Sunday salad lunch

June 12, 2017

Clockwise from upper left, peaches and cottage cheese, broccoli cauliflower, cucumber, jail slaw.

I came home from church yesterday absolutely ravenous, with no plans as to what to eat, or cook, for either lunch or dinner. Contemplated stopping by somewhere to pick up something, and decided that was ridiculous, given I had two refrigerators, a pantry and a countertop overflowing with food either already prepared or waiting to be prepared.

So I came home and fixed myself a salad luncheon, which had the added plus of emptying the refrigerator of some odds and ends of different dishes.

Clockwise from top left, we have peaches over cottage cheese (finished off the peaches); broccoli and cauliflower salad I’d been jonesing for for a week, and finally made Sunday morning before church; the last of the other day’s cucumber salad, and a serving of jail slaw to round things out. It made a fine lunch.

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M'mm h'mmm. Sweet Baby Jesus, right here. Do this.

M’mm h’mmm. Sweet Baby Jesus, right here. Do this.

Y’all know, if you’ve read much of this blog, that I do dearly love me some German food. Sizzling wursts, heaping platters with sliced sauerbraten or schweinbraten, schnitzels, rouladen, red cabbage, spaetzle, potato salad, kraut, latkes…I could go on and on.

But most of it is cold-weather food. Those braises, those heavy dishes. What to do when it’s nearly triple digits outside?

What I did tonight: Potato salad, cooked ahead and let cool to room temp; red cabbage, cooked in the Instant Pot and frozen in small portions, since I’m the only one in the house that eats it; cucumbers in a sour cream and dill dressing (This stuff? To die for. Must get more cucumbers at the Farmers’ Market.) Knockwurst from the Aldi, which has a remarkably good selection of sausages; two bucks for a package of five, and I got two meals for two out of that.

Truth? I ate the veggies — scarfed them down, in fact — and about three bites of the sausage.

First off, the red cabbage. I judge all red cabbage by what I’ve determined is the Gold Standard: the roteskraut served at the Austrian Village, a long-time German/Austrian restaurant in Huntingdon Valley, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Their red cabbage is nothing short of ambrosial. I can get close, but I don’t know that I’ve ever come up to their standard, which is at the very top of the Sweet Baby Jesus scale.

The batch I made earlier this week was close. I detailed it earlier, but essentially, take a head of cabbage and slice it up into fine ribbons, about 1/4 inch. Saute’ them in your Instant Pot in a little bacon grease until they’re all nicely coated, and then add a third of a cup each of vinegar and water, about a heaping tablespoon of sugar, and either a chopped up peeled apple, or, in my case, because you had it, a half-cup of applesauce, and a sprinkling of caraway seed. Clamp the lid on and give it 20 minutes at high pressure, let the pressure release, turn it to low saute’, and reduce the liquid. When it’s reduced, taste the cabbage, add a little salt and pepper to taste, and add a half-cup of cream. Let that simmer a bit, and there you go.

GOOD, good stuff. Just about the right balance of sweet and sour, and the cream just ties it all together. It may not be AV gold standard, but damn, it’s close.

Then the cucumber salad, a new recipe for me tonight, and I am, can I just tell you, In Love. I will make this the rest of the summer, as long as there are cucumbers to be had; it is that good. It is, if I am not mistaken, the same recipe used by the Steinhaus Keller in Hot Springs for their cucumber salad that I tried unsuccessfully to duplicate on the fly a few years ago, and here some recipe site┬áhad done it for me and I didn’t even know.

Here is the recipe: Gurkensalat. If you are serving anything even vaguely middle European in origin, make this salad to go with it. It is, in a word, wonderful. The sour cream, vinegar, sugar and dill combine for the most astonishing taste, combined with the salted-and-drained cucumbers.

Two notes: The recipe advises to salt the cucumbers and let them sit for 30 minutes, then squeeze the water out. Take them at their word, and put a serious squeeze on those babies. I laid mine on a double thickness of paper towels, salted, drained, then put another layer on top and pressed. They could have stood to have been drained a bit more. Also, if your cucumbers are more than an inch in diameter, cut ’em in half before you slice ’em. Easier to eat that way, because there is a LOT of dressing-to-cucumber ratio in this recipe, and it can get sloppy, eating. I won’t have any hesitation in using more cucumbers per dressing recipe next time, either.

Do, as the recipe advises, make this a few hours ahead. It wants to get happy in the fridge before serving.

Finally, the potato salad. I’ve made German potato salad for years, but this is the best recipe I’ve found for it, even if I did forget to chop up the green onions and add them. My fresh dill is long gone, so I used dried dill fronds (not seeds), about a tablespoon and a half, and it was just fine.

Oh. The knockwurst. I picked this up on a whim at Aldi, because I like it for a change every once in a while. My preference is a brat that’s not veal and not processed all to hell and gone, but again, that’s a colder weather dish. Knockwurst, either sliced diagonally or, as in tonight’s dinner, split and fried, with a drizzle of mustard, is quite suitable for a summer version. Chicken schnitzel would’ve been good, but that was too much like work.

So the kitchen’s not overheated, I’m not overloaded, and I’ve had a good German meal. I highly recommend this one to you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em. It’ll make a good change of pace for you while the temps are dragging you down.

 

 

A twist on potato salad

August 5, 2016

Sweet potato salad (at 3 o'clock) with tuna poke, rice, and cucumbers.

Sweet potato salad (at 3 o’clock) with tuna poke, rice, and cucumbers.

Y’all know I love me some potato salad. My version of traditional potato salad (heavy on the mustard in the dressing; add a little ketchup, too, and lots of paprika) is my go-to comfort food. I make a pretty awesome German potato salad, and I’ve done a few versions with roasted potatoes in a viniagrette that aren’t any slouches, either.

But I’d never made a sweet potato salad. Until last night.

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Tuna…what?

March 6, 2016

It's raw fish. Deal with it. It's good.

It’s raw fish. Deal with it. It’s good.

In the ongoing roster of new things I have made, please note down “tuna poke.”

Say what?

Yes. Tuna poke. You will find a recipe for it right here, and that’s essentially the recipe I used, except I left out the avocado because I didn’t have one. Essentially, it’s raw tuna, marinated in a soy sauce and sesame oil based sauce, and stirred together before serving with diced pineapple and, if you had it, avocado.

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June 23, 2013

Fresh summer goodness,  right here.

Fresh summer goodness, right here.

Once again, it’s a farmers’ market dinner.

The first black-eyed peas of the season are in. Ditto the first okra. I tried, and failed, to recreate the cucumber salad from Steinhauskeller, but what I turned out isn’t bad. I had organic, farm-raised chicken left over from what I’d roasted last Sunday. There were tomatoes. If I can’t work from that, I need to turn in my knives.

Speaking of which, the newly sharpened knives are powerfully sharp. A gash in my finger testifies to this.

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This is NOT what I had for dinner. This is the special, duck breast, which I stole from their Facebook page. It looks good, too, but I bet it was no better than my dinner.

This is NOT what I had for dinner. This is the special, duck breast, which I stole from their Facebook page. It looks good, too, but I bet it was no better than my dinner.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, y’all. If you have a Germanic/Eastern European/Slavic cell in your DNA anywhere, go, right now, to the Steinhauskeller in Hot Springs and indulge it. If you don’t, pretend you do, and go anyway.

You will NOT be sorry. And I say that on the strength of a single meal. It will not be my last there. Because this may be the restaurant that puts the Austrian Village, of which I have in the past waxed eloquent, in the shade.

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You CAN TOO come home again!

September 4, 2011

And that is, thank you Sweet Baby Jesus, exactly what I’ve finally done after a horrendous August road warrior schedule. I have, in fact, cancelled a planned week-after-next business trip, and I am HERE for the next eight blessed weeks, and damn well happy about it, thank you very much!

And I am cooking. Today we are going to have chipotle garlic grilled flank steak, potato skins, and barley-stuffed zucchini (the recipe was for barley stuffed peppers but I don’t like peppers so I’m stuffing zucchini. Deal with it). But I thought I’d catch you up with a little travel, a little dining, and so on and such forth.

Crappy cell phone photo does not do Cupboard lunch justice. Trust me.

You can also go home again when it comes to food, witness my stops en route home from the wilds of North Georgia (pretty country!) in Memphis at BOTH the Cupboard and Cozy Corner.

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