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Austrian Bread Dumplings 101

Semmelknôdel (Austrian Bread Dumpling) was one of my favorite foods growing up in Austria. I have wanted to make a tutorial of sorts for Americans (like myself) to make this wonderful food even though you are not in Austria to enjoy them.  If you love stuffing (dressing) you probably will like this.  They are dumplings made of bread, egg, milk, flour, and regionally also includes cooked bacon.  The region of Tyrol in Austria uses bacon in them.  They call them Speckknôdel.  In this blog post I will have step by step instructions.  If you do not want bacon in them, just leave it out (but why would you?)

To start off, use a stale baguette – you know.. it was sitting on your counter a few days too long but is not completely dried out yet, you still can cut it into cubes with the centers of the cubes slightly soft but pretty dry on the outside.  I also made them with Ciabatta bread with success.  Semmel in Austria is like a Kaiser roll.  Except here in the States, Kaiser rolls are often soft and not the crisp texture that they have in Austria, so I found that a French Baguette does the job perfectly!

Cut the 3 days old French Baguette into 1/2 inch cubes and place the cubes in a large bowl.

Add 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

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Cube 8 ounces of bacon and fry them in a non stick skillet until crisped up.  Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and place the bacon bits on a paper towel to drain.

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Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings from the skillet.  Saute 1/2 cup chopped onions over medium heat until cooked and lightly browned.  Add the cooked onions, cooked bacon, and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour to the bread cubes in the bowl.

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Mix the bread cubes, bacon bits, onion, parsley, flour by hand to combine.

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Pour 3/4 cup (6 oz) of cold milk into a measuring cup.

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Add two large eggs to the milk.

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Whisk the egg and milk mixture until well combined.

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Pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread cubes mixture in the large bowl.  Begin to combine it by hand (my cheapest kitchen tool), tossing the mixture until it takes on the liquid.  Your hands do get a bit messy, but cleans up with soap and water! 🙂

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Form the dumplings into snow ball sized balls.

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You want the breadcrumb mixture to be quite sticky.. flour sticking to your hands.  If you press on the dumpling with your finger and it falls apart, it is not sticky enough… see?

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Sprinkle a few tablespoons of flour over the bread mixture if it does not hold together well.  I added about 3 tablespoons of flour and combined it with my hands again.  This time it was quite sticky!  Perfect!

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Once again I formed them into balls and this time they stuck together nicely.  You don’t want to squeeze them to death, but you do want nice firm dumplings that hold together nicely.

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The dumplings should be about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

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I formed 6 dumplings.

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Fill a large stockpot with 3 inches of cold water and place over a burner over high heat to bring it to a simmer.

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When the water begins to simmer (bubbles are starting to come up from the bottom, but it is not at a full boil). Add 1 tablespoon of salt.

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Carefully lower the dumplings into the salted, simmering water and reduce the heat to medium high, keeping it at a simmer, do not let it boil.  Set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes.

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After 15 minutes the dumplings will have softened up a bit but still hold their shape

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Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl.

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Serve with a meaty gravy like Rahmschnitzel

or Beef Rouladen or Wolfgang Pucks Beef Goulash with Red Cabbage.

Trouble Shooting:

Help me.. they fell apart!!! Well, not all is lost,  you can make Serviettenknôdel- loosley translated “napkin dumplings”. (if they fall apart, they did not have enough flour added to the mixture and were not sticky enough, but there is hope.. you can scoop the dumplings that have fallen apart out with a slotted spoon and place the bread mixture into a clean kitchen towel (you can also use foil).  Form the bread into a log and wrap the bread mixture tightly in the kitchen towel.  Tie off the ends of the towel and place it in the simmering water.  Cook 15 minutes.  Unwrap and slice into 1/2 inch slices.  Serve.)

My favorite way to use up leftovers .. if you are lucky enough to have leftovers:

Cut the cold dumplings into slices and then melt about half a tablespoon of butter in a non stick skillet… fry the bread dumplings turning over from time to time until golden brown.  Add an egg to the skillet,  season with salt and pepper and cook as you desire.  Yum: Breakfast is served!  This is called Knôdel mit Spiegelei (Dumpling with sunny side egg)

IMG_3048I blogged this dish already, but some time ago: https://goodcookbecky.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/semmelknodel-austrian-bread-dumplings-with-bacon/

 

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Old Fashioned Potato Salad

IMG_9625There is something about the recipes of Ina Garten – when I make them it always is very good.  This Old Fashioned Potato Salad recipe is no exception to that rule. The dressing consists of mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustard, fresh dill, and other ingredients that work together in harmony with the red potatoes.  My husband thought the potatoes should be cut smaller, but it has very good flavor!  I will make this potato salad again and again.  This recipe is from her Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook.  I made a smaller amount since it was just for my family, using 2 lbs of potatoes instead of 3.  I also reduced the amount of dressing because of that.

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

adapted from Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa at Home (p 86)

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs small red potatoes
  • kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 oz buttermilk
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup small diced celery
  • 1/2 cup small diced red onion

Instructions:

Place the potatoes in a large pot of water and cover with cool water.  Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the water and bring it to a boil.  When it comes to a full boil, reduce the heat to medium low , cover, and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes.  Drain the potatoes in a large colander.  Off heat, place the colander over your empty pot and cover the potatoes with a clean kitchen towel and steam the potatoes for 10 minutes longer.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing.  Stir together the mayonnaise and buttermilk, Dijon and whole grain mustard, dill, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

Chop the celery and onion.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them into halves and quarters (or smaller if you desire).  Place them in a large bowl.  Add the celery and onion to the potatoes and pour the dressing over the potatoes. Stir to combine the potato salad.  Taste and adjust the seasonings (salt and pepper).  Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

NOTE:

Next time I will make additional dressing to add to the potato salad, because it does absorb into the potatoes as they sit.

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Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

IMG_9603This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen.  With Independence Day quickly approaching, I wanted to try a new recipe for macaroni salad.  The ingredients caught my attention because of the addition of lemon juice.  I followed the recipe exactly – and what I liked was that the dressing was not overly thick.  The lemon added a nice fresh flavor to the salad.  What I did not like is that it seemed to be lacking something else.  I thought the parsley was overpowering.  I would change that to something like basil – and I bought a ham steak, diced it up and added about 1 cup to the salad.  It was now much better!  It still is not my most favorite recipe, but it is a nice change from the same old same old.  I also added about 1/2 tsp of Spike seasoning to the salad.  It is a seasoning I use in my Hawaiian Potato Mac salad and really like the flavors that it adds.

Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced basil (originally parsley)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp Spike (optional)
  • 1 cup diced ham steak

Instructions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions.  Do not overcook the pasta though, you want it to still have some texture once you add the dressing.  Drain the pasta.  Rinse the pasta in cold water and give it a quick drain (you want to keep a little of the moisture of the water in the pasta – it will keep the dressing from becoming overly thick.

Combine the chopped red onion, chopped celery, chopped basil (or parsley), lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper in a small bowl and add these to the cooled macaroni salad.  Stir together and allow to sit for 2 or 3 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb.

Add the mayonnaise to the pasta and stir to combine.  Season with Spike if you think it needs more flavor.  Add the chopped ham to the pasta salad and stir. Chill until serving.

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Mediterranean Chopped Salad

IMG_8936Here is another lovely salad that I made.  I found this recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook on page 74.  I love most of the recipes that I have tried from America’s Test Kitchen.  They are on TV on PBS as well.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook pg 74

Serves 6  Calories: 180/serving

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 10 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I love Cherub brand cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pitted  kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Combine the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Pour over the salad and gently toss the salad.

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Vegetable Bounty Quinoa Salad

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Tri color Quinoa by Bob’s Red Mill had this delightful salad recipe on the back of their package.  It sounded interesting enough to try.  I am finding quinoa to be something that I need to acquire a taste for.  I am not there yet, but this did have some good flavors that made it interesting.  The dressing has an Asian taste to it.  I substituted honey for sugar and increased the honey a little to give the  dressing more sweetness.  Here is my adaptation:

Vegetable Bounty Quinoa Salad

adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Tri-Color Quinoa Package

Serves 6

Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tsp toasted dark sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches black pepper

Salad:

  • 2 – 3 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 (14 oz) can white beans (or kidney beans etc)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups diced seeded cucumber
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions:

Prepare the quinoa according to package directions and cool.

Prepare the dressing, coming the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Adjust the honey to your personal preference.

Combine the salad ingredients and pour the dressing over the salad.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

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Garlic Sautéed Spinach

IMG_7203 - Version 2I am one of those people who happens to like spinach.  Especially fresh spinach.  This is another recipe by Ina Garten from her Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook (p 124).  I find that all her recipes I have made so far have excellent results.  I used 2 pounds of spinach instead of 1 1/2 because I had two bunches to use.  The ingredient list is short and preparation to table is minutes.  It was tasty enough that my husband and I had seconds.

Garlic Sautéed Spinach

adapted from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa Family Style p 124)

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 (1 lb) bundles spinach, washed and spun dry in a salad spinner, stems removed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • juice of half a lemon
  • additional salt if desired

Instructions:

Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat and add olive oil.  Sauté the minced garlic in the olive oil, stirring frequently until fragrant, but not browned.  Add the washed and dried spinach to the stock pot and use tongs to coat the spinach with the garlic and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove the lid.

It will have wilted down substantially.

Add butter and the juice of half a lemon.  Toss the spinach with tongs to make sure all the flavors are coating the spinach.  Remove the spinach to a serving bowl.  Season with additional lemon juice and more salt if desired.  Serve hot.

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Kale Chips

IMG_7009I am sorry, it is a green leafy vegetable and I want nothing of it… right? That is what you are thinking!  That is what I thought, but I had so many of my foodie friends making them and raving about them so I had to see what it was all about!  Guess what?  They are good! No, I should say addictive!  I have to play keep-away from my 10 year old son!  He may love them even more than I do!  I baked them in batches, and before the next batch was done, the previous ones were gone!  I may need a 12 step program for these.  I over salted the very first batch, but they were still good, less salt on  the second batch I made and they were better.  The third and fourth batches I added a quality balsamic vinegar before baking them.  They were not bad, but I think the pure salt method is the way to go.  The ingredient list is overwhelming – oh wait 3 ingredients.  I think even my husband can handle that!

I did find this recipe from Pinterest which led me to a site that had a wonderful step by step description (link).

Kale Chips

Adapted from http://www.kitchentreaty.com/how-to-make-kale-chips/

They are all the rage!

Serves 1 if you are home alone.. otherwise share with up to 3 other people.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ground sea salt

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Wash the bunch of kale and then take scissors or a knife and cut the stem going up into the leaf out (almost the full length of the leaf).  Tear the kale leaves into 2 inch pieces.  Dry completely between paper towels, toss and dry again.. you want them as dry as possible.

Place the kale leaf pieces in a large salad bowl and pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and toss them with your hands to get as many of the leaves as possible coated with some of the olive oil.  Place about 1/4 of the leaves (as many as will fit comfortably on  a silicone lined cookie sheet as possible, without overcrowding them)  Grind sea salt over the leaves.

Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 12 minutes.  Depending on the type of kale you used it may take more or less time.  Mine was the curly kale and took a little over 12 minutes to crisp up and wilt some. Remove from the baking sheet and place on a pretty plate.. they will look pretty there for about 30 seconds before the vultures descend upon  the kale chips and make them vanish.

Notes: Kale will end up on my grocery list a lot more in the future because of this preparation.  What a great alternative to eating salty potato chips.  It satisfies the salty craving and is better for you too!  Will I be making these treasures again? Yes I think so, but now I am going to floss and brush my teeth because I have an appliance repair guy coming to fix my dryer!

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