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German(ish) lunch

April 5, 2012

So I was feeling a little uninspired, and was going to have this post be just a series of pictures from the meal I cooked yesterday for lunch, but it turns out all my pictures look like this:

Well, OK, this one's not that bad. I had good lighting at least.

Well, OK, this one's not that bad. I had good lighting at least.

But this one. I mean, really.

But this one. I mean, really.

And the kicker:

Why?? I beg you?? Why??

Why?? I beg you?? Why??

Utter disgrace. I’m completely out of practice with my point and shoot, the lighting in our house is terrible, and I think my eyesight is going a little bit bad. So now, instead of just showing you a beautiful picture of the whole wheat baguettes I baked:

KILLS me. Just kills me.

KILLS me. Just kills me.

I now have to brag about the crunchy crust, airy pockets in the crumb, and slightly nutty flavor. Gah. (Admittedly, you wouldn’t get the flavor from a picture, but seriously. Based on the way this picture was taken, that baguette looks more like something Daisy left on the floor.)

IN any event, our lunch was delectable, a German potato salad with bacon, red-skinned potatoes, true honest-to-goodness apple cider vinegar (organic, unfiltered, and raw – “with the ‘Mother‘”), a little sugar, finely chopped onions and red bell peppers, and parsley from the herb garden I’ve started. (Read as: hubs and I bought two potted herb plants: lemon thyme and curly parsley. I have no patience for seeds.)

Do vibrant colors make up for bad photo-takery?

Do vibrant colors make up for bad photo-takery?

And do humble apologies make up for bad blog-writery? A point to ponder.

Anyway, the meal was based on the fact that I found some awesome German-style black pepper-studded sausages at Readfield, the local butcher. I was looking for food inspiration, part of this new “non-diet” I’m on, which is basically taking the time to say: food is important, treat it so, find inspiration, strong flavors, and focus on what you’re consuming bite by bite, instead of shoveling empty calories into your giant maw with both hands. (I may or may not be paraphrasing “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano). Difficult to do that on a budget, I’m finding, though fresh fruits and vegetables, when in season, do help.

So, we had the potato salad, the sausages (or, as we call them in our family, Snausages, which gets the sous-chefs all excited…)

Sous-chef Mater says "I await your instructions, madame Chef! And any leetle snausage pieces that may find their way to my tummy...."

Sous-chef Mater says "I await your instructions, madame Chef! And any leetle snausage pieces that may find their way to my tummy...."

and some fried cabbage, with the brown bread baguettes I made earlier this week. The meal was fantastic, and we paired it with an Austrian dry Riesling, with a strong peppery flavor “Pfeffer” I think was the reference made. And yes, wine with lunch is part of the non-diet.

Beer, hard liquor, and cake are not. But I like to occasionally buck the system.

Definitely something I’d make again.

German Lunch (made by an American girl, using French cookware, for her ancestrally Italian husband, served with Austrian wine. I love this country.)

Red potato salad – this recipe came from Cooking Light, by way of MyRecipes.com. I halved the recipe and we had about 1 cup leftover after lunch with 2 people. Well, 1 person eating like a bird, and 1 healthy growing college man. So two people, more or less.

Pan-fried cabbage

Using some of the bacon grease (ye-yeah, what do the French women say about THAT, Mireille Guiliano?!?), heat a tall-sided dutch oven (my preference – you can use any sort of frying pan you like. It helps if you have a lid, though) to medium. Add chopped cabbage – we use green cabbage (49 cents a pound – SO CHEAP), and I like to leave it in big ol’ chunks, rather than shreds. Gives it more oomph on the plate.

Saute the cabbage until tender, between 15 and 20 minutes. Cover periodically to steam and soften, but stir frequently, because the cabbage will burn, and ain’t nothing nastier than burnt cabbage. To eat or to smell. It helps to use nonstick cookware, but if you’re using stainless or enameled cast iron like me, just deglaze with a splash of water every once in a while – helps the cabbage soften up, and you get the tasty brown bits from the bottom.

Note: cabbage tends to cook down a LOT, so for two people we used 3/4 a head. If you’re making it for more people, plan accordingly.

and finally:

Snausages

We used smoked German-style sausages.

Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water. Bring to boil. As water is boiling, prick sausages all over with a fork, to keep the casings from exploding. When water is boiling, add sausages. I like to turn mine over periodically, but you’re basically just going to boil them for 10 minutes or so. Remove sausages to plate and dump water.

You have two options here: they’re lovely just steamed, but sometimes I like to caramelize the skins a bit, to give an extra bit of flavor. Smear a TINY amount of oil – olive oil, etc. – in the bottom of the pot you used to boil the sausages in. Heat the pot to medium, and add the sausages back in. Saute on either side until you get a good brown on the skin, then remove to a plate, preferably with paper towels, to drain.

Serve all this with some hot mustard (we brought back a couple jars of excellent hot mustard from France), brown bread, and a nice dry white wine. Absolutely delicious. Despite the crummy photography.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. diane permalink
    April 5, 2012 1:15 pm

    Um, wow – you’re making me hungry – more than hungry – envious and hungry! Hope Matt knows how lucky he is to have you! 🙂 I’m sure he does!

    • April 5, 2012 5:28 pm

      Haha – thanks, Diane! At the very least, his tastebuds appreciate me. 😉

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