Wiener- Kraut

Weiner-Kraut with Spatzele

Weiner-Kraut with Spatzele

I’m a little late getting this post up.   I made this dish several weeks ago with a nod to Octoberfest.  But what the heck, just call it Novemberfest.

What’s Oktoberfest if not an excuse to indulge–isn’t that why we co-oped the German holiday, after all?

This is an old Mennonite recipe, brought by those folks when they immigrated to this country.   I found it in a catalog from the Penzey’s Spice Company.  It’s relatively quick to prepare and perfect for a chilly fall day after working out in the yard.  It can be served over mashed potatoes, or egg noodles, but when I made it I used a package of Spaetzle and served it all with fresh green beans.  A cold glass of beer goes very well with this dish. Dirndles and lederhosen not required.

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WIENER-KRAUT

Yield:   Serves 6 – 8IMG_8467

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter or vegetable oil
  • 4  Polish or German-style sausages ( 1 1/2 – 2 pounds), sliced 1/4-inch thick.  (I used kielbasa.)
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup chopped red or green bell pepper, 1 medium
  • 4 cups sliced or shredded cabbage
  • 1 Tbsp. Krakow Nights, or Tsardust Seasoning (from Penzey’s)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice ( in a pinch, use chicken broth)

Directions:

1.  In a large deep skillet, melt the butter  or vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the sausage slices and brown, about 4 minutes per side.  Add the onion and cook until tender 3 – 5 minutes, stirring often.

Browning the sausage with onions.

Browning the sausage with onions.

2.  Add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, being sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add the apples, bell peppers, cabbage, seasonings and apple juice or cider.

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Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes, until the cabbage is tender but not mushy.

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Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or spaetzle.

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SOURCE:  Penzey’s Catalog

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Apple Oat Cinnamon Bread

Apple-Oat Cinnamon Bread

Apple-Oat Cinnamon Bread

Dear readers, I have a confession to make.   I am a bread snob!  I am mildly ashamed to admit it, but it’s true.  I am a person who loves bread, but not white bread, only artisanal or whole grain breads will do. For me, white bread is boring, bland, Blah!  Therefore I either buy my bread at a good bakery, or make my own.  That is what led me to make this wonderful bread that contains apple, oats and cinnamon.

The cloudless blue sky and brisk air this week has made me think of the kids gone back to school, and getting lunches ready. When I was in grade school I always brought my lunch, carefully packed by my mother.  One of my favorites was her homemade raisin bread with peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and cherries.  I considered myself lucky to be one of the “brown baggers”, not one of those kids who purchased weekly lunch tickets, which entitled them to “hot lunches”.  No sir, the sloppy joes, canned corn, tuna noodle casserole, applesauce , and jello were not for me.  I much preferred Mom’s carefully handcrafted sandwiches, or sometimes hot soup in a thermos bottle.

So now when September rolls around, I remember those days and long for home baked bread.  After a summer of grilled chicken and Caesar salads, it’s time for my comfort food,  the sandwich.

Apples and oats both team up happily with cinnamon, so why not put them all together in a soft, tasty loaf?  A touch of maple syrup sweetens the loaf, while walnuts add crunch.    A slice of this, toasted for breakfast is wonderful, and of course, sandwiched with peanut butter and jelly it can’t be beat.

APPLE OAT CINNAMON BREAD

YIELD:  16 – 18 slices

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flourIMG_5099
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1  1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2  1/2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp. potato flour, (optional, for softer texture)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup finely diced peeled apple (about 1 medium apple)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts  (optional)

1.  In a large mixing bowl, or in the bucket of your bread machine, combine all of the ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a fairly smooth (though quite sticky), elastic dough.  I used my bread machine set to the “dough” cycle.  If you’re using a mixer, knead for about 7 minutes at medium speed;  the dough will never completely clear the sides of the bowl.

2.  Transfer the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for 1 hour or until it’s quite puffy.

3.  After the first rise, gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a 9-inch log.  If using a bread machine, remove dough, deflate and shape as described.

After first rise form dough into a 9-inch log.

After first rise form dough into a 9-inch log.

Place dough into a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.  Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap.  Allow the loaf to rise until it’s crested about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

Cover with greased plastic wrap and put in a warm place to raise again.

Cover with greased plastic wrap and put in a warm place to raise again.

What you see here is my loaf inside the microwave, on a heating pad set to “low”.  Close the door and keep it warm inside.  You’ll get a beautiful rise for all your yeast dough(s).

Mine rose really high!!

Mine rose really high!!

4.  Bake the bread in a preheated 350*F oven for 45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after about 20 minutes, to prevent over-browning.**  Remove bread from the oven when its internal temperature registers 190*F on an instant-read thermometer.  After about 5 minutes, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

**A work of caution here:  When you tent the bread with foil, be sure the top has baked enough to hold itself up, else the weight of the foil may cause the loaf to collapse.  You can see in my pictures that is what happened to mine.  Prior to putting it into the oven it had risen beautifully, but because the dough is “airy”, it had not baked enough to hold itself up before I covered it with the foil.    The excess dough rolled to the sides and down over the edges of the pan, giving the bread a “flat-top”.   A lesson learned!  It still tasted fabulous, though.

Everything about this bread is so good;  color, flavor, texture.

Everything about this bread is so good; color, flavor, texture. (Except the “flat top”.) 😀

SOURCE:   King Arthur Flour

Apple, Cheese and Bacon Quesadillas

Apples, bacon and cheese quesadillas.  A lovely combination.

Apples, bacon and cheese quesadillas. A lovely combination.

Are you a recipe clipper?  I think that anyone who enjoys cooking is always looking for new recipes, and magazines are  good resources for recipes.  I count myself in that group of cooks who are  always “on the hunt”.  In fact I tear out so many recipes that I have a system for organizing them and deciding which ones are keepers and which ones don’t make the cut.

For anyone who might benefit from my system,  this is what I do:

1.  Read magazine and “dog-ear” pages with a recipe that interests me.

Fold over pages that have recipes that interest me.

Fold over pages that have recipes that interest me.

2.Before discarding the magazine, look again at those pages and decide if I want to try the recipe.  If yes, then I tear out the page, and it goes into a pile with other torn-out pages.

The pile of torn-out pages grows large.

The pile of torn-out pages grows large.

3.  When the pile gets precariously high, I designate an afternoon or three?, and go through them all.  If I’m still interested in any of the recipes I trim them more carefully, and then file in folders that are named in broad categories, like bars, cookies, desserts, soups, chicken, etc.

My file of files.

My file of files.

4.  When I want to make something new, or have ingredients on hand to use, I go to a specific folder to see what’s there that I might want to try out.

5.  Then I make the recipe to test it out.  If it meets my requirements such as did we like it,  was it straightforward and easy to prepare, have readily available ingredients, reasonable cost to make,  cooked in a reasonable time frame?  Then it gets mounted into a notebook as a “keeper”, that will enter my cycle of recipes; or become a go-to when I want to make something special.

I have several afternoon's work to do!

I have several afternoons’ work to do!

I have written all the above with tongue-in-cheek, as I can imagine you are thinking to yourself (or saying out loud even) “what, is she crazy?”   Well, yes. a little.  According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment Test I am a pointy-head sequential in the grand scheme of things, and detailed organization is one of my traits.   Ha-ha-ha!    🙂

OK, so what does all this have to do with today’s recipe?  The story is this:  on Saturday, my husband went out on an errand, and before he left, he asked me what we would be having for lunch.  I replied that I didn’t know, because my supplies were pretty low, and we had eaten up all the leftovers.  But I reassured him  that “I’ll think of something”.  So while he was out I consulted my folder labeled ” Pizza and Sandwiches”, and in there found a recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas that I had been wanting to try.

The recipe called for a Granny Smith apple, Brie cheese and flour tortillas.  Now, I didn’t have any Brie to work with but I did have some cheddar, and some Monterey Jack.  So I improvised, using those cheeses,  a Rome apple instead of Granny Smith, and added some crumbled bacon to the mix to create my recipe for Apple, Cheese and Bacon Quesadillas.  When my husband came home he said, ” I see it didn’t take you long to think of something”.    They were very good, we liked them very much,  I’ll make them again.  End of Story!

Makes a satisfying light lunch.

Makes a satisfying light lunch.

Included here is the original recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas, and how I modified it.

APPLE, BRIE  (and BACON)  QUESADILLAS

SERVES   2   Adjust amounts accordingly for more servings.

  • 1  Granny Smith apple  (or other firm apple), thinly sliced
  • 4  teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 4   8-inch flour tortillas  (I  used  2  10-inch tortillas)
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, sliced, rind removed  ( I used a combination of grated cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses, about 1 cup )
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled  (my addition)
  • 1 Tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1.   Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Toss the apple slices with 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook, turning occasionally, until marked and tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Spread apples on grill pan and cook till barely tender.

Spread apples on grill pan and cook till barely tender.

Try to get some nice grill marks on the apples.

Try to get some nice grill marks on the apples.

2.  Lay the tortillas on a cutting board.  Top each with half the apple, half the bacon, and half the cheese, placing the filling on only half of  each tortilla.  Then fold the tortillas in half to cover the filling.

Spread a layer of apples and bacon on half the tortilla.

Spread a layer of apples and bacon on half the tortilla.

Top with shredded cheeses.

Top with shredded cheeses.

3.  Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  (I sprayed mine with olive oil spray and cooked them on the grill pan I used for the apples.)  Working in batches, cook the quesadillas until golden brown and the cheese melts, about 2 minutes per side.

4.   Meanwhile, mix the mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl.  Slice each quesadilla into wedges.  Drizzle with the maple-mustard syrup before serving.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Serve with a drizzle of maple mustard syrup.

SOURCE:   modified from a recipe in Food Network Magazine,  April 2012