Sauerkraut In A Hurry

In which I mention that friend that wanted to be mentioned…

I have this friend that has an amazing German heritage.  Her family speaks German and sometimes when trying to talk “secretly” in front of people they will speak in German.  Her grandma forgets that I understand German also, which is why I found out that her grandma lost her teeth on the way to the birthday party.  “Ich habe meine Zahne verloren!” She exclaimed upon entering.  I tried to stifle my giggle, but tend to have a very expressive face.

I wish I had made this dish when she was coming over, but instead I made it when my brother was here.  We also have amazing German heritage, but our celebration of the culture has a lot more to do with sausages and beer than it does language.  (That might also be the Wisconsin background.  It’s pretty indistinguishable, really.)  Regardless, it’s an excuse we didn’t even need to eat brats and sauerkraut.

You are going to have to excuse these terrible pictures.  They are from the time where I was still learning how to use the basics of my camera.

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The sauerkraut here is not something you do in a hurry, regardless of what the recipe says.  To get it to the point where I felt it was done, it took at least a half hour, maybe longer.  Maybe their idea of a hurry was different than mine?  I mean, they are making Jell-O salads that take all day.  These are not things that a working mom can do on a limited schedule.

Ok, so taste.  Have you had a French choucroute garnie? Because it’s like that.  I’m sure that doesn’t help a lot of you.  Here’s what Wikipedia says about it.  If you don’t feel like clicking over, it’s sauerkraut, sausages, potatoes, onions, and beer all cooked together for a nice long time and best served with mustard (not the yellow stuff, the good stuff).  The long cooking time mellows the bite of the sauerkraut and everything sort of melts into each other.  This has amazing similarities to that dish, but much quicker.  It’s kind of like sauerkraut for beginners.

When you have time to make this “in a hurry” dish, you may want to put on your leiderhosen, put on some polka, make some spaetzle, and indulge.  Even if it wasn’t my brother’s favorite, I thought it was pretty darn good.Sauerkraut in A Hurry

Skillet Potatoes Au Gratin

When I was young, the idea of potatoes au gratin really appealed to me. They just sounded so special and fancy.  Scalloped potatoes were a regular thing at our house and there were au gratin potato chips, but I don’t recall them being a regular part of our menu.  They may have been, but I don’t remember it.  (Sorry, mom.)

Potatoes and cheese are classic.  Switzerland has raclette (which I have eaten in Switzerland).  Canada has poutine (which I have not eaten in Canada, but I assume I will at some point.)  Sports bars have potato skins.  Diners offer cheese with hashbrowns. One time I made chipotle potatoes au gratin and they were amazing.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had a potato and cheese combination that I didn’t like. These Skillet Potatoes were no exception.  DSCN2768

Maybe these potatoes were so ooey-gooey delicious because we use Weyauwega cheese almost exclusively.  Seriously, there is nothing better.  It’s the cheese I grew up eating, so maybe that’s part of it, but it is really good cheese.  They are even distributing cheese curds to Texas now.  My friend called to ask if they were legit.  Yep.  They are the real thing. (This makes it sounds like an advertisement.  It’s not, I just really love Weyauwega cheese.)

DSCN2769Boiling the potatoes with the onions mellows the onions and just leaves the flavor.  The small amount of water used to boil the potatoes means the potatoes don’t need to be drained and the starch from them helps to thicken the cheesy sauce.  These are not the best au gratin potatoes I’ve ever had in my life.  They aren’t steakhouse worthy, but you know, for something that is ready in 30 minutes or less, it’s a pretty decent side dish for any night of the week.

Skillet Potatoes Au Gratin