schwartz? The Food Maven, of course, who for years had a wonderful food talk show on WOR Radio in New York. If that weren't enough to make me a fan, he also loves Italy and Italian food and has written a number of Italian cookbooks, which I use religiously. I was thrilled to meet him earlier this year at a conference on exploring our Italian-Jewish roots in Grammercy Park. I had a chance to chat with him and hear him correct speaker on the precise number of seeds in a pomegranate, more proof of his vast knowledge about food.

So, for my Jewish friends and family, have an easy fast and a sweet new year! Here's Arthur's recipe for the Yom Kippur holiday feast. And for those of you who need a visual, here's a photo of noodle kugel from the iconic Katz' Deli in New York.

My Grandmother's Yom Kippur Noodle Pudding

Elise Sonkin, my maternal grandmother, was, as I have said many times on the radio, a very glamorous woman. Despite the appearance she gave of a pampered lady of leisure who never prepared a meal or washed a dish, her cooking was the despair and envy of the neighborhood. Everyone in our circles knew she was the best around. Elise loved doing it and she loved the reputation, knowing full well it was at odds with her appearance and demeanor.

This is the noodle pudding she made to break the fast on Yom Kippur. It is extremely rich, a buttery custard shot through with noodles. It is certainly not the best thing to eat after an entire day of not eating. But we did and still do. We precede this with platters of smoked fish, bagels and other breads, cheeses, egg salad, tuna salad, and whitefish salad, a platter of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers – basically what used to be considered the quintessential New York Jewish Sunday breakfast, the festive family breakfast that my family did indeed indulge in when we all lived together in one house in Brooklyn.

My Grandmother's Noodle Pudding
Makes about 12 luncheon servings

1 pound very wide egg noodles
8 eggs
3 cups sour cream
1 1/2 pounds pot cheese (preferably fresh bulk)
1 1/2 cups melted butter (3 sticks)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, in a very large mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly. Stir in sour cream, cheese and most of the butter, reserving some butter to grease the baking pan.

Add the cooked and drained noodles, mix, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour mixture in a 10- by 16- by 2-inch baking pan.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until top is lightly browned. Let cool about 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve hot or warm.

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