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I learned to eat Fettuccini in Torino, Italy while I worked for a year at the University of Torino;Immunology Department. as a Laboratory Medical Research Technologist.    I had wonderful teachers during that whole year.  The doctors in the laboratory made it their mission that I would learn their language and learn to eat the food of their country.  I quickly learned that the Pizza I ate in America was not that of Italy, and so it went with all the American Italian Food.

I loved exploring the various meals that we ate after working hours at the Hospital Dining Room….There was of course a lot of laughter about my surprised looks when I could not understand what was said and how I said sentences that came out of my mouth.   It was all hilariously funny and good natured.  I never felt that they ridiculed me or made fun of me.  I so loved them all.

My Italian improved quickly, and within three month I spoke Italian pretty well with a pronunciation so perfectly that I amazed everyone around me.  Little did they know that I inherited the gift of learning languages from my father who was a linguist and spoke five languages.

One of my most favorite meals was Fettuccini.  I could have eaten this meal every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Here is how I learned to make and eat this most delicious meal!

Fettuccini Alfredo….

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Cook Spaghetti in  boiling water  until cooked …al-dente…

Alfredo Sauce

1 cup of Heavy cream….or 1% milk

½ cup or more of grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 or 2 garlic cloves finely chopped

Add the 3 ingredients  above in a sauce pan and heat until the cheese melts…

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour over the Spaghetti/Fettuccini and mix

To this dish one can add any favorite cooked vegetables…

And sprinkle with Parmesan cheese…before serving


Fettuccini Carbonara

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Cook spaghetti or fettuccini till al-dente and set aside

In a skillet cook a few strips of bacon till nicely browned….

Remove the fat…then add a chopped onion and cook until caramelized
Add the cooked fettucccini and mix into the cooked onion, add the bacon slightly crumbled

And add an egg or two…mix all together until the egg is slightly cooked….the egg is the cream for this dish…so it should not be cooked completely….

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese…

Buon Appetito….  e mangiare bene!!!  







It was a hot summer day and cooking a meal was just not in my program today….I feel I have to make dinner within half an hour…that means setting the table and sitting down on our balcony and enjoying the evening breeze….

 A quick meal for me is a meal that I can put together within 30 minutes… A cold soup or a salad are my choices… The Black Bean Salad came to mind.   I had made that salad a while back in one of my cooking classes…   It is actually nice to revisit my old recipes and maybe change them slightly…

So here it goes….:

Black Bean Salad ….from Maja’s Viennese Kitchen …..re-visited!


Black Bean Salad
1 15-20 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10 oz. can Mexican Yellow corn, drained
1 diced avocado…optional….the avocado needs to be just slightly soft to the touch!
1/4 c diced red onion…I use spring onions
1/2 of a large red pepper, diced….I use 1..either red or yellow peppers or both
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 1/2 limes (or to taste)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley

I use a Balsamic Vinaigrette instead of the olive oil and lime juice.

My Salad Dressing for this Summery Bean Salad

2 packets of Good Seasons Italian Dressing

½ cup of water

½ cup of Balsamic Vinegar

½ cup of olive oil

1 tsp mustard

Place all these ingredients into a bottle or a glass container…and shake it well to mix…..keep refrigerated!

Use as much or as little as you like for this bean salad….I like to have this salad dressing in my refrigerator all the time!


Hope your Summer is going well?!  Before we know it Fall will be upon us and then the Winter…time goes much too quickly….at least for me!


I will be happy if you leave me a message and let me know how you liked this Bean Salad!  I sometime make it several days ahead  and keep it in refrigerator.

Visit me on Face Book…..under Maja’s Viennese Kitchen….or Maria Reisz Springer!



A  Bundt Cake or a Kugelhupf baking form are really very similar.  The cakes or breads that are baked in them are usually served either at Breakfast,  a Morning Coffee or an Afternoon Tea.  I love them because the form of this cake is a “festive” form…and not just a bread loaf.  However when it is served at the occasions I mentioned above it should be plated in a way that it is inviting and ready to be served with a cake server.  Most people just put the cake on a platter and cut it at the table.  I find when one does that the cake is usually  cut into  pieces that are too large and the slices leave a lot of crumbs behind. Here are some of my Bundt Cakes/Kugelhupfs and how I like to serve them.

Almond Kugelhupf

Poppy Seed Bundt Cake

Maria Reisz Springer

Maja’s Viennese Kitchen





Here you will find stories, recipes, pictures of my daily activities in a kitchen that is used lovingly while I experiment and re-create Austrian Pastries in an American Kitchen. Occasionally I will “travel” into another European Country to bake a pastry that I remember having enjoyed at a table where the language and tastes were different then my own.  Also, I am very interested in setting a table properly while I entertain either at Breakfast, a Lunch, Tea or Dinner.  Flowers are very important in my life…they give me enjoyment, pleasure and energy. Come join me on an adventure that will keep you in good company while your eyes will sparkle and keep sweet smiles on your lips……. 


Variations on a Streusel Kuchen…..

One of the most loved coffee cakes in Austria on a Sunday Afternoon….

and sharing it with friends and family!


These last few days I have been working on an Apfel “Streusel Kuchen”…..Apple Streusel Cake.  I found the  original recipe in an old Austrian Cookbook.  The recipe makes a relatively big cake in a 15X11 inch baking pan or an 11 inch spring form cake pan., or as you can see above, I baked the recipe in two 10 inch tart pans.  I had a little dough left since I did not want to overfill  the pans…I did not want the cake to spill over into the oven,  therefor, I made 3 little tarts with blueberries, strawberries and grapes.  They definitely needed more dough as a base….but were delicious as they were!

Well, coming back to my Apple Streusel Cake that I baked in the two tart pans I divided the dough and the fruit into the two 10 inch tart forms and baked them in a 350 F oven, for about an hour….

Note….every oven heats differently…we do not have our home ovens calibrated…like restaurant ovens are, therefor, you need to watch and test with a cake tester if the center of the cake is baked.  The edges should not be overbaked…in other words…you do not want the edges around the cake a very dark  brown color, or almost burnt.   If the tester comes out clean in the center take the cake out of the oven..

This  definitely was one of the most delicious coffee cakes I recently made.

If you should want to make a large cake…place all the dough into a 11 inch spring form…and pile it with thinly sliced apples… I sliced the peeled apples in my food processor.   Here is the recipe for a large cake below…I have made this recipe  with grapes and blueberries as well!  If you are courageous try it with other fruit…you just might create a new recipe…and it will be your very own….

Apple Streussel Kuchen

3/4 cup butter at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp Vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/3 cup milk

2 cups thinly sliced peeled apples  + juice of 1 lemon…mix and coat the apples with the juice.   This is to prevent the apples to became brown….

1/2 cup fresh cranberries…..or crasins..this is optional!


1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter

Zest of 1 lemon

Mix all the  ingredients in the food processor until all is powdery and little lumps of butter make up the streusel..  Do not over mix…it will become a dough instead a Streusel.

Cake Dough

In an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy,  Add the eggs….one at a time, and mix until all is combined and light in color….Add the flour and the baking powder. Mix again…then add the lemon zest and the milk and mix until the dough is smooth.

Grease and dust the baking pan with some flour . Pour the dough into the pan and smooth out the top….then add the thinly sliced apples on top…make sure they are evenly distributed.  And top the apples with all the Streusel…..again distribute the Streusel evenly over the apples.

Bake the cake for about an hour or a little longer in a 350 F preheated oven…or until a thin knife come out clean in the cake’s center…

Invite your friends and enjoy every bite with a cup of coffee!!!


The Avacado!

The Avocado!

Maria Reisz Springer

Maja’s Viennese Kitchen




It’s pear-like shape and rough, green skin resembles

an alligator.


In 1961 my family celebrated our 10th anniversary of being Naturalized Citizens of the United States.  At this time my father sold our first small home and bought a bigger one in a very nice neighborhood in Glendale, California.  I was still in college and lived at home.  My little bedroom was decorated with pink and white bedspreads and white curtains that covered  the  two windows  looking out onto a small back yard.  My desk was in front of one of those windows and when I sat there studying my eyes always wandered out to the big tree that shaded the house.

Through the seasons I never saw it bloom, but during the summer it bore some strange fruit that we did not recognize.


It looked almost like a pear, was dark, almost black in color, and when we picked it, and cut it open, the flesh  was pale green with a huge seed inside



We had no idea what to do with this fruit.  We let it fall to the ground, collected it, and put it into the trash.

Some evenings at dusk I would see raccoons tip-toe around the garden picking up and eating this strange fruit that fell off the tree.

It was many years later in a restaurant that I was urged to choose a salad, “Hearts of Lettuce with Guacamole” and it was delicious.  When I asked what that green “vegetable” was I was told that it was an Avocado.  As it was being described to me, I realized that it was the fruit of our backyard tree, while all these years we had thrown away this delectable fruit and had no idea that it was edible.

Since then, and for many years now the Avocado is one of my favorite fruit.


It grows on a tree that is related to

the Laurel family!


In all my reading about the history of the Avocado, the researchers differ in some respects of its origin, however, most of them seem do agree that it originated in the South Americas.

It was Hernandez de Oviredo who discovered the Avocado in 1526, and research shows that it was highly regarded by the Mayas and Aztecs.  The original name was awa gualt which then in common usage, in the Spanish language, became Avocado.

In 1653 horticulturists described that the many types of Avocados came from three races, all indigenous to Mexico. They were recognized as West Indian, Guatemalan and Mexican Avocados.


Today most of the cultivated Avocados are grown in Florida and California.  In Florida we find the West Indian-Guatemalan, the Fuerte, and in California the Guatemalan-Mexican, the Hass.  The Hass Avocado is named after Rudolph Hass, a mailman from Wisconsin who retired in California and patented the tree in 1935.



The Hass grown fruit is rich in oil (18 to 30 %), is small and dense, and has a green-black “alligator” skin.  The fruit has a nutty and buttery flavor and is much smaller than the Fuerte Avocado. In Florida there are about 60 different Avocado varieties.

Generally the Florida Avocado is juicy, not buttery and has about 3 to 5 % oil and their flavor is mild and fruity. The Florida Avocado can weigh from one half pound and up to 5 pounds and can be as large as a football and has a skin that stays a smooth and leafy green.

Most of the Avocados are best when ripened off the tree.  To buy them in the grocery store chose one that is heavy for its size, and yields to gentle pressure.  To speed ripen them, place several Avocados into a paper bag and let them sit at room temperature for a couple of days.

When the Avocado is cut the flesh will darken once it is exposed to air.  Pouring or rubbing little lemon or lime juice over the fruit will eliminate the discoloration – somewhat.

Once mashed to a puree in preparation for a dip it is NOT TRUE that burying the avocado stone in the puree will help maintain the fresh green color.

Recently recipe preparations using avocados have become a little more imaginative.  Due to the awareness for healthy eating, the Avocado has become quite popular.


However the guacamole is probably still the most loved!


The Avocado contains important nutrients, such as Lutein, which promotes eye health; vitamin E an antioxidant; and potassium a component without which the body’s electrolytes would not be balanced. The little fat it contains is mono-unsaturated, which some studies say helps lower LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.



Here are some old recipes

that will get you in the mood for spring!








Hearts of Lettuce with Guacamole

From one of my favorite books:

“Come Into The Kitchen Cook Book” 1967

By Mary and Vincent Price –



Vincent Price, the famous move star,  was a frequent visitor at Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood, California where I spent four years studying Biology.  I, and my friends on campus were so in “ah” of him!






1 large ripe Avocado

½ peeled and finely chopped ripe tomato

½ seeded and finely chopped green pepper

2 tsp grated onion

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp olive oil

1 Tbsp lime juice

½ cup mayonnaise

Hearts of lettuce

Mash the Avocado with a fork.  Blend in the remaining ingredients except the mayonnaise.  Spread the mayonnaise over the top of the mixture to keep it from darkening.  Refrigerate and when ready to serve, blend in the mayonnaise.

Serve as a dressing on Hearts of Lettuce or use it as a dip.


Avocado Spring Salad

“Complete Cookbook” 1961From Amy Vanderbilt



1 Avocado

Lemon Juice

6 scallions (young green onions)

6 small radishes


French Dressing

Peel the Avocado.  Dice and sprinkle it with lemon juice.  Slice washed scallions very thin.  Wash radishes and grate them coarsely.  Combine Avocado, scallions and radishes lightly using two forks.  Serve on a bed of lettuce with the Dressing.

Lemon French Dressing

1 cup olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tsp salt

1 tsp prepared mustard

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Makes about 1 ¼ cups dressing.

Avocado Luncheon Salad

“Complete Cookbook” 1961from Amy Vanderbilt


2 Avocados

1 cup diced cooked chicken or crab meat

¾ cup diced celery

½ cup diced cucumber

2 or 3 black olives chopped coarsely

½ cup mayonnaise

Lettuce or watercress

Cut avocados in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Combine chicken or crab meat, celery, cucumber, olives and mayonnaise.  Mix lightly.

Place Avocado halves on a bed of lettuce and fill the avocados with the salad mixture.

One can substitute the chicken with crab, lobster, or tuna.


Avocado-Seafood Dip


From “Cooking with Love and Paprika” 1966

By Joseph Pasternak a famous Hollywood producer.


Avocado Spread


1 cup creamed cottage cheese.

1 Avocado, peeled and mashed

1 tsp minced onion

1 tsp lemon juice

dash of  Worcestershire sauce

salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve as a dip/spread with Melba toast or crackers.







Rich Avocado Dip

“Dear Kitchen Bazaar” 1977 …..by Rona Cohen

This was my favorite Kitchen Store in Baltimore when we moved here in 1981.



1 large, fresh tomato – peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, peeled and grated

4 Avocados, very ripe, peeled and mashed

2 cups sour cream

Juice of 1 lemon

A few dashes of Tobasco

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ tsp garlic powder or 1 to 2 fresh garlic cloves – finely chopped..

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix gently.

Serve with taco chips.



Butter Lettuce with Ruby Grapefruit,

Avocado, and Glazed Walnuts From my special friend……and her book:

“Cooking School Secrets” 2005 from Linda Carucci…..who lives in Oakland, CA


2 large, firm heads butter (Boston) lettuce

½ small red onion, ends cut off and cut lengthwise into thin crescents

2 large, ripe Hass Avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes

4 large, sweet Ruby grapefruits cut into segments



Finely chopped zest of 1 orange

1 tsp sugar

1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1 ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ tsp freshly squeezed lime juice

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp granulated garlic powder

1/8 tsp fine, granulated ground black pepper

¼ cup mild-tasting extra-virgin olive oil



¼ cup superfine sugar

2 quarts water

2 cups (6 ounces) walnut halves

About 2 cups light tasting vegetable oil, for frying

Place the sugar in a bowl, large enough to hold the walnuts and have a heatproof rubber spatula ready.  Place a strainer in the sink for the walnuts.

Nest a clean, dry wire-mesh strainer inside a bowl and place near the stove.

Coat the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil spray.

Set aside

In a 4 quart pan bring the water to a rolling boil add the walnuts and boil for just 1 minute. Remove walnuts and shake them dry in a towel.  Transfer them to the prepared sugar to coat them.

Now transfer them to the hot oil and fry them to a golden brown.  This goes very quickly so be very attentive.

Carefully transfer the fried walnuts to the prepared baking sheet, making sure that they do not touch and are in a single layer. Cool them and dry them before serving.

Assembling the Salad

Cut the lettuce in sections length-wise.  Wash the sections in cold water and spin them dry.

Just before serving toss the lettuce and the red onion slices with the dressing and tasting it for enough salt.  If it needs more salt add a sprinkle over the lettuce.

Add the grapefruit sections and tuck them into the fold of the lettuce.  Break up the walnut halves and sprinkle them over the salad.



Copy Right….Maria Reisz Springer 2017

Maja’s Viennese Kitchen





“Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance!”

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean area, where it grows wild and in huge masses on rocky hillsides near the sea where the soil is dry and chalky with lots of sunshine.

It has been in use in that part of the world since 500 B.C, now we find it  throughout  Europe and in the U.S.  The name is derived from the Latin “ros” and “marinus,” meaning “dew of the sea.” This shrub/herb can grow up to six feet tall along the Mediterranean coast. 

Originally it was used for medicinal purposes, especially among the ancient Greeks when they intertwined branches in their hair to guard against “weakness of the brain” especially at a time while taking exams, and was thought to cure ailments of the nervous system.

As folklore tells us it carries many superstitions and is a member of the Mint family.  Through the ages rosemary was tossed into graves at funerals, as a sign that the deceased would always be remembered.  Shakespeare tells us in Hamlet: “There’s Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance.”  Rosemary also symbolizes fidelity, from the time of Anne of Cleves who wore a rosemary wreath when she embarked on her ill-fated marriage to Henry VIII.

Rosemary is a very aromatic shrub with numerous branches that grow low to the ground when young and later becomes woody with  grayish-brown, scaly bark.  The narrow, leathery leaves are spiky, with a dark green upper surface and a pale gray, underside.

The silver-green, needle-shaped leaves are highly aromatic and their flavor hints of both lemon and pine.  Its small blossoms are pale blue and sometimes pale pink and are a special delicacy to bees.

In the markets today this herb is available fresh, in whole-leaf form, as well as dried and powdered.

In your gardens, harvest Rosemary from midsummer through late fall.

Rosemary can be used as a seasoning in variety of dishes including fruit salads, soups, vegetables, meat, particularly lamb, fish, egg dishes, stuffings , and dressings. Also, one cannot overlook the many possibilities in breads and muffins.

Its unique flavor is particularly excellent for barbecued and grilled meats, not only in marinades, but throwing it onto the coals for flavored smoke. It is also especially useful in the making of sausages, and is a prime ingredient in “Herbs de Provence.”


Rosemary Marinated Flank Steak

1 ½ pound Beef Flank Steak

¼ cup Soy Sauce

¼ cup Olive Oil

½ cup Sherry

2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary Leaves, chopped fine

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp Juniper Berries, slightly crushed

Put the steak on a cutting board and using a sharp knife, make

Shallow diagonal crisscross cuts on both sides of the steak so that the steak is scored in a diamond pattern.  This scoring will both tenderize the steak and prevent curling during cooking.

Place the scored steak in a shallow non-reactive dish.  Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour that mixture over the meat.

Allow to marinate at least 1 hour but no more than 3.

Turn meat several times while it marinades.

Preheat broiler or barbecue grill, then broil or grill the steak quickly about 2-inches from the heat source.  Cook the steak for about 8 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second….or altogether less……..if you desire the meat a little  rare in the center.

The real secret to a tender flank steak is the carving.  Position the cooked meat on a carving board so that the smallest end is angled slightly away from you.  Secure the meat with a fork or tongs and, with the blade of your knife almost parallel to the surface of the steak, make very thin slices diagonally across the grain of the meat.

You can make a delicious sauce with the remaining marinade by straining it and placing the liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Combine 1 Tbsp Cornstarch with 2 Tbsp Cold Water.  Add to the heating marinade, mix well and allow to thicken slightly.

Sprinkle in a tad more finely chopped fresh rosemary, mix well and serve over the sliced meat.

My personal encounters with the herb – Rosemary ………..

After I graduated from College I found a position as a Medical Research Technologist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

At the end of my one year contract I found myself with a group of friends vacationing on the Coast of the Adriatic Sea.  We were on a Sail Boat hopping the islands in those most beautiful blue waters.  The islands were barren of any kind of growth, but Rosemary and Sage.  These two herbs grew in such abundance that whole herds of sheep found enough food to sustain their livelihood.  As I was gazing at this amazing sight of green and gray bushes, inhaling the powerful aromas of these herbs, watching the energetic sheep munching away in lively exuberance, I could not but think………that their flesh is already marinated before they are slaughtered for human consumption.


Having my roots in Croatia and am from Austrian heritage……

I remember going to weddings as a child, I saw that when the bride and groom entered the church that they were given a small bouquet of Rosemary that was pinned on them, to assure happiness as long as they live together.

When my parents immigrated to the U.S. and when my father bought our second home in Los Angeles, CA, my mother planted a Rosemary bush on the side of our house.  This bush grew to be quite large through the years.  I graduated from college, spent my three years in Europe and came back to marry my husband within a year and a half of returning.

To my biggest surprise and pleasure my mother announced that we would make little buttonière of Rosemary to be pinned on every guest that came to my wedding.  We made 160 of these little bouquets and wrapped a little white ribbon around each one of them.  During the wedding ceremony the whole church was sitting in an aromatic cloud of Rosemary fragrance.

After our honeymoon we visited my parents only to see that the Rosemary bush had died.  I think it knew that my mother planted it for a purpose……..and when that purpose was fulfilled…it died!

My husband and I are still together after 41 years of marriage. That little twig of Rosemary kept it’s promise!

Why do you like this herb, Rosemary…or do you not like it?

How do you use it….in cooking, baking, medicinally or therapeutically?


Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email at:maria@majaskitchen.com   Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website,http://www.majaskitchen.com

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Winter 2016


The world around me turned white…

The snow fell quietly…

And dressed nature in a while cloak..

It gave the impression of a magical stillness….

 Camera in my hand….

Framing pictures…

While my imagination created…

With a thoughtful eye….

A painting in white…

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Copy Right….Maria R Springer

Maja’s Kitchen LLC