Archive | December 2011

Braised Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, and German Potatoes

It’s time to celebrate my German heritage!

(This is the best photo I could find)

Braised Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, and German Potatoes

  • 4 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds bockwurst or bratwurst (veal or veal and pork)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, about 1 pound
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 to 3 ribs celery
  • 1 medium-large red onion
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled and quartered lengthwise, core trimmed away
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick) or, coarse salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seed
  • 4 slices center cut bacon
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup white wine or white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 rounded teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 generous handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Hard cider, or white Belgian ale with orange wedge, for serving with the dinner


Halve larger potatoes and leave small potatoes as is, cover with water, bring to a boil, season with salt and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Place sausages in a cast iron skillet, add 1/2-inch of water and a drizzle of oil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let the sausages heat through as the water evaporates. Shake pan and let the casings crisp up until they burst, 3 to 4 minutes, and are golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

While sausages and potatoes cook, cut cabbage half into half again and trim away the core with an angled cut. Shred the cabbage very thinly with your knife and reserve. Place the shredder blade in your food processor. Peel the carrots and trim the root end. Trim the celery, and peel and quarter the red onion lengthwise. Peel the apple and quarter lengthwise then cut away the core as you did the cabbage. Using the processor, shred the carrots, celery, onion and apple, through the feed tube, removing from bowl as necessary.

In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Season the mixture with bay leaf, grill seasoning or coarse salt and pepper, and caraway seeds. Saute 7 to 8 minutes, tossing frequently.

While cabbage cooks, put a medium skillet on the stove with a drizzle of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and render 2 to 3 minutes then stir in the yellow onion and cook for 5 minutes with the bacon to soften.

Add apple cider vinegar to cabbage mixture and reduce for 30 seconds. Stir in the mustard and turn off the heat. Discard the bay leaf.

When potatoes are cooked, drain and add to bacon and onion. Douse the pan with vinegar and sprinkle with sugar. Pour stock evenly over pan, add the parsley and some pepper and turn off the heat. Stir the potatoes 1 minute to form a starchy sauce and combine flavors.

Halve crispy sausages and serve on generous bed of cabbage, with the potatoes alongside.

Serve with hard cider or white Belgian ale with orange wedge.

Recipe from here.

Goodbye 2011……and Hello 2012!!!

Every year I always strive to do more than I think I could ever accomplish. I may not check off all that I would like to on my list, but that means my life has some spontaneous adventures occurring!

During the past 363 days I had a handful of standout moments: I received a second college degree, started going to the gym 2x/week (kicking & screaming at times), endured a 6 week Pilates boot-camp (where I got home and collapsed on the couch until morning), ran my first 10k race (listening to country music!), started riding horses again (by far the best part of my week), patiently worked for a job offer (what a time to be looking for a job!), taught myself how to cook (hence all the working out…), and started this food blog (thanks to Mom for the idea!).

With the end of the year fast approaching, I’m doing my best to finish out an amazing year strong. In May I was in Boston graduating, I ran the 10k 4 minutes under my goal of 1 hour 20 minutes in June, November saw me doing a posting trot without much soreness, I found my ab muscles right before Thanksgiving (I don’t know where they’ve gone since then), December brought me a job offer, and this week I brought my cooking to the next level.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be walking away from 2011 and into the future of 2012 with all of these personal and professional accomplishments…. I am just oozing with excitement for what I can build upon this sturdy foundation here in Oregon.

How about you?

French Macarons with a Strawberry, Balsamic and White Chocolate filling

I’ve been mentally preparing to make these classic treats for a couple of months. Between finding a recipe that doesn’t require a digital scale, directions translated into English, and of course, a yummy collection of flavors – I finally found one I believed in.

Before I dove into making a batch of 20 sandwiches from Heaven, I did a trial run. Let’s just say those 10 were eaten and enjoyed! I even recieved a handwritten Thank You card from the recipient!

Last week I ran through the recipe one more time, got all the special ingredients, and said a silent prayer to the Kitchen Gods.

An hour goes by….

two batches are done……

the creme filling is made and applied…..and……

Weeeee! They turned out great! (As compared to a high-end bakery version, I would say the cookie on mine was slightly chewier than the bakery’s).

French Macarons with a Strawberry, Balsamic and White Chocolate filling

Gingerbread House

This is a healthier version that doesn’t leave us with leftover bags of candy and junk cereal to eat!

I used dried fruity, crackers, chopped pecans, pretzel sticks, animal crackers, and chocolate covered sunflower seeds. The house we made from scratch and unsweetened coconut is our “snow”!

A Baker’s Dozen of Holiday Treats

Do you get inspired during the holiday’s to make cookies and treats? If so, then you came to the right place!

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been a busy-bee buzzing between the baking aisle & bakery at the local grocery store, getting inspiration for my annual holiday baking. If only I had a Kitchen Aid Mixer and an endless amount of time to make them all!  Here’s just a tease of all that I’m dying to make this year:

Peppermint Patties

Cinnamon Sticks 













Chocolate Peppermint Biscotti

Lemon Almond Biscotti

Peppermint Bark

Chocolate Expresso Snowcaps

Gingerbread Snowflakes


Scrumptious Chocolate Mint Layer Bars

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Italian Pignoli Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Molasses Drops

I’ve made my choice of recipes and am off to the kitchen. I’ll be sure to post the final winners! Happy Baking!