Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Area: About 83,000 sq km, slightly smaller than Maine
Location: Central Europe, borders 8 countries, and is landlocked
Population: 8.2 million, 92nd in the world
Suffrage: 16, lowered from 18 in 2007
International disputes: A large number of Austrians petitioned the government to try to block the Czech Republic's entry into the EU unless a nuclear power plant near the mutual border was closed
Official language: Germany
Austrian cuisine: Mostly taken from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  According to Wikipedia, they borrow from so many other countries as well that their cuisine is some of the most international in Europe
Some famous Austrians: Wolfgang Mozart, Sigmund Freud, Arnold Schwazenegger

Lately, I have just been getting my country facts from the CIA Factbook, but I have decided to put some Wikipedia stuff back in.  It gives some more personal and interesting information, and has more freedom to talk on topics that don't fall under the standard CIA headings.  I like to go around these sources and pick out some standard stuff, as well as whatever I find of interest.  That being said, I find the Factbook quite interesting and a very good resource to find quick information about a country.

Anyway, we're here to talk about food, right?  Right!

As I mentioned last time, this was a week where I actually got to use my cookbook!  It not only had a recipe or two from Austria, but an entire "menu" with multiple options.  I didn't have to look long to decide what I would do.  How could I turn down Wiener Schnitzel?  The cookbook recommended that it be paired with Erdapfelschmarrn...aka fried potatoes.  This seemed like a good idea to me.

Similar to last time, I will not give you the full recipe.  I can tell you though that they were very simple.  Schnitzel is essentially breaded meat.  Typically, it is veal.  The recipe said you could substitute other meats, so we decided to use pork.  Flour, egg, bread crumbs.  Fry.  Add lemon slice.

The potato dish was similarly easy.  Boil potatoes.  Fry onions.  Add potatoes to the onion and fry some more.  So with this in mind, we set off on our journey.
Wow, you can actually read some of that better than I intended.
The recipe called for a pound of potatoes, which sounded like a lot, but really wasn't.  It didn't say whether I should skin them or not, so I went for the easier option.
Kitchen scale = awesome.
A little small for boiling potatoes, but that's okay.
A small problem with this recipe was that it didn't tell me how long to boil these.  It said "until just cooked."  How am I supposed to know when they are just cooked?  How long should that take?

While those were boiling, I had to pound the pork.  I quickly switched from my glass cutting board to a fake wooden one.
Comparison purposes...before.
And after.
Pile of pounded pork.
With the potatoes still boiling away, I decided to get everything else ready.  The potatoes called for caraway seeds, which really reminded me of rye bread.  I got to use my new mortal and pestle.  Christmas was good to me...and my kitchen.

At least this onion was interesting to look at.
I had a slight problem with the breading.  The instructions said "as needed" for flour and bread crumbs, so I had no idea what ratio to use.  I had to just...guess.
What were the others in the household doing at this time?
NCAA Football
Waking up from a nap in the hidey hole.
After some more waiting, I decided it was time to go for it with the potatoes.  When I cut into them, I began to worry that they were overcooked.
But the more I cooked, the more it looked like it would work.  Also, the skin just fell off.  It was awesome.  And at this point, I could actually start cooking everything.
Onions fried in butter >>> Onions fried in oil
All the ingredients for the potatoes.
Fry, pork, fry!
They have to drain on paper towel afterwards...
None of these steps took very long, and the dishes were complete very quickly.
The lemons add a lot to the look.
The bowl is a little big for this amount.
Served with Spanish wine because it was the closest thing we had to Austria.
In the words of Kevin, "I am very happy with Austria."

The weiner schnitzel was, well, breaded meat.  Not too too exciting, but it was difficult not knowing the ratios for the breading.  It was not bad by any stretch, though.  Filling and a nice entree.

The potatoes were amazing.  They were buttery and delicious.  The onions were kinda like bay leaves...they give flavor and get out of the way, which is exactly how I like them.  Kevin said he wouldn't have even guessed there were onions in this.  We separately decided that we wanted this into our regular rotation of food.  This may top the cake.  We think, overall, Austria is the best we have done so far.  Mostly riding on these potatoes, and the fact that the weiner schnitzel was as it should be.

And with that, I am caught up!  I haven't cooked next week's yet, so I'm not falling behind anymore.  This is exciting.  Now I just have to try to find some exotic ingredients...

Katie, those cookie cutters sound awesome.  Did you know you can also get some that are like beakers?  You could have a science party!

People, come visit so that I don't have to only cook for us!

Last time: Australia
Next time: Azerbaijan

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