Festive Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:
12 oz Egg Noodles
8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Ricotta Cheese
4 Eggs
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mace
1/2 tsp Salt
3-4 cups Graham Crackers, crushed
1/2 – 1 cup Raisins (optional)
Water for Boiling
Pinch of Salt for Water

Directions:

  • Bring Water to a Boil and add Salt and Egg Noodles. Cook till al dente. They will cook much quicker than regular pasta, so don’t leave it unattended.
  • Drain the Noodles, and set aside.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Divide the Graham Cracker crumbs and sprinkle on the bottom of a casserole dish (9″ x 13″ approximately).
  • In a large bowl combine the Dairy, Eggs, and Spices (and Raisins if using them). Mix well.
  • Fold in the Noodles.
  • Pour mixture (think scoop) into the Casserole dish, and even it out with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle with remaining Graham Cracker Crumbs.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

NOTES: This Central European Jewish dish is traditionally served at Hanukkah, though it can be served throughout the year as a festive pudding/custard. I first learned this dish when I found evidence that a section of my family was Ashkenazim and had converted to Catholicism in the 1800s.

Prosciutto Asparagus

Ingredients:
6-8 oz Prosciutto, pre-sliced, cold
1 bunch Asparagus, woody ends removed
3-6 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
Water for blanching
Salt for water
Big Bowl of Ice Water for cooling

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of Salted Water to a boil.
  • Drop in the Asparagus and let it cook until bright Green–watch it, do not leave. As soon as you see them turning bright green, use tongs and remove to the Ice Water to stop the cooking.
  • Dry off the Asparagus on paper towels.
  • Lay Wax paper on the counter or table, and place slices of Prosciutto flat on the wax paper. You should plan 1 piece per Asparagus spear, unless the Asparagus is extremely big or long.
  • Carefully spread a small schmear of Cream Cheese on the Prosciutto. You do not want too much, or it will be clumpy. Try to make the schmear even. You may not use all of the Cream Cheese
  • Wrap each Prosciutto slice around an Asparagus spear, schmeared side against the stock, spiraling up the stock so the entire stock is covered. It is ok if the Prosciutto overlaps itself a little.
  • The Prosciutto should stick to itself at the end of the wrapping, but if not, add a little Cream Cheese and press.
  • Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Serves 8-10

NOTES: You do not want too much Cream Cheese, and you want to avoid it oozing. This is a very simple easy-to-do Hors D’œuvre that is a crowd pleaser. To help cut down the fat, you can use fat-free Cream Cheese or American Neufchâtel–French Neufchâtel is not as spreadable, and harder to acquire.

Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients:
8 oz Danish Blue Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 tsp Chives, minced
1/4 tsp Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp dry Mustard
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a Food Processor, and Pulse until well blended.

NOTES: I prefer Danish Blue for this dressing, however you could use Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola or some other Blue Cheese of your choice.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
8 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature
2 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Directions:

  • In a large bowl combine the Cream Cheese, Butter, and Vanilla Extract.
  • Slowly incorporate the Confectioner’s Sugar.

Zombie Dip

Ingredients:Nut Alergy WarningVegetarian
Guacamole
5 Parsnips, skinned
5 sliced Almonds
1 Tbsp Cream Cheese

Blue Tortilla Chips

Directions:

  • The Parsnips are going to be fingers. You should make sure that they are skinned. One should be fatter than the others to be the thumb
  • Pick the “nail” side of the Parsnips. Use a parring knife to slice flat pieces off where the nails will be attached.
  • Using a spoon, dab a little bit of Cream Cheese where the nails will go to act as glue.
  • Place the sliced Almond against the Cream Cheese to act as the nail.
  • Place the Guacamole into a serving bowl.
  • In the middle, place the Fingers bottom side down into the bowl forming a hand coming out of the Guacamole.

NOTES: You can use whatever Dip you prefer, however make sure it is thick and can hold up the Carrots. You can accompany your dip with whatever is suitable for the dip. With Guacamole, I suggest blue tortilla chips.

I wish I could say this was an original idea, but really I’ve seen several versions of this, and decided to make my own.

If you cannot find Parsnips, you can use Carrots. I chose Parsnips because of their pale look.

Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients:
6-8 oz Smoked Salmon, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
20 slices Bread
1/2 cup Capers
2 Tbsp Dill

Directions:

  • In even stacks, using a serrated knife, carefully remove the crusts from the bread. Think saw not chop.
  • Spread a layer of Cream Cheese on one side of all the bread. Try not to crush the bread.
  • Spread some Red Onion on the Cream Cheese. Use as little or as much as you prefer.
  • Sprinkle the Capers on next, and using a spoon, lightly top into the Cream Cheese.
  • Place thinly sliced pieces of Salmon on the Cream Cheese.
  • Sprinkle with the Dill.
  • Place two slices together and form Sandwiches.
  • Using the serrated knife, cut each sandwich diagonally.
  • Cut the Triangular sandwiches diagonally.
Makes 40 mini sandwiches or 20 half-size sandwiches.

NOTES: It is traditional to use white bread. Be careful to use the serrated knife like a saw, letting the serrations cut the bread rather than using pressure.

Cucumber and Watercress Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients:Vegetarian
1 English Cucumber, thinly sliced (skinned or stripped is fine)
3 cups fresh Watercress, cleaned
1 cup fresh Chives
1 1/2 cups Cream Cheese
24 slices of white Bread

Directions:

  • In a medium size bowl, incorporate the Chives into the Cream Cheese.
  • Spread a thin layer of Cream Cheese on one side of each piece of Bread.
  • On 12 slices of bread, add Cucumber slices to the cheese-covered side.
  • On the remaining 12 slices add the Watercress, evenly divided to the cheese-covered side.
  • Combine one Watercress slice to one Cucumber slice. It is easiest to make the Cucumber the bottom slice.
  • With a serrated knife, carefully remove the crusts from the sandwiches, and slice diagonally.

NOTES: The cucumbers may sweat liquid, and if prepared too far in advance, become wilted and/or make the bread soggy.

Variations:
Curry Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients:VegetarianNut Alergy Warning
1 1/2 cups Cream Cheese
2 cups Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
2 cups Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 9″ Graham Cracker Crust or a variation with the cookies of Nutter Butters.

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine Cream Cheese and Crunchy Peanut Butter. Incorporate completely.
  • Scoop this into the Crust, and set in the fridge.
  • In a clean mixing bowl, whip the Cream with the Sugar until Peaks form.
  • Fold creamy Peanut Butter into the cream until well mixed. I suggest doing it in small amounts.
  • Spread as a topping on top of the Crunchy layer.
  • Garnish with crushed peanuts, pieces of mini Reese’s candies, etc.

NOTES: This pie makes me think of my Grandma Hohne, as it was always her favorite pie.  She would make this pie, and my Grandpa Hohne would make a Strawberry Cream one, and I’d get to eat a little of both!

If you prefer, you can use Redi-Wip or, if desperate, a whipped non-dairy topping…like Cool Whip.