Each time I visited S last year, I wanted to get a full taste of Germany…literally. I tried all the beers, sampled the flammkuchens and spiral potato chips at the summer wine festivals, ate crepes with Nutella as much as possible, tried each type of danish and roll at the bakery around the corner, and ate my way through the stands of bratwursts, rotwursts, currywursts, pretzels, and chocolate covered marshmallows at the Christmas markets. Needless to say, I came back from each trip carrying a few extra lbs…and not in my luggage.
Another blogger perfectly summed up the pleasure of learning about a new culture through it’s food and getting fat in the process in her post entitled, “The Un-Glorified Rewards of Travel.” My favorite line in her post is, “This reward, of becoming a bit fat, is very special.” I could not agree with her more. My absolute favorite thing about traveling is sampling the local cuisine (as much as possible!). Living in Germany, however, where the local cuisine is primarily breaded meats, breaded bread, beer, and sugar, this practice has my jeans quaking in fear that the next schnitzel may burst their seams!
I fear that foregoing Germany’s festival foods and dinner celebrations would severely harm my year of immersion. At the same time, I fear becoming the fat American tourist that most Germans expect me to be. In search of the middle ground, and after a little convincing from our friends, S and I decided to eat “as Paleo as possible” as much as possible and then indulge in the occasional rahmschnitzel or kaiserschmarm at a party or festival (there are festivals in Germany just about every weekend) without guilt. I also decided, that I’d try to create a Paleo version (I know true Paleo eaters frown upon this) of my favorite German dishes, as well as favorite foods from each of our travel adventures.
For my first trick, I’ve chosen the dazzling kartofflepuffer – a fried potato pancake served with applesauce. I first came across this delicacy at the Wiesbaden Christmas Market….and then proceeded to have about thirty-five of them. When I introduced my sister to these babies in Mainz this past December, we both noticed that the cooks were scooping big white chunks out of buckets and plopping them down on the griddles – huge icebergs of lard floating around and melting down, ready to be absorbed into the potato pancake mixture….YIKES! We ate them anyway and enjoyed every second….until five minutes later when we felt disgusting. Ah, the joys of travel!
My Paleo version of the kartofflepuffer begins with a recipe for mashed cauliflower, which S and I are OBSESSED with and eat with steak, chicken, or salmon about once a week.
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6+ garlic cloves
- tapiocca flour
- almond meal
- coconut oil
- 5-6 apples
- 2 tablespoons of raw honey
Paleo Mashed Cauliflower
- Take a head of cauliflower, remove the stem and chop into manageable pieces.
- Steam the cauliflower until it’s soft enough for a fork to easily pierce. I don’t have a steamer, so I bring a pot of water to boil and then par boil the cauliflower until soft (usually takes about 7-10 minutes).
- Drain the cauliflower and place it in a blender.
- Add to the blender about 6 chopped garlic cloves (more if you love garlic like me), two teaspoons of butter (more if you like butter like me), and salt and pepper to taste. When I’m making mashed cauliflower for dinner (instead of for kartofflepuffers), I’ll also add one+ table spoons of curry powder and a couple pinches of cayenne pepper for a little kick. The great thing about cauliflower is that you can flavor it however you want.
- Then blend. Feel free to make the mixture as smooth or as chunky as you want.
- If you want a thicker consistency, stick it in the fridge for a while. (This is an easy dish to make ahead of time and reheat and tastes almost like mashed potatoes.)
Paleo Kartoffle Puffers
- Once the mashed cauliflower has thickened, remove it from the fridge.
- Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan over medium to high heat.
- For one kartoffle puffer, mix about a pancake-size amount of mashed cauliflower with a 1/3 cup of tapioca flour and a 1/4 cup of almond meal. Increase these measurements according to the number of pancakes you’d like to make. Also, you can play with the amounts and types of flour according to how “bready” you want your pancakes.
- Onions or chives would probably be a great addition here (but I haven’t tried yet).
- When the coconut oil is hot, place pancake-size dollops of the mixture in the pan. The smaller and thinner the dollop, the crispier the pancake.
- Once the edges are brown, flip the dollops.
- Voila! You have Paleo Kartoffle Puffers!
Now for the apple sauce (which you probably want to start first, because it takes the longest).
- core, peel, and dice about 5 to 6 apples (red or green).
- Heat 3/4 cup of water in a pot over medium/high heat.
- Add the diced apples, 2 tablespoons of raw honey, 1 tablespoon of lemon, and a pinch or two of cinnamon to the water. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Add a banana for extra sweetness, if desired.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the applies are soft, take the pot off the heat and mash the apples to your desired level of chunkiness.
- Chill in the fridge. Add more cinnamon if you’d like.
- If you have a high powered blender, you can skip the boiling and just add all the above ingredients, plus two tablespoons of water instead of the 3/4 cup of water.
- Serve with your delicious Paleo Kartoffle Puffers and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this traditional German treat with a healthier twist!