Usually, I take two different approaches when transforming traditional recipes. I either use all the original ingredients, but prepare and serve them in a different (to my opinion more optimal) way. Or, I keep the same presentation, but use very different ingredients. All my Kaiserschmarrn variations belong to the latter category – though they were desserts only. This time I wanted to create a savory version using goat cheese – in a way uniting Käsespätzle with Kaiserschmarrn.
In general, I try to find the corresponding counterparts for all traditional ingredients. For example, the traditional recipe calls for raisins soaked in rum. For the savory version I got inspired by the typical combination in a Bloody Mary, so I soaked sun-dried tomatoes in high-quality gin. Instead of orange or lemon zest and vanilla, I added herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage. Since my goat cheese purveyor – from whom I bought the cheese as well – offers kefir made from goat milk too, I replaced the milk from the traditional recipe by goat kefir. Usually Kaiserschmarrn is dusted generously with powdered sugar, so for the savory version I grated some aged goat cheese on the top. Finally, I poured bell pepper coulis and tarragon oil on the Kaiserschmarrn, which where the counterparts of the traditional apple puree.
During the last month I finally managed to finish a huge project. Some of you, who might have seen me on Hungarian or German television might already know, that for the last 5 years I was working as a research assistant at the local university here in Erlangen. Next to teaching students about the beauty of computer science, I also worked on my PhD thesis. The final oral exam took place two weeks ago, where I did pretty well and so I finally extended my name with a Dr.! Of course the exam was followed by celebrations lasting more than 3 days, which seemed to be a little bit too much: I spent the next few days in bed with a flu.
The first PhD celebration is traditionally held just after the final oral exam with my family and my fellows. Since my colleagues know that I love cooking, I had to come up with some original ideas for my menu. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any time to cook on the day before my final exam, so I searched for a local catering service willing – and able – to cook the ideas I had in mind. The catering I picked did a tremendous job. Everybody loved the appetizers, main courses and desserts – which were mostly not only vegetarian, but vegan. It’s funny, that unless a dish is not explicitly emphasized as vegan, people don’t really seem to miss the meat from their plates. One of the appetizers was this simple, yet very tasty terrine made of bell peppers and eggplant.
Have you ever wondered why fish in Germany – and almost everywhere in Europe – is gutted with a cut at its belly? It’s straightforward to some extent, because all innards are located in the belly, and by removing them along with the gills, the fish can be kept refrigerated 3-4 days longer. In China I noticed that fish are usually kept alive in restaurants and killed to order. An even more interesting experience was to see that all fish was cut open and gutted from its back, so the bellies of the fish were always completely intact. I liked this back filleting method simply because the possibilities of stuffing and serving a whole fish. Unfortunately, at the local market in Erlangen they don’t sell any fish alive and all of them are already gutted via a cut along their bellies. So my filleting from the back basically resulted in two fillets held together by the head and the tail of the fish, but made the seasoning of the whole fish a lot simpler and more precise.