Thursday, October 15, 2009

Yes, Baldrick, a round of Geralds

What's better than Brats and Käse Spätzle with a slice of sourdough bread?

Brats and Käse Spätzle in a sandwich of sourdough bread!

Feeling Autumnal we decided on a classic and hearty pairing. The brats had the traditional treatment of a quick sear on the grill followed by a beer steam bath, and the käse spätzle came from Cookin' with Cyndi. FULL DISCLOSURE: sourdough was store bought and so were the spätzle egg noodles. It is okay to think less of me now.

But the meal was just... okay. Even with mustard the brats were drowing in the sourdough breads dryness, and the spätzle, despite/because of being packed with emmentaler cheese was a bit greasy but didn't have enough flavor pop. Perhaps the onions weren't carmelized enough? (they weren't, but sometimes they provide a textural foil that way) Perhaps we needed a cheese mix? More salt? Pepper?

Days later while deciding what to have for dinner my wife instinctively says "Panini*." And then due to divine inspiration says "Brat and spätzle panini!" The idea was just crazy enough to work!

*yes that is a panini maker... feel free to think even less of me now but I really like it. I used to 'ruin' grilled cheese and this not only cures that but also makes them much faster (no flipping) and even does a solid job of grilling small amounts of delicate things (thin eggplant grilled on this never comes out oily because I don't have to worry about it sticking to the grates so I only use the slightest touch of olive oil). Sure, it *is* a hassle to clean but I'm fine with scrubbing each individual ridge with a paper towel for cleaning. If you are okay with that detailed work, a panini press might be a good choice for you. If not... skip it.

The end product, despite having exactly the same ingredients in a slightly different (and reheated) configuration was PURE GOLD. The theory is maybe the flavors melded in the fridge, the extra oil from the käse in the spätzle gets absorbed by the bread. And the onion, while still not carmelized, was shining through and bringing flavor in a big-way.

This wasn't dry, this was perfection.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pizza For Dessert

You know you've got a pizza addiction when just seeing the recipe title alone gives you shivers. But so what?! Know your demons and learn to roll with them.

Autumn is going in full swing (just ignore those San Marzano tomatoes still ripening on the vine!) and the air is getting cooler. The perfect time to sit back with a hard cider and a slice of cinnamon-apple pizza.

This is the second time we've made this particular recipe; we reduce the apples to only using three granny-smiths and halving the topping (or making all the topping and saving it in the fridge for a week or two); so you aren't chained to the sink peeling apples all day.

The biggest challenge is working with the crust. Like the comment on the website says this is only marginally less effort than a pie. However what this has over a pie is it's relative flatness, it's not a gooey and, as such, makes a GREAT treat to get packed into a lunch.

A technique of old (from Cooking Light) was to completely cover the dough with plastic wrap before rolling out. A layer underneath and a layer above. What my wife has been experimenting with is half that idea; flour on the bottom of the pastry board and just a layer of plastic wrap on top during rolling. The loosening the crust from the patry board with a long offset spatula, folding the four 'corners' of the pizza in, transferring to pizza sheet, unfolding and rejoining the dough along the cracks where the folds were. No apple 'goodness' dripped through the dough onto a safety jelly roll pan below so the crust was no worse for wear.

Cool, and serve with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.