Monday, December 27, 2010

Liptauer: The Cheese of Champions ... and We Have a Winner!

While I don't believe that liptauer cheese is widely recognized as a cheese of champions, I thought it was a fitting moniker here, as I have chosen this recipe to accompany the announcement of my pumpkin seed oil giveaway winner, which I'll announce at the end of this post. (Even if you don't read the whole thing, I have to at least compel you to scroll through the entire post to find out the winner,  now don't I?)

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 ├ľsterreicher!

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?





22 comments:

  1. Liptauer cheese is the bomb! And, that looks like one awesome recipe for it.

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  2. that cheese must be awesome as it looks never had this one before, hope you had a fabulous holiday!

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  3. I think I could become a liptauer snob... sounds like a really wonderful dity of a spread

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  4. My mind saw Lipator and cheese in the same sentence. Ha, ha, jokes on me! We love cheese and will add this to the wish list. Yes, we have a cheese wish list, cheese is not something we're 'supposed' to eat a lot of, so when we do we have to make it count. This holiday we had Bandage Cheddar from Wisc. Delish! thanks for the reco Trixy!
    ~Mary

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  5. Congrats to Brie and I will still make that gnocchi regardless. ;)))

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  6. I've never had this cheese before - it's on my grocery list now.

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  7. I have not tried liptauer before. And congras to Brie!

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  8. Congrats, Brie, for the win! I have not tried such a type of dip. Looks very delicious. I would love melba toast with it.

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  9. Never heard of this Liptauer cheese but certainly easy to make, will try it. This last trip really influenced you :-).

    Happy Holidays!

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  10. Ooh, I've never had Liptauer cheese before, Trix. You make it look so good on the pretty table next to that dark bread though. I always crave dark German breads like that-they are so good;)
    Oh, and congratulation to Brie! That's a nice culinary treat to win.
    p.s. I will check out that link Deana sent you now...

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  11. Hi Trix, Yes you make that cheese look good with the dark bread, how about a glass of German beer to go with?
    Congratulations to Brie, I hope you share what you decide to do with it!
    Happy New Year to the Trix Family:-)

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  12. I had not heard about the issue with horses until this time and will definitely follow up, thanks for the information.
    This is one of my favorite cheeses as well, and love this recipe :)
    Congrats to Brie!

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  13. The situation with the horses in Ireland is so sad and tragic. In hard times it is always the poor innocent animals kept as pets that suffer first. I hope that the situation will be remedied soon.

    Congratulations to Brie, what a great prize. The cheese spread looks so delicious. Well honestly I have tried this several times, I just didn't realize it was called Lipatuer cheese until just now:) This spread is very popular in Czech Republic and I usually eat it with dark caraway seed bread or on crackers, so good!

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  14. I used to work at a German restaurant and i remember seeing it there; great idea to try as some of the usual dips are getting too familiar.

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  15. Hmmm, why have I never tried liptauer cheese before? Must try it soon!

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  16. I have never tried liptauer before... it looks awesome and so are you for mentioning the horses... thanks Trix!!!! I have some amazing sauerkraut in the fridge... I can imagine a rye bread feast with that cheesy spread. Happy New Year, Trix!!!!

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  17. FTW! woohoo! i'm so excited! thank you for sharing your pumpkin seed oil! i'll definitely be sharing a recipe or two on the blog with it. :) thanks to everyone for the congrats, too.

    i must have some liptauer cheese! i will have to grab some pumpernickel bread and go to town. and thanks for sharing the link about those poor horses. i had no idea and hope they are all able to be rescued.

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  18. I have not had liptauer cheese; it's a new one for me. I haven't met a cheese I didn't like, and I'm sure this one would be no exception. Sure looks pretty with the lovely redish cast.
    Happy New Year!

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  19. Believe it or not, my first encounter with Liptauer cheese was onboard a very long and uncomfortable flight! Hubby hated it but one taste on a cracker, and I momentarily forgot the awful cramp in my toes ;)

    It's really sad what's happening to those poor horses, even if I don't count myself any kind of animal rights activist. Thanks for bringing their plight to light - I will check out the link.

    Btw congrats to Brie :)

    And, I hope you and Poppa Trix have the most fabulous New Year possible!!

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  20. That....is MY kind of cheese spread! It sounds fantastic!

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  21. Never seen it...but now I gotta have it...Quark is MIA on our little island, but I'm thinking yogurt cheese will make a mighty fine sub. Not totally authentic, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow when you live on a rock in sea! Happy New Year to you and Poppa T. Theresa

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