Homemade Sauerkraut

YIELDS | 8-10 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 minutes plus fermentation

COOK TIME | NA

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Sauerkraut alone, on a polish or mixed with pork sausage, the benefits of this gut friendly fermented vegetable are almost endless. Like Kimchi, this dish can morph into many dishes by changing the flavor profile. This recipe is the ultimate in simplicity and tastes so much better than store bought. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself making it often.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 1/2-2 teaspoons pickling salt, or kosher salt –
* 1 large head fresh green cabbage, keep a couple large leaves to use to hold down the sauerkraut and brine.
* Jars with lids

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cut the cabbage in half, remove any brown or bruises leave and the core.

2. Slice the cabbage 1/8 inch thick, almost like a shred, sprinkle on the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage for about 15-20 minutes. Do not pour out the juice. 


3. Pack the cabbage in a the glass jars and tamp until the jar is about 3/4 full. Pour in juice until the cabbage and liquid are about 1” from the top of the jar. Be sure the cabbage is fully submerged and there are no air pockets..

4. Fold a piece of the reserved cabbage leaf on top of the sauerkraut and brine and gently push down until it keeps the contents submerged. Loosely cover the jar with a lid.

5. Place the jars in a cool, dark place where the temperature is between 65-70 degrees. IMPORTANT: Be sure to open the jar every day to release any pressure so the jar doesn’t explode.

6. After 3-4 days of fermenting begin to taste the cabbage every day and until it reaches the level of preferred tanginess. The brine will most likely become effervescent. This is a sign of active microbial activity-a good thing.

NOTES

To reap the benefits sauerkraut has to offer, ferment the cabbage for a minimum of two weeks.
Once the sauerkraut is finished, tighten the lid and store the sauerkraut in the refrigerator.
Sauerkraut can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.

Cumin Charred Cabbage Wedges with Pistachios and Spiced Butter

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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INGREDIENTS

* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
* 1/4 teaspoon allspice
* 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 tsp Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 small-medium head green cabbage, core removed and cut into four wedges
* 1/3 cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
* 2 tablespoons butter

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°

1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small, dry pan over medium heat. Let cool. Set the pan aside to use again.
2. Grind the all the spices, except for the paprika, and salt with the mortar and pestle.
3. Mix the spice and salt mixture with the olive.
4. Drizzle the oil over the cabbage. Using your fingers, rub the spiced oil into the nooks and crannies of the cabbage.
5. Heat a pan large enough to hold the wedges over medium high heat, and sear the wedges for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.
6. Pop the wedges onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
7. While the cabbage bakes, using the same pan used to toast the spices, melt the butter, add the pistachios and smoked paprika. Mix and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
8. Place the cabbage wedges onto a serving platter, drizzle the melted butter and pistachio mixture over the cabbage. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES

Butter Braised Leeks with Parmesan and Thyme

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | X MINS

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As soon as the warm weather began to cool, my father Jean would serve us quintessentially French vegetable dishes of braised leeks, cabbage or Belgium endive. Most were prepared in this buttery braised and herbaceous broth and then finished under the broiler. This is fresh country French cuisine at it finest, without the complicated steps and long list of ingredients. Only creamy butter, a little wine, fresh herbs and a hearty handful of grated cheese make this a must have recipe for your fall recipe repertoire.

INGREDIENTS

* 6-8 medium leeks, about 2 lbs, trimmed and rinsed clean

* 
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

* 
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

* 2 Tbsps cold, unsalted butter, cut into slices

* 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

* 1/2 cup parmesan or pecorino or cheese, grated

* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS


Step 1. Trim dark-green tops and roots from the leeks then cut in half lengthwise. Remove any tough, bruised outer layers. Hold the leeks to keep them intact and rinse them under running water and drain.

Step 2. In a baking dish or cast iron skillet, arrange the leeks in a single layer, close together, with the cut sides up to absorb and hold the butter and broth.

Step 3. Add the wine to a small pan and boil for a minute and then add the broth and bring to a simmer. turn heat off.

Step 4. Sprinkle the leeks with kosher salt and a few good cranks of freshly ground pepper.

Step 5. Evenly distribute the slices of butter on top of the leeks and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Pour the wine and broth over the leeks and butter. tightly cover the baking dish or pan with a lid or foil and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Add additional broth if necessary.


Step 6. Uncover and continue simmering for 15-20 minutes or until the leeks are tender and the broth has reduced by half or more.

Preheat broiler to high

Step 7. Sprinkle the leeks with the pecorino or parmesan cheese and broil for 3-5 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Add additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES

I like to make and serve this dish in a cast-iron skillet. I think it brings a beautiful and rustic flair to the dinner table.

Creamy Feta and Spinach Orzo

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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Creamy feta cheese and spinach melt into the orzo to create a warm and light meal. The lemon zest gives the recipe just enough zing and compliments the feta beautifully.
This dish makes a perfectly balanced meal all on its own or serve along side with roast chicken or fish for a heartier meal.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or half of each
* 3 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced set aside some of the green parts for garnish
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 8 ounces baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock plus more if needed
* 1 cup orzo
* 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
* ¾-1 cup cup feta. Not crumbles. Plus more for serving
* 1 cup fresh dill, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat and melt the butter or heat the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Stir in half the scallions and garlic, and cook until wilted about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the spinach in a few batches and sprinkle with the salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir a couple times until the spinach is wilted but not mushy, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add stock and bring to a simmer.
6. Stir in orzo, lemon zest and cover. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 12-15 minutes and until the orzo is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir a few times to be sure the orzo doesn’t stick to the pan.
7. Stir in the feta cheese and dill. Cover and cook for another minute to let the flavors develop.
8. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and garnish with a handful of crumbled feta and scallions.

NOTES

I adapted this recipe from a New York Times recipe. I removed a couple of steps and unnecessary ingredients.

Savory Tomato Pie

YIELDS | 6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 45 MINS Plus cooling time 60 MINS

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This is a savory, herbaceous pie that highlights the bounty of tomatoes from summer’s end. This easy Tomato Pie is perfect for Meatless Monday. Simply omit the bacon or sub with vegan bacon. I found myself slicing slivers of it cold straight from the fridge though I did allow the family to have some too 😍

INGREDIENTS

* 3 pounds assorted medium to large heirloom tomatoes
* 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
* 6 thick-cut bacon slices, diced, or vegan bacon, optional
* 2 large shallots, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (2 tsp.)
* 6 ounces aged extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
* ½ cup mayonnaise
* ½ cup chopped fresh basil
* ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives
* 1 large egg
* 1-9” pie shell store bought or home made
* Fresh basil leaves
* Minced fresh chives

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

1. Set aside enough tomato slices to cover the top of the pie, about 7 or 8 slices and place on top of paper towels to absorb the excess juice. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt and set aside. 

2. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray or oil onto a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the remaining tomatoes in a single layer and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until blistered and slightly dried. Cool completely, about 1 hour.


3. Meanwhile, cook bacon, if using, in a frying pan over medium-high heat until fat is beginning to render, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chopped shallots, and cook until bacon is crisp and shallots are caramelized, about 6 to 7 more minutes. Stir in garlic; and cook for about a minute and until fragrant. Transfer bacon mixture to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Cool 20 minutes.


4. Stir together cheese, mayonnaise of choice, basil, chives and egg until combined. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Fold in the bacon and garlic. 


5. Spread a third of cheese mixture into the pie crust and then layer on half of the roasted tomato slices in an overlapping pattern then repeat this step.
6. Spread the last of the cheese mixture on top of tomato slices and then top the pie with the reserved sliced fresh tomatoes. Press the tomatoes and filling into the crust . 

7. Bake the pie until the filling is set, about 40 to 45 minutes and then transfer to the wire rack, and let cool for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with basil and chives, kosher salt to taste and freshly ground pepper to taste. 



NOTES

German Potato Salad

YIELDS | 12 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 25 MINS

COOK TIME | 20 MINS

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The is a savory, tangy and salty German potato salad to eat alongside a good bratwurst and sauerkraut. Bonus it is a Double Duty Recipe because the leftovers make a delicious potato pancakes. Recipe at Verysmartideas.com search “pancakes”.

INGREDIENTS

* 3 cups diced peeled potatoes
* 4 slices bacon
* 
1 small onion, diced
* 
¼ cup white vinegar
* 
2 tablespoons water
* 
3 tablespoons white sugar
* 
1 teaspoon salt
* 
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
* 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place the potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add onion to the bacon fat and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil, add the potatoes and parsley. Crumble in half of the bacon and stir.
3. Heat through and transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the remaining bacon over the top, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and serve warm.

NOTES