Month: April 2010

Sacher Torte, chocolate happiness

Monday Meal Review: Austria

This is the 10th meal in my personal challenge to cook one meal from every country in the world. We planned on eating our Austrian Global Table over candlelight. As a new parent, I’m learning to improvise. As you know, we have a 9-month old. With just the two of us juggling our little sweetheart, there was no way we could get our meal done, take pictures, feed her dinner, nurse her, put her to bed, and fit “romantic dinner” into all of that. So, to make things “easier” we ate our meal with little miss adorable, and saved dessert for after her bedtime. I highly recommend this technique for new parents. Perhaps our date wasn’t typical “dinner and a movie,” but it sure was romantic. After a nice family diner, my husband and I ate our dessert (chocolate Sachertorte and Viennese Hot Cocoa) on the back patio, under the stars. As we ate, we read love poems to each other. Even the low hiss of the baby monitor didn’t drown out the moment. I …

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Take a bite! Yum :)

Austrian Chocolate Tart with Apricot Jam | Sacher-torte

Serves 8-10 When made properly, Sacher-torte is enrobed in a silky, smooth layer of chocolate ganache. This cake will satisfy any sweet tooth. I made sure to make enough glaze that even the novice decorator will be able to coat the entire cake. Please note: This is *not* the same recipe as published in my upcoming article in AFAR Magazine. The technique is totally different. Ingredients: For the cake: 1/2 stick butter, melted 3/4 cup flour 1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa 1/4 tsp salt 6 large eggs 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 1/2 cup apricot preserves (chunk-free, or strained) For the glaze: 1 cup heavy cream 4 Tbsp light corn syrup 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 1 tsp vanilla extract Method: For the Cake: 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 10″ round springform pan. Add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom. 2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt. NOTE: You really need to sift them together, making them light and fluffy. Sponge cakes rely …

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Viennese Hot Chocolate

Serves 2-4 Viennese Hot Cocoa is so rich and tasty, you won’t need dessert. Perfect for a chilly night! Take care when adding the egg yolk to the hot liquid, you don’t want to make “scrambled egg cocoa.” Ingredients: 2 cups milk 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa 3 Tbsp sugar 1 Tbsp raspberry brandy (or regular) 1 egg yolk For whipping cream: 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 tsp vanilla extract 3 Tbsp powdered sugar Method: 1. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add vanilla and powdered sugar, and continue whipping to combine. 2. In a small saucepan, whisk together milk, cocoa, sugar, and brandy until combined. Heat over medium-low until barely simmering. Turn heat to low. 3. Place an egg yolk in a small bowl. Whisk a small ladle of the cocoa into the egg yolk, tempering it. Add yolk mixture to pot, whisking constantly until thickened. Do not let mixture boil or egg will scramble. 4. Serve cocoa in teacups or mugs with a dollop of whipped cream on top.   12345 Votes: 0 Rating: …

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Melted Gruyere takes this dish over the edge

Austrian Spaetzle with cheese and caramelized onion | KasNocken

Serves 2-3 This is an Austrian’s answer to Mac and Cheese. Totally wonderful and, as a bonus, vegetarian! One taste and you’ll want to move to Austria. Ingredients: 2 eggs 1/2 cup milk 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 1/2 cups flour 1 Tbsp butter 1 onion, sliced thinly 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (or more to taste) Method: 1. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Add flour a 1/2 cup at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Let rest 10-20 minutes. The dough should be like pancake batter – thin with more milk if necessary. 2. Meanwhile, saute onion in butter until golden. Set aside. 2. Preheat oven to 350. Drop nocken through the holes in a sieve (see techniques) into simmering water. Cook until the nocken float. 3. Remove the nocken from the water with a strainer. Place in a buttered casserole or oven-safe pan. 4. Sprinkle with grated cheese and caramelized onion. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve out of pan. 12345 Votes: 1 Rating: …

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This very large plate makes it hard to tell that this Weiner Schnitzel is about 8" in diameter!

Breaded and Fried Pork Cutlet | Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein

Serves 2 Wiener Schnitzel will fill you up after a long day hiking, skiing, or swimming. Enjoy this Austrian dish with potatoes or Nocken. Ingredients: 2 pork cutlets 1/2 cup flour 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 2 eggs 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1 tsp parsley 1 tsp paprika olive oil lemon slices Method: 1. Place flour, salt and pepper in a dish. In another dish, place whisked eggs. In a third dish, place bread crumbs, parsley, and paprika.  Whisk. 2. Place cutlets between plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until about a 1/2″ to 1/4″ thick. Cut several small slits  around the edges to prevent curling. TIP: Ask your butcher to pound the cutlets thin for you. Even if they don’t get them as thin as you want, you’ll  be ahead of the game. 3. Dredge cutlets, first in flour, then in egg, and finally in bread crumb mixture. 4. Cover and refrigerate cutlets for at least an hour. 5. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Saute cutlets for …

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Green Beans with Speck can be made ahead and heated in the oven right before serving.

Green Beans with Speck | Schinkenspeck

Serves 2-4 Speck, technically called Schinkenspeck, is a dry aged prosciutto product. Bacon or ham can be substituted if your grocer does not carry this Austrian favorite. Enjoy Green Beans with Speck with chicken, fish, or pork Ingredients: 1 lb of green beans 2 ounces schinkenspeck, minced Method: 1. Simmer green beans in a large pot of salted water until just cooked. Drain and set aside. 2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add speck and cook until the fat renders (much like bacon). 3. Add green beans and toss with speck. Serve hot.   12345 Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Speck, technically called Schinkenspeck, is a dry aged prosciutto product. Bacon or ham can be substituted if your grocer does not carry this Austrian favorite. Enjoy Green Beans with Speck with chicken, fish, or porkGreen Beans with Speck | Schinkenspeck CourseSides & Salads Lifestyle5-ingredients or less, Potluck Friendly Food TypeCasseroles, Miss Ava’s Favorite Recipes, Vegetables Servings Prep Time 2-4 people 10minutes Cook Time 20minutes Servings Prep Time 2-4 …

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Austrian Sacher Tortes and Farming (POLL)

About the Sacher Torte: The Sacher Torte is shiny chocolate sponge cake layered with apricot jam from Austria. The cake was invented 175 years ago by 16-year old Franz Sacher. Many years later, his son opened the Sacher Hotel. You can still order this gorgeous cake from their web site. They ship around the world! Go take a peek. Gosh, they are beautiful! The cake was designed to impress the uber-rich, but word spread and various establishments tried to imitate the cake. Most famously, one copy cat resulted in a seven-year law suit between the Sacher Hotel and Demel’s Cafe. Sacher won and the rest is history. Fun Farming Facts: – Only 17% of the land is farmable (because of the mountains) but Austria grows more than 90% of its own food. – Main produce includes apples, pears, plums, peaches, grapes, beets, corn, barley, potatoes, rye, and wheat. – A local harvest ritual includes parading cows through town: “Dairy farmers in part of Austria dress up their cows as a way of telling their neighbors they …

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Technique Thursday: How to make good Nocken (Austrian Spaetzle)

Kasnocken (Recipe) are small, “squiggly” pasta served with cheese and caramelized onion, essentially Austrian Mac and Cheese. This delicious “post-ski” comfort food can be made any number of ways, but I’ve done some research on proper technique. The best KasNocken techniques keep the dough tender: – Do not over-mix the dough or your Nocken will be tough. Just combine ingredients with your hand or a spoon until just mixed. – Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes after mixing. This gives time for the dough to relax and become more tender. – Never boil the dough. Simmering keeps the dough… you guessed it… more tender. What tool to use to make Nocken? – You can push the dough through a $60 gadget or a $3 colander or the old fashioned way, with a cutting board and blade, like in this video (the second lady is FAST) You decide. There are die-hard fans each method. Just remember that the end result is supposed to be imperfect. Afterall, the flavor attaches to those squigglies. – The dough should be …

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Menu: Austria

When I wrote this menu, I was thinking of my husband. That’s why chocolate shows up twice. So why was I thinking of my husband? Because we’re due for a romantic date night. Ever since baby Ava was born, date nights have been at home. That doesn’t mean the date can’t be special, though.  I chose this menu because most of the meal is made ahead and just needs assembly at dinner time, leaving more time for socializing. NOTE: I just had the fortunate opportunity to speak with an Austrian. As a result, I’ve made some changes to the menu, for authenticity purposes. Sauteed Green Beans with Speck [Recipe] Simple, yet delicious. Speck is dry cured smoked prosciutto and is used in many Austrian dishes. Wiener Schnitzel [Recipe] Breaded and fried pork cutlets. The cutlets are pounded very thin and cook very quickly. Baked Austrian Kas Nocken with caramelized onion and Gruyère cheese [Recipe] Nocken is Austrian’s version of Spaetzel. This homemade egg pasta is grated and dropped into boiling water. I’m told the secret is to make the …

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About Austrian Food: land of ‘sausage-gobblers’?

“What did you call me?” “Sausage-gobbler!” “Why, I oughtta!!!” “No, no! It’s a compliment in Austria!” Austrians appreciate good, meaty, fried, stick-to-your-ribs-after-a-day-of-hiking-or-skiing food, followed by so-decadent-they-should-be-illegal pastries and desserts. True, modern Austrians trend towards eating a more healthy, low-fat diet. However, traditional Austrian diners are affectionately referred to as Wurstfressers (sausage-gobblers). Wurstfressers are Austrians who enjoy so much of the country’s high-fat meaty, fried foods that they get huge pot-bellies. Austrians typically eat a prodigious amount of delicious but rather unhealthy fare, rich with meats, cheeses, potatoes, and dumplings, which makes the Austrian dinner table a delight but which also contributes to a high national incidence of heart disease and other diet-related health problems. Source: Austria, Alan Allport The most popular meat dishes in Austria include weiner schnitzel (breaded and fried pork or veal), Backhendl (fried chicken), Zwiebelrostbraten (roast beef smothered in fried onions), and Tafelspitz (boiled beef in horshradish). Meat is usually served with potatoes or dumplings. Popular vegetables include cabbage and sauerkraut. Bacon, referred to as “speck,” is used in many dishes as a salty/spicy element. …

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Golden cake inside Lamingtons!

Monday Meal Review: Australian Barbie

This is meal #9 in my personal challenge to eat one meal from every country in the world. “What’s wrong?” I asked. For the third time Keith waved his hand over $50 dollars worth of kangaroo meat to feel the grill. “I don’t know why the grill isn’t hot,” he muttered, “It’s just warm. It won’t get hot. The grill should be hot. I think it’s out of gas.” I looked over at our friends who were expecting their first taste of kangaroo any minute. A few glanced back at me. I felt my neck get hot and repressed the urge to get mad. The grill had not even been on 10 minutes. The irony? For the last three days Keith and I had this exact conversation at least five times: Me: “Do we have enough gas for the grill?” Keith: “I don’t know.” Me: “We’re having 15 people over. We’re going to use a lot of gas.” Keith: “Yeah.” Me: “You don’t think we need any gas?” Keith: “Yeah. Maybe.” Hosting tip of the …

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