Monday, September 12, 2005


Old School Comfort Food - Cauliflower and Dill Kugel

This here is a shout out to all of my peeps. It's a hey-how-do-you-do to the excellent members of the tribe and a big sloppy kiss to the general crowd who are out doing good things each and every day. It just so happens, I am in a fine mood today (despite the prevailing sadness of the Katrina aftermath) and cannot contain my self. You see, the other night (actually a few nights ago at this juncture) I made a meal that just plain startled me out of a culinary funk and into a whole new world of yum. It startled me because it was so tasty, so simple, and, most importantly, just so shockingly old school that I was in awe. Lucky for you, I took pictures. Hee hee.

What was this dish that left me gaping and licking my plate clean (Oh how proud my sweet mother must be. Such nice table manners! Licking a plate. Oy!)? Since you'll never guess, I'll just shout it out. I made scrumptious cauliflower kugel.

Cauliflower what? (Or, more to the point "What kind of kugel? Not noodle? Not even pineapple? Cauliflower? Tell us more, I am enthralled.") Yes kids, cauliflower kugel. A taste sensation, a culinary delight, a fantastic epiphany of flavors all right there in one humble dish. A dish full of happiness (if I do say so myself) that is easy to make and easier to devour.

If you arent familiar with the kugel concept, allow me to explain...kugel is a Yiddish word meaning ball, but really refers to a "crusty baked pudding made of potatoes or noodles" (though matzoh and farfel also come into play quite often) and for the most part, it isn't exactly what one would call sophisticated. Delicious, yes, fancy, no. For those familiar with it, it is humble home style fare that (while for some, could be called comfort food) some people have had every single Saturday for their entire lives (along with a nice brisket and some cholent. More on cholent some other time my dears) without fail, and without much in the way of variation or fan fare. Which is why this was such a revelation. Who knew such a standby could be updated in such a fantastic way! Yum!

Me, I have kugel whenever the fancy strikes, and that dear readers, isnt too often. But somehow, there I was, ingredients in hand and time to spare, whipping up this dish that made my head swim with its simplicity and utter and complete top-ten-dish-of-all-time-ness. Seriously. It was that good. You know what, I can't even tell you how good it was. You just have to try it for yourself to see. Who knew such a simple thing as a head of cauliflower could elicit such excitement! I have adapted this from Bon Apetit magazine. Try it, and enjoy.

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onions, large dice
1 large roasted red bell pepper, large dice
6 tablespoons unsalted matzo meal
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup slivered almonds, slightly crushed

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl then mash coarsely with potato masher.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until tender and just beginning to color, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and roasted peppers to the cauliflower and mix in the matzo meal. Beat eggs, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 tablespoon dill, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend then stir into cauliflower mixture.

Brush 8x8 baking dish with 1 tablespoon oil. Spread cauliflower mixture evenly in prepared dish. Mix almonds, remaining 7 tablespoons parsley, 7 tablespoons dill, and 2 tablespoons oil in medium bowl to blend. Sprinkle evenly over kugel. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake kugel uncovered until set in center and beginning to brown on top, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

Makes 8 servings


In the 17th century, sugar was introduced to kugels, giving home cooks the option of serving it as a side dish or dessert.

In 1950, the Bundt pan was developed for cooking kugel, though it eventually became known as a pan used for a variety of other cakes.

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That's so great that your recipe turned out so delicious and that it left you happy for days! :)
I love kugel, but i usually make one with cottage cheese. Id like to make a savory one sometimes.
I've been following your blog for quite a while and enjoying your wealth of good recipes. When Foodista announced that they are going to publish the best food blogs in a full color book that will be published by Andrews McMeel Publishing Fall 2010, I naturally thought of you. This recipe would be a good submission! You can enter here:

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