Cooking for the Jewish holidays

I have to admit I haven’t been very big on cooking for the Jewish holidays in several years.  But our close friends came over this year with their kids and we had second night of Rosh Hashana, which was so nice.  Of course it’s always a little hectic with young kids in the house, but it felt good to be celebrating by just having a nice, yummy dinner with friends.  And there really is not much I enjoy more than cooking for others.  At first I couldn’t even remember what the traditional dishes were, and my friend and her kids are vegetarian, and she and I both have some dietary limitations.  After a little thought, here is what I came up with for the menu:Brisket (my nana’s recipe)

Gluten Free Spinach Noodle Kugel (recipe below)

Chickpea Stew (recipe below)

Green Salad

Cheese and Crackers

Fresh vegetables and homemade ranch dip


Apples and Honey for dessert

I figured with the cheese, crackers, veggies, dip, and apples, there would definitely be something for the kids to eat.  With 3 year olds you never can tell what they will be willing to eat on any given day.  I knew my son may or may not eat the brisket and kugel, and he ate neither.  He tried the brisket but didn’t like it, and would not try the kugel.  However, we had leftover kugel for dinner tonight, and once we mentioned that it was similar to mac and cheese he did try it, and liked it, for a few bites that is…

Anyhow, I wanted to share the kugel and stew recipes with you.  I gave them a bit of a makeover as I went along, and they came out quite good.

Hope everyone who celebrated had a wonderful time with friends and family, and wishing you all a sweet new year!

Unfortunately I cannot share the picture of the kugel, it just didn’t capture the deliciousness at all.  But really, what dish that contains sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs, and butter could be bad??  Yum.

Gluten Free Spinach Noodle Kugel (vegetarian, gluten free)

Adapted from Saveur Magazine, Sept 10, 2011

Serves 8–10


1 cup sour cream

¾ cup low-fat cottage cheese

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

3 eggs, lightly beaten

10 oz. gluten free noodles (I used Tinkyada brown rice fusilli)

Kosher salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large yellow onion, minced

1 10 oz bag baby spinach


Heat oven to 350°. Whisk sour cream, cottage cheese, 5 tbsp. melted butter, and eggs in a casserole dish; set aside. Bring a 4-qt. pot of salted water to a boil; cook noodles until al dente. Drain; stir into cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

While the noodles cook, heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions; cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Transfer the garlic and onions to a bowl and return the skillet to the stove.  Add the spinach to the skillet and wilt the spinach over medium high heat.  Add a little water if necessary to prevent scorching.  When just wilted, transfer the spinach to a colander to drain.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze as much water as possible out of the spinach and chop well.  Stir the spinach, onions, and garlic into the noodle mixture, and bake, covered for 20 minutes.  Remove the cover and bake until browned and bubbling, approximately 25 more minutes.


This stew was a true knockout, so much flavor, and super simple to make.  I used fresh tomatoes because my friend can only eat low-acid tomatoes, but using a can would be even easier.  If you want to use fresh, blanch them for a minute in boiling water, peel the skin off, core, chop, and toss ’em in!

Chickpea Stew (vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free, grain free)

Adapted from 


1 tbsp coconut oil

2 medium yellow onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tbsp curry powder

½ tsp cinnamon

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, with their juices

2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 medium zucchinis, diced

1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

1 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped

1 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

½ cup golden raisins

1/3 cup dried apricots, quartered

½ lemon, juiced

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


In a large stock pot, heat coconut oil and sauté onions and garlic until translucent.  Add curry powder, cinnamon, and a few splashes of stock and cook until spices are well incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and zucchini and just enough stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer approximately 30 minutes uncovered, until some of the liquid has evaporated.

Place the raisins and apricots in a shallow bowl and cover with warm water. Soak for 20 minutes or until the fruit is rehydrated and plump.  Add to the pot along with the cilantro, parsley, and lemon juice.  Cook another 10 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.