Curious about Spätzlesalat (Cold Spätzle Salad)?

Want to surprise guests with a new kind of cold salad? Then try this Spätzle Salad, a special egg noodle, served with fresh veggies, bacon, cheese and a light dressing.

My new food obsession is spätzle (or spaetzel)! I consumed large amounts of it during my summer vacation in Austria and Hungary. What are they? Well they are like a cross between dumplings and soft egg noodles. You will find them in almost every plate served to you in Central European countries. Spätzle means “little sparrow”. Almost all countries have the same spelling, yet in Hungary they are usually called nokedli. After reading this post you will be able to prepare your own delicious cold spätzle salad which will be a hit at your next pot-luck party.

And finally, a bonus at the end of the post with a few pics from my summer vacation! 🙂

Spätzlesalat Cold Spätzle Salad mit basil
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Cheesy Garlic Party Bread for the 5th Food Film Marathon

How do you get everyone running to the buffet table? Serve a pipping hot bread laden with fresh mozzarella, minced garlic, butter, and parsley.

Hosting home parties, the Canadian Thanksgiving, the upcoming arrival of Halloween, followed by the American Thanksgiving, and after that Christmas, New Year’s Eve and insert-your-local-holiday-here. It is that time of year to start prepping your menu plan and finding the perfect party recipes. You can never start too soon!

For me, the perfect party food is one that requires a small number of ingredients, one that is easy and quick to prepare – preferably ahead of time -, and that once you put it in the oven your guest are swooning over the smells coming from the kitchen. This Cheesy Garlic Party Bread absolutely checked all these boxes. It truly was the ideal contribution for my 5th Food Film Marathon which took place a couple of weekends ago.

Cheesy Garlic Party Bread

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Dim Sum Staples: Let’s Make Shumai 燒賣 and Law Bok Gow 蘿蔔糕

Dim Sum is one of the best ways to enjoy brunch with friends. just choose a whole bunch of dishes to share for the table and dig in with chopsticks! Two of my favorite selections are Shumai and Law Bok Gow. Let’s make them at home!

Now let’s make one thing clear: my friends know if you come to eat at my place you are a willing and participating guinea pig! I have been waiting a long time to get a kick in the butt to try my hand at some Chinese Dim Sum recipes. The marriage here was perfect and I prepared Shumai | shāomài | 燒賣 (Pork and Shrimp Dumplings) and Law Bok Gow | Luóbo gāo | 蘿蔔糕 (Daikon Radish Cake). It’s Food ‘n Flix and Creative Cooking Crew time again, all wrapped up into one post! For Food ‘n Flix the chosen film was Kung Fu Panda 1 and/or 2; and for the Creative Cooking Crew challenge was “What’s for Breakfast?”.

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The Liver Experiment Week 3: Austrian Liver Dumplings (Leberknödel)

Yes it is already time for the next instalment of The Liver Experiment where I will try to acquire a taste for liver. Over a 10 week period I will cook, consume and post my experience once a week about trying to appreciate my food nemesis. If you want to know why I am doing this in the first place please read my Week 1 post. Again, thank you all for your comments and support. I am really enjoying the exchange with my readers with this series all over the social medias and comments. I hope my experiment will inspire you to try the same with your own personal food nemesis. And even if you are determined to hate liver for life I hope you will follow along throughout the whole series.

I was so happy to be able to combine Week 3 with this month’s Creative Cooking Crew, our first one of 2014! This month our theme was dumplings: any kind from any nation so there was plenty of room for creativity. I decided to follow my ancestral roots for this challenge. One of the most authentic foods you will find in Austrian cuisine are a type of dumpling called knödel. This week we will prepare Austrian Liver Dumplings, one of the most popular knödel dishes.

IMG_3808

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Momos for Mama

InternationalWelcome to the third International Incident Party! This month the theme is dumplings.
I decided to make Momos and served it to my mom on  Mother’s day! Hence Momos for Mama!

Dumplings? I was left very anxious. Its not something I ever recall making and I had no idea where to start. For the  Pizza Pie event I was hit with an idea like a bolt of lighting the moment I read the theme. But dumplings? This was going to require some actual thought and research.

So what exactly can be classified as a dumpling? Its a pretty vast term. According to Wikipedia a dumplings are cooked balls of dough. They are based on flour, potatoes, bread or matzoh meal, and may include meat, fish, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, simmering, frying, or baking. Ingredients may be as a part of a filling, or mixed throughout the dumpling. Dumplings may be sweet, spicy or savory. They may be eaten alone, in soup, with gravy, or in many other presentations.

Yeah that did not help me narrow down my choice! But I did not give up and I Googled on. Ah! finally something inspiring: Momos! Momos are a traditional snack, even considered fast food, in Nepal, Tibet, and Sikkim. I was actually familiar with momos already as there are about 4 Tibetan restaurants in Montreal and I have been to them several times.  The recipe below is actually considered Nepalese. This is a vegetarian version but it can be stuffed with a meat preparation as well. I made these momos as the first service, the appetizer, of our Mother’s day meal. Momos have always intrigued me so it was fun to learn how to make them. It is a bit of a pain in the *** to make the wrappers but it is worth it (and good exercise for the triceps). It was also my first time steaming! Thanks for the learning experience!

Spinach and Cheese Momos

Recipe sources: wrappers and adapted sauce from Pokhara City; spinach and cheese filling from The Kopan Cookbook by Betty Jung.
Makes about 28 momos

Dough for wrappers:

3 cups flour
1 tbsp oil
1 cup water
Pinch of salt

In a large bowl combine flour, oil, salt and water. Mix well, knead until the dough becomes homogeneous in texture, about 8-10 min. Cover and let stand for at least 30 min. Prepare filling and sauce in the mean time.

Spinach and Cheese Filling

2 c fresh spinach
2 c mild white cheese (Jack or Mozzarella), grated
1/4 c melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Parboiled spinach and allow to cool. Squeeze out all the water and chop. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, cheese, melted butter, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Tomatillo Sauce:

8 to 10 tomatillos (or use 4-5 regular tomatoes with a dash of lemon juice)
1 tbsp sesame seed
1 tsp garlic, crushed
1 tbs Chili powder (or ‘heat’ as desired)
Salt and pepper to taste
water, if needed.

Put all the ingredients in a blender. Blend till the tomatoes are almost pureed. Add a bit of water if to thick. You want a thick liquid consistency.

Assembly:

Give the dough a final knead.

Prepare 1 inch dough balls. Take a ball, roll between your palms to spherical shape. Dust working board with dry flour. On the board gently flatten the ball with your palm to about 2-in circle. Cover with a towel the flattened balls so they do not dry out.

Use a rolling pin to roll out each flattened circle into a wrapper. For well executed Momos, it is essential that the middle portion of the wrapper be slightly thicker than the edges to ensure the structural integrity of dumplings during packing and steaming. Hold the edges of the semi-flattened dough with one hand and with the other hand begin rolling the edges of the dough out, swirling a bit at a time. Continue until the wrapper attains 3-in diameter circular shape. Repeat with the remaining semi-flattened dough circles. Cover with a towel the flattened balls so they do not dry out.

For packing hold wrapper on one palm, put one tablespoon of filling mixture and with the other hand bring all edges together to the center, making the pleats. Pinch and twist the pleats to ensure the absolute closure of the stuffed dumpling. This holds the key to good tasting, juicy dumplings.

Heat up a steamer, oil the steamer rack well. Arrange uncooked Momos in the steamer. Close the lid, and allow steaming until the dumplings are cooked through, about 15-20 min. Take the dumplings off the steamer, and immediately serve.

To serve, arrange the cooked Momos on a plate dressed with the tomatillo sauce. Decorate with cilantro or basil leaves. Enjoy!

All Participants:

And also remember to stay tune for next IIP – Noodles on the 20th of June!