Kraut!

As per my previous post I am trying to roll a wider variety of food choices into my diet. My challenge for the month was Sauerkraut. In all fairness, I  began thinking about it when my mom asked if I could or would eat Sauerkraut. Mom’s know. I figured the funky fermented cabbage would likely make my tummy and intestines pretty happy and I was right. So far, so good. Thanks Mom!

Here’s a recipe that is very approachable and works well for those of you that might not want to eat a face full of kraut on a sandwich. Alternately, it is a great use for that bit of sauerkraut that has been in your fridge since you last DID crave a face full of kraut on a sandwich.

I had braised some ribs and used all that sweet sexy braising liquid for the pork stock called for in this recipe. If you don’t have pork stock on hand feel free to substitute with chicken or beef broth.

(Because Kraut has so much tang and flavor I am guessing that subbing beans for the meat, adding some garlic, veg broth instead of pork stock and an extra tsp of paprika would make this a damn fine vegan recipe. Jody – looking at you.)

Make it up. Peace yo.

Sauerkraut Soup

1 tbsp pork fat, or oil

2 onions, peeled and diced

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced **leaves and all dammit. go there.**

2 pork sausages (I used bratwurst again)

1 L pork stock

1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and chopped

1 tsp paprika

1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves picked and lightly chopped

2 L water

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, add the pork fat or oil and sweat the onions, carrots, and celery over medium heat, stirring often. Meanwhile throw the sausages on a plate. Cut down the center of them and squeeze the raw meat out of the casing. Pinch little fingernail sized chunks off and put them in the pot with your veggies. Stir all that up until the meat begins to brown and it smells amazing. Add the sauerkraut. Add the stock and water. Add the paprika and thyme. Let it come to a boil then turn the heat to medium low and let it simmer for at least 40 minutes (or all day because it is Sunday, so why not).

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Eat with all the crusty bread your body can handle.

Cheers

–  k.

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Year of the pulse

Exciting year – 2016 – Year of the Pulse! Pulses are the dried beans and seeds of some podded plants and therefore are shelf stable for a very long time.They are nutritious food products being naturally high in protein and fiber, rich in minerals and low in fat. Pulses tend to be easily digestible. They are also extremely inexpensive. Some common pulses you are likely familiar with would be dried beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. Go to pulsecanada.com for great information on these little powerhouses.

Soaking or direct cooking your own beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas is immensely healthier for you than using a precooked canned product. Lentils benefit from soaking but cook quite quickly without.

I picked up a 10 lb bag of brown lentils at my local store for about 8$. I have been soaking and sprouting them, using them in soups, salads and stews for a several months. I still don’t feel like I have put a dent in that 10 lb bag. Apart from their affordability pulses are downright delicious. They are easy to prepare and are an excellent way to add some variety to your diet.

Here is a recipe using delicious brown lentils you can easily make for a weeknight supper.

Brown Lentils “Cassoulet Style”

1 cup brown lentils

2 cups water

Combine in an ovenproof casserole and bake for 1 hour at 350*F to cook lentils. 

4 pork dinner sausages – bratwurst or English style bangers

Cook sausages in oven for 20 minutes, until internal temperatures reaches 160*F. 

Meanwhile prepare the garnish. 

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion

Splash white wine (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

2 fresh tomatoes, diced small

Splash white wine (optional)

In a heavy bottomed pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion. Let cook several minutes while stirring. Add a splash of white wine if desired. Add garlic and thyme. Add tomatoes. Turn heat down to medium and let cook until onions are completely cooked through. 

Once lentils are cooked fold them into the pot with the onion and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve lentils together with the roasted sausages. 

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Fresh Aprons.

So we all know it is the little things in life that make life worth living. I bought a new apron today. I am fairly certain it improved my overall satisfaction with life and my ability to keep on keeping on. Stopped at a farmers market for local Swiss chard, baby new potatoes, fresh corn and a giant Ribeye steak and that definitely helps improve my outlook on life as well.

Here is a quick weeknight recipe to help y’all push through to Saturday.

Buttered Ribeye
        with All the Garden Veg

1 bone in Ribeye steak
Salt and Pepper
Canola or cooking oil

4 small potatoes
1 small onion, peeled and diced
10 or so cherry tomatoes
1 ear of corn, broken into 4 pieces
2 cups cleaned swiss chard leaves
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Salt and pepper

To serve:
Sour cream
Pickled mustard seeds or grainy mustard
Fresh dill if you have it
More butter

Turn on the oven to 400*F.

Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Turn to high heat. Once they boil toss in the diced onion and the corn. Let cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain. Line a 9×12″ casserole dish with parchment paper.  Toss all the cooked veggies into it and add the tomatoes and chard. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with butter.

Throw the casserole into the oven. Place a heavy bottomed oven proof frying pan on high heat. Rub the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper. Once the fry pan is good and properly hot add the steak. Leave it to sear for several minutes and find yourself a glass of wine. Flip it. Drink a few sips. Toss the pan into the oven. Set a timer for 6 minutes and relax. Once the steak is cooked to your preference remove it from the oven. The veggies are ready once they start looking a little charred around their edges.

Just before serving butter the steak. Liberally. Dab some mustard on it. Throw some dill in with your veggies. Serve everything with sour cream.

I would say that’s supper in about 45 minutes total. Only minimal attention is required. I played My Little Ponies with the kiddo while preparing it. Suppose you could do the same if you are into it … or have a 6 year old girl.

Folks often ask me for weeknight meal suggestions. I tend to cook what is in my fridge. Go heavy on the vegetables and add a little protein. Meals are pretty easy to make if you have a fridge full of goodness to draw from. And herbs. Lots and lots of herbs.

Happy Wednesday.

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