Improv Recipe Modification


So, the last time I was in Germany; well the time before the last time too, I was turned on to a particularly delightful summery dish. Boiled potatoes with Ziger, a kind of ‘white cheese’ called Quark. It is creamy with a slightly sour flavor and here in Canada I have not yet found anything similar. Not enough Germans here perhaps? or I’ve possibly not yet found the place to buy it.

What delighted me so when I first tasted it was that simple garden herbs like chives, parsley and onions, a bit of garlic, salt and pepper to taste are mixed with this simple creamy white cheese and then served with lovely German boilded potatoes (perhaps you know what I mean) that are also dusted with sprinkles of parsley. A piece of potato on your fork, a generous dab of Ziger applied with your knife and pop that into your mouth. You won’t be sorry.

That is until you try to repeat that by making it yourself here on the North American side of the big Atlantic pond. Ok, you might be on of those smart asses who makes the stuff yourself. I’ve not attempted that yet, but I won’t shy away from it when the urge strikes next time.

Since my last trip to Germany I’ve recreated this dish improv style twice, the last time last night. My dinner guest and outspoken food critic (my daughter) blew my mind when she declared it to be the best tasting potato salad she’d ever tried. I was all smiles, and on to something good.

I had a craving for garden greens, potatoes and something cool on a warm summers evening and so I set to work. Knowing I couldn’t find Quark in my local shopping hangouts I decided to ‘make do’ with what I could find. That consisted of plain yogurt, cottage cheese and sour creme. I plopped those ingredients into a bowl and then got to chopping green onions, shallots, cilantro, a few basil leaves and a bunch of radishes, which I diced. I stopped short of throwing a cucumber into the mix although that mini Japanese variety would be a delightful adition. But enough with the evolving mutation.

Quickly blend all of the ingredients in a large enough bowl to hold the mass comfortably and let it chill in the fridge. I find that the flavor the next morning/day is much richer and enjoyable, so if you can let the mixture stand overnight.

Serve your potatoes warm arranged around the edge of a large plate with a generous dollop of the dairy/garden greens combination. It makes for a  simple, satisfying and lovely summery dish. Mine just happened to turn into a potato salad because I tossed them with the dairy/greens mixture. Soooo good and I can’t wait to do it again this summer some time.

Photo? No, so sorry I ate the subject/prop 😉 you’ll have to use your imaginations. Next time, hehe

Here are a few other recipes using Ziger: http://www.kaeserei-neudorf.ch/de/kaese/ziger/rezepte.html

From Wikipedia:

The cheese is also known simply as “white cheese” (Polish: ser biały, Lithuaninan: Baltas sūris, southern Germany: Weißkäse or weißer Käs, Hebrew: Gvina Levana גבינה לבנה, Serbian: beli sir), as opposed to any rennet-set “yellow cheese”.

The name comes from the Late Middle High Geman Quark, which in turn is derived through twarcquarczwarg from the Lower Sorbian Slavic tvarog, (Polish twaróg, Belarusian тварог, Russian творог, and Czech and Slovak tvaroh, which means “curd”. In Austria, the name Topfen (pot cheese) is used. In Flanders, it is called plattekaas (flat cheese), while the Dutch use the name kwark. In Norway, Denmark and Sweden, it is called kvark.

In Germany, quark is sold in small plastic tubs and usually comes in three different varieties, Magerquark (lean quark, virtually fat-free), “regular” quark (20% fat) and Sahnequark (creamy quark, 40% fat) with added cream. While Magerquark is often used for baking and as health food, e.g. as a breakfast spread, Sahnequark also forms the basis of a large number of quark desserts. Much like yoghurts in some parts of the world, these treats mostly come with fruit flavouring (Früchtequark, fruit quark), and are often also simply referred to as quark. As the large popularity of quark desserts is limited to mainly the German-speaking and central European countries, confusion might arise when talking about quark with people unfamiliar with cuisine from this area.

The name comes from the Late Middle High Geman Quark, which in turn is derived through twarcquarczwarg from the Lower Sorbian Slavic tvarog, (Polish twaróg, Belarusian тварог, Russian творог, and Czech and Slovak tvaroh, which means “curd”. In Austria, the name Topfen (pot cheese) is used. In Flanders, it is called plattekaas (flat cheese), while the Dutch use the name kwark. In Norway, Denmark and Sweden, it is called kvark.

In Finnish it is known as rahka, while in Estonian as kohupiim (foamy milk). In Latvian it is called biezpiens (thick milk). The French-language word for it is seré, but it is most commonly called fromage blanc.

Quark is possibly described by Tacitus in his book Germania as lac concretum (thick milk), eaten by Germanic peoples.

In the US quark is called simply farmer’s cheese in the midwest.

In southern Germany it is known as: Weißkäse or weißer Käs (White Cheese)

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