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The 8 Nights of Kugel

Sweet Potato photo dec 2014

Tis the season for lively dinners with friends and family and indulging in our favorite comfort foods…tis the season for Kugel! With Hanukkah upon us, please find 8 ways to serve our yummy kugel for the holiday and the whole holiday season!

  1. Pair Uncle Irv’s Caramelized Onion and Garlic Kugel as a side with brisket or your favorite holiday roast.
  2. Bring Aunt Nonie’s Vanilla-Cinnamon to the dessert table…delicious served with coffee and cocoa.
  3. Be the hit of the holiday party and bring Aunt Dotty’s Lemon Coconut Kugel to the dessert table as well…sweet, creamy and light, it’s the perfect ending to any meal.
  4. Uncle George’s Sweet Potato Kugel is a hearty option for your Gluten-Free and vegetarian guests.
  5. Crisp in the oven and cut Uncle Irv’s Caramelized Onion and Garlic Kugel into squares to serve with toothpicks for a yummy appetizer…ideal with red wine.
  6. Greet your overnight guests with the smell of Aunt Nonie’s Vanilla-Cinnamon Kugel in the morning…a tasty alternative to french toast.
  7. Replace your traditional sweet potato recipe with Uncle George’s Sweet Potato with a crunchy walnut topping.
  8. Any flavor kugel makes a wonderful host or holiday gift!

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Confessions of a First Time Fashion Blogger

I work with a social media team who handles digital promotions for Locker Family Recipes (LFR). Their services include creating yummy Kugel photos to post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They also shot and edited the audition video for Shark Tank landing LFR as a finalist! LFR’s Kugel gets loads of camera time; however during our last shoot my team suggested we turn the lens away from the noodles and onto …. me!

My first reaction to being in front of the camera was, “Sure, let me grab my apron!” I’m used to being photographed when preparing Kugel in the kitchen and at events, but when the photographer shook his head and said, “No, let’s get you out of the kitchen”, I questioned it. “I’m no fashion blogger,” I replied. But then I sighed, “Why not?” After all, in today’s fast-paced digital age with constantly changing imagery and a culture obsessed with the #selfie, why not embrace the technology and beautifully shot photos of yourself! I reluctantly signed up to be a fashion blogger for a day!

When this was presented to me I was cooking up samples. It was a hot summer day in LA and I was wearing a t-shirt and shorts….certainly not feeling very camera-ready! I was told to change into something representing me as the head of LFR. So, for my street style shoot, I chose Diane Von Furstenberg’s Morocco Sweater and Amelia Skirt and a great pair of wedges. I just bought the outfit during the July 4th holiday sale. It was on-sale plus 40% off, plus $50 off for my birthday. SCORE! How could I resist? Special shout out to Tiffany Ramos at DVF South Coast Plaza! (@DVFSouthCoast)

It was nice to get out of my usual-casual work wear and put on something pretty on a Tuesday. Standing on my sunny Brentwood street, all dressed up, I felt beautiful! Honestly, I can say that. For a woman like me with body image issues, these are difficult words to muster up, especially publically. The memories of being a chubby kid, being called names in school, feeling very uncomfortable in that dance recital costume… don’t easily disappear from your system just because decades later you’re exercising, eating healthy, and enjoying every moment of living! For gals like me, we have to be nudged  out of our comfort zone to realize our beauty. I still can’t believe my eyes when I look at that photo. Is that really me? In fact… it is!

I encourage all women (and men) to do a street style shoot in their favorite outfit. Even if you have your best friend snap the photo with your iPhone, I promise you will feel instantly more confident and sexy.

Let’s see how many dates the photo gets me!

~Michele

Confessions of a Fashion Blogger

Confessions of a Fashion Blogger

Facebook.com/2SenseLosAngeles

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Flavor Story: A Peek Into Creating Kugel Flavors!

Our 4 Kugel Flavors. Yumminess!

Our 4 Kugel Flavors. Yumminess!

One of the most exciting things about Locker Family Recipes’ Kugel, is how carefully we’ve crafted each one to ensure that they meet our standard of yumminess. We want each box on the shelf to have the exact same flavor profile as each one baked in our home. After many tasty hours trying out variations of each flavor, we are elated about the current line, and look forward to sharing new flavors with you, here on this blog, as they become available.

The first flavor is our favorite as it is a unique combination of sweet with a touch of salt – just like Kettle-corn. It is the holy grail of Kugel!

Flavor Story: Aunt Nonie’s Vanilla and Cinnamon Noodle Kugel

You’d think replicating Aunt Nonie’s traditional Kugel would be easy… well it wasn’t. The biggest challenge was our beloved topping. The Kugel is delicious without the topping, but the warm noodily-yumminess is taken to an even more delicious level when served with a light, crispy, crunchy topping. Originally we used Kellogg’s Corn Flakes straight from the box. This wasn’t going to work when making 1000 units! At the time of our original formulation, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes’ ingredient list used BHT and high fructose corn syrup. Those two ingredients did not meet our quality standards and prevented our product from being approved to be sold into a store like Whole Foods Market. It would also be too expensive to use for commercial production.

To try and find a suitable topping, we bought every box of natural cornflakes at Whole Foods to try as a Kugel topping. Natural is good, but not when it comes creating a crispy Kugel topping! The natural corn flakes turned out to be either too thick, too soggy, or too hard. It was going to be difficult to beat Kellogg’s for its corn flakes’ light and crispy texture!

Thank goodness a friend introduced us to Upper Crust, a supplier of Japanese panko breadcrumbs. We took their all-natural panko, mixed it with some cinnamon and spices to come up with the perfect topping in terms of taste and crispiness. What a relief it was when we tasted our first batch of samples with the new topping. That’s when we knew we could move our business forward! 

Flavor Story: Uncle Irv’s Caramelized Onion Noodle Kugel

We were ready to create our next flavor. We’d leverage the base custard used in Aunt Nonie’s Kugel, pull out the sugar and sweet spices and add new ones. Easy right???

As lovers of caramelized onions and mushrooms, we were excited to combine the two as our second flavor, but it just wasn’t quite translating. We feared both the cost of mushrooms, and that they often shrink down to nothing during the cooking process! After thoughtful research and talking with other food-lovers, our fears were confirmed. Mushrooms weren’t going to work. We went back to the drawing board and considered other ways to share our love for caramelized onions.

We enlisted a friend, Jan Hargrove of Just Jan’s Jam whose marmalades we loved, to help us figure out a way to make our onions special. “Wait!” we thought, “Why not make caramelized onion marmalade?” Jan loved the idea as well, and created a special formula to add to our custard.

In our first trial, we used red onions, because we thought the red onions were cool! However, the Kugel looked grey in color when we used red onions. Yuck!  We quickly learned white onions were the better choice.

When we had the perfect combination of ingredients, we worked with the food scientists at Upper Crust to select the most complimentary spices. We found their all-natural Panko mixed with Italian spices was the perfect addition. Viola! Uncle Irv’s Caramelized Onion Kugel had been perfected.

Every detail really matters. In fact, our efforts earned Irv’s Caramelized Onion Kugel a 2014 Sofi Finalist Award from the Specialty Food Association!

Flavor Story: Aunt Dotty’s Lemon Coconut Kugel 

Lemon bars have always been a favorite dessert of ours. Who doesn’t love that tangy, sweet taste after a meal, or even for an afternoon snack? In considering new flavors, we were certain we could swap some of the flavors of the Vanilla Cinnamon Kugel to make a Lemon Kugel. So we did!

We experimented in our home kitchen by reviewing recipes for both lemon cheesecake and lemon bars. At first, we tried lemon extract, but we weren’t satisfied with the flavor. It tasted unnatural and a little too tart. We tried lemon peel, but after scraping 5 lemons or so, the peel added nothing. Then we realized we had to use straight up lemon juice to have the flavor come through the dense custard! It was a funny trial and error process. We’d pour some lemon juice into the custard and taste it. Not enough lemon. So we’d pour more lemon juice into the custard. Not enough lemon. So we’d pour…. And pour… and pour… It’s really quite comical how much lemon juice we added until it tasted fabulous. In fact, even to this day in the factory, we still get nervous that we haven’t added enough lemon juice!

Now for the final touch (and the best part!): The topping. While writing the recipe, we turned to our friends at Upper Crust and after many delicious taste tests; we loved the idea of using their all-natural coconut Panko. It’s really the perfect combination! Hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Flavor Story: Uncle George’s Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Kugel

Our objective with Uncle George’s Sweet Potato Kugel was to provide our friends who love our kugels with a gluten-free option that is as tasty as our other Kugels even without the noodles. We tried some of the gluten free noodle options and we didn’t like the taste. Besides, we’re trying to stay away from foods with a million ingredients! All of those gluten free noodle products have an ingredients list that’s a mile long. Not what we’re going for!

We knew very quickly that sweet potatoes were the answer; probably because we can never resist ordering sweet potato fries and because sweet potatoes are known for their health benefits.

While defining the formula, we used the potatoes as a base rather than noodles as in our other Kugels. We replicated the caramelized onion Kugel’s custard and secret onion marmalade… And it worked perfectly!

To finalize the Sweet Potato Kugel, we needed a topping that would be crunchy, but we couldn’t use the wheat-based Panko crumb topping because it isn’t gluten-free. We debated between walnuts and pecans, and ultimately went with walnuts, which really made the taste explode in your mouth with each bite. With fingers crossed, we sent the sweet potato samples to the lab for gluten-free testing and the results were 9 PPM! Uncle George’s Kugel is now certified gluten free! We have to maintain compliance and test every batch.

Hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Press from Kosher Eye

Sofi Awards 2014

We’re delighted to be featured in this month’s blog by KosherEye: http://www.koshereye.com/vip-chefs-foodies/in-the-spotlight/3222-the-2014-sofi-awards0kosher-finalists.html#.U6ITFctOXIV

Additional Press Release Information for the Sofi Awards -

UNCLE IRV’S CARAMELIZED ONION KUGEL IS A SOFI-AWARD FINALIST!

 

LOS ANGELES, Calif., – June 18, 2014 – Michele Locker, CEO of The Kugel Company, LLC, announces Uncle Irv’s caramelized onion kugel has been nominated for the coveted Sofi award. The Sofi Awards are the “Oscars” of the $88 billion specialty food industry. “Sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation and represents the best of the best from members of the Specialty Food Association. Uncle Irv’s caramelized onion kugel is one of 109 Finalists selected by a national panel of specialty food professionals from 2,025 entries across 30 Awards categories from Outstanding Appetizer to Outstanding Vinegar. Winners will be announced by noted chef Dominique Ansel at a red-carpet ceremony June 30, 2014, at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

Food blogger, www.koshereye.com said, “Uncle Irv’s savory, ready to heat kugel, is scrumptious. It goes well with salmon or fish, or as an entrée on its own. One of our favorite meals was when we paired it with steamed broccoli and enjoyed it for lunch.”

Each of the four Kugel flavor features a heartwarming story of one of Locker’s relatives on the box–evoking memories of times when families slowed down to eat together, tell stories, and overall yumminess!

Retail buyers looking to revitalize their Frozen Kosher sets love the packaging and the new options for their customers! All Locker Family Recipes Kugels are available in both retail and food service formats.

Visit www.lockerfamilyrecipes.com for more information.

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Locker Family Recipes in the LA Kitchen

 Locker Family Recipes was thrilled to participate in the breaking ground of LA Kitchen on May 1st. During an unseasonably warm spring evening, 300 guests were welcomed into the warehouse in Los Angeles’ Lincoln Heights neighborhood to experience the space and sample cuisine from local food entrepreneurs. LFR was on hand to support LA Kitchen and spread the kugel love with samples of our delicious Aunt Nonie’s Vanilla Cinnamon Kugel. Each bite of noodily goodness produced a smile and many guests stopped by for seconds…nothing makes us happier!

Of course, we weren’t the only ones tempting guests with gourmet treats! Pasadena’s Dog Haus Dogs served up a tasty all beef hot dog topped with tangy cheese sauce, jalapenos and friend onion strings…umm, yum! Freshology’s cold spring pea soup shots were a lovely emerald green and the perfect antidote to the muggy temperatures. And, our taste buds were happily tricked by Nary Dairy’s raw, probiotic, fermented, vegan cashew cheese…it tastes just like goat cheese and is completely addicting spread on crackers or veggies!

We truly enjoyed taste testing our talented fellow vendors and continue to be inspired by LA Kitchen and their mission:

  • Eliminate waste by accessing local produce otherwise tossed for cosmetic reasons
  • Provide job training for marginalized men and women coming out of prison or teens in foster care so they can secure employment in the food industry
  • Create meals for the elderly, after-school programs, addiction treatment centers, and the homeless

LA Kitchen kugel samples

la kitchen lights

 

 

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Hello!

Hello and welcome to the first blog post from Locker Family Recipes. The company was created with love for delicious food that holds the tradition of family. Our Noodle Kugel is derived from the Locker family’s recipe. We make each kugel with the same love felt eating it around Aunt Nonie’s kitchen table. And the eating at Nonie’s did not end with kugel, us Lockers grew up enjoying… Mandel bread, jellyroll cake, Adam’s chocolate chip pound cake, cheesecake, and potato latkes… you could smell the latke frying oil all the way down the street!

We want to make you hungry…informed and invigorated after consuming our blog posts…Michele Locker, founder of Locker Family Recipes and lover of all things yummy holds a passion for cooking, creating, entrepreneurism and charity. As a reader of this blog, you shall come to expect highlights of other specialty food companies who embrace our same passion.

Additionally, we shall pen opinions on recent book reads, healthy recipes discovered at-home-remedies to try…Oh, and we mustn’t forget Michele’s #KugelCats! The Lockers were avid pet owners, mostly dogs. However, Evvie, Michele’s first Tabby and first experience caring for a sick cat, lit a flame inside her that resulted in a life’s work helping cats to find good homes.

We look forward to sharing our next post, inspiration for your Noodle, and even more yumminess with you…stay tuned!

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