What's for Dinner #32 - the Spring Has Finally Sprung! Edition - April '18

Yesterday I took the narrow-gauge train to a valley. The old train is gone and now a tram has replaced it running on the same tracks. This valley is known for stunning scenery and glacier skiing. Unfortunately the weather was not so nice for photos. The train ride was very enjoyable.

Got back late and only felt like making something simple. Little dumplings with smoked sausages and Tyrolean grey cheese.

2/3 of Austria is the Alps and like this:

Approaching Stubai valley, where the train terminates. It’s still possible to do glacier skiing here. Ski season has pretty much ended in most places. You have to go to a certain elevation to have that amount of snow.

Austria has many beautiful houses.

Today was wet and cold, perfect to stay in and rest. The owner, a pensioner who still cooks a lot, was telling me about Tyrolean barley soup when we were talking about food and how nice it is to make your own food yourself.

I made barley soup with smoked sausages and Speck today with all the leftover bits.

Sunset wine.

And moments after the wine photo was taken…

The owner knocked on the door to give us these. I sent her photos of her chocolate cake slices, of the barley soup and the rainbow shortly after she left. Very kind and pleasant owner. Not to mention the very affordable price of this lodging.

Tomorrow it’s going to be better and we are going hiking again.

Forgot to say I woke up to this today. The power lines are not pretty but we need electricity. Besides, my brain chooses to ignore them.

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I loved Austria. I went with my girlfriend who was born there in a small Village near Salzburg. I remember the chanterelle soup which was picked right outside of their house. The Smokehouse with the speck. The beers Cooling in the small Creek that ran through the property. Not to forget the cows with the Bells that came home every night to the barn along with the chickens. The best of all the beauty of the place. And being the only American ever to go in back of the small restaurant in the village and have drinks with the cook. Lifelong memory

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I’m so impressed with the scenery here. I like mountains and valleys and well, that’s what I see in all directions. There are many, many, many towns and villages with names ending in “tal”, meaning valley.

In this village almost everyone looks at you and says hello first. Austrians are used to tourists now. Tourism is so big here and they need tourists. Austria is far less touristy than Italy and France for instance. From my research, only in some deeply remote and deeply traditional villages one might experience xenophobia. Even that kind of places there’s something for me and I would go there if possible, logistically.

I thought it was like getting a taste of my own medicine when in Switzerland. The Swiss are distant, private, look irritated by your presence etc. I didn’t mind it, though. Like them, I don’t own the world eye contact and communication. But the Austrians, from my experience thus far, are not like the Swiss. So anyone who might have a different perception of Austrians can come here and see for themselves. But for me, the scenery makes it (the most) special.

Btw, I forgot to include a photo of chocolate slices the owner of my lodging gave us last night.

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Everthing is so clean. Have you had the schnapps. One neighbor brought over pear. After a hearty meal we would take shots and walk off the food. It just reminded me . It’s time to start that. I loved austria. I also met a hunter for a baron who was Friends of the family who wore lederhosen. And it wasn’t for show. Oh and one more thing. We took her grandmother to the hospital for a checkup. They had a bar serving beer and sandwiches in the waiting room.

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I have been drinking craft beers. Schnapps can be found anywhere but it’s almost craft beer wasteland here so I have to make the most of what I can get my hands on.

And speaking of Schnapps, whilst browsing the hiking shoe section in a sports shop in Stubai valley I saw a little shelf of different Schnapps between the shoes! Was in a hurry to catch the train back otherwise I would have made a photo of that.

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I just returned to Berlin after nearly a week in Vienna and Salzburg (I have been to Innsbruck as well) and I agree with you - people were mostly friendly. It certainly helps that I speak German, although I felt WAY less fluent in Austria than I do in Berlin due to the accent and local jargon. I agree with you about the scenery, too - absolutely breathtaking. I spent my last day in Salzburg out in the Salzkammergut region - the lakes and mountains are just stunning. I enjoyed LOTS of speck while I was there!

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Thank you! I was looking for the slices in your pictures.

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My partner is fluent and has little problem with Tyrolean accent. Just have to listen more carefully and as long as they don’t use regional/local words then it’s fine. We notice they try to speak “standard German” as soon as they hear us so that really helps a lot. But the local accent is hard for me, I let the partner translates for me.

On the way down from the hike today the partner and I were saying next Austrian trip would be to a Riesling producing area. I’ve read Wachau is well known for Riesling and it’s not far from Vienna.

For dinner I made Tiroler Gröstl (Tyrolean hash). Mountain huts serve all the typical home-style meals like this hash to the delight of hikers. Gröstl is so common that you see it on menu throughout the country (learnt that from my research). So tired from my somewhat “scary” 5hr hike now, photos can wait until tomorrow.

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Those are beautiful! What a wonderful surprise to receive!

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I’m beginning to wonder why you ever left…! (And between the two of you Austria is now on my Travel Bucket List)

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Yesterday was Ripe Avocado Day! WoooHoo! I mashed it up with a bit of red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and a spoon of salsa. Snacky plate featuring the guacamole scooped up with red bell pepper slices, cucumber, sugar snap peas and some sturdy seedy crackers. Little can of trader joe’s sparkling rose a la carte.

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I just made the most wonderful, bright- tasting carrot orzo “risotto.” It was on my radar to make when Easter menu ideas were being posted all over the place.

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Those austrians love to hike. I remember going for a little walk in the mountains up and down for 10 and 1/2 hours. Just your basic hike to them. What was cool is We Came Upon an ulm. That is where the herders have a small cabin up in the mountains and you can buy beers from them. Kept cold in the creek that flowed near the cabin . A little food was served also.
.What a blessing to see that. I was dying.

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I had a version of this at a restaurant in Salzburg for dinner one night, served as a side dish with pork tenderloin wrapped in yet more Speck. It was ridiculously delicious!

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Went to Innsbruck to get some Speck to take home, tomorrow the shops are closed and I’m going home on monday. So gloriously sunny today it’s a shame to go shopping 'cause I’d rather go hiking. Tomorrow it’s beautiful again and my last day to hike so am looking forward to that.

Yesterday’s Tyrolean hash. Who doesn’t like this meal (or something similar)? Is it possible? The Tyrolean version has beef, the standard Austrian version has Speck only and that’s the salient difference. In Germany it’s known as “farmer’s breakfast” (without the beef, but main the idea is to use up leftovers).

I got Tyrolean organic beef.

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Something this simple and easy can be delicious. The Speck and fat provide the taste. So satisfying after a hike (my legs still hurt haha…).

Today:

Austrian wild ramps.

Tyrolean grey cheese premium blue. I found it at the expensive market hall. There’s a cheesemonger there and the only one so far who has the blue version of grey cheese. Maybe blue is easier to come by in Zillertal (a village in Ziller valley), where most grey cheese is produced by farmers.

Picture I took whilst the seller was wrapping up my cheeses. It has a strong smell for something that has only 1% fat. I like it but it might be an acquired taste for some. Young(er) versions of this cheese are more common. Only the aged ones have a crumbly white centre and mouldy rind. Bottom right corner chunk is young and has no rind whatsoever.

The rest of the meal: crisp-fried Speck, rhubarb and dumplings (the dark colour comes from rye flour). The owner is impressed, saying I’m quite “well-versed in Austrian home-style cookery”. And that comes from a pensioner who lives well and cooks most days.

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What it looked like in my bowl.

Nice Riesling! Dry and only faintly sweet, though not minerally. In Germany the label is more specific, maybe the guide lines in Austria are different.

I made the dumplings with this thing:


A few photos from this afternoon in the capital:

The Inn river, which flows through Innsbruck (it begins in Switzerland and ends in Passau, Germany).

Lounge chairs in the middle of the city for anyone to enjoy the sun. There’s a lovely park nearby as well.

Shut up and take my money!

I hope they fit in my little rucksack.

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Exactly! I was scrotch-deep in snow and afraid of slipping on ice. Strenuous hikes for us are like warm-ups for Austrian hikers.

Mountain huts (with restaurants) are closed as it is still early in the spring. They reopen from mid april, depending on the elevation.

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I had asparagus and sweet English peas galore, so I used them in an angel hair pasta with fresh chèvre.
My secret ingredient? Salted Meyer lemons that I had preserved a month ago.

It was light and lovely and went well with a dry, delicate Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley that my friend brought over. Happy springtime! :slight_smile:

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Various errands proved fruitless.
Except my food shopping.
Because I picked up some bananas. :wink:

Dinner tonight was Shrimp Scampi over basmati rice with steamed green beans. There was most definitely wine tonight.

2018-04-14-ShrimpScampiBasmatiRice%26SteamedGreenBeans2

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frightening memories of 2018 , skiing at St Anton, when avalanche hit, burying 7 swedes and a whole village, killing Prince Charles friend Lyndsey while they were on the slope at t he border in Switzerland.
I remember I would ski to Switzerland and then back to St. Anton.
We had an appointment in Munich but my husband insisted he spend 2 more days while I wanted to visit Neuschwanstein Castle . So, I left but while in the bus, heard news of the avalanche and how the cafe I had lunch at the riot day was buried.
Almost died, not knowing hat happened until 2 days later when my husband was able to communicate with his friend in Munich to tell us he narrowly escaped death.
6 weeks earlier, my son fractured his jaw skiing in Utah. The day his wires came off his jaw, we were on our way to Austria
That show crazy my husband was about skiing!

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My seafood market had beautiful Spanish mackerel on special for $3.99/lb. Purchased one and had them dress it. It’s a rich fish and pairs nicely with the sweet/salty salsa in this recipe from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. I think I’ll make a salad with Israeli couscous and the leftover fish and salsa.

Sides were hash-browns* and spinach wilted in bacon grease.

*Hash browns are the basic frozen patties which I have a fondness for. So 1 thin bit of space gained in the freezer!

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold