Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Darren’s Sauerkraut

Our friend Darren F. passed along this sauerkraut recipe of his mother’s, as well as the idea to make soup with it. I made a batch to quickly discover that this makes a TON of kraut! What to do with it? The soup was super easy to make (and very good), and then the rest was used in a classic sauerkraut/sausage dish (easily vegetarian-friendly or for carnivores).

Darren’s Sauerkraut
1/2 stick of butter
3-4 boullon cubes (get the MGS-free variety if you can)
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp cumin
1 to 2 tsp caraway seed (more or less, to taste)
salt & pepper, if you think it needs it (totally to taste)

Saute the above for about 20 minutes, or until the onions turn golden.

Next, combine the onion mixture with the following in a slow cooker:
(2) 32 oz cans/jars Polish Sauerkraut (rinsed well under cold water)
2-4 carrots, shredded
1-2 potatoes, shredded
1/2 fresh cabbage, sliced or 1/2 bag of ready-to-go shredded cabbage

Cook on high for 3-5 hours, it will make its own juice as it cooks.
When it is done cooking (keep tasting it, it's done whenever you like it) mix it up well so that the juices get evenly distributed. At this point, the sauerkraut is done and ready to use as you'd like!

Sauerkraut Soup
Bring some veggie or beef stock to a simmer and mix in sauerkraut--the more you add, the thicker the soup. Heat through, and serve. I really liked this poured over a little brown rice, with a splash of soy sauce (I know... the soy sauce thing seems weird, but I swear it's heavenly).

Sauerkraut & Sausages (pictured above)
In a slow cooker, combine whatever sauerkraut you have left (which is probably a lot) with 12 oz of sliced kielbasa sausages. You could use a vegetarian kielbasa, or the traditional pork kind. Cook on low for 3-5 hours*, to heat through and allow flavors to blend. The cooking could also be achieved in a 13x9 pan in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes*, or whenever it seems ready.

*The cook times are appropriate for pre-cooked sausage. If you are using a raw sausage, check for doneness and cook longer as necessary.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Salsa for Cold Weather


Tomatoes of sunshine quality are difficult to find in a midwest winter; while my heart will always belong to pico de gallo, this is a great salsa to make in the dark depths of cold weather. It's fast and can be used on its own (with chips, tacos, etc) or used in a dish requiring ready-made salsa from a jar.

1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 7 oz can diced chiles or 1 or 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped or pressed
2 T chopped onion (white, yellow, or green--any variety will work)
1 T olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (optional, but highly suggested)
1 handful cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Combine and it's ready to go!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Goodness Greens!

In our Fresh Picks deliveries, I was often faced with a few pounds of collard greens or kale. I really had no idea what to do with it, and all I could imagine was cooking them into a globby mess. How on earth could greens be cooked and still taste good?

Fortunately, I found this recipe and it's now one of our favorite things to eat along with brown rice. The greens retain their texture and the sweet/spicy seasoning is wonderful.

Collard Greens (adapted from Simply Recipes---also great for Kale)

2 lb collard greens of kale, washed well and chopped
2 T onion, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
2 T olive oil
2 T sesame oil (optional--tastes great with or without)
chili pepper flakes (I like this on the spicy side, and use about 1 T)*
salt (1-2 tsp)*
sugar (1-2 tsp)*
cracked pepper

*The last three ingredients can be varied according to your taste. You'll find the right balance the more you make this dish.

In a big pot with a lid, heat the olive oil and saute onion and garlic for about a minute. Mix in the greens and remaining ingredients. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir, and serve. 

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Winter Soup with Meatballs

My mom, awesome as she is, recently gave us TONS of frozen homemade meatballs. This soup was made with the last of them (sniff, sniff) but it's a recipe I will most likely turn to again when confronted with a freezer of meatballs waiting to be devoured. The lentils and pasta added to this are already cooked (a great way to use up leftovers); if you add them uncooked, you'll need to add more stock/water. 

12 meatballs (pre-cooked/frozen is easier; if you use raw, brown a little before adding to soup)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 carrot, sliced or chopped
olive oil
1-2 T flour
1-1/2 cups cooked lentils
2 c stock or water, or a combination
1 bay leaf
salt/pepper or soy sauce (for seasoning)
about 1-2 cups of pasta, cooked

This soup works well either on the stovetop (A) or slow cooker (B):

(A) In a soup pot, cook onion/garlic/carrot in oil for a few minutes. Add the flour, stir to coat and cook another minute. Add lentils, meatballs, and bay leaf, plus enough stock/water to cover. Let this simmer until heated through (if you used raw meatballs, cook until they're properly cooked through). Add pasta 15 minutes before serving, then season with salt & pepper.

(B) In a skillet, cook onion/garlic/carrot in oil for a few minutes. Add the flour, stir to coat and cook another minute. Transfer onion mixture to the slow cooker, add lentils, meatballs, bay leaf, plus enough stock/water to cover. Cook on low for 7-9 hours. Add pasta 15 minutes before serving, then season with salt & pepper.