Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Matzoh Farfel Kugel and the Measles

Every Passover, I think about the measles.  

When I was a kid, we always celebrated Passover with our cousins.  All of the women in my family were excellent cooks, and they liked to "potchke," which in Yiddish, loosely means to make a big fuss, or spend a lot of time doing something.  My mother was a big admirer of people who potchked; in fact, the highest praise she could give someone was to say "Oh, did she fuss!"  And, my mother?  She could out-potchke everyone.

One Passover, when I was about 9 years old, the seder was to be held at my Aunt's house. My mother offered to bring gefilte fish. Most people would have just marched themselves over to the supermarket to buy a few jars, along with some horseradish,
maybe a few lettuce leaves, and called it a day. But not my mother. She had to
make it from scratch. I remember this being an enormous undertaking...from scaling the fish, taking the bones out, grinding it up, and molding it into loaves.  It took days, and the house smelled awful. 

The afternoon of the seder, I didn't feel well. In between arranging the fish on a silver platter, and decorating it to perfection with sliced carrots, my mother took me to the doctor. It took him only minutes to determine that I had the measles, so the gefilte fish went all by itself to the seder, while we stayed home. I know my mother was upset that after working so hard, she wouldn't get to hear the relatives "kvell" over her beautiful homemade gefilte fish. But later that night, the doorbell rang, and there was the Western Union man...delivering a telegram (if you're too young to know what a telegram is, think of it as an ancient precursor to texting). It said: 

That made my mother's night, and she told that story for years. 

This Passover, I'll be celebrating with some of those same cousins. I will NOT be making gefilte fish! But I will be making Matzoh Farfel Kugel, one of my favorite Passover recipes, given to me by my friend, and former co-worker, Richard. 

Don't let the words "kugel" and "farfel" scare you. Kugel means pudding. Farfel can either mean small pellet-shaped pasta, or in this case, crushed matzoh crackers. A 1-pound box of Streit's farfel, or any other brand will be enough.  This is a sweet side dish that goes really well with savory flavors, like brisket and chicken. And, it's very easy to make 
-- not a "potchke" at all! The most time-consuming thing is peeling and slicing the apples. When I was working, and rushing to make this at the last minute, I would buy mashed bananas in the baby food aisle, and replace the apple with canned mandarin oranges and diced peaches. It was good that way, too, but this is better. 

There are lots of beige ingredients, which are hard to distinguish, so mix it well, because the last thing you want is for all the mashed banana to end up in one spot. I like to make this at least a day before serving, and then stick it in the fridge, because it's much easier to slice when it's cold. You can also freeze it, and it reheats beautifully it in the microwave. Scroll all the way down for the recipe.


6 Cups Matzoh Farfel
1 2/3 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
6 Eggs
9 Tblsp Butter (melted)
1 Can (15 oz.) Crushed Pineapple (drained) 
2 Apples (peeled, cored and thinly sliced)
1 Banana (mashed)
1/2 Banana (sliced)
3/4 Cup Slivered Almonds - optional

Beat eggs in electric mixer. Add sugar and salt; then add melted butter. Beat until combined.  Pour cold water over farfel and let moisten for 20-30 seconds.  Pour off water.  Add egg mixture to wet farfel and mix thoroughly.  Add mashed banana, pineapple, apples and almonds, if using. Mix well. Place in greased, 13 X 9 baking dish. Slip the sliced banana just under the top. Sprinkly lightly with cinnamon. 

Bake at 350 for 40-45 mintues until top is slightly golden brown.


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