Austrian Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat)

I think one of the most memorable foods I tried in Austria was the potato salad. It was everywhere, and often came as part of the “mixed salad”. Instead of being creamy like American potato salad, it tasted sweet and tangy, the perfect accompaniment to heavy meats or greasier foods.

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However, I could not find the recipe for this anywhere. At least not in English. Finally, I decided to put Google Translate to work and attempted the search in German. I got a basic idea for what ingredients were required, but no ratios were provided. After much tinkering around, I finally got something similar and below is my closest interpretation. Keep in mind that you can change all these ratios according to your tastes, amount of potatoes, type of vinegar etc.

mustard vinegar mixture

Austrian Potato Salad 

3-4 medium sized potatoes

1 tablespoon German mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons vinegar (I used plain rice vinegar)

10 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons sugar

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons finely diced onion

cilantro to garnish

potato salad

1. In a saucepan, boil the potatoes in salted water until very soft.

2. Skin the potato in cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Place in a medium sized bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the mustard, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper together. Add the water.

4. Pour the dressing over the chopped potatoes and mix well. This mixture should look too wet at first (with quite a bit of water still at the bottom), and the potatoes will eventually soak up the extra liquid, which is what we want. The texture should be quite wet, and the potatoes should be partially broken down.

5. Add in the onion and cilantro, serve.

La Maison du Chocolat’s Chocolate Truffles

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I think there’s something about the month of December that makes chocolate even better than it normally is, which is indeed a very difficult feat. Maybe it’s the chocolate advent calendars? I have yet to get one but I need one so badly it’s not even funny. In the meantime, I guess I’ll just have to eat a truffle a day to make do… I’m definitely not complaining.

It’s easier to make this in larger amounts, but that often isn’t practical. Using high quality chocolate and cocoa powder is also incredibly important. There aren’t many ingredients so use the best if possible. I used both Valrhona chocolate and cocoa powder and I think it turned out great. Obviously, it didn’t compare to the real deal, but it was definitely much better than your average truffle.

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Also, using surgical gloves makes this messy process a lot easier. It’s easier to shape and dip the truffles without covering yourself in chocolate. Chocolate is for eating – not for covering yourself with.

Plain Truffles (Adapted from La Maison du Chocolat by Robert Linxe)

1 pound bittersweet chocolate (I used 61% Valrhona)

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean (optional)

For the coating

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona 100%)

1. Place the chocolate on a chopping block and chop finely with a knife. Put in a heatproof mixing bowl. Set aside.

2. Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and set aside. With a small knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise down the middle and scrape out the little black seeds. Place the vanilla seeds and bean in the cream, then bring to a boil. As soon as the cream boils, remove from heat, wait 20 seconds, stir, then pour through a strainer into the chopped chocolate. Remove vanilla bean.

3. Let stand for a few seconds. Whisk to combine in a circular motion, starting from the middle and working out. Whisk gently and stop as soon as the mixture is blended.

4. Set aside to cool (do not refrigerate). As soon as the truffle mixture is firm, use an ice cream scoop to scoop out walnut sized balls. Using the gloves, roll them out to a round ball. Refrigerate the truffles again.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the coating. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt over a double boiler. Even though the book did not state to temper the chocolate, I did so and thought the results were great. I followed the instructions here.

6. Remove the chocolate balls from the fridge. Using a fork, drop a ball into the melted chocolate. Coat it (try to keep this as thin as possible) then drop it into a bowl of cocoa. Instead of using another fork to roll the truffle around, try spinning the truffle around in the bowl by shaking the bowl itself. For me, the surface turned out much better when I did it this way.

7. Set aside to harden and repeat. Shake off the excess cocoa powder.

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