Monday, July 25, 2011

Gemuse Kugel

If there were a prize for unattractive vegetarian food, this dish could win. This is not a very nice looking thing to bring to the table, particularly if you plan to convince non-vegetarians to partake. No, I suspect most people would politely decline. Detailing the ingredients probably won't help sway anyone as it contains an odd mixture of vegetables, fruit, and whole wheat flour. It has no binder such as egg, and really, it is nearly miraculous that it is not only edible, but good. I certainly didn't have any great hopes for it.

Danny's been a bit under the weather, and I'm avoiding dairy today-just in case his stomach goes all unhappy again. I think, "Unhappy" pretty well sums that up, don't you? We're not vegan, and dairy is a good part of Danny's diet, so I really had to scour the old cookbooks looking for something suitable, yet familiar enough that he would actually eat it. Vegetable kugel sounded promising.

The recipe comes from Jewish vegetarian Cooking by, Rose Friedman. I've been pleasantly surprised over the years with how well the recipes in this book work, and how willing the boys have been to eat them. As my husband likes to point out, "This is the sort of thing you'd get in London in the 70's if you could find vegetarian food that wasn't Indian." I'd say that's pretty accurate. That's not a bad thing, but I mention it in case you have seen enough cauliflower doused in soya cheese, and baked with some sort of wheat germ to last the rest of your life (not that there's a recipe for that in this book, but you get the idea). Personally, I always liked the rubbery cauliflower doused in soya cheese, and baked nearly to death-but that's me.

I have no idea how this will re-heat tomorrow, but I'm fairly certain no one will wish to try it cold. The spices seem odd at first, as does the combination of fruit and vegetables, but we're rather accustomed to using cinnamon and fruit as savouries, though I did reduce the amount of cinnamon called for as a teaspoon seemed like overkill.

Give the Ugly Duckling kugel a try some time when you're feeling adventurous, or in need of something a bit less fatty, but still substantial enough to make you feel like you've actually consumed food (how do people live on salads anyway?).

You Will Need:

2 eating apples, peeled and cored
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 medium potatoes, peeled
2 courgettes (yeah, well I warned you it was 70's cooking)
2-3 tbsp. raw cane sugar (adjust if you don't have it)
1 cup (4 oz.) (115 g) wholemeal flour (I used the finely ground stuff, but coarse would probably be better)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 (2 fl oz) (60 ml) cup sunflower oil (I actually had it, so I used it, but any light vegetable oil will do)
1-2 tbsp. sesame seeds (I omitted these)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 degrees C)

Grate all the fruit and vegetables finely, then mix in the sugar, flour, and spices. Season to taste with salt/pepper and mix well. Stir in oil and mix well again. Pour into a greased baking dish (you can go thicker or thinner depending on your tastes. I wouldn't go smaller than 8x8 or larger than 9x11). Cover with foil and bake 1 hour. remove foil and continue baking another 10-20 minutes or until it is golden brown.

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