Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cooking while fasting - genius idea or huge mistake?

This past Yom Kippur, I had a few friends over to break the fast.  For those of you who don't know, Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday that is 10 days after the Jewish New Year.  It's the "Day of Atonement," when you're supposed to repent for all of your sins of the past year, and then you start the new year with a fresh slate.  You're supposed to fast to help clear your mind and focus.  And then you get together with your friends and stuff your face :)
I probably technically could have made some of the food in advance, but I wanted everything to be fresh.  Which means that I made most of the food while fasting.  For someone who tastes as she cooks, this was extremely difficult!  Not only did it make me really hungry, but I couldn't check to make sure everything tasted okay.
For some reason, the food at break the fast parties resembles breakfast or brunch food.  There is usually an assortment of bagels, with cream cheese, lox and other toppings.  So I made homemade bagels, and had my friend bring cream cheese and lox.
Kugel is an essential Jewish food.  It's kind of like a bread pudding, but with egg noodles.  The custard is a combination of eggs, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese and cream cheese.  I added in apples and raisins.
Even though kugel is almost a dessert, I needed a real dessert.  I had some leftover buttermilk from a pie (post coming soon), so I used it to make buttermilk chocolate cupcakes.  They were so good!  Not too unhealthy, but really decadent-tasting.  I paired them with a coconut cream cheese frosting - not too sweet, and completely delicious.
So what do you think?  Is it horribly cruel to cook when you can't eat, or is it a great idea to have a ton of food ready for when you can eat?

Kugel with Apples and Raisins:
4 oz cream cheese, 1/3 less fat (at room temperature)
6 oz unsalted butter, melted
8 oz cottage cheese, reduced fat
1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs

1 pint sour cream, reduced fat
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb medium egg noodles
2 apples, thinly sliced
1/2 cup raisins
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine the cream cheese, butter, cottage cheese and sugar and beat until smooth.  Add the eggs and beat in, one at a time.  Mix in the sour cream and vanilla and set aside.
Parboil the apples ~2 minutes, until tender.  Drain and set aside.
Cook the egg noodles in boiling water ~6 minutes, until al dente.  Drain, and mix with the creamed mixture.  Add the apples and raisins, toss until mixed well.

Pour into a 9x13 pan, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.  Bake 45 minutes-1 hour, or until the custard is set.  If starting to brown too much, cover with foil.

Let sit ~30 minutes before serving.  Enjoy warm or at room temperature (with a freshly baked bagel).

Recipe: Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes (from Picky Eatings)
3/4 cup dutch processes cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a standard cupcake tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add eggs, water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners.  You may have a little extra batter.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is springy, about 20 minutes.  Put on a cooling rack, and then frost once at room temperature.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, divided

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  With the mixer on low, add in the powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth.  Fold in the extracts and some of the coconut.

Smooth on top of the cooled cupcakes, and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

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