We raise cattle as part of our livelihood. And, a few of them pasture behind our house on a rye field during the winter. One of my “jobs” is to break the ice and fill the tank with water each day. There is a pond between our house and the tank that I pass by when headed to do my daily chore.
The pond was frozen over a few days ago and therefore the geese and ducks that are usually there were enjoying themselves somewhere else. I wondered where they go when their favorite pond is frozen over – and I wondered what little bit of comfort they have when it is 10 degrees out.
Which led me to thinking about Kim’s wonderful, comforting and yummy Mac and Cheese. A great comfort food for lots of people I know. However, my family is not into Mac and Cheese all that much. Odd you say. It took me the whole walk to figure out the comfort food dishes my family requests. So, I thought over the next week or so I would share our comfort food with you.
One of my family’s favorites is Spaetzle. This is a German noodle. A little lengthy to make but very easy. I think comfort food not only is yummy and smooth, but also tends to have a little emotion to it – a memory associated with it. Our family has traveled in Central Europe some over the years (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and thus how our love of Spaetzle began. They don’t just make the Speatzle and eat it – oh no, they add sautéed onions and soft cheese and maybe some sautéed mushrooms. I try and have it almost everyday when I am visiting there.
So, I guess really it is the Europeans version of Mac and Cheese. I had never really thought about it before. So, in honor of Kim and her love for Mac and Cheese, I made our family’s comfort food last night and thought I would share it with you. Maybe we like it because it is different – who knows.
Give it a try sometime when you want to try something with an international flavor, different and something totally carb loaded!! You don’t even need a Spaetzle maker. All you need is a ziplock bag!!! (instructions follow the recipe)
Here’s to comfort food in whatever country you are living in or visiting!!!
Saute your choice of items. We do mushrooms and onions always. Set them aside and continue with the following.
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. When water is heated and close to boiling, mix the following together:
3 eggs, beaten
3 cups flour
½ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
Whisk the flour and salt together. Add the milk and eggs and stir until combined.
Take a gallon ziplock bag and poke 12 -14 holes with a toothpick or skewer in the bag at one corner. Space them out about every ½ inch or so. Then, place the dough in the bag and push down to the corner where the holes are. Take the air out of the bag and zip it shut (helps prevent a mess!!).
With the bag over the boiling water, squeeze some dough so it comes out of the holes. When the little Spaetzle (or dumplings) are 2 – 3 inches long, take a knife and run along the bag to loosen them from the bag and drop into the boiling water. Boil them for 3 – 4 minutes as they float to the top of the water. Put maybe 1/3 of the dough into the water at one time. Once all are to the top, take them out with a strainer or spoon and place on some paper towels to drain. Repeat with the next 1/3 of the dough and then with the remaining dough.
Once all are cooked, take the skillet that you sautéed the onion and add a little butter or olive oil and heat. Then place the spaetzle in the skillet and lightly brown.
Take your plate and place your spaetzle. Top with some of the onions or mushrooms or both. Sprinkle with some Romano or Asiago cheese and enjoy!!!
It may seem like a lot of work but really it isn’t. You can even sauté the onions and mushrooms earlier in the day and then just heat at the end.