a year in food and life

Can you identify this kitchen gadget? January 23, 2007

Filed under: food,kitchen ware — superspark @ 11:39 am


Among our circle of friends, we have earned a reputation as having pretty much any kitchen gadget or device one could possibly imagine. Ginger grater? Check. Mango slicer? You bet. Donut dropper? Of course! Silicon tray for making ice cube shot glasses? Who doesn’t have at least one of those? I fully blame this gadget-collecting obsessiveness on Dylan, who would rather shop for cooking-related toys than just about anything else. Before moving in with him, I had a barely adequate supply of kitchen tools- no Kitchenaid, no food processor, just a bunch of bowls, pots, and pans. Now it’s like living in a land of plenty. And when I say plenty, I really mean ridiculous overabundance.

Even though I’ve warned Dylan he needs to curtail his gadget buying (especially seeing as both of our graduate fellowships have now ended), every so often I come home to find a new device sitting on the kitchen counter. This past weekend, it was the objet shown above. Any guesses as to what it is? My first instinct was a cheese grater of some sort, then a vegetable grater. And then it dawned on me that this little gadget is actually a spatzle maker . Spatzle (“little sparrow”) are small, irregularly shaped dumplings that originally come from the Alsace region and southern Germany and remind me most of totally deformed gnocchi. In fact, I first had spatzle when Dylan and I were travelling in Budapest a few years ago. At a local restaurant we ordered the gnocchi only to find that the dish they had brought us was like no gnocchi we’d ever had before. They were both tender and chewy and held tight to their creamy herbed sauce.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when I was looking through The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home and stumbled across a recipe for spatzle. Remembering both our trip and the meal fondly, we decided to try the recipe that night and just like that, I had a new favorite dish. Homemade spatzle are much like homemade gnocchi or homemade pasta (both of which I love), but without all of the fuss. You make the dough in about 5 minutes, push it through a large-holed strainer (or in our case now, a spatzle maker) into a pot of boiling water and in a few minutes, you’re done! Anyone who has ever made actual gnocchi knows that that process is far more tedious and time consuming.

In any case, I can’t recommend this dish enough for pasta lovers. I’m trying it again this week. This time, instead of topping it with a cheesy, creamy bechamel, I’ll be making the cauliflower paprikash that the Moosewood Collective likes to pair with it. And while you certainly don’t need a spatzle maker for good results, who couldn’t use another kitchen gadget? 🙂 I’ll put up the recipe and the results later in the week…