Being on vacation makes me happy. I’m sure it’s the same for you and, really, it seems rather trite to say such a thing. But I mean it. Being on vacation turns me into the most optimistic and fun-loving person who ever walked this planet. I find everything about new places is wonderful and endearing.
The disturbed man in London who is standing in the street shouting obscenities? Charming! He’s got lots to say!
The beer bottles on the side of the road in a tiny town in South America? Lovely! Maybe they were left there after a carnival or parade of sorts?
Aren’t foreign towns and cities the greatest?
It’s all silliness, I know. However, I do enjoy a good spot of time away from the rainclouds that cast shadows over this city all too often. And, among those places for which I always have wanderlust, is Germany. It is a country high on my list of favorite places to visit. It’s possibly because I spent a good deal of time there with a German boyfriend and really fell in love with the landscape and the people. Yes, that’s possible. However, it’s more honest to admit my heart yearns frequently for hearty German food and beer.
I also have an affinity for those crazy glasses and jeans Germans wear. I find jean technology there quite advanced. All that street fashion, however, is for discussion on another day. Right now, I might remind you that I am a finalist in the Whole Foods Foodie Fantasy Video Contest. The prize for winning is a trip to both Paris and Berlin. And, while Maeve is truly excited about her first taste of croissant and the tiniest sip of Orangina, she is possibly even more smitten with the idea of gorging on large plates of spaetzle.
Have you ever tried spaetzle? If not, I recommend you address this lapse right away. If you enjoy pasta, I know you will love spaetzle. It’s really the German version of pasta and even easier to make than a fresh pot of the good old Italian variety. The consistency is similar as well as the flavor. However, I wouldn’t suggest you pile a bunch of marinara over your spaetzle. I would suggest you make it like I did with shallots and bacon. It’s a rich dish, perfect for a rainy Spring day around here or any day, really.
You can use a spaetzle maker like the one in the picture or squeeze your dough through a collander with similar type holes. There is no right or wrong way to go about this because spaetzle is irregular in shape. It’s sort of forgiving in that way, which is always refreshing. Besides, no one will really see it once you pile on those delicious savory toppings.
So I made some spaetzle for you today. It’s a little reminder about our contest and Maeve’s cultural education. It’s also our way of saying thanks to you for voting for us. We appreciate your support more than I can properly express in this little post.
And, one more thing. Did you know you can vote DAILY? Yes, it’s true! You can vote every 24 hours until Friday.
If we are victorious, I promise to blog and photograph our journey to Berlin and, in particular, Maeve’s first bites of this delectable German specialty.
Fresh Herbed Spaetzle
5 strips of bacon, about 4 oz.
2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 kosher teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
4 teaspoons minced parsley
4 teaspoons minced rosemary
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 medium shallots, diced
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, and set it onto a paper towel to drain. Once dry, chop it into small bits. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan.
Blend flour, salt, and pepper together in large bowl. Whisk in eggs and milk, forming soft batter. Mix in half of herbs.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Butter a large bowl. Working with 1/3 cup batter at a time and using rubber spatula, press batter directly into boiling water through 1/4-inch holes on coarse grater, strainer, or wide ladle. Stir spaetzle to separate and boil 2 minutes. Using a fine sieve, scoop spaetzle from pot, drain well, and transfer to buttered bowl.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with the bacon fat in the skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add shallots and sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and spaetzle. Sauté until the spaetzle begin to brown, stirring often, about 5-10 minutes. Mix in the remaining herbs and bacon. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.