This also happens to be a dish that I served at Poppa Trix's birthday dinner alongside the gnocchi baked in pumpkin cream. The dinner, as you may recall, was intended as a recreation of our heuriger meals in Vienna. Truth be told, Poppa and I had never even heard of liptauer until we tasted it, not at the upscale Weinhof Wieninger, but at the rather more homey Kierlinger heuriger, where it was reputed to be something of a specialty.
Being the ridiculous creatures that we are, now we go on and on about it, as if a world without liptauer were unthinkable. It's all, "liptauer this" and "liptauer that" around here. But what is this enigmatic cheese, you ask? In a word, it is the very essence of piquant. In another word, it is somehow quintessentially Austrian. And while you could certainly vary the ingredients and seasonings a bit to suit your own taste, the basic method couldn't be easier. I found the recipe at an Austrian travel guide site, and I followed in a loose-ish sort of way.
In a food processor, simply combine 250 g of quark (this is a tangy, fresh, European style cheese, a bit like fromage blanc, which I suppose you could use in a pinch - I found it at Whole Foods) with 100 grams of softened unsalted butter, 3 or 4 finely chopped gherkins, a heaping tablepsoon of capers, 1 small diced white onion or shallot, a teaspoon of caraway, 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. This is perfect for spreading on dark pumpernickel and rye breads. Serve it up with some sauerkraut if you really want to get in touch with your inner Österreicher!
And now, before I get to the giveaway winner, Deana of Lost Past Remembered wrote and asked me to bring something to your attention: the plight of horses in Dublin. Being the softie for beasties that I am, of course I immediately agreed. In a nutshell, because of Ireland's horrible economic conditions, people are abandoning their horses, leaving them to suffer, starve, and die. The situation is complicated to be sure, and while it's understandable that the owners may no longer be able to afford the feed bills, treating these majestic animals like undesirable, inanimate property to be disposed of is not the answer. You can read about the situation here, and if you'd like to help you can contact the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
But now, on to the winner of the gourmet pumpkin seed oil:
The Random.org gods have spoken, and I am very pleased to announce that they have chosen the lovely and talented Brie of Le Grand Fromage! Congrats my dear - I hope that you will create something wonderful with it!
Thanks so much to everyone who entered - I really do wish I had enough bottles to go around. But don't fret: I have other goodies up my sleeve for future giveaways!
In the meantime, why not go and cook up a hearty heuriger feast of your own?