Oh man, I just looked at the weather report and it doesn’t look like we are going to get a wave of tropical weather anytime soon. I was out there this weekend and if I was in denial in any way before our ride to break ice on the stock dam, I was soon frozen into reality.
And so were my toes, no matter how thick the wool socks.
So we came in, thawed our feet on the heater and Cowboy said “Let’s make strudel!”
And I said a quiet prayer of thanks to sweet Jesus for sending down a man who would utter those lovely words.
Because by “Let’s make strudel!” he really meant “I’ll make strudel.”
It’s one of those charming understandings that this married couple shares: He makes strudel. I stand back and hand him things.
Ahhh, “Let’s make strudel:” some of the best three words that have come out of Cowboy’s mouth. They are right up there with “Found your _________ (insert various expensive things I lost that he told me never to lose) and, you know, “Marry me.” Which is really only two words. Two words that I didn’t fully appreciate until dear husband first came to me with the idea:
Strudel. Apple Strudel. Apple Strudel for Supper.
You heard me.
Apparently Cowboy’s momma has been making this traditional German “dessert for supper” dish for years, putting her right up there with some of the best mommas in the world. And you might be surprised that this would work as a late evening dish, but, well, Cowboy says to trust.
And I trust.
So Cowboy called his momma to get the finishing touches on the recipe and we packed up our supplies and made the trek over to my momma’s house. We had some very important company coming in from Texas to deer hunt and Cowboy apparently thought said company was getting too skinny.
Also, Cowboy needed more space for our journey to food heaven.
And momma has more space.
But momma doesn’t have sharp knives.
Here we go again.
First things first:
Dress the part: Cowboy wanted to welcome our guest in style, so he wore his polyester shirt and his vest….and his mustache…
Ahh, the vest. So practical. Warm AND classy.
Hydrate: Drink of choice: Jeremiah Weed. All the cool kids are drinking it. And. We. Are. Cool. Kids.
Now select the proper tunes: Drive By Truckers
Let’s do this:
Cowboy Cooks Momma’s Homemade Apple Strudel (For Supper? Gasp!)
- 6 Apples (the more bitter the better. A motto that applies to apples—women and weather? Not so much)
- 2 ½ Sticks of Butter
- 2 Cups Water
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Heap’n scoop of Crisco
- 2 to 3 Cups Flour
- 1 Egg
- 1 Cup Milk
And the meat. Yes, you were wondering about this weren’t ya? The meat you serve with the dish is actually an important component. Cowboy usually chooses venison sausage, but any type of ham or breakfast sausage will work as well to transform this dish into a flavorful combination of sweet and tart and salty and, of course, carb loaded goodness to warm up those toes and send you straight into hibernation.
Step One: Prep your skillet
- Turn your electric skillet or frying pan on low to warm it up
- Add 2 cups of water and 1 stick of butter to the skillet
Cowboy says: “That’s what I like about my kitchen, we measure butter in sticks not tablespoons.”
- Add a big “heapn’ spoon full of Crisco” to the skillet as well
(Oh my Gawd)
To this I said to Cowboy “You mean a tablespoon?”
And cowboy replied “No. Not a tablespoon. This much. This is how much I’m putting in there.”
(Yes, this is happening…)
Step Two: The dough
You may sense a theme happening here based on the last two entries of “Cowboy’s Kitchen.” Much of Cowboy’s favorite dishes happen to be heritage food. And his heritage happens to be German. And, apparently the Germans from which he sprung made meals that were based from the following simple ingredients: Flour, egg, milk, salt.
The good ‘ol white stuff.
I have advised we go in a different, lighter direction next time. But it’s Cowboy’s Kitchen, so really, I can’t promise anything.
- Using a one handed egg crack technique (You’ve seen this before) crack one egg into a liquid measuring cup
- Add milk to the egg until it equals a cup (another classic technique.)
Now get my momma another beer…cause she’s thirsty and, as she said “they’re going down smooth tonight”
- Whisk the mixture. Well, a whisk is what you’re supposed to use, but Cowboy prefers to “Fork.” He’s old school like that. All the cool kids are old school. Haven’t you heard?
- Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl
- Add handfuls of flour to the mixture and mix with your hands until the consistency allows you to roll it out thin with a rolling pin. About 2 to 3 cups of flour.
- Sprinkle flour on your surface to avoid stick, place the dough on the flour and begin kneading the dough adding flour as you “knead” it (get it?) in order to prepare it to be rolled out thin with a rolling pin.
- Once you have the dough at the proper consistency make sure that your surface is still coated in flour (you may need to add more) and roll the dough out flat and thin with a rolling pin.
Hmmm, there’s something sexy about a man and his rolling pin….
Anyway, be careful not to tear holes in the dough, but if you do, it will all turn out in the end, so don’t worry, just take another drink.
- Sprinkle salt over the rolled out dough
Step 3: The apples
- Peel 6 medium sized apples (hey, at least this time it’s apples and not potatoes)
And if you want to, conduct a contest with your kitchen assistants to see who can get the longest peel. We did.
My momma’s attempt:
Pretty good, pretty good…
And, drum roll please….
Clearly not dressed for such success and for the other side of the camera, I won! I won!
And was accused of cheating because I used a peeler. But to that I say: That’s why God invented them.
Ok, moving right along.
- Slice apples thin and into quarter sized pieces and spread them out over the dough.
*Note: Cowboy didn’t cut the apples into small enough pieces here and this made it harder to roll up the strudel. So slice your apples smaller than you see here will ya? And then forgive Cowboy cause he ain’t perfect…
- Sprinkle cinnamon over the apples.
- Now, cut a stick and a half of butter into 1 tablespoon slices and place over apples…..
…yes, this is also happening…
- Now you must coat, and by coat I mean COVER the apples and the butter and the cinnamon and the dough in SUGAR.
Cinnamon, butter, sugar?
This is where Cowboy says you should start getting excited.
Are you excited?
And doing some sit-ups to prepare.
Good thing I wore my stretchy pants.
- Now you’re gonna roll all this up into a tight log (my words, not Cowboy’s), so Cowboy recommends you cut this concoction in half to make it easier. Oh, and smaller apples make it easier too.
Cowboy used a spatula to help in the process of the roll up. Take a look here to see how it’s done.
And don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect and if there are holes and you need to patch things up. I promise you your taste buds won’t care.
And neither will your guests.
Step 4: The finale
- Make sure your water/butter/Crisco mix is at a dull boil
- Now slice the rolled strudel into approximately 2 to 3 inch pieces and place them on your skillet or pan
- Sprinkle the strudel with cinnamon and cover your skillet or pan, making sure the cover is sealed so you don’t allow the heat to escape
- Covered, cook the strudel on one side for 25 minutes
- Flip the strudel and cook for another 20 minutes uncovered, frying the bottom of the noodle so it is firm and golden.
Step 5: Meat and eat
Now I’m sure you’re not quiet convinced that this can indeed satisfy as a supper dish, but serve your guests a slice of apple strudel heaven with a side of your favorite sausage and the flavor combination is sure to delight.
Some people like to add to the chaos by garnishing with syrup. Hey, you might as well go all out.
I say, add a glass of wine like my momma and I and you’re sure to sleep until spring.
Just like the bears and the squirrels.
Ahhh, I just don’t think they make meals like this down south…but then, they don’t need the extra padding for winter.
You can thank me when you wake up.
*Note: Here I feel the need to explain what I was dealing with during my quest to bring you this recipe in all of its glory. Because three things occurred that challenged me during this kitchen experience (and I don’t need any help being challenged).
1. The sun went down, like really fast as it typically does this time of year…
2. My momma doesn’t believe in overhead lighting, even in times like these. “It’s just not flattering,” she says…
…which didn’t help with the fact that…
3. Cowboy’s cooking is a slow, thought out process, as I have explained before and I have been known to be less than prepared and…well my camera battery died.
So I borrowed a camera from my pops to finish the job.
I hope you got the idea, but the strudel looks better in person, I promise.
Next time I’ll bring a battery pack and a spotlight.
And more wine.
Another lesson learned in Cowboy’s Kitchen.