Sunday, March 6, 2011

Internet Recipe Misadventures

When I am looking for  German recipe, my first stop usually is my trusted Dr. Oetker Kochbuch, a cookbook I brought with me from Germany in the 80s.  If I can't find it there, I search for it on the Internet. Usually, I compare and contrast several versions of the recipe before I attempt to cook the dish myself.

One of the German recipes I had been meaning to make was Schupfnudeln, a rolled noodle made from a potato-based dough.  Where I come from, they're actually called Buwespitzle - and I am not going to translate that word since my blog may be flagged as "adult", if I do....

At any rate, since Dr. Oetker failed me for this dish, I searched for - and found - a recipe on the Internet. It sounded simple enough, so I skipped the comparison step.

Since the recipe I found turned out to be a spectacular failure with regards to the recipe description, I am not going to link to it.  Suffice it to say is was found at under "Beilagen" (side dishes).  It's the recipe called "Buwespitzle, Schupfnudeln".

The recipe called for 1 kg of potatoes, 200 g of flour, 2 eggs, some salt, and nutmeg.  Finely grate the potatoes. Mix with eggs and add salt and nutmeg.  Add flour until the dough is firm and not sticky.

Since I don't have a fine grater, I shredded the potatoes first, then chopped them in my food processor.  I was quite proud of myself, because it sort of looked like the potatoes had been grated. I added salt and nutmeg.  Then I added the flour - and immediately realized that something was seriously wrong.  Using the amount of flour given, this dough was far from firm.  As a matter of  fact, it was a watery potato mess! Since it consisted of raw potatoes, the mass was also getting browner by the minute.

It's really too bad that I didn't take a picture.

I added more flour, probably more than a pound, until the dough was firm enough.  Finally, I boiled saltwater as instructed, rolled the dough into small dumplings and simmered them in the water until the floated up.

They held together, but they tasted awful!  Now I know what boiled flour cakes taste like.

While they were simmering, I got back on the Internet to see, if other recipes for Schupfnudel were similar to this one - and I immediately realized that most recipes called for cooked potatoes to make the dough rather than raw ones.

I found a single recipe that called for 2 part boiled and 1 part raw potato here. However, the author made it very clear that the raw potatoes' liquid had to be removed by squeezing the grated potato mass in a cheese cloth.  Now you tell me!

Lessons learned:
Don't be in a hurry when you try out new things.
Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
There are some really bad recipe descriptions out there.
Do compare a few recipes before you start cooking - and don't skip that step!
If in doubt, call your mother!

So, anybody else want to share their recipe misadventures? 

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