Martin’s Favorite Dishes

Happy Thanksgiving! While we enjoy some turkey and pumpkin pie, here is a look back at some of Martin’s favorite dishes to make. Matin has requested to make each of these three dishes several times, many weeks later. It’s important to note I said “make” not necessarily eat… the joys of a picking eater… enjoy!

Germany: Spaetzle

Are you ready for the epic-mess-maker, the dear-Lord-why-am-I-doing-this-with-my-3-year-old?! Spätzle! I have zero pictures of any of this process, for that I’m sorry so I will do my best to accurately describe the scene.

First, what is spätzle? Well it is a type of egg noodle. A simple spiced batter is made, then small droplets are dropped into simmering water in small batches. The water cooks the spätzle and when it is done it begins to float! You then scoop the cooked noodles out of the pot and place them in ice water to stop the cooking. From here you can eat it cold, add cheese, gravy or add it to other dishes- the possibilities are endless!

Now for our experience…

The spätzle mixture is like pancake batter, thin but thick. You can either use a spätzle maker or a wide colander, or a large holed grater to form the ‘noodles’; I opted for the latter. Martin would ladle this thin batter onto a paddle grater. I would then, very quickly, transfer it over a pot of simmering water (as it was dripping out the holes). Then use a spatula to force the rest of the batter into the water. Repeat till all the batter is done, stopping every 3 scoopfuls to lift the cooked spätzle out of the pot and into a bowl of ice water.

Once all the batter was cooked, I transferred half the cooked spätzle into a pan with butter and some grated swiss and gruyère cheese. Once the cheese was melted it is ready to serve!

One important and unique thing to note is the spice in spätzle, the recipe calls for fresh grated nutmeg. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any but Google told me Pumpkin Pie Spice was a good substitute, so thats what I used. For all its mess, we had fun and Martin kept telling me how much he loved making spätzle… so was it worth it? 100% YES!!

If you want to brave making this one and are prepared for the messy cleanup to follow then try it out! You can find the recipe I used here:

Mexico: Tortillas (tacos)

We are big fans of Taco Tuesday in our house. A few years ago my mother introduced me to making my own tortillas, it was so easy and a ba-gillion times more delicious than store bought. So I knew we had to make tacos this week and I was really excited to get Martin in the kitchen for this one.

Tacos consist of a tortilla folded around meat, lettuce, tomato, beans and other toppings. We went with corn tortillas, ground beef, pico de gallo, avocados, cheese, and sour cream.

When making tacos the first thing you need are the tortillas. To do this you will need masa, water, a tortilla press, and a large flat pan or griddle. You mix the masa and water based on the masa bag’s instructions- it will make a crumbly mixture that holds together when you squeeze it. Bonus tip: while making your tortillas cover the tortilla dough with a damp paper towel, it makes them so much easier to make!

Tortilla dough

Next you form the dough into roughly the size of a golf ball. Play around with the size of the balls based on how large or small you want your tortillas. Next place your dough ball on top of a piece of plastic wrap on your tortilla press. Cover the ball with a second piece of plastic wrap and press! Carefully open the press, peel the tortilla off of the plastic and lay it on your dry hot griddle or pan.

Flip them once while cooking, they should be firm with slight browning. I place mine in a tortilla warmer- something magical happens in there, the warmer traps the steam and softens the tortillas and somehow makes them more delicious.

That is tortillas done! Martin was in charge of pressing the dough and I was really impressed with how well he did. He has repeatedly asked to make tortillas again, he had a lot of fun!

Next you cook the meat, drain any fat and add the seasoning blend and reduce with water based on the seasoning packet’s directions- it’s typically 1 Tbs seasoning to 2/3 water.

Next is the pico. When I was fresh out of college I worked in sales at a Crate and Barrel store- a high end home goods store. We sold some nice knives and one day there was a sales rep who was showcasing the knives to customers. She had the most addictive pico de gallo to show how easy precise knife cuts where with their product. Well any time we had some downtime I would find my self by the knife lady eating her salsa. Thankfully she shared her recipe with me and it’s so simple! Equal parts fresh jalapeno and onion, with double tomato, a dash of salt and pepper, finished off with some fresh lime juice.

Whenever I serve tacos I prefer to set out all the ingredients on the table and let everyone make their own taco. So my ideal taco is meat on the bottom followed by shredded cheese, topped with pico, avocado, and sour cream.

An important thing to remember when you eat tacos: you hold the taco level and move your head to eat it. If you keep your head straight and twist the taco you will lose your filling. So, hold the taco and move your head.

Australia: Fruit Salad

Finally we had some fruit salad- yummy yummy! Wiggles anyone?! Just me? okay…

I set Martin up with a butter knife and a cutting board and let him go to town! I tried really hard not to ‘fix’ any of his cuts, some were too big or wonky but in the end HE made the fruit salad.  He was so proud and he is still talking about it days later.  We had bananas, blueberries, strawberries, mango, and oranges- all soft fruit so he could safely cut them.  

Fruit Salad

  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 mango
  • 4 mandarin oranges

Cut each item into bite size pieces, toss and serve.

*I set my 3 year old up with a butter knife and each item one at a time- he was constantly supervised but I let him do all the cutting. In preparation for my son, I peeled the banana, oranges and mango so all he had to do was cut the flesh.

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