Tag Archives: noodles

Family Spätzle

Spätzle, with butter and bread crumbs

I carefully reviewed the instructions…

“…stir until fairly smooth – consistency similar to puppy poop…”

Puppy poop? Sadly, I tried to envision what that could mean, having never closely examined it before. I asked J if puppy poop was like how people refer to baby poop.

This was going to be an interesting recipe.

I grew up eating spätzle, prepared by my Oma and Opa and by my dad. I never really thought about it, I knew it was a German dish and just accepted that it was what it was. It wasn’t until I started thinking about recipes that I thought to look up spätzle, and I found that there are many regional variations on the dish. The way my family makes it seems to be the less popular version, but it always reminds me of my childhood.

Every time I’ve gotten spätzle at a restaurant, it looked very different to the version I was used to. It was more of a squiggly chubby noodle shape, instead of the near-dumpling shape I always enjoyed. This page on the German Food Guide offers some insight to the dish, some of the different ways people shape it, some different recipes, and other neat facts about how it’s made. There’s even a way to make it with beer! (I might need to try that next)

We usually had it topped with a simple butter and breadcrumb sauce, but my dad would sometimes experiment with other kinds of sauces or other ingredients in the batter. I vaguely remember having carrot spätzle at least once…

Spätzle batter
Spätzle batter - checking consistency

Back to the puppy poop (just when you got it out of your head)… I wanted to post a family recipe, rather than finding inspiration on other sites or in cookbooks. I emailed my dad for the recipe, knowing that he didn’t have it written down. He wrote it the way he thinks, and as I read it I could picture him mixing together the ingredients the way he’s done since I was a kid. And I laughed out loud at the comparison of the batter consistency to puppy poop.

It was perfect.

Spätzle, inside
This style of Spätzle can be pretty dense inside, almost like a dumpling.

Recipe after the jump!

I may have ruined the effect by putting some structure to it, but I thought it might be easier to follow with some measurements and instructions.

Continue reading Family Spätzle

Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro

Rice Noodles with Shrimp & Cilantro

This recipe, pulled from the April/May 2010 issue of Fine Cooking magazine,was fast, simple and delicious!

I’ve always been a fan of the broader rice noodles found in dishes like Pad Thai, but I’ve always been terrible at preparing them. Just ask my husband – I always make him cook the rice noodles, to avoid ending up with mush. It isn’t normal to be afraid of a rice noodle, so I decided to overcome my fear with this recipe.

Like some of the other recipes I’ve tried recently, this dish is not stuffed to the brim with veggies, and isn’t overwhelmed by a mix of spices. It’s simple, with seasonings that nicely accentuate the natural flavours in the main ingredients; shrimp, rice noodles, red pepper and cilantro. I think the dish could stand a little more heat – some Sriracha chili sauce would have been amazing on it.

The one weird ingredient that you might not have in your pantry is fish sauce… Fish sauce is a very stinky condiment used in various Asian cuisines, including Thai and Vietnamese. I was told a long time ago to get the Three Crabs brand fish sauce, so I did. Some of the articles online argue about the quality of this brand, because of the additives in it and the way it’s made. Honestly, I don’t really know the difference, and I’m not about to buy another bottle of fish sauce – a bottle lasts a LONG time, as a little goes a long way. Anyone that lives near Chinatown should go there to find some at a good price.

This makes a great light summer meal – not too heavy and saucey, and makes use of some fresh flavours. Would go really well with a side avocado salad, or mango salad.

The full recipe can be found here, on the Fine Cooking Magazine website!

Seitan Paprikash

Seitan Paprikash

Could it be…SATAN?

I think I just dated myself with that quote. Today’s pieced-together recipe features a vegetarian meat-substitute favourite, seitan (sounds kinda like ‘satan’).

I’ve been a little obsessed with paprika lately, so a Seitan Paprikash sounded yummy. I looked at a few different recipes and cobbled one together that sounded good.

Seitan is kind of a strange ingredient, with about a million ways to make it. I started this one by making a dough with gluten flour, water and some seasoning.  I had to stretch it and let it rise and stretch it and rip it some more in an attempt to give it some kind of texture. Then it was simmered in a flavourful broth, and suddenly I had ‘meat’. I suppose it’s most like a ‘chicken’ because it was lightly flavoured, but it stood in place of pork pretty well in this dish.

Seitan Paprikash

I actually added some spinach to this, because I had some. Shhhhh!

This dish was quick and easy to make, and was a nice change from the usual pasta. The creamy sauce went really well with the seitan. Since this dish is lacking in veggies (in that you might actually end up with a forkful that does not contain a vegetable), we also had some asparagus and a bit of avocado salad. Mmmmmmm.

Side note: I can’t wait for asparagus to be in season here. I’m getting SO JEALOUS reading other peoples’ blogs about the fresh local asparagus they’re able to get!!! Grrr!

Recipe after the jump! Continue reading Seitan Paprikash