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 know, I know… “Barf.”  But, really, we loved our date night. Sorry if the romance makes your tummy turn upside down!

Sauteed Green Beans with Speck [Recipe]


Green beans speck

What I like most about this dish:

Making green beans with speck is easy, even on a busy night – certainly no harder than making green beans with bacon. This five minute dish made me feel great because it was easy and (bonus) it was Austrian!

Going to an international potluck, but don’t like to cook much? This might be the dish for you!

What I like least about this dish:

I thought that the speck would be a little fattier (like bacon), however speck is dry-aged prosciutto. The result? The green beans did not absorb much flavor from the speck and barely tasted of ham. I would suggest cooking the speck in olive oil or butter to disperse the flavor and add richness to this dish. Unless you are on a diet. Then these are perfect.

Wiener Schnitzel [Recipe]


Wiener Schniztel

What I like most about this dish:

Other than saying the name? I really love the taste of home-fried pork in homemade breading. With none of the greasy, sick-to-my-stomach, fair-food feeling, I ate homemade Wiener Schnitzel with zero guilt. This dish also made my husband happy. I suppose he wouldn’t be a true Oklahoman if he didn’t love a good piece of fried pork.

This is another great recipe that makes hostesses look like heroes – the pork is breaded at least an hour before frying, meaning the eggy-breading-dish- mess is gone long before guests actually arrive.

What I like least about this dish:

Not much. Wiener Schnitzel tastes great and is universally appealing. Just make sure to serve with a wedge of lemon or some horseradish mustard to brighten up the dish.

Baked Austrian Kas Nocken with caramelized onion and Gruyère cheese [Recipe]


What I like most about this dish:

Pasta with caramelized onion and melted Gruyère? Yes, please! This dish is ultimate comfort food. The Austrian friend I spoke to this week said “perfect after skiing food.”

I spent several days dreaming of what this dish would taste like and, somehow, Kas Nocken still surpassed my expectations.

What I like least about this dish:

Figuring out how to make Nocken/Spaetzle can be a little overwhelming at first. Check out my techniques to get a good idea of what you are getting into. At the end of the day the result is totally worth it!

Viennese Hot Chocolate [Recipe]

Austrian cocoa is great with wafer cookies

What I like most about this dish:

I’m a big fan of hot chocolate. Add a big dollop of whipped cream and you’ve got my attention. Adding Brandy is a nice option for adults, giving the drink depth and a bit of a spike.

What I like least about this dish:

Combining the egg yolk with the hot milk mixture requires a fine touch or you’ll end up with scrambled egg in your hot cocoa. I know, I had to make the cocoa twice. To avoid my mistake, add a little hot milk to the yolk, and then return the mixture to the pot. This tempers the eggs.

Don’t want to deal with the egg yolk? The cocoa is very good, even without the yolk!

Sacher-torte [Recipe]


Sacher Torte, chocolate happiness

What I like most about this dish:

This traditional chocolate cake glistens under a silky layer of chocolate. Beautiful! The apricot jam keeps the dessert bright. Great date night dessert.

What I like least about this dish:

I liked this cake but I had to make it twice. Why? Because I didn’t whip the eggs long enough or fast enough to create enough lift for the cake to rise in the oven. Without any leavening, this is the only way the cake will rise. Lesson learned! Please learn from my mistakes and avoid making the cake a second time.

Ava’s Corner:

I’m so glad we ate dinner with Ava. She got to try her first caramelized onion. Oh boy! She LOVED the sweet oniony goodness. She is her mother’s daughter after all! She also ate some of the pork (breading removed) and probably put away an ounce or two. Wonderful! Even when she got full, she opened her mouth like a baby bird for that onion. 🙂



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