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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rhymes with "Tomato Google"

Photo and text by KARA DICAMILLO/ News contributor

For my family, Easter is a holiday in which we celebrate our traditions and heritage. You probably know by my last name that I’m Italian, but what you didn’t know is that my mom’s side of the family is Lithuanian (my mom is just about 100 percent). That means that our Easter dinner includes ethnic foods that I’ve been eating my entire life.

Lithuanian food shares some similarities to eastern Europe, such as Polish and German cuisine, but has its own distinguished flavors as well. Kielbasa (smoked and fresh), rye bread, pickled beets and potato kugel are the centerpieces of our Easter dinner. We include other dishes such as coleslaw, asparagus and lamb, but the Lithuanian tradition continues year after year.

I grew up helping my grandfather grate the potatoes at the kitchen table for the kugel (thank goodness for my food processor). Potato kugel is basically a potato bake, and the best ones are creamy on the inside and brown and crispy on the outside. The leftovers can be made into mini-potato cakes and fried in a sauté pan.
Several years ago I started making my family’s version of potato kugel. 

While there are many variations, I found that ours is the best because of the basic ingredients. If you’ve been following my recipes, you know that I bought the bacon and eggs at the farmers market, and the potatoes from Maplewood Farms in Portsmouth.

Potato Kugel
Serves 6-8
9 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 onion, quartered

4 slices of bacon, grease reserved
1 egg, beaten
1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of salt
2 tablespoons of pepper
Sour cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a food processor, combine the potatoes, onion and bacon grease until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and, with a spoon, mix in the egg, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish and bake for an hour or until the top is brown and crispy. Serve immediately with a dollop of sour cream.