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Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Marillenknödel – Austrian Apricot Dumplings

My folks are in town for a few weeks.  We wanted to make some German/Austrian food while they were visiting.  Today we made Marillenknödel (German for Apricot Dumplings) for lunch.  They are apricots wrapped in a cheese dough, then cooked in simmering water for 15 minutes.  Then you roll the dumplings in toasted breadcrumbs and coconut flakes.  Sprinkle each crumb coated dumpling with a little sugar and extra breading on the side and enjoy.  It was nice to work with my mother to make these. One word of caution though, if the fruit is very juicy you need to take care or it could squirt hot fruit juice.  You could easily swap out the fruit with plums (but they would be called “Zwetschkenknödel”in German).

The dough our family used most was called Topfenteig (the closest ingredient to that is cream cheese, though not the perfect substitute it works!) Other doughs used can be Kartoffelteig (Potato dough) or Brandteig (similar to the dough you use in creating cream puffs). Here is our family’s rendition:

Marillenknödel- Austrian Apricot Dumplings

adapted from a traditional recipe used in Austria

Serves 6

Dough:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp flour (plus more if needed)

Breadcrumb coating:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup dry plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

6 apricots (or plums- or even large strawberries)

Instructions:

Mix cream cheese, egg and salt together.  Gradually add flour – enough to make the dough  not overly sticky and easy to handle, but soft and pliable.  Split the dough into 6 equal size balls.  Flour a pastry board and us a rolling pin to gently make small discs of dough.  Roll the apricots in flour and place in center of the dough rounds.  Gently wrap the dough around the fruit and seal the seams.  Repeat with remaining dough and fruit.  The process of wrapping the dough takes some patience, but it is well worth the effort.

Allow the dumplings to rest (at room temperature) while you get a large pot of water to the boiling point.  When it is at a full boil, lower the dumplings carefully into the hot water.  They may sink to the bottom while others may float.  Lower the heat so it is still simmering, but not a full boil while the dumplings are in the water.  Gently stir the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any dumplings that may stick to the bottom, but this is usually not a problem.  Cook for about 15 minutes.

In a large non stick skillet, over medium heat, melt butter.  Add the dry breadcrumbs (Progresso is fine) and coconut flakes and stir to toast the crumbs.  Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon and place in the crumb mixture, carefully roll and spoon the crumbs over the dumplings.  Place on a serving platter.

To serve, sprinkle each dumpling with about 1/2 tsp of sugar and enjoy.  This makes a great breakfast, lunch or dessert.

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Mom’s Raisin Gravy

Here is a recipe for Ham.  With Easter looming just days away, I think I need to start thinking about the menu for that.  When I was growing up my mom would prepare a raisin gravy to go with the ham.  I have to admit, as a child I did not enjoy it much, but now that I am an adult, I cannot have ham without serving this on the side.  It is a good and simple recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as well — maybe it will be a walk down memory lane to your childhood too!

Mom’s Raisin Gravy – Verna

Ingredients

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp Vinegar
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 tsp Prepared Mustard
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
Lemon Zest
1 1/2 cups Water

Instructions

Combine all ingredients and heat over medium heat, until a nice consistency. Serve with Ham.

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Marillenknödel – Apricot Dumplings

Here is another very German/Austrian meal.  We would sometimes have this for dinner, but more frequently as a dessert.  A lovely cream cheese dough is wrapped around an apricot (or plum -Zwetschken) and then it is boiled in water and rolled in toasted breadcrumbs and sprinkled with sugar.  A word of caution if you are going to eat these after you make them (that usually happens around my house) They are quite hot on the center and depending on how juicy your fruit was to start with it does tend to squirt hot juice from the fruit and can scald – so please be careful! How do you eat it? with a fork.  It is a great summer dessert.  Also beware the pit! This recipe is also from my mom.

There are several different dough variations used.  This one is close to the Topfenteig (Topfen also called Quark in Germany) is similar to cream cheese, but not exactly, I have had to take some liberties with the  ingredients.  Other doughs that are often made are Brandteig (similar to the dough you would use making cream puffs) and Kartoffelteig (potato dough).  Our family most frequently made the Topfen (cheese) dough.

Images: Click Here

Marillenknödel – Verna H. (Apricot Dumplings)
Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1  large Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 lb Butter — or margarine
  • plain dry bread crumbs (3/4 cup more or less)
  • granulated sugar, to taste
  • 8 medium Apricots (or plumbs)

Instructions
Mix creamed cheese, egg, salt.  Gradually add flour.  Flour hands, take a piece of dough, pat it flat and wrap the fruit in it.  Drop in boiling, slightly salted water for about 10 minutes.  Fruit balls will float so use a large pot.
In the meantime, brown breadcrumbs in margarine.  When dumplings are done, roll them in the browned breadcrumbs and sprinkle with sugar and serve.

Dumplings using plums as center are called “Zwetschkenknoedel”

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Black Forest Cherry Cake

There are cakes that turn your head when you see them.  I think this one falls into that category.

My mother would make this cake for special occasions.  One such occasion was my leaving from NY to England for a semester of school.  It was the dead of winter and NY  had become paralyzed by a blizzard.  Flights were delayed for hours.  I met up with another friend who was flying to the same place and my parents and one of my aunts met us at the airport as well.  We had quite the party there in the airport eating Black Forest Cherry Cake in the terminal — my parents said that there were quite a few jealous looks.  This recipe is from my mom.  Enjoy.

Black Forest Cherry Cake (Authentic)

Serves 8-10          Verna H.
Crust: (bottom cookie-like crust upon which the cake is built)

  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tbps. Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Sift well then add:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/3 cup butter (or mix of butter and margarine)

Pat mixture into 10-inch “spring form” lined cake pan and poke holes in it with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes at 400°F.
Sponge Cake (for layers):

  • 4 egg yolks (beat until light yellow)  Set the egg whites aside for later
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond flavoring
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix ingredients well

  • 4 egg whites (beat until stiff)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (beat into mixture gradually)
  • Pour the egg white mixture over the egg yolk mixture

Sift following ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Pour over the above mixture and fold under.
Pour batter into a paper lines spring form.  Bake at 375° F for 25-30 minute and let cool.  Slice the cooled cake to make two layers.
Filling and Frosting:
Mix a bit of kirsch or rum flavoring with tart cherry pie filling.  Beat 2 1/2 cups of whipping cream together with 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Dissolve 1 Tbps. of Knox gelatin in 2 Tbps of water.  Bring to a boil.  Add gelatin to half of the whipping cream for the outer cake frosting.
Spread 1/2 of cherry filling on the bottom crust.
Add a layer of whipped cream on top of the cherry filling.  Place sponge cake layers on top of this and add more filling and whipped cream.  Use the whipped cream mixed with gelatin to frost the cake.  Sprinkle flakes of grated chocolate bar over the frosting.  Place cherries around the outer top for decoration.  Enjoy!

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German Apple Pancakes

Here is a recipe I got from my dear mother-in-law when I married my husband.  She was a warm and wonderful individual with a sweet spirit and generous heart.  She was inspiring in her battle against cancer, which she lost in 1994, 12 years after her initial diagnosis.  Susan will be in our hearts and minds forever.  I am sorry my children did not get to know her. She and her husband Frank raised four terrific boys who grew into wonderful, caring men.  This past February my father-in-law also passed away.  But the legacy is carried on.  Memories of them will not be soon forgotten.

German Apple Pancakes

  • 1 egg beaten (3 eggs)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (1 1/2 tsp. salt)
  • 1/2 cup milk (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup flour (1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 apples, peeled, and cored (6)
  • powdered sugar

Peel, core, and slice apples into rings.  In a medium bowl, mix the egg and salt together.  Add milk, then flour to make a thin batter.  Dip apple rings into batter and fry in oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle with desired amount of powdered sugar.  Keep warm if necessary. (amounts in original recipe – which would serve a household of 4 growing boys!)

This recipe was passed down from my husband’s grandmother who was a German immigrant.  Enjoy!

Pictures still to come.

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Greek Orzo Salad

This is a wonderful refreshing dish that I love to serve at our home.  My husband and I seem to always battle for the last bowl when the late night munchies hit.  We end up sharing!

It is an easy dish to put together, chop your veggies and such while the pasta cooks and then cool the orzo under running cold water and it is a flash to assemble.  The beauty of this dish is you can put any veggies in you want.  My mom made this with green beans once and broccoli another time. Both were delicious.  I happen to like this combination the best.  But if you did not like artichokes, or cucumbers – substitute away!

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
Serves 6-8

  • 3/4 lb Orzo Pasta (I love the Barilla Brand)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced (I like the hot house or English ones they are most consistently good)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 1 can black olives (Greek style if you desire, but can be made with just regular olives if you wish)
  • 1 package cherry or grape tomatoes (chopped tomato is fine too)
  • fresh basil, chopped (to taste or 1 tsp of dried basil works in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cut in cubes if you like larger pieces of feta
  • 1/2 jar roasted Red Peppers (optional)

For the Dressing:

  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. mint
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Cook the Pasta according to the directions.  Prepare the vegetables, and put in a large bowl.  When the pasta is cooked, drained and cooled, add to the chopped veggies.  Combine the ingredients of the dressing and pour over the pasta salad.  Combine.  Add the feta cheese last, it seems to hold together better then.  Enjoy.  This really is quite addicting.  I think you will find it is as well.

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