Super Mom – No Cape!

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Archive for October, 2011

German Cooking Week – How to Make Zwiebelkuchen

Posted by supermom on October 6, 2011

One fall day back in 1986, Dave and I came home to our second floor apartment in Kurzell to find a plastic wrapped plate with slices of what looked like onion “pizza” placed in front our apartment door. Beside the plate was a small flask of Neuer Wein (new wine.)

Our German landlady would often leave baked treats in front of our door.  Dave has always been slim and I sometimes suspected that she feared that I wasn’t feeding him enough.  Or perhaps it was simply her way of trying to make us feel welcome.

In any case, we were in for a special treat as the onion “pizza” was actually Zwiebelkuchen and is a traditional early fall dish in Southern Germany.  The next day, I went down and with the little bit of German I’d acquired and the help of her daughter to translate, I begged our landlady to teach me how to make it.

You’ll find fancier recipes for zwiebelkuchen in German cookbooks or on Gasthaus’ menus.  Many of those recipes call for the addition of eggs and caraway seed.

Zwiebelkuchen is one of those peasant type dishes that the march of time and modern day has “gourmetted” up.  The hausfrau of old would have likely used whatever she had on hand the day she was making it.  This may not be the zwiebelkuchen you are familiar with but it is the recipe that our German landlady taught to me, adapted for North American ingredients.

To make the dough for the crust:

1 ½ c lukewarm water

1 ½ tsp sugar

4 ½ tsp active dry yeast

3 ¾ c all purpose flour

1 ½ tsp salt

4 tbsp vegetable oil

Add sugar and yeast to the water and prove the yeast for 10 minutes.

Combine flour, salt, oil and yeast mixture in a large bowl until it forms a shaggy mess.

Scoop the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and pliable.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl; turning to coat all sides of the dough.

Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

For the topping you will need:

2 large onions

1/4 lb bacon, chopped

1 – 8 oz container of sour cream

While the dough is rising, thinly slice 2 large onions that have been cut in half.

Saute the onions just until they are translucent.  Do not let them brown.

Chop ¼ lb of bacon.

This is actually 1/2 lb of bacon chopped. I used the other 1/4 lb for something else.

After the 30 minutes are up.  Turn the dough out onto a generously greased baking sheet.

Spread the dough over the entire bottom and up the sides of the baking sheet.

Dock the dough with a fork.

Then place into a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.  (This is a step that I added because I found that the crust didn’t always cook completely otherwise.)

Remove the crust from the oven and spread with sour cream.

Next layer on the sautéed onions.

Make sure to spread the onions evenly over the sour cream.

Top with the chopped bacon.

Return to the oven for an addition 20 to 25 minutes.  After 20 minutes, check to see if the bottom of the crust is a light golden brown.  If not, put it back in the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes.

Slice the zwiebelkuchen and serve hot.

Enjoy any leftovers the next day.   It can be eaten cold or reheated.

Zwiebelkuchen freezes well and our kids often used to take the frozen slices to school.  By lunchtime, the zwiebelkuchen was thawed and ready to eat.

This post has been added to the Ultimate Recipe Swap over at Life as Mom

And also to The Mummy Club co-hosted by Crystal & Co. and Milk & Cuddles

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German Cooking Week – Jaeger Toast

Posted by supermom on October 5, 2011

On Saturdays, when we lived in Germany, one of things we used to do for fun was get in the car and drive through some of the small villages surrounding Lahr.  Then when we got hungry we’d stop for lunch at one of the local Gasthaus’.   My favourite lunch menu item to order was called Jaeger Toast.

This is my interpretation of that Jaeger Toast and it couldn’t be simpler to make.

You’ll need:

One loaf of French or Italian Bread

Black Forest Ham (one to two slices per slice of bread)

Mushrooms, sliced thinly

Well aged Swiss cheese (one or two slices per slice of bread)

To assemble:

Slice bread about 1 inch thick and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Put them on the second rack in the oven under the broiler and allow to lightly toast.  They toast quickly so make sure to watch them.

Remove from oven.

Turn the toast over with a fork and brush lightly with olive oil.

Add one or two slices of ham.

Then layer on the mushrooms.

Top with a slice or two of Swiss cheese.

Pop them back under the broiler and let them bake until the cheese is melted, golden brown and bubbling.

Remove from the oven.

Serve and enjoy.

Make sure you get at least two slices for yourself.  The day I made these… Dave ate six of them.  So if you’re cooking for a family… better make up two trays of them.

The great thing about these simple open-faced sandwiches is that you can customize them to suit your own tastes.

Try replacing the mushrooms with a slice of pineapple.  Yummy!   This was called Hawaiian Jaeger Toast on the Gasthaus menus; even in Germany if you add pineapple to a recipe they call it Hawaiian.

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German Cooking Week – How to Make Homemade Spaetzle

Posted by supermom on October 4, 2011

Spaetzle is a German type of egg noodle that is more likely to be served as a side to the main course than say mashed potatoes would be in North America.  And it quickly became a family favourite.

When we lived in Germany, I could buy dried spaetzle as it was available in almost every grocery store.  But once we were posted back to Canada, I had to learn how to make it from scratch.

Ingredients for Spaetzle

5 c all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp white pepper (black pepper can be substituted)

6 large eggs

1 ¾ c water

Combine flour, salt, pepper and eggs.

Add enough water to make a very thick batter.

If you’ve added enough water… the batter should look like this:

Spoon batter into the hopper of the spaetzle maker.

 

Move the hopper back and forth across the grater.

When the noodles float, they are done.

Scoop them out with a large slotted spoon.

Drain well.

Repeat the above steps until all the batter is used.

This recipe will make a large bowl of spaetzle.

We've already taken one meal's worth of spaetzle out of this bowl. The leftover spaetzle will keep in the fridge to be used with meals throughout the week or it can be frozen. We've also discovered that it dehydrates beautifully, so it can be stored dried in a sealed container.

The noodles can be eaten as is; tossed with a bit of butter and salt and pepper to taste.

But what I usually do is make the noodles earlier in the afternoon and then fry the cooked noodles in butter.

And top with homemade gravy once served.

Here the spaetzle is served with pork ribs, but they would be the perfect accompaniment for the Beef Rouladen recipe that I posted yesterday.

I save and freeze leftover gravy in one cup portions when I roast beef, turkey or chicken just for the purpose of reheating to pour over spaetzle.

To make spaetzle the traditional way (without a spaetzle maker):

Combined ingredients as described above.

Wet a cutting board with water and scoop out a large spoonful of the batter onto the cutting board.

Holding the board over the boiling water, use a knife to cut off bits of the batter and drop them into the water.

If you dip the knife in the boiling water after each time, the batter doesn’t stick to it as much.

Scoop them out when they float and drain.

Here’s a side by side comparison of spaetzle made the traditional way and spaetzle made with a spaetzle maker.

The spaezle on the left has been made the traditional way and is more rustic looking that the spaezle on the right that was made with the spaetzle maker.  But I can assure you, each tastes equally as delicious.

Come back again tomorrow, when I’ll be sharing how to make Jaeger Toast.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

German Cooking Week – Beef Rouladen

Posted by supermom on October 3, 2011

When we were posted to Germany, we always looked forward to October because that meant Oktoberfests which almost by definition means good food, good beer and good cheer.

Dave is the beer drinker in our family, but there was one little gausthaus called The Adler Klaus in Lahr that served the only kind of beer that I’ve ever actually liked.  Dave would order eine grosses bier for himself and ein kleine bier for me.

In honour of our time in Germany those many years ago and the many Oktoberfests that will be held in Germany and around the world, I’ve decided to have a German Cooking Week.

There are probably as many recipes for Beef Rouladen as there are kitchens in Germany.   My recipe is a combination of different recipes I’ve adapted for our family from the German cook books I brought back with me when we were posted back to Canada.

Beef Rouladen

To serve 4 people you will need:

Approximately 2 lb of beef thinly sliced (you can ask the butcher to do this or slice them yourself, which is what we did)

½ lb bacon

1 very large onion

Several mushrooms sliced (or rehydrate dry mushrooms, like we did)

1 pint of beef broth

Your favourite mustard

To start… if you are using dried mushrooms… in a small pot, bring beef broth to a boil, turn off heat and add about a cup of dried mushrooms.  Allow to soak while you get the meat ready.

Round steak was on for a good price at our local IGA, so we picked up a 2 lb package.

And then Dave sliced the steak in half to take them from about ½” thickness to ¼” thickness.

Trim fat from beef slices.

The slices of beef need to be about 1/8 of an inch thick, so I pounded them with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer until they are about that thickness.

Fry ½ lb of chopped bacon until soft and the fatty bits are cooked, but not until crisp.

Remove bacon and put it in a bowl.  Drain excess fat from the pan.

Chop one large onion.  If using fresh mushrooms chop those now too.

Add chopped onions to that same pan.

If using dried mushrooms… drain the now rehydrated mushrooms, reserving broth you soaked them in.

Sauté onions and mushrooms until onions are translucent.

Mix onions and mushrooms in the bowl with the cooked bacon.

Spread your favourite mustard on each slice of beef.  (We used spicy brown mustard)

Spoon on bacon, onion and mushroom mixture.

Roll up meat and secure with wooden toothpicks.

Place rolls in fry pan you used to fry bacon, onions and mushrooms.

Sauté until browned on all sides.  Depending on the size of your rolls and the size of pan you may have to do this in several batches.

While meat is browning, peel and slice 5 or 6 large potatoes about 1/4” thick.  Layer in the bottom of your slow cooker.  You could also add other root vegetables as well… carrots, parsnips, turnips… whatever you have on hand.

Arrange browned beef rolls on top of slice potatoes.

Don’t waste all that carmelized goodness from frying the meat.

Deglaze the fry pan with the broth you reserved from rehydrating the mushrooms… or if you used fresh mushrooms with plain beef broth.

Pour over the meat rolls and potatoes.

Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Remove the meat rolls from the slow cooker.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the potatoes and place in a bowl.  Cover the meat and potatoes with foil to keep warm while you make the gravy.

Pour the liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker into a pan.

Bring to a boil.  Mix about ¼ c of corn starch with ½ cup of water and pour into pan.  Cook until gravy is thickened.

Serve meat and potatoes topped with gravy.

Now that there’s just Dave and I for most meals, I could have made this recipe with just one pound of beef and a couple of potatoes.  Instead I made it pretty much like I would have when all our kids were home and it became what I called planned leftovers as we had enough left to make up a freezer meal for a night when neither of us feels like cooking.

 

This post has been added to the Ultimate Recipe Swap over at Life as Mom.

And also to Your Recipe, My Kitchen at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

Posted in Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Dehydrating Mushrooms

Posted by supermom on October 1, 2011

 

My blog Super Mom – No Cape and all its content has moved to

www.supermomnocape.com

For the contents of this particular post click on the link below:

Dehydrating Mushrooms

 

Posted in Budget Savers, Canning and Preserving, Recipes | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

 
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