Jean-Georges Vongerichten played with the idea of adding baking powder to the batter to lighten the dumplings, then rejected it. "Nobody does that where I'm from in Alsace," he says. Even though the dumplings look a bit clunky--they're tablespoon-size--they're so deeply satisfying you'll want to roast a chicken or a beef rib eye simply as an excuse to make them.
F&W's Grace Parisi has had to perfect her spaetzle-making skills to prevent her German au pair from becoming homesick. Germans typically use quark when making spaetzle, but Parisi's au pair told her that the type available in the United States isn't curdy enough. So Parisi uses small-curd cottage cheese in the spaetzle and makes the chive sauce with tangy quark. Adding 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar instead of the chives turns this savory dish into a delicious dessert.
Chefs love pork belly because it's inexpensive yet tastes luxurious. Joseph Lenn, a chef at Blackberry Farm, cures it overnight in salt and sugar to add flavor, then braises it until it's meltingly tender.