Daily Archives: 13 June 2015
As we (too) rapidly approach the end of the French Fridays with Dorie group’s celebration of the multi-year journey cooking through Around My French Table, this week’s reflection is about the recipe in the book that I’ve made the most often, in other words, “The Repeater”. Over the past several years, as I tried one new recipe a week from the same book, there are several recipes that have landed my arsenal of regular recipes. In trying to pick the one that makes it onto the menu more than any other, the winner has to be Späetzle.
If you were following my blog back when I made späetzle for the very first time back in January 2013, bear with me while I repeat this story. When Howard and I got married (we’re talking 1991), a blank recipe was enclosed in the invitations to my wedding shower. Each guest was asked to share a favorite recipe which were collected into a beautiful wooden recipe box. This box still sits on my counter today, with all these treasured recipes inside, along with over 20 years accumulation of others.
Around this time, my mother had just moved to Germany. Rather than sharing an old family recipe, her card was for something I’d never heard of: späetzle. Along with the recipe, she gave me a späetzle press. At the time we got married, we lived in a tiny apartment and the reality of merging two households into one space meant that most of the shower and wedding gifts were going to stay in their boxes for a while.
A couple of years later, we moved to our house (the same one where we live today). Many of the gifts were unpacked and put to use, but the späetzle maker stayed in the basement. When I browsed my recipe box, from time to time, I’d linger on the späetzle card, but would move on to another tried-and-true favorite.
Fast forward over 20 years. The “Dorie” recipe of the week was for späetzle. So I unearthed the späetzle maker from the basement and went to work. What a revelation! These homemade noodles were so much easier to make that Italian pasta. And you could make them ahead and just reheat them.
Since the very first time, I learned that many of my friends and family adore späetzle. Why didn’t they share the secret with me long ago? Späetzle makes an impressive side dish for a dinner party. Thanks to my German-born friend Sabine, I’ve learned it goes perfectly with schnitzel made from chicken or pork. I’ve also made several späetzle casseroles from Melissa Clark recipes using various combinations of caramelized onions, kielbasa, and melty cheese, a sort of German mac-and-cheese. No matter how you dress it up, or not, späetzle is a real crowd pleaser.
So thank you Dorie and French Fridays for inspiring me to finally make späetzle. Every time I make it even though I make Dorie’s recipe, it reminds me of my mother (who is now gone). The recipes are similar, though not exactly the same. The differences don’t seem worth trying (Mom’s uses less flour and milk) because I like the texture of Dorie’s, so there.
I only regret that I lost nearly 22 years of späetzle enjoyment. The recipe can be found here on Epicurious so you can start enjoying your own späetzle now!
I forgot to take a photo again, but last night, I met up with Cher for dinner in Boston. It was Friday, so, naturally, we ate at a French bistro, Bastille Kitchen. We had such a nice evening catching up. The time flew by!
Also, I put another missed recipe behind me. I finally made Gnocchi à la Parisienne. Speaking of international variations on mac-and-cheese, this is the French version. Briefly boiled choux pastry is layered with béchamel and Gruyere cheese and baked until puffed and bubbly. I didn’t use a deep enough dish so there was some smoking from the buttery goodness that bubbled onto the oven floor, but other than that, this was delicious! It reminded me of a cross between mac-and-cheese and a breakfast strata. Despite Dorie’s warnings to the contrary, the leftovers weren’t half bad either. (Four more recipes to go!)
To check out the other Dorista’s “Repeater” recipes, check out their links here. Stay tuned for my final tribute to Around My French Table and French Fridays with Dorie next week.