Saturday, October 15, 2016

Weekend Round-Up Part One

The Unexpected-A word of warning-never leave a scarecrow unattended for a few days. Much to my surprise after a weekend in the cities I returned to find Mr. Scarecrow wounded but still standing. Despite losing his arms and some of his guts he bravely carried on his guard duty while keeping a smile on his face. My friend and I made up this little ditty in his honor. 
Mr. Scarecrow
sentry on a stick
keeping watch
this fine autumn day.
with shredded guts
flapping in the wind.

A pasted smile
trying to be brave
but only wishing
for his former self.

Cook's notes: You may have guessed I enjoy dinners with a theme. Recently I hosted a Paris themed birthday dinner for a friend. The guests all brought food to share.
The menu
Mixed green with salad with roasted beets, mandarin oranges and pistachios drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing
 French Chicken Noodle Soup
French Choucroute Garnie
Cook's notes: Choucroute garnie is French for dressed sauerkraut. It is a famous Alsatian recipe for preparing sauerkraut with sausages, other salted meats and potatoes. Families in Alsace generally eat choucroute garnie during the wintertime, because it's such a hearty, filling dish. So put this dish on your list to try when the evenings begin to cool down.

I am not a huge fan of sauerkraut and it's an important part of the dish so I served it warmed in a separate bowl. The aromas of this dish while cooking are enticing. You will not be disappointed with the flavor.
Adapted from BHG serves 6

  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion cut into thin wedges or 1-1/2 cups sweet onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1-12 oz. bottle or can of beer/ale (I cut back to 3/4 of the can which was enough for dish and leaving some for the cook)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup apple cider mixed with 3 TB. cornstarch
  • 2 TB. brown mustard
  • 1 TB.caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp. cracked pepper
  • 12 potatoes peeled and cubed (around 6-8) 
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced carrots
  • 4 loin boneless pork chops- cut up into chunks
  • 7 oz. (half a package) smoked kielbasa 
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple and 1 Honeycrisp apple, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 jar of sauerkraut,drained, rinsed and squeezed dry
  • In a pan cover potatoes and carrots with water and cook covered 20 minutes-cook till tender but still firm, drain and set aside. 
  • In a large fry pan heat olive oil and stir fry garlic with onions about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  • Add a little more oil to fry pan and sear the pork cubes.
  • Mix cornstarch with 1/2 cup apple cider. 
  • In the large fry pan add 3/4 to 1 can of the ale, 1 cup apple cider and 1/2 cup apple cider mixed with cornstarch, mustard, caraway seeds, rosemary, pepper, sauteed onion and garlic,cook on low heat till thick and bubbly.
  • In a casserole dish or 3 qt. Dutch Oven add cut meat, onions, garlic, potato mixture and apple/beer mixture. 
  • Sauerkraut can be served warm as a side or add in with meat and potatoes before baking. 
  • Bake covered 35-40 minutes.There may be a lot of juice so use a slotted spoon to serve.

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