Celebration Week #3: Play-It-Again Dorie {ffwd}

Spaetzle

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.

My Recipe Box

My Recipe Box

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.

SpaetzlePress

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.

IMG_2304

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!)

Parisian Gnocchi

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.

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Posted on 13 June 2015, in French Fridays with Dorie. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Betsy, you are making me hungry!!! I love your spaetzle story. It doesn’t get old, though now I need to find the casserole recipes!!! I’m jealous too about you getting together with Cher. I’m sure you had a fabulous evening!

    And finally, the gnocchi! I thought it was a great recipe, though decadent!

    You are getting closer my friend. Sounds like you had a great beginning to the weekend! Enjoy!!

  2. OMG! I love spaetzle and love preparing it. After a visit to Germany, I was hooked and just had to by the right tool for this delicious dish. Happy that you and Cher got together, it’s
    fun to meet up with a Dorista, isn’t it?

  3. It isn’t often you hear such a touching story about späetzle… being a pragmatic New Englander I am very happy to hear that your maker is being used; that making späetzle reminds you of your mom is truly wonderful. Now you have me craving schnitzel. I never made späetzle as a side, only warm German potato salad… interesting!

  4. peggygilbey814628432

    Dear Betsy, so I was thinking of you today while clearing my pantry when I identified my potato river. Hmm, I thought. Could I use this for spaetzel, recalling your recent mention to such spaetzle maker in your basement. I Love Spaetzle, and yet I’ve suited to only eat it prepared at area German and Austrian restaurants. You’ve got me hooked. A lovely story, touching. I shall miss your Dorie stories Betsy. Thank You for the sharing !

  5. I am glad you got to use that spaetzle maker – it is hard work without one!

  6. TheKitchenLioness

    Dear Betsy, ah, that “Spätzlepresse” – I now own about seven different models and have decided to go back to the Swabian style of making these lovely, totally addictive, kids-always-go.crazy-for-them, dumplings – so, if you know anyone who needs one of these…. Seriously, one of the best recipes that you could chose from AMFT – perfect!
    Wishing you and Howard a wonderful weekend,
    Andrea

  7. I absolutely love this story Betsy – I had forgotten about it so thanks for repeating :) Also ridiculously jealous of all your Dorista meetups!!!

  8. Congratulations on the “only four more recipes” mark. You’re going to get it done. I don’t remember your telling us the complete “Spätzlepresse”story only that you found it in your basement. I LOVE that whole family memory, Betsy. As you know, Spätzle was not a winner for me but if I ever have an opportunity to work with a “Spätzlepresse”, I will try it again. And, your French Mac&Cheese looks delicious. Like Candy, you are making me hungry. Very nice Post.

  9. What a wonderful story Betsy, love these noodles. Looks like you all became really great friends in your Dorie cooking group. Have a great week! Cheri

  10. I had kind of forgotten about spaetzele and you made me remember that I don’t believe I ever made it when Gary was home. I need to make some soon!

  11. I love that you shared this story again. This book has really enriched all our lives, hasn’t it?

  12. What a lovely story. My husband and I also collected recipes on our wedding day and that book still stands strong as my absolute favorite wedding gift. But despite the fact that I got married in Germany, I didn’t receive a spätzle maker! In fact, we still don’t have one. When we make this recipe (usually for Thanksgiving, don’t ask me why) we just buy it from the store.

  13. I love the story about your mother and the spatzle maker! How special!! I haven’t repeated the spatzle…and I really enjoyed it! I think it’s time to pull that one out again!
    So nice that you and Cher got together in Boston…two of my favorite Dorista’s!!

  14. The spaetzle press story has to be one of my favorites :-)
    Congratulations on making it all the way through the book and it was so great to catch up with you Friday. I still don’t understand what the heck was up with that tart tatin. That was a bit too deconstructionist even for someone like me!

  15. I love that story. And having all your wedding guests contribute a recipe for you to keep is such a lovely way to celebrate your marriage and all your relationships.

  16. I had not heard the spaetzle story before so thanks for sharing again. Those gnocchi look delicious. Another one to add to the list. I miss my Friday crew already.

  17. I love, love the idea of including blank recipe cards in wedding invitations. It almost makes me want to get married again (still to Paul). Now you’ve made me really want a spaetzle maker. I really like it, but find it a lot of work with the colanders I have around.

  18. I love this story! I hadn’t realized spaetzle was now a favorite of yours after all those years of never using the spaetzle maker before. Thank you Dorie!

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