Tonight I had planned on making pizza, but life intervened and I ended up with less prep time than I’d planned. Given that I had good chicken bratwurst, red and green cabbage, onions, and some wide whole-wheat Amish noodles, I decided to go with a German-inspired meal. I was going to serve it with traditional baked apples. I thinly sliced the onions and cabbage. Then I sauteed the onion until it started to caramelize. I pulled it out and sauteed the bratwurst in some brandy in the same pan. Then I cooked the noodles al dente and tossed them in a smidgen of butter. I was about to saute the cabbage in the bratwurst liquid and then pull everything together, with the noodles in the bottom of each bowl and then the cabbage mixed with onion and the brats on top–when I saw the four apples I’d gotten out. I’d pictured them with cinnamon, slowly baked, but that wasn’t going to work now.
I quickly quartered, cored, and peeled the apples. I tossed them first with a pinch each of cinnamon and ginger. Okay, I used more than a pinch of ginger, maybe a whole teaspoon (or more?), but I decided that’s too much. I also sprinkled on a little salt. I added about a half inch of water in the bottom of the little casserole dish. Then I popped the spiced apples in the microwave for 4 minutes on high. Humph. They tasted good, but they looked microwaved. I was going to reach for brown sugar, when I decided something savory would be better. I decided to toss them with honey and a sharp mustard, about a tablespoon or two total. Then I popped them in the toaster oven for 10 minutes at 375-400 degrees F while I finished cooking the main dish.
The apples weren’t photo-worthy, but they were golden brown (all that mustard!), tangy and sweet and spicy. They worked really well with the rest of the meal. They’d be good this way with a pork roast (if we ate pork roast). My husband spooned out the leftover sauce from the apples and added it to his cabbage, onion, brat, and noodles mix.
- 4 apples, quartered, peeled, and cored
- pinch of ginger
- pinch of cinnamon
- sprinkle of salt
- splash of water
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon mustard
Put the apples in a small glass casserole dish with the cinnamon, ginger, salt, and water and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Add the honey and mustard and bake at 375-400 degrees F for 5-10 minutes, until the apples are bubbly. Serve. Enjoy.
Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader. Short excerpts with full URL for this site and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.
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Posted in Arkansas, beer, carrots, cast iron, celery, cheese, Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, farmer's market, Food, German food, ham, leeks, locavore, mustard, onions, organic food, Pickle, potatoes, Uncategorized, whole grains, tagged Arkansas, beer, beer-cheese soup, cheddar-beer soup, cooking, dinner, environment, family, Food, locavore, organic, pumpernickel bread, recipes, soup, Super Bowl, Wisconsin on January 18, 2010 |
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Given that Arkansas has an award-winning brewery and darn good locally produced raw-milk cheddar from cows that get to eat real grass, I thought a variation on Wisconsin’s renowned cheese soup might be in order for our Ozark croft. The recipe is easy, and you should be able to make your own local, organic version just about anywhere in the country. The only thing in our soup last night that wasn’t local was the celery, which was at least organic. Note: recent studies have indicated that much of the alcohol does not cook out in baking and other cooking. Keep that in mind if you are planning on serving this soup to kids. To serve to kids, increase the mashed potatoes and chicken broth, and eliminate the beer. If you want to serve it to the guys for a Super Bowl Party, go ahead as is!
Makes about 4 cups
- 1 cup leek, stalk portion only, cut in half, cleaned, and finely sliced (or 1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped)
- 1 cup carrot, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup-1 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup-1 cup mashed potatoes (nothing fancy added): less for thinner soup, more for thicker soup
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- optional: a few dashes of soy sauce
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup beer* (depending on how much you like beer)
Begin by finely slicing and dicing the vegetables, adding each to a heavy pot on low heat (I used a 2-quart cast iron Dutch oven), lightly coated with oil (and maybe a thin pat of butter), as you finish chopping each vegetable.
Saute the vegetables over low heat with the pot covered for about 10-15 minutes. Now stir in the mashed potatoes. They’ll make the mixture look a bit disgusting, but they are there to thicken the soup, so don’t leave them out. Next, add the chicken stock and worcestershire sauce. Taste everything. If it needs a bit of salt, add a few dashes of soy sauce. Let the mixture simmer on low heat until the vegetables are soft and the soup starts to thicken, about another 10 minutes. Now add the beer, starting with the lesser amount. Finally, as the beer stops foaming, add the cheddar cheese, a little bit at a time. Serve with good bread, maybe a nice hearty sandwich. (We served it with homemade pumpernickel buns with fresh mustard greens, turkey salami, and a spicy pickle spread I made as well as a Diamond Bear Paradise Porter that we split.)
Our cheese came from the Daley Dairy near Rose Bud, Arkansas. Daley Dairy markets its raw-milk cheddar under the name Honeysuckle Lane. You can purchase it at area stores such as the Ozark Country Market in Heber Springs and Liz’s health food store in Conway. You can also purchase it through markets similar to CSAs such as Conway Locally Grown. To be frank, a bit drier cheddar would have worked better in the soup, as this cheddar tended to clump and get a bit sticky. Still, the flavor was amazing.
What kind of beer? We selected Diamond Bear’s Pale Ale for our soup. Diamond Bear is a Little Rock brewery that has won national awards. We like pale ales, and we especially like Diamond Bear’s. Use what you ordinarily drink, as long as you stay away from the hoppiest and most citrusy beers. Even though we went with the Pale Ale for the soup, we chose a darker beer–Diamond Bear’s Paradise Porter–to drink with dinner. It worked well with both the cheddar-beer soup and the pumpernickel bread.
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Posted in acorn squash, Asian food, butternut squash, cabbage, cast iron, colonial New England food, Community Supported Agriculture, Cooking And Baking, CSA, farmer's market, Food, fusion cuisine, gardening, German food, Indian food, Italian, onions, organic food, organic gardening, winter squash, tagged acorn squash, apples, butternut squash, cast iron, coconut, Cooking And Baking, curry, dried cranberries, Food, German food, ginger, molasses, turkey bratwurst on November 10, 2009 |
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I can’t help but notice how many people find this blog because they are searching for a recipe for winter squash, especially butternut or acorn squash. You’ll find both savory and sweet recipes at Ozarkhomesteader, because these squashes are incredibly versatile.
Tonight, for instance, I was working with green European cabbage, red onion, and turkey bratwurst. These ingredients scream German or Austrian food (at least to me), but I was also staring at a butternut squash with a little damage, one that I needed to fix soon rather than keeping through the winter. Ultimately, I boiled the brats in beer and then mixed just a touch of molasses in with a tiny bit of the beer to make a glaze, allowing me to get nice grill marks when I put the brats on a hot cast iron grill pan. I served the brats on cabbage sauteed with red onion, cider vinegar, prepared grainy mustard, a touch of honey, and some soy sauce. (Darn Alton Brown for mentioning umami right about the time I was reaching for the salt!) I decided that the squash could be seasoned to stand in for pumpernickle–or maybe gingerbread.
I began by peeling the butternut squash. Butternut is the only winter squash that peels easily when uncooked. Then I cut the squash into chunks, popped it in a casserole with a little water, and baked it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then I mashed it with about 2 tablespoons dry ginger and two generous drizzles of molasses (maybe about a tablespoon).
I served the brats on top of the cabbage with the squash to the side, some green beans, and some tiny sliced radishes. Sure the squash looks like baby food this way, but it tastes rich! And our entire meal celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. It’s hard to believe that was twenty years ago!
Regardless of whether winter squash with ginger is your idea of a good time, know that you can bring its warm, comforting flavor to all sorts of cuisines, including Indian (try it with curry and coconut milk!), Italian (think ravioli with nutmeg, a little garlic), or even New England colonial (acorn squash stuffed with apples and dried cranberries). Enjoy those squash you found at the farmer’s market, in your CSA basket, or even–like us–in your own garden.
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