knoephla soup

We have had a great big week! On Friday, we wrapped filming and ate a bunch of fried food to celebrate. It was so sad to see everyone go, but unlike the past two seasons when I didn’t know if the show would be renewed or not before wrapping, this time I knew they’d all be back in July! And they’ll be able to meet Poppy Seed! Over the two weeks of filming, Poppy Seed grew soo much and also flipped to be head down. For a little while I kept patting what I thought was her head but then we went to the doctor and confirmed that I’d been patting the butt this whole time. Hehe. Even though the counter became further and further away, my carpal tunnel symptoms luckily subsided (there will be a lot of pre-chopped vegetables in these episodes!) but then my brain turned to mush! Toward the end of the run it sometimes took me like six attempts to explain the simplest things like how to put sprinkles on the rugelach. And I dropped an entire tray of choco tacos. But thankfully I was able to hold onto my energy for the most part and avoid back pain, which were my two greatest fears other than over baking the potato bagels. On my evenings and days off, I recharged by swimming, watching figure skating, and descending deeper into my bachelor obsession. 

After wrapping, Eggboy and Poppy Seed and I were thrown the most beautiful baby shower by our moms (soon to be grandmas!), sisters (aunties!!!), and friends. It was sprinkle and hotdish themed, and they took my fear of baby shower games seriously so it was a lovely afternoon of eating confetti petit fours and tater tot hotdish, hanging out with friends from near and far, writing funny things on diapers, and unveiling the sweetest gifts that ranged from ultra practical (mountains of diapers!) to ultra homespun (like cousin Elaine’s hand knit sprinkle cupcake hats!!) to ultra hippo. I’m obsessed with this hippo. He’s sitting right next to me and I can’t stop looking at him and giggling. Eggboy and I felt soo loved and got even more excited to bring Poppy Seed into our extremely rad mishpocha. 

Continuing on with my list of foods that I plan to stock in our freezer for my maternity leave, I have to share this soup with you that is the best kept secret of the upper Midwest. Knoephla soup is right up with tater tot hotdish as my favorite new food that I’ve learned about since moving here. Knoephla (neh-fla) are little chewy dumplings that made their way to this area with German immigrants and are most commonly enjoyed in creamy potato soup, but can also be sautéed with sauerkraut and sausage or put into hotdish. They are kind of like plumper smoother spaetzle and the frozen store-bought ones look a lot like mochi bits. Knoephla soup is traditionally made without meat, just potatoes, vegetables, a bit of cream, and my favorite (from Dakota Harvest, r.i.p.) had the most warming hit of nutmeg. The texture of the dumplings and the pure comfort of it all makes this the kind of soup that I just shovel into my mouth with abandon. We had it at our wedding and for years now I’ve wondered why it hasn’t seemed to pick up that much popularity outside of the upper Midwest. The #knoephla hashtag is my favorite hashtag to follow on IG but all of the posts are from North Dakota! Many of them are from Kroll’s dinner, which has a killer version that you can supposedly buy by the bucket (?!), just in case you find yourself at one of those. This is probably one of the only areas where you can buy frozen knoephla at the grocery store, but not to worry, they are very easy to make. I have a recipe in Molly on the Range for knoephla soup but this is a new and improved version because over the past couple of years I’ve started adding more herbs to it, including an egg in the dumplings for added chewiness, and making a much bigger batch so that I can freeze some. I’m not sure if adding dill would be considered the most traditional move, but as I become closer and closer to being a Jewish mother, I’m more inclined than ever to channel severely dill-y matzo ball soup vibes into, like, everything. So while it’s still winter, make a gigantic batch of this and then eat it on the couch from under a fluffy blanket. 

knoephla soup

Serves 8-10


3 tb unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp nutmeg

10 c chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 sprigs dill, chopped

4 sprigs parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 lb (680g) red potatoes, chopped into 1/2” pieces

1 1/2 lb (680g) store-bought frozen knoephla or homemade knoephla (recipe below)

1/2 c (120g) heavy cream


in a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. add the onions, carrots, celery, a good pinch of salt, and a few turns of black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. add the garlic and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes, until fragrant.

stir in the stock, herbs, bay leaves, and potatoes, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. if using store-bought frozen dumplings, add them when the soup reaches a boil. if using homemade dumplings, begin making them when the soup reaches a boil and then add them for the last 20 minutes of simmering.

stir in the cream. taste and adjust seasonings as desired. remove the bay leaves before serving.


to freeze, let cool and transfer to freezer safe containers. freeze for up to three months and defrost in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, and then reheat in the microwave or on the stove.


3 1/4 c (422g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

black pepper

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 c (236g) water

1 large egg

to make the knoephla:

in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, a few turns of pepper, and the nutmeg. stir in the water and egg and mix to form a shaggy dough. turn it out onto a clean work surface and knead it for a few minutes, adding flour as needed, until you have a smooth and stiff dough. roll it into 1/2”-thick blob, cut into 1/2”-3/4” squares, dusting with flour so they don’t stick together, and drop them directly into simmering soup.


photos by chantell and brett! dutch oven by great jones!

week 37: hidechan ramen

since i ran out of things to say about ramen last week,
i interviewed my token ramen-expert friend chris p thompson to talk about
{hee-day chan}
{totto ramen's east side cousin}
here it is:

 would you rather belly flop in a pool of ramen or a pool of mayonnaise?
ok mayonnaise but it has to be kewpie, and there must be either sriracha, wasabi, or red chili oil mixed in.
tell us about your first experience at hidechan (in third person).
chris was having a lot of trouble walking down 52nd street because the line for the schnitzel truck was blocking foot traffic. eventually he broke through and arrived at hidechan (irasshaimase!), where he selected his desired noodle firmness and eagerly awaited the hakata spicy miso ramen. various japanese peeps slurped contentedly. in exactly the space of one bloggy photo and one twitter-check, the bowl arrived. three minutes and 47 seconds later, tongue completely numb, chris decided that there was now a compelling reason to go to east midtown.
why are hidechan's noodles like this: 

and totto's like this:

the following informative and entertaining educational video can answer this question better than i ever could:
describe hidechan's ramen in four verbs.
 if hidechan's spicy miso ramen were a person (dead, alive, or imaginary), who would it be?
it would be the cartoon baby that serves as the corporate logo for want want holdings ltd.
 his tongue and belly love being on fire, also it is secretly chinese (we haven't talked about the secret ingredient, which i theorize to be szechwan peppercorns).
and who would it be in love with (food or person)?
um spicy girl? (supaishii gaaru)
 have you had the pork buns or the gyoza or any of the other sides?
yes i always order mentaiko rice, which is spicy fish roe with thinly sliced nori over rice. pretty standard but quite excellent. japanese people often judge a ramen place partially on it's gyoza (this is the equivalent of us judging a burger joint partially on it's fries, which is fair), but i admit i haven't yet tried them. wanna go later?
how does it compare to ramen that you've eaten in japan?
actually, you know what's crazy? of the times i've been to japan i can recall eating at a real ramen shop exactly once; my enthusiasm for ramen began only after my most recent trip (fall of 2006). furthermore, i don't think that one real ramen experience would be a good gauge for comparison. picture line c3 circa 2004 in tokyo, it is 4 am, last train long gone, sam passed out face-down on the counter, big country singing (!?), and haruka furiously apologizing to the whole place in japanese. the taste of the ramen is pretty much the only thing i didn't take away from that otherwise memorable experience.

yay! thanks chris!!!
stay tuned for a detailed list of chris' favorite ramen places...

...15 restaurants to go!!!!



hidechan is on 52nd and 2nd. and it's open until 2am mon-sat!!!

week 36: totto ramen

and just like that, as if it were on some kind of cue,
it is soup weather. 
{you know, the edible version of scarf weather. the best kind of weather}
not that it needs to be soup weather to eat ramen
because ramen was the non-kosher food of choice at summer camp... 
my friendsies brought cases of the stuff in their duffels. don't even ask how we cooked it. it's really embarrassing. 
but anywho. 
ramen is the type of soup that tastes best when you're eleven and you've just had a really long ice skating practice and you're still in your skating tights and your little skating dress but you must have food to even have the energy to change into your jammies. so your mommy bypasses the leftovers and just sticks some "line noodle soup" on the stove. bless her.
and maybe it's because i'm so used to the mommy line noodle soup that i've not been so terribly wild about all these ramen places around the city {i am no chris p thompson}
but let it be known
is the exception. the first of its kind.
there are two levels of spiciness, but i think one would win:
there was a really long line when i went but i think my friend matt must have given the hostess the sexy eyes or something because we got in way sooner than we expected.
we started with the 
char siu mayo don
pork+mayo+magic rice+green things
even though it was pork, it was very light and clean tasting. like a good albert herring performance... at first impression, you think you're going to want a little something more {like a spicy bit or a sauce} but, no no, it's quite comforting as it is. 
the ramen that both matt and i got was the
totto miso ramen
koji miso+ground pork+paitan soup+egg+green things+bean things+onion+char siu pork
what is a koji and a paitan? i do not know. but they were happy and them two together in the broth were i think the secret behind why i liked this ramen a lot a lot.
the broth was thick. not thick like the dead sea up in thur, but in it you could taste the little miso granules.
and the little granules clung to the doodles.
my goodness it was tasty.
{alas, still no doodle will be mushy enough for me, but these were actually closer to my liking than i expected. yay!}
it was really mega flavory. 
even matt who will only eat at harry's burritos really liked it.
hopefully soup weather is here to stay because the owner of totto has another new place, hide chan, across town...
so don't be surprised if that's one of my 12 remaining restaurants!!!



totto ramen is on 52nd and 9th. 
next to lucky burger, kitty-corner from brian's old apartment {read: many a drunk percussionist know this block well}

l'shana tovah!

ok let's get sumpin straight:
i'm aware that i'm not the most observant bubbeleh on the upper west side.
{i'm sorry, it's just... pork belly has its way sometimes}
but i do love the high holidays because i get to spend time with my fammy
and, of course, eat tasty delicious food!
the problem is, sometimes i just plum forget what the eating rules are.
as in, is this the one where we're not supposed to eat? or are we supposed to eat fried stuff? what shape should my challah {holla!} be in? and should it be risen?
by now i can pretty much hang without looking like a total idiot, 
but i still find myself praying every time that:
let this please be the one where i get to eat matzoh ball soup.
and apples and honey!!! do i get apples and honey??? i lovvvve apples and honey. mmmmmmmmm.
i have an inkling that i'm right about this one.
here's to a happy and yummy new year!!!
i'm off to celebrate in massachusetts!