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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Wasabi Salmon

As I have mentioned before, we eat salmon quite frequently, and so I am always open to different ways to prepare it.  This version of salmon was prepared for  me and my husband last summer by a family member whom we were visiting.  We thought it was delicious:  crispy around the edges, while remaining moist inside, and baked on a bed of vegetables that consisted of strips of multi-colored peppers and sliced onions.  Potatoes baked in the oven along with the fish, and a green salad made a complete meal with very little “hands-on” time.

I have cooked salmon this way several times since last summer and each time I vary the vegetables depending on what is available.  One vegetable I really like is fennel.  I think it is an under used vegetable.  It is delicious raw in salads with its faint anise flavor, but when it is cooked that flavor is not noticeable .  It is most like cooked celery, and blends very well with other vegetables, particularly onions.  When I made this dish most recently, I combined peppers with fennel and onions.  In an effort to save time and labor, I purchased a mixture of red, yellow and orange pepper strips from the grocery store salad bar.  This is a dish that goes together without a recipe, so there are no exact measurements. This is how I proceed;  adjust amounts to your taste.

INGREDIENTS

Serves  4

  • 1 fillet of salmon weighing between 1 – 1.5 pounds
  • Gold’s Wasabi Sauce with Ginger
  • seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • 2 cups pepper strips in assorted colors
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, stalks, fronds, and core removed;  thinly sliced.
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced.
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with baking spray.  I used a 7″ x 11″ pan, whatever your salmon will fit into.

Layer the peppers, onion and fennel in the baking dish.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drizzle melted buyer over the top.

Lay the salmon fillet on top of the vegetables.  Sprinkle with seafood seasoning, about 1/2 teaspoon.  Then “frost” the salmon with the Wasabi Sauce so its pretty well covered.  Place in a 400 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, depends on thickness of  your salmon fillet.  Test at 45 minutes by piercing with the tip of a knife.  If fish flakes easily its done.  Vegetables should be tender.

A glass of crisp Chardonnay goes very well with this dish!

SOURCE:   A Carolyn Original

Potato-Leek Soup

In up-scale restaurants this soup is called Vichyssoise.    ( vish_e_swaz’)  It is a thick soup made of pureed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock.  It is traditionally served cold, but can also be eaten hot.

There is much uncertainty about its origins;  Julia Childs calls it an “American invention”, whereas other food historians state that “the origins of the soup is definitely  French”.  Louis Diat, a chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City, is most often credited with its invention, in an attempt to recreate a potato-leek soup of his childhood that his mother used to make.

Wherever the soup came from or who invented it is immaterial to me, I’m just glad someone did invent it and that I have the recipe.  Turns out this is Mr. D’s favorite soup and he asks me to make it periodically throughout the year, whether its hot or cold outside.  We usually eat it hot the day I make it, but on a hot day, I like it cold as a lunch with just some crackers and cheese.

INGREDIENTS

SERVINGS:  about  8

  • 4 – 5 leeks,  white and light green part only
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 medium potatoes,  all-purpose or baking–doesn’t matter
  • 6 cups chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 -2 cups heavy cream
  • salt, pepper, a little dill–to taste

DIRECTIONS

Clean and cup up the leeks.  Leeks are very sandy, so remove several outer leaves, wash well, cut off the dark green tops, and use only the light green and white parts.  Cut each one in half lengthwise  (as pictured),  fan out and rinse under running water.   Then cut crosswise  into 1/2” slices.

Melt the 4 Tablespoons butter in a soup kettle .  Add the leeks and chopped onion.  With the heat on low, allow this mixture to “sweat” slowly and become tender.  Do not allow it to brown.   Meanwhile peel potatoes and cut into small cubes.

Add chicken broth and potatoes.  Bring mixture up to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are very soft.  Put the mixture through a blender or food processor to puree.  I like to use my immersion blender for this, as then there are no additional appliances to wash, and you can puree the whole quantity at once.

After the soup has been pureed,  taste and adjust seasonings;  adding a little dill enhances the flavor.  Depending on the type of chicken broth you use, you may not need any additional salt.   Finally,  add the cream.  I find 1 cup is adequate in giving a nice thick, creamy texture.  I have also used light cream and  half and half in place of the cream to reduce the fat and calories, and  those work fine as well.  The soup will taste as good, but not be as thick and rich.  On a cautionary note:  do not allow the soup to boil once the cream has been added—it will separate.

Enjoy with a salad or sandwich, and pretend you are enjoying lunch at a sidewalk cafe in Paris!

SOURCE:  Mastering the Art of French Cooking,  Julia Childs

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Homestyle Stuffed Peppers

I have two different ways that I prepare Stuffed Peppers;  one kind is made using Cubanelle or frying peppers, and this way using the more familiar Bell peppers.  This is the classic recipe my mother always made which I grew up on.  At another time I will share with you my recipe for the stuffed frying peppers.

Peppers in  any color combination–green, red, yellow, orange–are stuffed with a mixture of seasoned ground beef and rice then covered in a tomato sauce and baked until tender.  Sometimes I serve them with pasta such as rotini to soak up the sauce, or I might serve them with mashed potatoes and another vegetable like carrots.  It makes a very colorful plate.  The peppers may be oven baked or cooked in a slow cooker.

 INGREDIENTS

Servings:   4 

  • 4 nicely shaped bell peppers, tops, seeds and membranes removed.
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 (14.5 0z. can tomato sauce) or jarred spaghetti sauce

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cook the peppers in boiling water for 4-5 minutes.  Remove the peppers, rinse with cold water, and set aside to drain.
  2. Mix together ground beef, cooked rice, egg, chopped onion, bread crumbs, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese in a large bowl.  Combine well.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Divide beef and rice mixture evenly among the peppers, taking care not to pack too tightly.
  5. Place peppers standing up in a baking dish or shallow roasting pan.  It’s best if they fit rather snugly so they can support each other.
  6. Pour the tomato sauce over all.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, basting with the tomato sauce several times while baking,  about 1 hour and  20 minutes.
  8. Alternately, place peppers standing up in a slow cooker, pour sauce over all, and cook on LOW 6-8 hours.

Sweet Sliced Pickled Cucumbers

When your garden is producing cucumbers faster than you can eat them,  this recipe is just the ticket!  It was given to me several years ago by a very good friend who is lovely about sharing her recipes.  It is a particular favorite at our church suppers and everyone  seems to want to know how to make them.   This is the kind of recipe where it’s hard to stop eating them after one serving.  You will want to have a 2nd or even 3rd helping—-they’re that good!

Don’t shy away because of the word pickle in the title.  There’s no cooking,  well, just a tiny bit,  and no processing jars or any of that stuff.  It’s another of my recipes that I can truly  say is quick and easy.  Here’s all you need:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3-4  large cucumbers, sliced.  Peel or don’t peel as desired.  (If they are waxed from the grocery store, then I peel them, but if they’re tender fresh cukes, I don’t.)
  • 1 large sweet onion, or 2 medium, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh dill, or  1 Tablespoon dill weed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. To slice the cucumbers and onion, use a mandolin slicer or the slicing blade on a food processor.  You want nice thin uniformly sliced vegetables.

Combine the cucumbers, onions, and dill in a large bowl.

2.   In a saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, water, and salt;  bring to a boil.   Pour the hot liquid over the cucumber mixture.  Stir to expose all the cucumbers and onions to the hot liquid.    Cover and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

3.   Store in covered containers or jars with tightly closed lids.

It is amazing to me how crisp these cucumbers become as they cool.  They are great used as a condiment, a cold salad, or layered in a sandwich.  (My husband likes them on a grilled hot dog.)   They will keep for a week or two in the refrigerator.  Please note that in the accompanying photos I am making half a recipe with 2 large cucumbers.