Travails And Travels And Spaetzle - Learning To Cook Blog at - 296976

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Travails and Travels and Spaetzle 
Feb. 8, 2013 8:12 am 
Updated: Feb. 11, 2013 8:48 pm

I'm sitting here in the Daily Grind, in Marshall, Minnesota. It's a nice little place with great people working here, and the coffee is good. I didn't ask for whole milk in my cappuccino, and it shows. I don't care for the flavor of skim milk, but that's my fault, not theirs. If this is an indication of things to come, I think I'll be able to live here easily. This chubby old fart came cruising into their world with smart alec commentary and a smile, and they didn't miss a beat! I feel at home.

I am currently expiring from a horrid little head cold that made the flight to Minneapolis at least uncomfortable. The flight on the 20 passenger prop-plane to Marshall was excruciating at points. I tried dosing up on cold medicines before each leg of the flight, but the congestion was still there. If that is the worst of my travails, I am surely a blessed man. If the forecasted blizzard hits before I have to fly back to New Jersey, I can count that as another travail, I guess.

This is my official house hunting expedition, and the next few days are going to be busy ones. I hope we can find a home that makes us all happy. Personally, I would like 15 acres or so with a stream or pond on the property. The orchard would get started in the first year, and would include apples, cherries, pears and blueberries. I need to find out if there is a peach variety hardy in zone 4b. Then I would start building a chicken coop and a rabbit hutch. If I can sneak in goats, I would do that too, but I live in a different reality where I have to consider a wife as well as a self! I would get the vegetable garden laid out by Autumn and have the soil prepped as well as possible. I might even get garlic planted before the snow flies.

Because of that different reality I may end up in a large house on a 1/4 acre. No animals. No orchard. Limited gardening possibilities due to covenants and restrictions. I sort of understand not wanting to live next to people that leave rusted hulks in their yard, and don't cut the lawn and blah, blah, blah. On the other hand, it isn't any of my business, and it really doesn't bother me that much. It bothers me more that people get their shorts in a bunch over stuff like that. What ever happened to live, and let live? What ever happened to working things out between each other instead of using the municipality as a weapon? But that is a topic for another post.

Enough of travails and travels. There are more important things to blog about. A few weeks ago, I had promised someone (manella I think) that I would post a Spaetzle recipe. It comes from Bavarian Cooking by Olli Leeb.

1 pound of flour
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup soda water
4 whole eggs
1 tsp salt

Sift the flour into a bowl, and add the milk and soda water, mixing well. Add the eggs and salt, mix and beat the dough with a wooden spoon until small bubbles form. Let the dough rest for 1/2 hour. In the meantime, boil up plenty of salted water in a large pot. Cut or slice the Spaetzle in batches into the boiling water, bring each batch briefly to a boil, then lift out with a slotted spoon, drain in a colander and chill under running cold water. Spread the Spaetzle on a board to steam off the moisture, then heat them in butter before serving.

That is Ms. Leeb's way of doing it. It didn't work for me. I have no skill in slicing off bits of dough with a knife and board. It is a skill that can be developed, but I would have starved before success! I use a Spaetzle press, which can be ordered online. You can also use a colander with large holes, and press the dough through the holes into boiling water. Her last direction to "steam off the moisture" doesn't seem to work either. Perhaps I chilled the Spaetzle too long, because there was no steam after rinsing in cold water. I used a clean kitchen towel to drain the cold Spaetzle on. Also, she makes note that if you want your Spaetzle to be more firm you should omit the soda water and use 1 cup of milk. I prefer them to be firm.

I hope you enjoy making these wonderful little dumplings. They do go well with a variety of things, but goulash is one of my favorites. Also, Kaese Spaetzle is a delicious treat, and the German answer to Mac and Cheese. Take the Spaetzle and mix in a preheated oven safe dish with 2 oz. butter and 6 oz of Allgaeu Emmenthaller Cheese (a type of Swiss Cheese). Bake in a hot oven until the cheese is well melted, but not browned. Top with browned onions, or even French's French Fried Onions (not the best but ok).

One thing that this recipe doesn't include is allspice. Often, the dough had a small amount of allspice in it. I'm guessing here, but I can't imagine it would be over 1/2 a teaspoon. If you're adventurous, start with 1/4 tsp and see how it goes!
Feb. 8, 2013 10:43 am
Hey Doc! Love spaetzle, you might like the MIL's recipe ~
Feb. 8, 2013 10:44 am
We use it for Chicken Paprikas, but they are good for anything!
Feb. 8, 2013 11:30 am
This basic dumpling has so many names! In Hungary it is Nokedli. The Austrians call it Nockerl, and the Bavarians call it Spaetzle. And hey are made the same way, either in a press or the knife and board method, or they can be dropped by spoonful. I've never seen Spaetzle done that way, but Nockerl certainly is. If you want to share your Chicken Paprikas recipe, I'll be grateful! Thanks sassyoldlady!
Feb. 8, 2013 11:32 am
I was hoping you were in the process of relocating and not quitting us, Doc. I have spent some time a couple hours south of Marshall and those folks are very inclined to have a fun battle of words. They seemed well practiced. ... I have a rough time with anything that involves dough and anything yeast is a huge problem. So, I guess, I have to join you with staying out of the spaetzel. ... If you find that hardy peach, holler at me so I can get info from you. I've had a couple peach trees that claimed to be hardy to our zone (5) but they didn't make it. Admittedly, peaches are very fussy to begin with so I shouldn't have been surprised.
Feb. 8, 2013 11:40 am
I will keep you posted on those peaches, Mike, but I expect there won't be any joy there. Even if I find one that says it is hardy to 4b, chances are that a 3a winter will come along and kill it anyway! I've harassed everyone I've come across, with a smile of course, and I've consistently received better than I've given. Yep! I'm at home! :)
Feb. 8, 2013 11:48 am
Good luck with the relocate process. It can be very stressful to say the least. I have been there. We were only relocating about 30 miles.
Feb. 8, 2013 12:09 pm
Hello Doc,thanks for remembering to post the spaetzle recipe.The Pumpkin Gnocchi recipe is in my recipe box.I put it in when we got home.Arazona was wonderful,Edmonton was cold,but i saw my family and that was great.Wishing you all the best in finding excatly what you and your wife want in a new home.Hope your cold is better.
Feb. 8, 2013 12:27 pm
In the immortal words of Bilbo Baggins upon his arrival at Lake Town, "Thag you very buch!" Both for the wishes and the Gnocchi!
Feb. 8, 2013 1:48 pm
Your very welcome.
Feb. 8, 2013 2:07 pm
Hi Doc, This is a great post and gives me much insight into your life. Well, we've also been looking and I want to buy land and build an Eco-House, off the grid and grow my own veggies and maybe a goat or two and orchards would be great, thankfully my husband is on board. As we sit here in our home on Long Island with the "Blizzard of the Century" bearing down on us, hoping and praying that the grid doesn't give out on us, I'm certainly looking forward to living off, the grid.... The Spaetlze seem delicious... I never tasted them, don't know much about German cuisine although I love goulash! Yum... Well, happy house hunting and I suppose you'll be stranded there for a while as this storm is the "Real Thing"..
Feb. 8, 2013 2:15 pm
There must be a happy compromise between the 1/4 acre in a subdivision and the 15 acre spread. I have lived in several different states without HOAs and the areas were beautifully maintained. I'm sure you'll find the perfect place. My MIL would make her Norwegian version of spaetzle, the name of which escapes me, and add it to chicken soup and it was heavenly.
Feb. 8, 2013 7:17 pm
Here ya go Doc. This one too is the MIL's version. Everyone has their own ya know? Went to Hungarian cooking class here hosted by Tony Packo and a Hungarian couple, they made theirs by stewing the chicken in a tomato based broth. OMG! So good. If I find it do you want it too?
Feb. 8, 2013 7:57 pm
BrokenNeckCook, thanks for the kind words. I hope you folks find that piece of land! Living off grid would be an interesting way to live. It certainly gives you a different perspective when you are the utility! The advantage is that you are free to do things the way you want to. There are a lot of RV appliances out there that can work off of DC current (I think) and are very energy efficient as well. Be safe through that blizzard. I'm worrying about the kids back home, but they shouldn't get hit as hard where they are. They will get mostly rain. Apparently Minnesota was feeling jealous because there is a blizzard headed this way too!
Feb. 8, 2013 8:02 pm
BigShotsMom, I hope we can find a compromise as well. Haven't seen one yet, but the realtor will be showing us several properties that we haven't seen online. Now I'm going to have to look up Norwegian dumplings or call my friend in Norway.
Feb. 8, 2013 8:09 pm
sassylodlady, I would like that recipe too when you get the chance. The one you posted above looks really good. I think I saw an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives where Chicken Paprikas was one of the menu items at some restaurant. And the comment was that every family had their own recipe for the dish and many of them were quite different! Ya gotta love diversity, especially when it tastes so good!
Feb. 8, 2013 8:11 pm
Char, I'm sorry. I missed your comment. Thanks for the kind words. I truly appreciate them. I think a thirty mile move might be harder to do because you probably moved most of the stuff yourself!
Feb. 9, 2013 6:42 am
Glad to hear you're feeling better Doc! Your house hunting story brings back memories of when my husband and I relocated from city life to small town, country living. We settled on a 2 acre patch, which is PLENTY to take care of, and has been a labor of love. I'm glad we didn't get strapped with more than that. We are in Zone 4 and have planted numerous fruit trees that have produced quite well. Best of luck in your house hunting ventures!
Feb. 11, 2013 8:48 pm
Cookin'Cyn thanks for the kind words! Yes, two acres is a good amount, but 4 would be great! :) I could even grow enough wheat and barley then. Wonder what the neighbors would think about that?
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Doc Simonson

Home Town
St. Peter, Minnesota, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2009

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
My cooking triumphs
Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
My cooking tragedies
There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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