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An Elite Austrian Dinner

by Lou Seibert Pappas

This intimate, elite dinner for six is a joy for a guest meal because both the strudel entree and cake may be made well in advance. The other elements go together swiftly.

For a wine accompaniment, consider a recent Sauvignon Blanc from Wente, Canyon Road, Matanzas Creek, or Ferrari-Carano. Or enjoy one of the Italian grape varietals such as a 1996 Joseph Phelps Le Mistral, Heitz Grignolino, Thomas Coyne Viogner, or Byron Pinot Gris.

Cook Ahead Hints: Assemble the strudels a day in advance and refrigerate or prepare up to two weeks ahead and freeze. Bake the cake a day or two ahead or up to two or three weeks ahead and freeze. Stuff the eggs early in the day.

Eggs with Caviar
Makes 6 servings


6 eggs, hard-cooked
1-1/2 tablespoons each sour cream and mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 jar (2 ounces) lumpfish caviar
Watercress sprigs

Halve the eggs lengthwise and transfer the yolks to a bowl. Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and mustard to the yolks and mix well. Pile into the egg white halves. Cover and refrigerate. At serving time, arrange 2 stuffed egg halves on each of 6 small plates and spoon the caviar over the yolk filling. Tuck a sprig of watercress on each plate.

Artichokes with Dipping Sauce
Makes 6 servings


6 medium-sized artichokes
Boiling salted water
1 1/2 tablespoons each oil and lemon juice
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon each minced fresh tarragon and chives

Slice the tops and stem ends from the artichokes and peel off outer leaves; with scissors trim the tips of the other leaves. Simmer in a large pot of boiling salted water with the oil and lemon juice, covered, until tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and cool slightly, then use a teaspoon to scoop out the center choke. Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard, and herbs, and spoon about 2 tablespoons each in artichoke. Or if desired, cool and chill the artichokes and serve cold with sauce.

Chicken and Leek Strudels
Makes 6 servings


6 split chicken breasts, cooked
4 tablespoons butter
1 bunch (about 3) leeks, chopped (white part only)
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3/4 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups (5 oz.) shredded jarlsberg or GruyËre cheese
12 sheets fila dough

Preheat the oven to 375ƒF. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and dice the meat in large chunks. Place the chicken meat in a bowl. In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and sautÈ the leeks and carrot until soft. Add to the chicken along with the parsley, tarragon, pepper, salt, eggs, and cheese and mix lightly. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Lay out 1 sheet of fila (keep remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap so they don't dry out). Brush lightly with melted butter, cover with a second sheet, and brush half of it lightly with melted butter; then fold sheet in half. Brush top of folded sheet lightly with butter. Place one-sixth of the filling in a log shape along a long side, leaving a 1-inch strip uncovered along edge and at sides. Fold in 1-inch sides and roll up the dough like a jelly roll, encasing the filling. Place seam side down on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fila sheets and filling. Lightly brush tops of the fila rolls with butter. At this point, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Let thaw completely before baking. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Wild Rice with Pecans
Makes 6 servings


1-1/2 cups wild rice
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 green onions or 1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3-3/4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon each dried marjoram and thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped pecans or pistachios

Preheat the oven to 375ƒF. Place the rice in a bowl, cover with water, and let stand 1 hour; drain. In a saucepot sautÈ the celery and onions in oil until limp. Add the parsley, rice, stock, marjoram, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the rice is cooked through. Sprinkle with the nuts.

Pear, Toasted Hazelnut, and Blue Cheese Salad
Makes 6 servings


Raspberry Vinaigrette: follows
6 cups salad greens
2 winter pears, sliced
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts or walnuts, coarsely chopped
Blue cheese, about 2 ounces

Prepare the vinaigrette. Toss with the greens and top with pears, hazelnuts, and cheese.

Raspberry Vinaigrette: Mix or shake together in a jar 1/4 cup olive oil or part canola oil, 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar, 1 teaspoon cassis syrup, 1 shallot, chopped, and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.

Chocolate Ginger Cake
Makes 8 servings


5 eggs, separated
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds , hazelnuts, or pecans, or a combination
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated (3/4 cup)
1/3 cup minced candied ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
French vanilla ice cream, frozen yogurt, or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350ƒF. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored and beat in 1 cup of the sugar and the vanilla and almond extracts, beating until thick. Mix together the nuts, chocolate, and ginger and fold in half the mixture. Beat the egg whites until foamy, add the salt and cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into the yolks to lighten them. Fold in the remaining nut and chocolate mixture and gently fold in remaining whites. Turn into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when touched lightly. Remove from the oven and let cool upside down on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and accompany with frozen yogurt or whipped cream.

Lou Seibert Pappas is a former food editor of the Palo Alto Times Tribune and a home economist with Sunset Magazine. She currently writes food, home, and travel-related articles for national magazines and newspapers and is the author of more than 30 books.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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