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Thursday
Nov212013

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

You’re going to love these! Bratwurst simmered in hard apple cider, served with a tangy, slightly sweet “kraut” made with sautéed apples and kale. It’s a little vinegary, a little sweet and a little spicy from cinnamon and cloves. Add some spicy coarse mustard and tuck it all into a bun and you’ve got my twist on sausage and peppers. German style! (Once again, I’ve continued the tradition of not being able to photograph a sandwich to save my life. They may not be gorgeous, but they’re damn tasty!)

I’m back with another Nature’s Greens kale post. It’s been a while, right? We’ve still been eating, I just haven’t been posting. Moving on though, and please read on to see how you can win a trip for two to Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC for a two night hotel stay--plus $1,000 in spending money from Rawl/Nature’s Greens!

This contest is the Show Us Your Heritage Recipe Contest. It’s all about--you guessed it--your family heritage. I’ve touched on my husband’s heritage here once or twice, but not mine. I’m mainly German, with some Scottish, Irish and French tossed into my family tree.  I’m kind of hot tempered, but very interesting. Ha!

The Nature’s Greens products are washed, chopped and ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s a full line of pre-cut and triple-washed leafy bagged greens like kale, collards and mustard greens. It’s available in both one and two pound packages, and ready for you to pick up year round.

Nature's Greens/Rawl

You’re probably wondering their policies on GMO’s. I asked Nature’s Greens about GMO products and was very happy with their reply:

“We support sustainability by incorporating integrated pest management into our growing practices. Integrated pest management means we release beneficial insects into the growing area, and grow certain types of flowers to attract these beneficial insects. In addition, our products are bred using traditional breeding methods and they are not genetically modified.”

Nature’s Greens are available in at Hannaford, Wegmans, Whole Foods and Wal Mart, they’re available in one and two pound packages, and available year round. They’re produced by WP Rawl, a leading producer of fresh bulk and packaged greens based in Pelion, SC.

· Visit www.rawl.net for recipes

· Like Nature’s Greens on WP Rawls’ Facebook at www.facebook.com/wprawl to stay connected

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

I was thinking about my German heritage. I don’t have any family recipes from that side, my dad’s side. His grandmother did all of the cooking when he was a kid--his mom? Zero. Zilch. Her idea of cooking was not to cook. And my dad never thought to carry on with his grandmother’s recipes--he was just a kid. To hear him talk about her cooking, though--my great grandmother and I would have been like two peas in a pod.

I was thinking about kale, and then Bratwurst came to mind. We love sausage and pepper sandwiches, so what if I could make a twist on those? Yeah, why not?! Since the Brats were going to simmer in hard apple cider, why not go that route and make an apple-onion-kale type kraut to serve with them? It worked beautifully! These are so different and delicious. Funny, we went to an Oktoberfest last month that was catered. THE most bland food I’ve ever had. When I got the “how did you like us” survey in an email? I told them I could cook circles around their caterer--and I just did. His brats and kraut were dismal. These are not!

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Makes 5 servings

1 package of original style Bratwurst (I had a pack of 5)
2 - 12 oz. Hard Apple Ciders (I always have Woodchuck on hand, so I used that)
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced thinly
2 apples, peeled and sliced thinly (I used Macouns, but use what you have - just not too soft of an apple)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
oil for sautéing
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 - 3 pinches ground cloves
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cups Nature's Greens Kale

Rolls for serving the Brats on
Coarse pub-style mustard

Bring the two ciders to a low boil in a medium sized pot. Poke just a couple of holes in each brat and add them to the cider. Reduce to simmer and let them go for 12 minutes. Remove from the cider and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of oil--just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Finish the brats by browning them on all sides, about 2 minutes or so per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Using the oil that's still in the pan, sauté the onions and apples for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic, a bit of salt and pepper, the cinnamon, cloves, honey, vinegar and kale. Cook for just a few more minutes, until the kale is wilted and everything is mixed together well. Taste for seasonings and adjust.

Spread some of the mustard inside the buns, add some of the apple-kale-onion kraut, and a brat to each bun.

  • These are incredibly simple to make. From a quick weeknight dinner to just before the game, you’ll be eating in no time. Tailgating? Try these this weekend and give your friends something different to eat!
  • I made these this morning and didn’t know if I’d want to eat one so early in the day after photographing it, but I could not stop going back for just one more bite. I ate the whole damn thing, and loved every single bite. In fact, the leftovers are for dinner tonight and I can’t wait to have more!
  • I think my great grandmother would have loved these. I know my dad will, and I can’t wait to share.
  • Oh! The kraut would be a nice side dish to any pork dinner, as well!

Now, go enter the contest! Dig down into your family heritage and twist those recipes up with some greens from Nature’s Greens and Rawl! Once again, one grand prize winner will win a trip for two to Myrtle Beach or Charleston, SC for a two night hotel stay--plus $1,000 in spending money from Rawl/Nature’s Greens! Hurry up!

Bratwurst and Apple Kale Kraut Sandwiches

Monday
Sep162013

Home-Style Burgundy Beef Stew

 

Home-Style Burgundy Beef Stew

 

Beef stew is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. Luckily, we’re just hitting our stride here in New England with cooler evenings. For me, that means stews, soups and all things comforting are going to start showing up in my weekly menu planning. When it was time to choose a recipe from this week’s American Diabetes Association (ADA) cookbook, it didn’t take me very long to decide. Home Style Beef Burgundy Stew. For me! Well, I’ll share, but it makes me very happy. I love it!

We’ve got tender beef cubes, sweet carrots and silky potatoes happening here. As for seasonings, there was one I’d never used in beef stew before--Allspice! Say what? Yes, Allspice. I didn’t question, I went with it. Upon first taste of the finished stew, I was sold. It’s a lovely flavor in this stew, and very fitting for the fall season. It’s warm and cozy.

This week we’re cooking from Nancy Hughes’ cookbook Gluten-Free Recipes for People with Diabetes. There are so many recipes in this book I want to try, as in the last book we highlighted. It’s a gluten-free cookbook, but unless you actually told someone you were feeding them gluten-free food, they likely wouldn’t know. The idea is: spotlight the stars of the recipe you’re enjoying instead of talking about what you’ve left out or made a substitution for.

As I said in my previous post, for the month of September, we’re celebrating "30 Days of Family Health,” sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The best prevention for diabetes starts early in life, through maintaining a healthy lifestyle and developing good habits at a young age. There are twelve bloggers helping to promote this healthy message for the month of September, so there will be no shortage of recipe ideas brought to you by the ADA and some very talented cookbook authors! All you have to do is follow along and enjoy the ride. Check out Kitchen PLAY to get all of the latest details, links and recipes.

Home-Style Burgundy Beef Stew

Serves 4 • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups • Makes 5 cups

1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 pound lean boneless chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces whole mushrooms
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 packets sodium-free, gluten-free beef bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 medium carrots, scrubbed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3-inch pieces (8 ounces total)
12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled (optional), and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown half of the beef; set aside on separate plate. Repeat with 1 teaspoon of the oil and remaining beef; set aside. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan residue, cook the onions and garlic 3 minutes or until onions are brown on edges.

2. Stir in the mushrooms, water, wine, Worcestershire, sugar, bouillon, allspice, and return the beef to the onions in the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the carrots and potatoes, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until beef is tender.

For a thicker consistency, using a potato masher or large slotted spoon, mash some of the potatoes and carrots. This technique also adds flavor as well as thickness.

NOTE: There is no mention of the ¾ teaspoon of salt in the recipe directions, but I assume it’s added at the end when you taste and adjust for seasonings.

EXCHANGES/FOOD CHOICES

1 Starch, 2 Vegetable, 2 Lean Meat, 1 Fat

BASIC NUTRITIONAL VALUES:

Calories 255
Calories from Fat 70
Total Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 50 mg
Sodium 540 mg
Potassium 1025 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 7 g
Protein 21 g
Phosphorus 250 mg


There will be other cookbooks highlighted this month that are available in the ADA catalog. You can shop there now and receive a 25% discount on all books until October 4th, 2013! The discount code is KITCHEN2013. Remember, follow along at Kitchen PLAY for more links all month long, and stay tuned to this space for two more 30 Days of Family Health this month.

*This post is sponsored by the ADA in conjunction with Kitchen PLAY.

Monday
Aug122013

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

I’m in love with this frittata! I’ve made them once or twice before, but they never really thrilled me. This one does. Last week, Billy wanted “some kind of eggs” with mushrooms and tomatoes. Um, okay… That could end up being very boring. But not this way! Trying to avoid another boring frittata, I’ve added diced potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, and also some thyme, tarragon and garlic. It’s so full of flavor! Season at each cooking step and you can’t get anything but lots of flavor.

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

I’m working against the clock here, but if I finish this post today, this will be a great recipe for Meatless Monday.

This frittata is made in a 9 x 13 inch pan. You know what that means. Leftovers! I can vouch for this being just as delicious the next day. It could also mean that this recipe is good for when you need to feed more than a few people. I cut ours into eight squares. You could certainly cut them smaller if you were putting them out for a brunch buffet or even a holiday breakfast.

Now let’s get to the recipe. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. This “recipe” is a guideline. I love it as is, but if you absolutely hate one of the ingredients, go ahead and substitute something else. No big deal! If you’re adding in a watery vegetable, it’s a good idea to sauté it first and get the extra liquid out so you don’t have a watery frittata. Do you want to add some sausage, ham or bacon? Be my guest! In fact, those would be wonderful additions. Want to switch cheeses? Do it! No matter how you make it, it’s a hearty meal.

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata
Makes a 9 x 13 pan

12-15 small potatoes, diced in about 1/2 inch chunks
Olive oil, for sautéing vegetables
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound sliced baby Portabella mushrooms (or your favorite)
5-6 green onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
6 -7 ounces grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 large garlic clove, minced
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of dried tarragon
1 dozen large eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup half and half
Crumbled feta cheese, enough to sprinkle over the entire frittata (I used the better part of a 12 oz container. Because I love cheeeese.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, lightly grease, and set aside.

Heat a few teaspoons of oil in a skillet that has a lid on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and sprinkle in some salt and pepper to season them. Let them sit without stirring for a few minutes to let them get brown on the bottoms. Sauté for about 5 minutes total, reduce heat and cover for about 3 minutes, then stir and give them about 3 more minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally.

When the potatoes are done, pour them in the prepared 9 x 13 pan, spreading them all over.

In the same skillet, add a little more oil and then add the mushrooms, green onions, tomatoes, garlic, a couple pinches salt and pepper, the thyme and the tarragon. Cook until the vegetables are cooked down, about 8-10 minutes or so. When they're done, pour them over the potatoes in the pan. Again, try to get some everywhere in the pan so you get some in every bite.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, parmesan cheese, half and half, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Whisk it all up well! Pour over the vegetables and potatoes in the pan. Top with feta cheese.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. It's done when you stick a knife in the center and it comes out clean. Mine was done at 40 minutes, so start checking then.

Flavorful Potato Veggie Frittata

Monday
Jun242013

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

“To. Die. For.”

“I love this ice cream. I hope you never make it again. I want to eat the whole thing. Incredible!”

“Mmmmm. Mmmmmm!”

“Don’t bother dropping some off for me the next time you make this. I’ll just be waiting outside until you do.”

These are some of the comments I’ve gotten on this ice cream. The best part? It’s super simple to make and you can all make it right in your own homes, with no special ingredients. It’s also egg free.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

It’s Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and I’m in love with it. You can take her base recipe and go wild from there--you’re only limited by your imagination. I’ll be buying the book, as well. I already know I’ll be reading it cover to cover.

What’s different about these ice creams from Jeni Britton Bauer is that they’re thickened with corn starch. I know, right? Corn starch, a bit of cream cheese, and the usual cream, milk and sugar, and you have this magical concoction that, when churned in your ice cream maker, turn into the creamiest, dreamiest ice cream in the world. The corns starch helps to absorb and hold water, resulting in an ice cream that isn’t icy or gritty. It’s just perfect.

I had this ice cream, “The Darkest Ice Cream in the World,” bookmarked since last summer. I was browsing my bookmarks and decided it was finally time to give this a try--and I’m so happy that I did! My add-ins were chopped, smoked almonds and coarse sea salt. What a wonderful combination! The salt perfectly compliments the sweetness of the ice cream (which isn’t any sweeter than any other ice cream), and the almonds add nice crunch, chew and that element of “Hey, what’s that I’m tasting?”

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

So to make this cream, follow this recipe. Jeni likes to chill the heated ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, submerged in an ice bath. I opted to pour mine into a 2 quart container and chill it overnight because I couldn’t get to it right away. I also doubled the recipe to make 2 quarts because I have a larger ice cream maker.

While your ice cream is churning according to manufacturer's directions, measure out about 1-1/2 tsp of coarse sea salt, and chop about 3/4 cup of smoked almonds. When it’s finished churning, scoop some of the ice cream into a freezer safe container. Layer in some of the coarse salt and some of the chopped smoked almonds, than add another layer of ice cream, and keep going until you’ve added all of the salt, nuts and ice cream. Take a rubber spatula or large spoon and just kind of poke it around in the ice cream so the layers get all messed up and the stuff gets distributed. Freeze for at least four hours or overnight so it cures.

A note about the coarse sea salt. Don’t worry about where to find some. You can find it in nearly any grocery store right next to the other salts. I got this one for less than $2. The Smoked Almonds are from Blue Diamond.

I find that you don’t even need to let this sit out on the counter before scooping. It’s rich and scoopable, and ready to go. Stay tuned for more ice cream recipes based on this idea!

Oh, and this ice cream is fabulous on top of one of these Even Better Than Ultimate Brownies. Trust me. Heaven in a bowl.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Smoked Almonds and Sea Salt (Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World)

Thursday
Jun202013

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp and Bacon Pizza

Iron Craft ‘13 Challenge #12 - Picnics

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp and Bacon Pizza

I love picnics! We don’t have enough of them, but I’m determined to change that this summer. When I think of picnics, the first thing I think of is, of course, the food. It’s the heart of the picnic. I chose to make pizza for our Iron Craft Picnic. Because who doesn’t love pizza?! And pizza is perfectly acceptable when it’s eaten cold.

This one has Woodchuck Cider garlic shrimp, bacon, pesto, and of course, a nice blend of pizza-type cheese. It’s packed with flavor and just as good cold as it is piping hot from the oven.

Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider

I usually make my garlic shrimp with white wine but this time I used Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider. I’m in love with this cider! Well, I love all of Woodchuck’s ciders. This one has hints of coriander and orange. It’s just right. Not too sweet, not too sharp. It’s a great all around hard cider that pairs well with seafood, so yeah, shrimp pizza. Look for the Woodchuck blue six pack!

Belgian White

A handcrafted treasure, the ultra-limited edition Private Reserve Belgian White, is crafted with a classic Belgian beer yeast. Cloudy, with a rich, golden hue, it presents a delicate aroma and taste, with coriander and orange notes. It pairs excellently with seafood fare, mixed greens or sharp cheeses. Join the select few who get an exclusive taste of the fruits of our labor.

Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider

This is so simple to make, and you can make the bacon and shrimp ahead of time. The only real “recipe” part of this is for the shrimp. The rest is pizza--there is no real recipe, it’s all to taste--a guideline! This one has a thick cut bacon--use your favorite. Pesto, again--use your favorite recipe or jarred pesto. What kind of cheese do you like? We used a pizza blend and added some parmesan over the top of each pizza. We’d have loved to have grilled the pizzas, but it was raining. Let me know if you grill them!

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp

Makes 1 pound of shrimp

I used the Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White for this, but if you can't find that, go ahead and use any of their other varieties. Save the sauce to use for the pizza. If you're not making pizza, pour it over pasta with the shrimp, or just soak it up with crusty bread.

5 or 6 tbsp olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2/3 cup Woodchuck Private Reserve Belgian White Cider
1 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined
Coarse salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp butter
Chopped parsley to garnish

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic. Cook slowly for a minute or two to flavor the oil with garlic, but be careful not to burn it.
Add the red pepper flakes and increase the heat to medium high.
Add the cider and let this go for about a minute, then add the shrimp.
Season with salt.
Cook until the shrimp is almost done (this will only take a couple of minutes).
Add the lemon juice and butter to finish the sauce.
Garnish with finely chopped parsley.

To make the pizza:

Pizza Dough
Cooked Cider Garlic Shrimp and the sauce
Crumbled, crispy bacon
Pesto
Pizza Cheese (whatever kinds that you like)

Heat your pizza stones in the oven or heat up the grill. Get your crispy, crumbled bacon ready to go. How much bacon you use depends on your tastes. We definitely didn’t use more than one pound.

Make sure your cider garlic shrimp is cooked and ready to go! We had fairly large shrimp so after cooking, I cut them in half or thirds.

Take your pesto and add some of the sauce from the shrimp. You don’t want it too runny, so add a little at a time. When it’s a nice spreading consistency, set it aside as well.

Stretch your pizza dough into the size you want. Spread on some of the pesto and shrimp sauce mixture. Add your cheese. Top with shrimp and bacon, then sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven (or grill it) until crispy and done to your liking. We usually heat our pizza stones up for half an hour or so at about 500 degrees. Personal size pizzas take 7-8 minutes.

Serve hot with extra sauce for sipping the crusts in (yeah, good!) or cold, in your picnic basket.

Woodchuck Cider Garlic Shrimp and Bacon Pizza

Be sure to check out the Iron Craft Flickr Group for more Picnic ideas!