Spaetzle (Whole Grain) with Mustard Cream Sauce and Scorched Garden Veggies


So I was watching Chopped last night (surprise, surprise) and on the episode, one of the contestants made Spaetzle. 

Spaetzle? What? And everyone seemed to know what it was. 

The contestant dropped ribbons of batter into boiling water, drained them, and then pan-fried them as a bed for whatever the secret ingredient was (duck confit, I think). 


It looked really cool to attempt… and easy enough to accomplish!

Apparently I have to get out from under my rock, because according to the interwebs, spaetzle is delicious comfort food originating from Germany (I’m part German…) and brings back fond memories of grandmothers making spaetzle for (others, not me) them as youngun’s. 

And guess what, you only need three ingredients.


Unless you make the sauce. Please make the sauce. It’s freakin’ amazing. As the Chopped judges always bemoan, you need a sauce to tie elements of the dish together, to make sense on the plate as a cohesive meal.



Well, I’ve learned my lesson from the many episodes I’ve watched over this summer:

Sauce, check.

Dropping things on the floor, thus rendering them inedible, and throwing them away, check.

Using all the secret ingredients… which in this case happened to be things that NEED TO BE USED BEFORE BECOMING SPOILED and included: snowpeas, wax beans, heavy cream, and shallots. 

And the crowd (er, me and my lunch companion, madame mamadukes) goes wild!



Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

4 eggs

3 tablespoons Silk unsweetened soymilk

Pinch each of nutmeg, pepper, and salt

Combine all the ingredients and chill for 1 hour or overnight. When chilled, bring a pot of water to boil and prepare an ice bath. 

I used a colander for the majority of the batter–what you must do is spoonful some of the batter into a colander with large holes and allow the little batter drips to fall into the boiling water, and cook for at least 30 seconds (longer, up to 5 minutes, if you want a softer spaetzle). But either my batter was too thick, the holes too small… because the resulting driblets of batter looked like reminscent of something else instead of typical spaetzle.

Towards the end, however, I switched and simply used a spoon to drip batter into the boiling water directly–a lot easier, more fun, and more pasta-like.

After cooking, immediately chill in the ice bath and then drain. Storing? Toss with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking; it’ll keep for a day or two.

Eating? Try this:

Pan-fried Spaetzle

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Several cups of spaetzle

1 shallot, minced/diced finely

Two tablespoons dried parsley

2 tablespoons butter or earth balance

Heat earth balance in a large skillet. Add spaetzle (you may need to work in batches), let sit for a minute, and then sauté until golden brown on all edges. Add the shallot and parsley, salt and pepper, and cook a bit longer (about a minute or two). Serve immediately.

Unless you make the…

Mustard Cream Sauce

Adapted from Robert Irvine on Food Network

2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or butter)

1/2 a small yellow onion

1/4 cup white wine

1 tablespoon dried thyme

2-3 tablespoons honey dijon mustard

1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan, sauté the onion in the Earth Balance until it turns brown. Deglaze with white wine; once deglazed, add thyme, mustard, and heavy cream. Stir and lower the heat, cook for 5-6 minutes until thickened. Spoon over spaetzle. Now you can serve.

But don’t forget the… 

Scorched Veggies

Pan that you fried the spaetzle in

Boiled/steamed garden veggies such as snowpeas and beans

Simply add the cooked veggies to the pan and toss occasionally until they brown (scorch). Serve with your delicious spaetzle.


I have a thing against ugly food. I’ve cooked a LOT more things this summer than I’ve shown on this blog. This is due to the fact that I only feel like photographing food when it’s pretty, and also due to the fact that I’m hungry and just want food in ma belluh. 

I took pictures of this at the last minute, when Mamadukes was like “Did you take pictures yet?” and my blog-guilt set in. But I’m glad I did. Taking pictures of ugly food is probably a good exercise, and makes me get more creative in plating and angles. 

That being said, this food tasted anything but ugly. It was SO GOOD!! The spaetzle was delicious and hearty, full of protein (thanks to… whole wheat flour, eggs, and soymilk!) and just screamed comfort food. The sauce… absolutely delicious. It tasted like restaurant sauce… chock-full of FLAVOR. I wish I could have veganized it somehow but I wanted to use up the heavy cream. 

I love how simple this dish is (even though it ended up taking me a very long time… but if I make it again, it’ll probably take half the time). Just a few ingredients and you have yourself a meal. I’m building my repertoire of from-scratch grad school eatin’, which currently includes lots of quinoa salads, fried eggs, veggies steamed in the microwave, roasted veggies, and now… spaetzle. Who knew?

I’m also thinking of doing an ancestry series on this blog. I’m German, Irish, Scottish, English and Chinese. Got the German dish down… Next up? If you need me, I’ll be Googling. 


Risotto-Style Farro with Cauliflower and Runny Egg


Oh, anticipation…


Farro is a grain similar to barley, but a larger and chewier–I like it better than most other “grains” like bulghur, barley, rice, and quinoa due to its more substantial texture. This was my first experiment in cooking farro, a bag of which I got as a gift from my friend Athena, fellow food connoisseur and cook. I prepared it similar to risotto in that broth was added bit by bit until it was fully absorbed.

This dish is, according to the original author, inspired by a Moroccan porridge called herbel, which is sweet as it uses cinnamon and milk.

The dish below is definitely savory and a perfect light lunch.

Risotto-Style Farro with Cauliflower and Runny Egg
Serves four

Adapted from Food and Wine

5 tablespoons unsalted butter or Earth Balance

4 scallions, sliced (a kitchen scissor is a great tool for this)

8 ounces uncooked farro

Salt and pepper to taste

1 quart vegetable stock

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets

1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar (I did not have sherry)

4-8 large eggs (one or two per person, your choice)

1 tablespon white vinegar

In a large nonstick saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the sliced scallions and cook on medium heat until softened (2 minutes). Add the farro, season with salt and pepper (omit salt if using high-sodium broth) and cook the farro in the butter/scallion mixture for 1 minute (to toast it). Add the broth, half-cup by half-cup, slowly, allowing the farro to absorb it all before adding the next aliquot of broth; stir frequently but not constantly. This will take about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and then add cauliflower; season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until tender and browned in spots (about 5 minutes). Add the cauliflower to the farro mixture and toss, as well as the vinegar and the remaining butter. Divvy into four bowls.

Poach the eggs: Crack the eggs into small bowls. Bring a shallow pan of water to a rolling boil. Add white vinegar to the water; vinegar keeps the egg whites from spreading too much. Add each egg into the pan carefully and cook for three minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place directly on top of the farro in each bowl. Garnish with fresh scallions.


This was pretty easy to make and very satisfying. I used the 10-minute farro, which may have changed the texture of the resulting product; I think risotto is supposed to be creamier. I would like to try cooking regular farro and see if there is a difference. The red wine vinegar cuts through the buttery farro and rich egg yolk, and the sweetness of the browned cauliflower offsets the savory scallions.

I really love eggs with a runny yolk… something about them, it just tastes like the elixir of life (which, it kind of is). This meal is super protein-packed and a great post-workout dish. The dish is vegan besides the egg, and can stand up without the egg if necessary.

If I make this again, though, I’ll definitely add some more veggies such as broccoli and/or peas for color and flavor.

Peanut Butter-Greek Yogurt Pies with Oreo Crust

This couldn’t be easier.

Zero percent plain Greek yogurt. Mix with peanut butter. Spoon into premade oreo crusts. Chill (that’s the hardest part).

Warning: Gets better the longer it chills.

Warning: Kinda addictive.

Peanut Butter-Greek Yogurt Pies with Oreo Crust

Adapted from little bitty bakes; makes 12 pies

12 Oreos or other chocolate-sandwich cookies (I used Bloomeos)

2.5 tablespoons melted Earth balance or butter (maybe more, I was kind of winging it)

About 2.5-3 cups 0% Greek yogurt

About 1/2-2/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter

Put cupcake liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.

Pulse the oreos in a food processor until crumbly. Add melted Earth balance. It’ll still be kind of crumbly but pressable. Put about 1.5 tablespoons in each paper liner. Using the back of the spoon and/or fingers, press the mixture to the sides to make little crusts. Place in fridge/freezer to chill. My crust was still pretty crumbly, so I’d probably add more margarine next time to make it sticky. But it didn’t hurt the end result (i.e. spooning into my mouth).

Next, combine the yogurt and peanut butter thoroughly. Now, I thought it was delicious just pb & yo, but a little honey wouldn’t hurt.

Fill up each pie with the pb/yo filling (as best you can–the oreo likes to stick to the yogurt, which doesn’t spread so well) and put in fridge to chill at least 6 hours (the longer it chills, the firmer and better it gets!)


So yummy. Seriously, you don’t need sweetener in the filling–the oreo crust is more than enough.

Peanut butter mixed with yogurt. Sounds weird, but really tasty! You could forgo the crust and just eat it like a dip with apples. Personally, I like the crust. Then again, I really like oreos.

Just go make it already. Yum.