This past weekend, my kickball team got together for matzah ball soup. The woman who hosted everything was nice enough to make a vegetarian soup, too. So of course, I had to bring a kugel.
Kugel is basically Jewish casserole. If you're British, you might call it pudding. Potato kugel, sweet or savory noodle kugel, and broccoli kugel are all traditional. This is cauliflower leek kugel. And it is not at all traditional. There are herbs! And leeks! And nuts!
The first time I made this someone told me he didn't finish his first helping because it was so good, he thought it wasn't kosher. This past weekend, a woman told me it was better than her grandmother's kugel. I don't want to get anyone in trouble with their Bubbeh, but this stuff is good.
This is all to prepare you for the matzah ball soup. See, Eastern European Jewish cooking hasn't changed much. Did you see how excited I got about the fresh herbs? So when I saw that my friend had added vegetables to the soup, I was amazed and delighted. Green beans and new potatoes in the matzah ball soup. It was enlightening. Traditionally, matzah ball soup is just matzah balls and broth. Maybe a sliced carrot. (But never in my mother's soup.) So the idea of adding fresh, spring vegetables really blew me away. Enough that I went home and made my own matzah ball soup. I made this recipe, boiling the vegetables in the broth while the matzah balls cooled in the fridge. The cooked vegetables hung out in a bowl while the matzah balls cooked. If you've read much of my blog, you'll know to trust me when I say the matzah balls absolutely have to wait in the fridge an hour before you cook them. I'm all about the short cut, but you don't want to end up with matzah balls that disintegrate.