Potato and Sauerkraut Hotdish

IMG_3115

This is the crowd pleaser of all crowd pleasers – the “MUST HAVE” on the holiday table, the easiest thing to bring for a potluck, and well, AMAZINGLY delicious. Let’s just say this is one old-fashioned, the-way-it-used-to-be-before-canned-soup HOTDISH! But potatoes with sauerkraut? This lesser known concoction was brought to the Midwest by our creative German ancestors and usually contained sausage or bacon. (I know, I can hear you right now, “Ooh bacon, that’s a good idea!” Don’t even think about it!) My mother learned of the recipe from a neighbor who originally hailed from the Pierz area of Minnesota – a German stronghold. Hotdish tends to be very provincial as each kitchen cook has their own secret ingredient. If you prefer to call it a casserole then we’ll know you’re not from Minnesota!

Midwest church-goers are famous for their potlucks where you can find Tuna, Hamburger, Tator Tot as well as other noodle, meat and canned soup concoctions. For some reason my family always called these things casseroles, and tuna was the only one I was familiar with thanks to Grandma’s inability to cook, and my parent’s strict adherence to the edicts of food improvisation.

Unfamiliar, that is to say, until I entered the hot lunch program at my local Elementary School. I took a brief foray away from vegetarianism and learned the nuances of true Midwest Culinary Cuisine. Not only did I enjoy the hotdish repertoire, but it was in those cafeterias that I learned of “Shit on a Shingle” – otherwise referred to as “Chipped Beef on Toast.” I also had the pleasure of discovering Spam, American Cheese slices, and Corn Dogs. You must remember, I was a child of the “Back to the Land” movement. I knew where food really came from so this highly processed stuff was totally foreign to me. It also drove me quickly back to the comforting lap of the vegetarian diet.

Don’t get me wrong, I love hotdish. I am by nature, a lazy cook and lover of all things comfortable. I love the ease of the one pan meal and the idea that I won’t have to cook for a few days as with casseroles, if you’re not feeding a crowd, there are leftovers.

A couple of years ago my mom came to one of the family dinners with this potato and sauerkraut casserole thingy. It got high approval ratings from everyone, especially my potato loving husband. I’ve never had to make it only suggest that Mom bring it for our gatherings, but as the red potatoes from the CSA keep rolling in, I decided it was high time to make my own hotdish. So I called Mom for the recipe. My mother cooks like I do – it’s always a creative process, there is never a recipe and if an interruption occurs during the preparation, the meal is terrible!

Here’s my mom giving me the “recipe.”

“Well, you just need to drain the sauerkraut and boil the potatoes. Then I saute the sauerkraut in a lot of butter with garlic . When the potatoes are done, break them up; Don’t really mash them, just smash them, and add them to the sauerkraut. I like to put jalapenos in it and some cheese. That’s it, then you bake it.”

“What kind of cheese do you use?”

“Whatever I have. I always have lots of cheese. I might use feta or mozzarella. I always put parmesan in it- whatever you have. I wouldn’t use cream cheese or sour cream because I don’t like those.”

Thanks, Mom!

Making this casserole really got me excited about making sauerkraut as well. I have a huge cabbage from the CSA so I think I’ll give it a try. Here’s a great link showing how to make Sauerkraut. I was interested to find that during WWII it was considered patriotic to make your own sauerkraut. I never knew sauerkraut to be a particularly political pickle.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large jar or bag of sauerkraut – 32 oz.
  • 5 pounds new baby reds
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 cup chopped green beans (optional)
  • Idea Note: Chopped herbs would be fabulous to add to the top or incorporate into this dish.

Directions:

Boil the potatoes until tender. When they are cool enough to handle, smash them with a potato masher. Drain the sauerkraut well and meanwhile saute the garlic in melted butter. When the garlic releases its fragrance, add the sauerkraut and saute for a few minutes. Mix the sauerkraut with the potatoes in a big bowl. Use a food processor to chop the jalapeno and mozzarella. Mix everything together. Pour it all into an oiled baking pan. Sprinkle the parmesan on top and decorate with green beans. Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

Advertisements

Brussel Sprout Sweet Potato Stuffing

My aunt Susy makes the best stuffing in the world! Even as a kid I loved the big chunks of whole wheat, bits of sage and crispy edges. Every time I celebrate one of the holidays with her I insist she make it, and often eat not much more than the stuffing. The other holiday food item I love are Brussel sprouts. One of my dads made them a few years ago slow roasted to the point of caramelization, and this time of year they are all I think about. Every time I see the handmade clay casseroles in the cupboard, memories of stuffing and Brussel sprouts are conjured as those are the customary baking dishes for these two delicacies.

Since Auntie Susy is in charge of making stuffing, I have actually never made it. Today was my first. I had a container of frozen, diced and par-boiled sweet potatoes left over from the CSA, as well as the remnants of a loaf of whole wheat baguette from who-knows-when in the freezer. I must have had stuffing on my mind because last week I bought some fresh sage and a huge bag of Brussel sprouts. I started off today with the idea of making soup, but it turned into stuffing! Max won’t be happy, I am sure. I bet if you make this for your Thanksgiving table, your vegetarian friends will be happy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1/2 stick butter (vegan option – 2 Tbs olive oil)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups sweet potato, diced
  • 2 pounds Brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 large bunch fresh sage, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups cubed wheat bread (crusty loaves like baguette work nicely)
  • 1 cup apple cider

Directions:

1) Saute the onion in the butter or oil until translucent. Add garlic, the halved Brussel sprouts and the sweet potatoes. Saute until the potatoes begin to tenderize and the Brussel sprouts begin to brown. You won’t need to fully cook the potatoes and Brussel sprouts as they will spend some time in the oven as well.

2) Next add the sage, salt and pepper. Once these are combined, add the walnuts, chopped apple and cubed bread. Mix together. Add the apple cider last making sure that everything is moist, but not soupy. You may need to add a bit more cider if you used a real crusty bread.

3) Move stuffing into a covered casserole dish, cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

GIANT Kohlrabi

Our CSA box was the lucky winner this week of the great Minnesota Pineapple! I don’t usually photograph while I’m cooking, but as I began to cut this baby, I knew it needed a “before” picture to truly appreciate whatever the “after” would be. The after remained a mystery – what would I do with my giant kohlrabi? I contemplated grating it and creating some sort of slaw, but eating that much raw kohlrabi in one sitting caused my breath consternation. I love the crisp fresh taste initially, but after a few pieces, I begin to dislike the effect. I have the same affinity for radishes, but have found that I rather enjoy them when they’re roasted. Ah Ha! The answer was to roast this baby, not in chunks or fries, but in a way that would celebrate it’s largeness.  I opted for thin, full-body slices splashed in a little olive oil, salt, pepper and panko bread crumbs. It turns out that the skunky-breath thing turns into a sweet caramel flavor when roasted, and reminds me a little of cooked rutabaga.

These are not pancakes! It’s a giant kohlrabi – sliced and roasted.

Ingredients:

  • kohlrabi – as much as you want
  • olive oil, to lightly coat cookie sheets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • panko bread crumbs

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel and thinly slice the kohlrabi. Drizzle a bit of oil on the bottom of your cookie sheets. Place the thin kohlrabi rounds on the sheet and flip them over so they have oil on the top as well as bottom. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and bread crumbs.

Roast for 30 minutes or until they begin to brown.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower

Big time health food on the platter here: Orange cauliflower with power folate, cancer fighters, fiber, vitamin C and many other beneficial beauties. Brussel sprouts, too, sport essentials like iron for hemoglobin, and the sautéed mustard greens give it all a little punch. Sop this up with Naan and Indian Curry for a warm and healthy vegetarian meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves trimmed off
  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts, stems trimmed
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Indian Curry (Recipe Follows)

Directions:

Preheat oven 375 degrees.

Use a steamer basket in a pan of boiling water to steam the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower for about five minutes until just tender. Place the cauliflower into a baking pan and spread a coating of the Indian Curry over the top.

In a bowl, mix the Brussel sprouts with a large spoonful of the curry and place mixture into baking dish with cauliflower.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender.

Once the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower are tender, saute the mustard greens with a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Plate the veggies and serve with Naan (Indian flatbread) and more curry dip.

Indian Curry Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1” piece of ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp. dried pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala
  • ½ tsp. red chili powder, to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

Coat the saute pan with half of the oil, and saute the onion until it begins to brown. Add chopped ginger and garlic and cook until they release their flavor. Next add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. You want to make sure there is enough oil in the pan to coat the spices. Add the rest of the spices one after the other and stir them around in the pan until you hear the mustard seeds popping. Squeeze the lime juice into the mixture and then the rest of the oil. Turn off the heat, and remove the sauce from pan into a bowl. You don’t want anything to burn!

Rainbow Smashed Potatoes

Move over boring white whipped potatoes – here comes the new standard! Bring this beauty to Thanksgiving or any holiday party and you will never be short on invitations!

This concoction sports potatoes of the rainbow variety that I found at the co-op today. Included are Cranberry Reds, Blue Potatoes, New Reds and a Garnet Yam. I boiled them, let them cool, slipped the skins of, smashed them with a fork and infused the dish with Indian spices toasted in peanut oil with a simmer of tomato. Very simple and over-the-top yummy!

DSCN2573

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 pound potatoes
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, pureed
  • 3/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 Tbs. brown mustard seed
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 2 Tbs. curry powder ( I used Pensey’s Balti)
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes

Directions:

After the potatoes are boiled and skins removed, smash them with a ricer or fork. I like my potatoes a little chunky.

Heat the oil in a pan and add all the spices. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or two.

Mix the oil gently into the potato mixture and pour into a baking dish.

Note: I kept the sweet potato out of the other potato mixture. I added a little salt to the sweet potato and put it in a well in the middle of the colored potatoes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until warm and beginning to brown on top.

Braised Brussel Sprouts with Curly Kale Chips

DSCN2518

Curly kale, curly kale, curly kale! Now that is something to celebrate! When I saw the bright green and purple leaves bubbling out of this week’s CSA it was like a giant edible ribbon on a birthday present. I’ve become a fiend for nutty crunchy kale chips – a highly palatable way to get calcium! Of course I did not make them the same as I did a few weeks ago; I have an incessant need to always change.

These were made on the same premise as my original recipe, but instead had an Asian flair with peanut oil, sesame seeds, ground ginger and rice vinegar. I also sprinkled the salt on them once they were on the cookie sheet as it’s easy to add too much. Paired with braised leeks and brussel sprouts, the surprise crunch topped the cake!

DSCN2521

Braised Brussel Sprouts with Curly Kale Chips – Recipe

Brussel Sprouts – Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussel sprouts, washed and halved
  • peanut oil
  • 2 small leeks, washed and sliced
  • dash rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Kale Chips – Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch kale, washed and deveined
  • peanut oil
  • ground ginger
  • sesame seeds
  • salt/pepper
  • hot pepper flakes

Brussel Sprouts – Directions:

1) In a saute pan heat the peanut oil and toss in the leeks to caramelize.

2) Once the leeks begin to turn translucent, toss in the Brussel sprouts and cook on medium heat until they being to brown.

3) After the leeks and Brussel sprouts are well browned, deglaze the pan with a splash of rice vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Kale Chips – Directions:

1) Tear kale into small pieces after it is deveined.

2) In a bowl, toss kale with a little drizzle of peanut oil and a shake of rice vinegar. The kale should be lightly coated.

3) Next, place the kale chips in one layer on a cookie sheet or two.

4) Sprinkle the chips with sesame seeds, ground ginger, pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

5) Bake at 375 degrees until the chips are crisp. It is important to use dry kale to make these otherwise they will steam, and it will take much longer to bake them. If they are dry, the baking time should be about seven minutes.


Brussel and Sweets Roasted

DSCN2507

Yikes, another not-so-beautiful-the-kids-will-hate-it one dish delicacy! Here we have slow roasted brussel sprouts with sweet potatoes and chard – all from this week’s CSA.

Brussel and Sweets Roasted – Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds brussel sprouts
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard chopped
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1) Saute the garlic in olive oil. As soon as it becomes fragrant, mix in the washed brussel sprouts and swiss chard. Cover to steam a bit. You want the brussel sprouts to get a head start as the sweet potatoes roast up pretty quickly.

2) After the brussel spouts have the chance to soften a bit (perhaps 10 minutes), add the sweet potatoes, maple syrup and seasonings.

3) Pour everything into an oven proof dish and bake for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Roasted Red Potatoes, Cauliflower and Green Bean Salad

DSCN2427

This potato salad is hearty, yet feels light and fresh with a lime and fresh basil vinaigrette. Foxtail Farm CSA vegetables included: red potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, garlic, basil, and red onions.

Roasted Red Potatoes, Cauliflower and Green Bean Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, diced
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 pound green beans, cut into one-inch pieces
  • olive oil to coat vegetables
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Vinaigrette:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

Clean and prep the vegetables. The potatoes will be roasted on a separate cookie sheet from the cauliflower and green beans as they take a bit longer. Mix the diced potatoes with a little oil to coat and salt and pepper. Then turn them out onto a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees until they are browned on the top. Do the same with the cauliflower and green beans – toss them in a bit of oil, salt and pepper and then spread onto a baking sheet. The potatoes will take about 45 minutes to roast and the green beans and cauliflower will take about 20 to 30 minutes. I didn’t keep track of my time, so just keep an eye on them.

Once the veggies are roasted, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Meanwhile, mix the vinaigrette using a food processor. Pulse the garlic, basil, lime juice, Dijon, salt, pepper and oil. When the vegetables have cooled, mix the vinaigrette and onions into them and serve.

Green Beans Spicy

IMG_3246

Ever since my friend, Kate gave me a copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, I’ve been playing around with Indian spices. I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no idea what I’m doing, but have been getting some pretty tasty results. Every time I mess with Indian, I imagine one of the Chowdhury family mamas is over my shoulder tisk, tisk, tisking me! Tonight I actually looked to see if somebody was there.

I love the spices, and I am sure there is a provincial rhyme or reason as to why some go together and some do not. At this point in time, I am experimenting to see what I like – being the great fusionist that I am! I love putting the brown mustard seed into hot oil until it pops and then sprinkling the other spices in and watching them bubble furiously in the oil. The aroma they give off just sends me to the moon! Fabulous.

These green beans got simmered in savory Indian spices along with some Thai hot chiles from the Kingfield market and some basil from the CSA. This is truly a simple dish to be enjoyed with a side of brown basmati and coconut chutney (p. 663 in World Vegetarian).

Green Beans Spicy Recipe

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans

2 or 3 Thai Chiles finely minced

8-10 large basil leaves finely minced

1 Tbs. canola oil

1/2 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/4 tsp. turmuric

1/2 tsp. cumin powder

1/4 tsp.  ground coriander

splash of water

salt to taste

Directions:

Clean and cut the beans into small pieces. Mince the chiles and basil. Heat oil in saute pan and add mustard seed. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the other spices. Stir them and let them cook for a moment. Then add the beans, basil, and chiles. Mix them around in the spice mixture to coat. Add a splash of water and cover the pan to cook for five minutes. I like my beans firm, so you may choose to cook them a little longer. Salt to taste.

Swiss Chard Stems with Summer Squash

Swiss Chard Stems with Summer Squash

IMG_2771

(Read this using a sing-song voice – if you know my mother, Martha, you know exactly how to say it!)

The CSA box is beginning to feel a little overwhelming!

Until this week, my daily cooking regimen was very leisurely. It included a cup of coffee and an early morning hour or two of prepping veggies and preparing a dish. The veggies in last week’s CSA made a pot pie, a gallete, a bag of frozen cauliflower, baby greens salads, simple steamed green beans, cucumber slices, fennel pesto and this side of sauteed swiss chard and summer squash (Recipe: I used about 1 Tbs. of the fennel pesto to saute the vegetables.)

I never once felt overwhelmed. Well, I picked up the new bounty last night and looking ahead at the next week’s cooking regimen, I finally understand why, with some farms, folks like to split the CSA. I’ll need to cook every day if I’m going to empty the fridge by next Thursday. Now, here’s the other problem: there’s a lot of food around here to eat. I have been freezing a few things and sharing with friends, but this week’s bounty will be the tipping point. It’s time to entertain! Expect small bites and toothpicks in this week’s recipes.

Max was watching Curious George yesterday on TV and told me that the Man in the Yellow Hat said, “It’s not a party unless you pick up small food with toothpicks!” That will be my motto for the week!

images

This week in the box: orange beets, red potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, swiss chard, red onions, basil,  baby field greens, and green beans.

Happy Cooking.

Sauted Spinach and Arugula with White Beans

IMG_2168

After an evening enjoying true Americana “Eve of Destruction” kitsch at the Elko Speedway, a lovely Italian peasant brunch can really cleanse the soul! Not only was the soul cleansed, but my post Saturday bad-American-beer hangover was calmed with these garlicky greens served with a chewy loaf of ciabatta, puffy omelet and goat cheese feta. I can’t seem to get enough of Laylita’s cebollas encurtidas (pickled onions) http://laylita.com/recipes/2008/03/10/cebollas-encurtidas-or-pickled-onions/ so they were brought out again to top the plates.

IMG_2165

Jeff does not eat eggs, so he loaded his plate with the ciabatta to mop up the greens and beans. He’s into Sriracha sauce lately, and loves to decorate the plates!

IMG_2169

These greens are really easy to make especially if you have the beans already prepared. I usually have two or three kinds of beans in small containers in the freezer ready to work with. I like to cook dry beans because they are so inexpensive compared to the canned variety. Last week I bought two pounds of white navy beans, cooked them, and divided them into four freezer containers. We ate the first container right away with stuffed burritos, and then I had the others frozen to work with later. On Thursday when I got the first CSA box, I pulled out a container and just had it thaw in the fridge. They were ready to toss into the pan this morning.

Ingredients:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2-4 cups white beans
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable stock
  • greens (I used a large bunch of arugula and a huge bag of spinach)

Directions: In a large saute pan heat oil and add finely chopped garlic, toss in washed greens and mix well. Continue stirring until greens begin to wilt. You’ll need to add about 1/4 cup of water or stock liquid. Add salt, pepper and beans. Let cook until greens are cooked and bright green. Turn off heat and add the juice of one lemon. Mix lemon juice into greens and beans and serve.

 

Roasted Potato Spears

IMG_2130 Preheat oven 425 degrees

Ingredients

potatoes 2 – 5 pounds

olive oil

salt & pepper

freshly chopped garlic

chopped rosemary (any herbs are wonderful)

I cut the potatoes in half lengthwise then cut each half into four or five wedges. Place the spears in a big bowl. Drizzle oil over potatoes and toss so that all potatoes are covered lightly with the oil. While in the bowl sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper, chopped garlic and herbs. Toss the potatoes in the bowl to coat all ingredients evenly. Turn the potatoes out onto a large baking sheet so that they are in a single layer on the pan. If you use more than two pounds, you will need two sheets. Bake until the potatoes begin to brown, and turn with a spatula. Let them bake until they are browned and done in the middle. Baking time depends on the type of potatoes, so I always use the taste to see method. They usually bake in 30 minutes to an hour.