Quirky

We never decorated Easter eggs at my house. It seems a shame, because as you can see from my last post, colorful and intricate designs are right up my alley.

But we only ate scrambled eggs when I was little. In fact, some of my family members are still dubious of eggs in any other form. This breakfast pizza, for example, was deemed too frightening for human consumption.

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Hard-boiled eggs are even more objectionable, according to my sisters. So you can see why we didn’t cook a batch every spring. They might offer a fun canvas for painting, but the insides would be wasted.

I, however, learned to love hard-boiled eggs after a trip to Germany. My host family also introduced me another unfamiliar substance often viewed with suspicion: quark.

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I was thrilled to meet this stuff at the breakfast table. My German class had read about quark in our textbook, but no one could offer a suitable description. It’s a soft, fresh cheese—almost like a cross between cheese and yogurt. In Austria, it’s known as topfen, and in Germany, you pronounce it “kvark.”

But you don’t have to make a trip to Europe to try this stuff. Quark is the most fantastically easy thing I’ve ever made. Most dairy-based creations are a bit finicky (yogurt, for example, or cheese). But quark practically makes itself.

How to Make Quark

Heat oven to lowest temperature.

Pour buttermilk into an ovenproof dish (the amount is up to you; for those who like specific instructions, make it a quart).

Cover and leave in oven overnight.

Then strain for a few hours (I recommend a cloth in a colander) or to desired consistency (thick and spreadable).

The End.

I told you it was easy. Also, if your quark is too dry, you can add milk, half-and-half, or cream to make it smoother.

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I think quark is best on hard rolls, or Brötchen, under a layer of jam (my Austrian hosts brought 20 jars to the table every morning). You can also season it for a savory—even spicy—spread, and it’s used in many German desserts. Quark would also work well for the creamy ingredient in my crepe and trifle recipes.

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Besides being delicious, quark is also popular for its nutritional value.

Although most people view Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn’s faith in its healing powers with the same suspicion my sisters reserve for hard-boiled eggs.

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