Tag Archives: easy side dish

Spatzle Time! (With a recipe)

Gentle Readers, sometimes a perfectly good plan goes terribly wrong. The other day, with pork chops on the menu, I wanted to make a simple side. I looked in the freezer for pierogie. Nada. Okay, gnocchi. And that was out of date. So now what?

Spatzle with pork chops, apple sauce, and green beans.

Spatzle with pork chops, apple sauce, and green beans.

Stop, spatzle time.

I love spatzle. TPCs Jr love spatzle, and it’s really very easy to make. I’ve tried more complicated recipes, but this is the one that works every time. If you’ve never tried spatzle, now is the time! A great simple side or a vegetarian dish if you add some cheese.

Spatzle in all their fried glory.

Spatzle in all their fried glory.

Do you have to have a spatzle maker? No, but they are awesome and inexpensive and make the whole process so very simple.

My spatzle maker at work.

My spatzle maker at work.

Fool-Proof Spatzle Recipe

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
butter (for frying)

1. Combine all ingredients. Mix well but don’t overmix.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Drop spatzle batter into the boiling water either through a colander or BEST through your spatzle maker.

3. When the spatzle float, they’re done. You can eat them now, OR you can fry them in butter. Guess which I would suggest?

Enjoy! Have you ever had spatzle? Schnitzel? Post your comments below. I’m waiting.

Send your questions, brilliant ideas, and general witticisms to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Sunday, Weekly Menus!

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Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumb Coating

Continuing the theme of Sunday dinner, there’s one important thing every Practical Cook should remember. If someone else has a good idea, take it and make it your own. Recipe swapping and doctoring is time-honored. Today’s recipe is a doctored version of a freshly swiped recipe for fried squash. Thanks to Miss Clairol for the inspiration.

Squash sliced to 1/4-inch thickness, lengthwise

Squash sliced to 1/4-inch thickness, lengthwise

Fried squash is one of the first things I helped make, because it is much faster with many hands. My family’s way superthin, cooked pretty brown, dredged only in cornmeal, salt and pepper. I love those for their familiarity, but I’ve been on a squash quest, which ended with this recipe.

Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumb Coating

2 or 3 Tablespoons canola oil with a dab of bacon grease (optional, and delicious)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
generous 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
dash of ground cayenne pepper
1 egg well-beaten with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of milk
1/3 “sleeve” of soda cracker crushed into small pieces and placed in a brown paper bag
1 to 1 1/2 pounds squash or zucchini, or a combo thereof, cleaned, ends trimmed, and sliced into 1/4-inch lengthwise slices

Special equipment: 1 cast iron skillet (preferably inherited) and 1 brown paper bag

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

Fried Squash in Three Easy Steps

Fried Squash in Three Easy Steps

2. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a shallow bowl or pie pan. Dredge squash in the mixture, working a few pieces at a time.

Out of the flour and into the egg with you squash!

Out of the flour and into the egg with you squash!

3. Now run the floured squash through the egg mixture.

Shake the squash until fully coated with crumbs

Shake the squash until fully coated with crumbs

4. Finally, put a few slices of floury, eggy squash into the cracker crumb bag. Shake. Set aside on a plate while oil heats and you finish coating a few more slices.

Squash frying in the cast-iron skillet

Squash frying in the cast-iron skillet

5. Working in batches, fry the squash, a few minutes per side, until your level of crisp is achieved. Remove to a plate covered in paper towels. Add more oil and adjust heat as needed (you’ll probably need to lower it as you go to avoid blackened squash).

Golden-Brown Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumbs

Golden-Brown Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumbs

Welcome to Sunday dinner in the South. These squash are soft but not squishy inside and crisp and flavorful outside. Just seeing the pictures makes me want to cook another batch. Thanks to The Practical Cooks Junior for helping in the assembly line.

What’s your favorite fried vegetable (that’s not a potato)? Squash, green tomatoes, okra? Post your comments here, or Tweet away.

Send your top-secret recipes and ideas to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook good word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, Can this cabbage be saved? (It’s not looking good for our heroine.)

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