Updated Recipe: Semmelknödel

I was not 100% satisfied with the last recipe that I used to make semmelknödel as it required too much tweaking. The below recipe is new, and I found that the knödel bound a lot better with this version. I am going to try this recipe again, boiling the knödel for a few minutes and then putting them in the oven to finish cooking. I think this would make them crispier, which is how we like our stuffing.

Better.

Better.

90 grams (3.2 oz) onion
90 grams (3.2 oz) fat
4 eggs
0,3 liter (8.5 oz) milk
dash of salt
parsley (to taste)
oregano (to taste)
500 grams (18 oz) bread cubes
80 grams (2.8 oz) flour

1. Finely chop the onion and fry in fat until translucent. Let cool slightly.

2. Whisk the eggs, milk, and salt. Put the bread cubes, onion, and parsley in a large bowl. Pour the egg mixture over them and stir.

3. Pour flour over top of breadcrumb/egg mixture. Wet hands, then mix the flour into the breadcrumb/egg mixture. Form dumplings.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the dumplings, and boil the dumplings for about 15 minutes.

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The kindness of strangers

My daughter was having a fit on the way to school yesterday. This is nothing new considering she’s two years old, so we continued walking down the path to the bus stop as if nothing was happening. After a minute it registered that someone was repeatedly yelling the command “wart!” (“wait!”) at me. One of the women who lives along the path came running out of her yard and handed my daughter a few plums that she’d just picked from the tree in her yard. My daughter immediately forgot that everything is wrong as she started to giggle and eat the plums.

I thanked the woman profusely and didn’t think anything more of it until we were walking up the same path on the way home from school in the afternoon. I heard the woman exclaim that “it’s that little girl from this morning” and, again, “wart!” This time she had her husband come around and give us a bag full of fresh plums. She also gave my children a couple to eat on the way home. Side note: if you ever hear someone claim that Austrians like dogs more than children (I’ve heard that lie countless times), remember this story.

Fresh from the tree

Fresh from the tree

These little plums were so ripe that I was not convinced they would last until the next day, and I was also not convinced that my children would eat them. I decided that rather than eat them all myself (my first instinct), I’d make them into knödel (see my recipe for apricot knödel here). My husband was appreciative of the surprise dessert after dinner and miraculously, my kids ate their knödel and said they tasted good.

All thanks to the kindness of strangers

All thanks to the kindness of strangers

Staroslovenská krčma

One more story about our day trip to Bratislava, and I have to say that I saved the best for last: what we ate while there! It was difficult to choose where we wanted to have lunch because all the restaurants boasted “traditional Slovak food” with pictures to make your mouth water. We settled on the Staroslovenská krčma  because it had a large suit of armor in front and we like shiny things.

Deciding what to eat was a grueling ordeal because first, the menu was in seven languages. I know it sounds odd, but it was kind of difficult to consistently read the English description because my eyes kept jumping around all the languages. (I don’t think it’s because I am an illiterate freak because my friends said they had the same problem.) Second, there was also the problem of the aforementioned mouth-watering pictures. How do you choose just one meal?

As it turns out, I chose two meals. I thought I ordered a starter and main but no, it was two full meals. This was the first:

Diabolská topinka Želibor

Diabolská topinka Želibor

Devil toast. This is a slice of bread covered with grilled vegetables (or possibly lecso), grilled pork, cheese, spicy peppers (hence “devil”), and some sort of spicy delicious gravy. I wish I knew exactly how to make this dish as it was one of the best things I’ve eaten in awhile (and I eat a lot). Maybe I will return to this in the fall, when I have more time to experiment.

Next up was:

Bryndzové Pirohy s kyslou smotánou, slániná

Bryndzové Pirohy s kyslou smotánou, slániná

Sheep cheese-filled pierogi with sour cream and large chunks of crisp, delicious bacon on the side. The Austrians have a version of pierogi that they call “Kärntner Kasnudeln” that they serve with a butter sauce. It is absolutely delicious and thus pierogi were already on my “to learn” list, but this meal in Bratislava bumped them up higher in priority. These pierogi were filled with paprika-spiced sheep cheese and were soooo gooood. Experimentation will commence soon.

Gusshaus

Twice a year, something magical happens in Austria: Restaurant Week. Dozens of restaurants around the country offer diners a set three-course menu for a very small price (i.e., lunch is 19 Euros). I found it difficult to choose only one restaurant to try for my first Restaurant Week, but not so this time. I’ve been dying to try Gusshaus ever since I first read about it. It boasts food from across the former Habsburg empire, which of course appealed to both the historian and food lover in me.

I got to try a meal at Gusshaus yesterday and it was definitely worth the wait. When I sat down I was greeted with a bowl each of green and black olives, a basket of bread, and a spread that tasted vaguely fishy. (I love fishy-tasting food, so this was a good thing.) I ordered a glass of white wine to go with the meal, and thus the three courses of yumminess began.

Kresseschaumsuppe mit gebratenen Jakobsmuscheln

Kresseschaumsuppe mit gebratenen Jakobsmuscheln

The first course was a bowl of cress “foam” soup with fried scallops. I am not sure exactly what “foam” implies, other than perhaps the soup had neither a clear broth nor a heavy, creamy broth. The scallops were very lightly fried (if at all), and the combination of scallops and cress made for a light and delicious soup.

Mit Waldpilzen gefuelltes Tullnerfelder Jungschwein in einer Pfefferrahmsauce mit Gemuesenudeln

Mit Waldpilzen gefuelltes Tullnerfelder Jungschwein in einer Pfefferrahmsauce mit Gemuesenudeln

The main was a pork cutlet with mushroom filling, served atop noodles with grilled vegetables (carrots and zucchini) and covered in pepper-cream sauce. The meat was cooked perfectly medium-rare and was juicy and tender. The cream sauce was surprisingly light and did not overwhelm the vegetables or noodles. In other words, a fantastic main course that didn’t leave me feeling overly full and nasty.

Topfen-nougat-Knoedel auf Fruchtspiegel

Topfen-nougat-Knoedel auf Fruchtspiegel

And a good thing, too, considering this is what was served as dessert. Knoedels along the lines of the apricot ones that I made, except they were filled with a thick, delicious chocolate cream. They were accompanied by a plum compote, strawberry compote, and sugared mint and lavender. I admit the picture is blurry because I might have been too excited about eating these.

And now I am dreaming about the next Restaurant Week…

 

 

Recipe: Waldviertler Mohnzelten

Mohnzelten

Mohnzelten

Dough:
500 grams (18 oz) flour
300 grams (11 oz) potatoes
250 grams (8.8 oz) butter
2 eggs
3 tablespoons cream
salt
1 pinch of baking powder

Filling:
200 grams (7.1 oz) poppyseeds
150 grams (5.3 oz) sugar
100 grams (3.5 oz) butter
½ packet (ca. 3/4t) vanilla sugar
cinnamon
Rum

1. Boil the potatoes with their skins on. Once cooked, remove the skins from the potatoes and allow them to cool for 15 minutes.

2. While the potatoes are cooling, make the filling: Melt the butter with the poppy seeds, then add the remaining ingredients (do not boil). Take the pot off the stove and stir well.

3. Grate the potatoes on the smallest hole on a box grater or pass through a ricer. Combine the potatoes, flour, butter, eggs, cream, salt, and baking powder, and knead into a firm dough.

4.  Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, flatten slightly, and add about 1/4 cup poppyseed filling to each.  Close the dough around the filling, place on a greased sheet. Flatten the dumplings and prick with a fork several times.

5. Bake about 30 minutes at 200 ° C (392 F).