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. On the way to perform my daily chore, I pass by a pond between our house and the tank.
A few days ago the pond was frozen over, so 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.
All this led me to think 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. After all this pondering, I thought over the next week or so I would share our comfort food with you.
One of my family’s favorites is Spaetzle, a German noodle dish that takes awhile to make but is 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. Germans 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 to have it almost every day when I am visiting there.
Although I had never really thought of it this way before, I guess Spaetzle is the Europeans’ version of Mac and Cheese. 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 that is different totally carb loaded! You don’t even need a Spaetzle maker, just a ziplock bag!!! (Instructions follow the recipe)
Here’s to comfort food in whatever country you are living in or visiting!
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 3 cups flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup milk
- Gallon Ziplock bag
- Romano or Asiago cheese
- Sauté your choice of items. We do mushrooms and onions always. Set them aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. When water is heated and close to boiling, mix the eggs, flour, salt, and milk together.
- 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 ⅓ 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 ⅓ 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.
[su_pullquote]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.[/su_pullquote]