Monday, June 7, 2010

Wunderbar!

My husband’s German.  Well, no, not EXACTLY.  His ancestry is German.  (among a few other things)  He also happened to spend two years in Germany serving as a missionary.  It was in honor of him that I finally decided (late last year) to learn a few German staples.  
On Thursday, I invited my parents over for dinner to make up for our lost Monday Food Fest.  And  because it wasn’t really monday, I felt no shame in repeating a dish I’d already made (many, many months ago) which received heaps of accolades and acclaim.  Not to toot my own horn, or anything, but I have to admit, it’s pretty good.  (isn’t it ridiculous that almost every time anyone uses the term “not to toot my horn” what follows is obvious horn tooting?)  
I originally found the recipes (back before Monday Food Fest began and well before my blogging days) by doing a google search for “authentic German food.”  So, of course, I have no idea where the recipes first originated (except the red cabbage.  That originated in a jar at the grocery store - in the German foods section, third shelf down, on the left.) and for that I am very, very sorry.  I wish I could give due credit.  However, I feel slightly better because I have altered each recipe since I first used it, so they’re kind of my own now.  When I go German, I make: Schnitzel, Spaetzle, red cabbage (in a jar), and kuchen - it’s my German go-to meal.
Anyway, I’m no frauline, here, but every time I’ve made this meal, critics rave!  (Actually, I’ve never fed it to any critics.  But family and friends rave.  That’s close enough, right?)  I even had a missionary who was here from Germany tell me my kuchen was better than his mom’s!  (Sorry German missionary’s mom...)
OK, enough, enough.  I’m going to talk it up so much it will never live up to your expectations.  (Pause)  Nah.....  

I do want to mention before we start that this is not a low fat meal.  It is so not low fat, you may raise your eyebrows.  This is why we only make this about once a year.  PLUS, you don’t have to make it all at once, like we do.  You could spread the fat content out over a few meals... try not to judge me.
Starting with the kuchen (if you aren’t aware, kuchen means “cake”, so of course I’d start there...)  I make this item first because it cooks the longest.  It’s great warm or cold.  mr says it’s in the top two desserts I make.  (The other finalist is the lava cakes, and you can find that here).  So, here’s the kuchen recipe:
Kuchen
Ingredients
Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups fresh raspberries
**(I have used frozen before as well and it has turned out just as yummy.)**
Topping:
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour **(if you use frozen berries you will want to use 2 tablespoons flour)**
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
Crust: In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour and salt; cut in butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in cream.  Pat into greased 13x9x2 inch pan.  Combine the sugar and remaining flour; sprinkle over crust.  
Arrange berries over crust. 
Topping: Combine sugar and flour.  Stir in eggs, cream and vanilla.  Pour over berries. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm or chilled. 

*Also commonly used are apple, pear, peach and berry combo.
I have most often made this as Peach Kuchen and I’m pretty sure that’s our favorite.
Next is the schnitzel.  It’s a good thing to plan ahead for this meal, because you need to prepare part of the schnitzel and then refrigerate for one hour before cooking it.  

Wienerschnitzel
INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 lbs veal or pork cutlets
Flour
3 tbsp. Grated Parmesan cheese **(I add more to taste)**
2 eggs
1 tsp. Minced parsley
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pepper
2 tbsp. Milk
1 Cup Breadcrumbs
6 tbsp. Butter
1 Lemon, sliced 4 ways
DIRECTIONS
Place each chop between wax paper and pound with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer until very thin.
Blend together: Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper, and milk.
Dip meat into flour to coat well.
Dip meat into batter, then coat with breadcrumbs.
Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Cook breaded cutlets in butter until golden brown, flip so even on both sides.
Pour pan juices over cutlets and serve warm with lemon wedges.


Technically, it’s only WIENERschnitzel if it’s veal.  I’ve never used veal.  I only ever use pork.  If you want to use veal, cool, I mean, the recipe says that’s ok.  I just personally couldn’t do it.  I have a hard enough time with meat in general.  Fortunately, pork chops look ambiguous in shape - much like boneless, skinless chicken breasts - so I can pretend.  And have I mentioned how therapeutic smashing meat with a meat mallet is?  I bought my first ever meat mallet to make this recipe.  My biggest tips for this recipe are 1) pound them THIN.  I mean, almost see through.  If you do, they’ll be so tender you won’t believe it.  The thinner the better.  (As long as you don’t poke holes in the meat, and yes, I’ve done that.)  2) Definitely don’t skip the refrigerate part.  It makes all the difference.  I know, weird, huh?  3) Don’t skimp on the butter.  It’s not technically called heart attack on a plate, but it might as well be.

The spaetzle (a basic noodle dish) is super easy to make, but requires a special gadget to do it authentically.  The gadget looks like this: 
Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.  Combine approximately 2.5 cups flour with 2 eggs and add water until the dough is thick, but still kind of oozes off the end of the spoon when you hold it up.  (If it’s too sticky, that means you’ve got too much egg, not enough flour)  Kind of the consistency of cream of chicken soup out of the can.  Place the gadget (no clue what it’s called.  A “Spaetzle Maker” maybe?) across the pot.  Spoon the dough into the circle container piece thing until it is almost full.  Now, move the circle piece back and forth across the piece with holes in it, smoothly, which allows the dough to escape through the holes and fall in small chunks into the boiling water.  If you are only doing enough dough for two “fill-ups” you can let the noodles swim around in there until both groups are done and in the water.  If you are doing more than that, you will want to fish the noodles out in between, so they don’t get overcooked.  So, let the noodles swim around a little, stir them up with a spoon, and then either fish them out with a hole-y spoon, or drain the pot over a colander.  Done!  
So, you can order a spaetzle maker online, here.  Or you can improvise.  You’re creative, right?  You can find something that looks like this
 (maybe some kind of grater?) and then something like this 
(um... a cookie cutter? a cup with the bottom cut off?) to run across it, right?  Well, in any case, good luck.

Now, in Germany, spaetzle is always served with some kind of sauce.  I have to admit that every other time I’ve ever made spaetzle, I have served it plain.  It’s not very good that way, so I wouldn’t really recommend it.  I just didn’t really know how to create a yummy sauce all on my own, until recently.  THIS is the recipe for the cheese sauce I made this time around.  And it was great on the schnitzle AND spaetzle.
Creamy Cheesy der Himmel
2 TBLSP butter
2(ish) TBLSP flour
half pint heavy cream OR Milk (not skim.  Wouldn’t taste as good)
1/2 Cup provolone cheese (grated)
1/2 Cup cheddar cheese (grated)
Garlic Salt
NOTE: My measurements aren’t exact, sorry.  I never measure.  You can add more cheese to taste.  (I love cheese, and usually use a lot, but you don’t have to).  You can add as much or as little garlic salt as you like.  (we LOVE garlic).  And as for the flour, you’ll have to kind of eye this, see below.
Get out a medium saucepan and heat it up.
Melt the butter.
Add the flour and mix it up.  You know you’ve added enough flour when the butter looks like large crumbs.
Cook this, stirring, for about 2 minutes. (ish)
Add the cream (or milk).  
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  
Simmer for about 3 minutes.
Add the provolone and cheddar.
Stir thoroughly until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Delicious!  I mix it into the leftover spaetzle and make “Spaetz and Cheese.”
To finish it off, I always heat up some good old red cabbage (a staple over there, apparently) which, as previously noted, I just buy at the grocery store in a jar.  I know I could make it myself, but seriously, folks, haven’t I made enough??  I may try it some time on “German food night” just to see if I can.  It’s not my favorite thing in the world, but I like it with the German meal, and mr has a weak spot for it.

Well, there you go!  You can now make a full German meal and run with the best of the burgomiesters.  (actually, I think that means mayor... well, you can run with the best of them, too).
I think I’m on my way to kuchenmeister status as we speak.  








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4 comments:

alicia said...

Thanks for playing along! This is great. I've been thinking of doing themes this summer to go with different countries or dishes, we'll see. My dad is actually german which makes me half german. And believe it or not I've never tried any of these recipes!

Amy @ Positively Splendid said...

Yum! We love a good German feast here, too!

Miel Abeille said...

Oh, my! I must give those a try! Thanks for the great recipes. :)

Kimberly said...

Alicia - I do that inadvertently! :) I have some good ethnic dishes - lots of italian, some chinese, german and of course, mexican :) mr's ancestors are from germany.

All - yeah, not the best for you I know, but if you only eat it once in a while it's ok :) And who can resist? It really is yummy.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have new recipes every Monday if you are interested at all.

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