Kugel for Hanukkah is a family tradition for

WHO: Sandy Freedman, 69, former mayor of Tampa and current chairwoman of the National Civic League, wife and mother of three children, grandmother of eight.

WHAT: Kugel (noodle pudding)

ABOUT THE RECIPE: Most Jewish families have kugel recipes that are handed down through generations. Although it can be either sweet or savory, Freeman's family likes it sweet.

Sharing traditional foods has always been important to the Freedman family. "Our family always ate together," she said. Even when she was mayor, she made sure to set aside time to cook for her family and share meals with them.

TIPS: Make a lot and freeze half. "It does freeze well and it'll keep in the freezer for probably 6 or 8 weeks."

ON THE SIDE: Traditionally, kugel is served as a side dish, accompanying a brisket or a roast chicken.

CAN'T COOK WITHOUT: "My husband loves cinnamon. I could make anything with cinnamon."

FROM THE CHEF: "If you can read a recipe, you can cook." She has written a cookbook herself, Specialties of the House: Recipes for People on the Go.

FAVORITE HANUKKAH MEMORY: Having joint Christmas-Hanukkah celebrations with her Davis Islands neighbors as a child.

She helped decorate their Christmas tree; they would come to her house to light the Hanukkah candles.

They listened as Sandy Freedman's family said the blessing:

"Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has created us, to kindle the Hanukkah lights."

"I think Hanukkah is fun for the kids," she said. "When we all get together, it's about the kids."

Emily Young, Times correspondent

If you have a recipe that you would like featured, or would like to nominate other home cooks and their dishes, email jkeeler@tampabay.com with a name and daytime phone number. Include SIGNATURE DISH in the subject line. Or mail to Taste, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

>>EASY

Kugel

8-ounce package of egg noodles

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)

3 tablespoons butter, divided use

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup raisins (golden or brown)

2 eggs, well-beaten

¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

4 tablespoons cottage cheese

¼ teaspoon white pepper (or regular pepper)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- by 9–inch baking dish. Cook egg noodles according to package instructions and drain. Place noodles in a large bowl. Add brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. Mix well until butter melts. Add cinnamon, raisins and nuts and mix well. Let cool until it reaches room temperature, about 10-15 minutes. Mix in eggs, cottage cheese, and pepper. Pour into casserole dish. Cut up last tablespoon of butter and scatter pieces on top. Bake one hour. Check after 30 minutes — if browning too fast, cover loosely with foil and uncover again for the last 10 minutes or until browned and slightly crispy on top.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: Sandy Freedman, Tampa

Kugel for Hanukkah is a family tradition for 12/04/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 3:30am]

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