Posts Tagged ‘Regional Recipes’

Sausages & Sauerkraut

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Have you ever planned an entire meal around a condiment?  Sometimes I’ll crave ketchup, for example, and then I’m left looking for a food vessel to eat it on (I wouldn’t just sit down with a bottle of ketchup and a spoon…now that would be weird ;) ).  (In case you’re wondering, my ketchup cravings are usually satiated with scrambled eggs…yes, I eat ketchup on scrambled eggs, lol.  But never on eggs with runny yolk.)  The other day I was at a grocery store – not my normal grocery store, mind you…and you know how much fun it is to look around at new grocery stores – perusing the aisles, when I happened upon the cutest little jar of German mustard.  And nothing goes better with medium-hot mustard than sausages.  And nothing goes better with sausages than sauerkraut when you have German cuisine (for Regional Recipes) on your mind.

 The Cutest Little Jar of Mustard I’ve Ever Seen

I’m sending this recipe to Joanne (of Eats Well With Others) for her Regional Recipes Roundup of German cuisine!

 Al Fresco’s Apple-Maple Chicken Sausages…Pork-Free, Gluten-Free, All-Natural, and Pretty Delicious…And I Promise I Don’t Work For Al Fresco ;)

A Note on the Sausages I Used:  If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know that Mike and I don’t eat pork.  For this dish, I wanted to use chicken sausage with apple (since I was planning to make apple-kraut) and I had no idea if there even was such a product (we generally don’t eat a lot of sausage), but at the store I was thrilled to find Al Fresco’s Apple-Maple Chicken Sausage.  Not only is it a great blend of sweet and savory flavors, but being a breakfast sausage, its small shape and size is reminiscent of  the more traditional Nuremberg sausages.  Of course, you can use any sausage you like or have on hand.

Sausages & Sauerkraut

(Yield:  2-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are)

2 TB canola oil, divided

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 lb sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (to remove excess salt)

2 TB organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar

2-4 TB brown sugar, lightly packed (more or less to taste)

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

1/4 tsp ground marjoram

1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and diced

8 oz sausage (I used Al Fresco’s Apple-Maple Chicken Sausage)

Fresh minced parsley (for garnish)

Pumpernickel or sourdough bread (for serving)

Medium-hot mustard (for serving)

In a 3-quart pot with a lid, heat 1 TB oil over medium heat; add the onion and sauté until it’s starting to soften (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add the rinsed and drained sauerkraut, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, caraway seeds, marjoram, and 3/4 c water.  Cook over medium heat uncovered for 10 minutes; add the apple, cover the pot, and cook another 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone and the apple is tender. 

In a medium skillet with a lid, heat the remaining 1 TB oil over medium-high heat; add the sausages, then pour in enough water to come about halfway up the sausages.  Put the lid on but leave it ajar so the water can evaporate; cook the sausages about 7-10 minutes, until the water is gone and they’re golden brown; give the pan a gentle shake every couple minutes to turn the sausages.

Serve the sausages and sauerkraut garnished with fresh minced parsley, alongside pumpernickel or sourdough bread and plenty of medium-hot mustard.

Giveaway Winner & Recipe for Baklava

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

I want to thank all of you who participated in my Good Earth giveaway!  And the winner is…

Coco of Balance, Joy and Delicias!  Coco, please email me your address so I can have your prize pack sent out.

Now onto the baklava!  The secret to a great baklava is the syrup, which serves two purposes:  it makes the baklava sweet (the sweetness of the dish comes entirely from the syrup since there’s no sugar between the layers) and it moistens the baklava.  Too much syrup and the baklava is soggy, too little and it’s dry.  This might not sound like a big deal, but the texture of the baklava can make or break it.  I like my baklava to have just enough syrup so that it’s moist and syrupy at the bottom but crisp on top.  This recipe has the perfect syrup-to-baklava ratio to achieve this.
In addition to the syrup, the only other tricky part about baklava is handling the phyllo dough because it’s so thin and delicate.  Here are a few tips for working with phyllo:

  • If you’re using frozen dough, let it thaw in the fridge overnight to ensure that it thaws at a more even rate.  If you let it thaw at room temperature in warm or humid weather, I’ve noticed that the dough has a tendency to stick together.
  • When you’re working with phyllo, make sure it doesn’t dry out.  I like to put the dough on a cutting board and cover it loosely with plastic wrap, then lightly drape a damp towel on top of the plastic wrap.  (The plastic keeps the air off it and the damp towel keeps it slightly chilled; don’t put the damp towel directly on the dough because it can make the dough gummy and cause it to stick together.)  Work quickly but there’s no need to rush, since the dough will be pretty well protected if you set it up like this; it should only take about 10 to 15 minutes to layer the entire baklava.
  • Don’t overdo it with the butter.  Phyllo only needs a light brushing of butter to crisp up nicely.

I made this baklava for my dad’s birthday since it’s one of his favorites.  And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect since Greece is this month’s Regional Recipes theme.  (Don’t you just love it when things line up like this?  ;) )  I’m sending this recipe to Joanne of Eats Well With Others for this month’s round-up.


(Yield:  9 by 13-inch dish of baklava)

1 (16 oz) package phyllo dough

1 lb chopped nuts (I like to use walnuts or pistachios)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 c (2 sticks) butter, melted (plus a little more butter to grease the pan)

1 1/2 c sugar

3/4 c honey

1 TB lemon juice

1 TB rose water

9 by 13-inch baking dish

Pastry brush

Make the syrup first, as it should have time to cool before being poured on the hot baklava so it can be absorbed.  In a medium pot over medium-high heat, cook the sugar and 1 1/2 c water until it boils, then turn it down to a simmer, add the honey, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn the heat off and stir in the lemon juice and rose water; set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350F; grease the bottom and sides of the baking dish with butter.  In a bowl, combine the chopped nuts and cinnamon.  Unroll the phyllo and cut it in half down the center.  Place the phyllo on a cutting board, cover it loosely with plastic wrap, and lightly drape a damp towel on top of the plastic wrap. 

Place 2 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of the pan (they will overlap), then lightly brush butter on them with a pastry brush.  Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered.  Sprinkle on 3 TB of the nut/cinnamon mixture, then top with 2 more sheets of dough.  Brush more butter on the dough, then sprinkle the nut mixture on top and continue this way.  Leave about 8 sheets for the top layer.

Use a sharp knife to cut the baklava into any decorative pattern you like (make sure you cut all the way down to the bottom).  Bake for 45 minutes, until the baklava is golden and crisp.

Once you take the baklava out of the oven, immediately pour the syrup on top (be very careful; the syrup will bubble up).  Cool completely before serving.  I have successfully made this up to a week in advance (I stored covered it at room temperature), and I actually think it tastes better the longer it sits (as it sits it takes on a denser, gooier quality).

Tropical Chicken Salad

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

I know a lot of people who don’t think salad can be a satisfying meal.  They think of it as fine for a first course or a side dish, but never a main course.  If you’re one of those people, make this salad.  It will change your mind.  There are so many different flavors and textures going on…the tender, nutty chicken…the crispy, sweet banana chips…the tang from the yogurt-based poppy seed dressing.  It all works together amazingly well. 

img_9727-smallUnsweetened, desiccated coconut was the one thing I wanted to add to this salad but in my haste forgot (it’s so hard to be patient when something smells as good as this chicken does when it’s cooking).  I’ll take this as an excuse to make this salad again.  And it will give me a chance to pick up some King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread, since I think it would be a fantastic pair.


Not only is this salad a fabulously delicious and satisfying meal on its own, but there is something interesting about its main ingredients.  Coconuts, mango, and bananas grow abundantly in Haiti, which happens to be this month’s focus for Regional Recipes.  (For more on Haitian food, see here.)  I’m sending this salad to Joanne of Eats Well with Others for her Regional Recipes round-up of Haitian dishes! 

img_9728-smallTropical Chicken Salad


(Yield:  4 servings)


Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing (see below)

4 (4-6 oz) chicken breast cutlets

1/2 c macadamia nuts, divided

1/2 c Honey Nut Cheerios

1 large egg, beaten

Olive oil (to lightly coat the pan)

8-10 c lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 ripe mango, diced

1/4 c banana chips

1/4 c unsweetened, desiccated coconut

Salt and pepper

King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread (optional, for serving)


Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing:

1/4 c low-fat plain yogurt

1 TB canola oil

1 tsp each lemon juice and poppy seeds

1/2 to 1 tsp honey (depending on your taste)

Pinch salt and pepper


Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing.


Crush 1/4 c of the macadamia nuts and Cheerios to a coarse meal (a few larger pieces are ok).  Season the chicken with salt and pepper; dip the chicken in the beaten egg and let the excess drip off.  Coat the chicken in the crushed macadamia nut/Cheerio mixture.


Heat a large pan over medium to medium high heat and add enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan (about 2 TB).  When the oil starts to ripple, add the chicken and cook about 3-4 minutes on the first side or until golden brown.  Flip the chicken over and cook another 3-4 minutes, or until golden.  Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.


Arrange the salad in each of 4 large bowls:  put the lettuce on the bottom, then top with the mango, banana chips, remaining macadamia nuts, coconut, and a drizzle of the Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing.  Place the chicken on top and serve.


Guinness Beef Stew with Irish Brown Soda Bread

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Saint Patrick’s Day is almost here!  A time for parades, wearing of green, and dying of anything and everything to match that brilliant shade of emerald. 


The Chicago River, Dyed Green for St. Paddy’s Day (Image Source)


Most people I know (Irish or not) celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in some way because after all, everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day, right?  ;)


When you think of St. Paddy’s Day, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  Corned beef and cabbage?  Shamrocks?  Green beer?  I think of hearty, warming foods…slow-cooked, braised meat dishes…potatoes, root veggies, and comfort.  Recently, I was looking through one of my new cookbooks, The Irish Pub Cookbook by Margaret M. Johnson.  The book is full of lovely pictures and homey recipes.  Simple, quality ingredients are combined with traditional cooking methods…and the result is food that withstands the test of time.  img_7296-small1

When I was thumbing through the book I came across a recipe for Guinness Beef Stew.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might know that Mike and I don’t drink…but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to use alcohol in recipes for the flavor and let the alcohol itself cook off.  This stew basically jumped off the page at me. 

img_7292-smallI did make several changes to the recipe.  The original called for a turnip; believe it or not, I’ve never eaten a turnip in my entire life (and I was raised in a veggies-every-day household!).  Despite that, I added a turnip to my shopping list and looked for it at the store.  I couldn’t locate a turnip to save my life so I asked a grocer who told me they didn’t have any that day.  Oh well.  I decided to add some celery and cabbage to bulk it up.  (I cooked the cabbage along with the beef and the cabbage just seemed to melt into the broth, which was exactly what I was looking for.)  The original recipe didn’t have any potato in the stew; it suggested serving the stew with mashed or boiled potatoes…I just saved myself a step and added them to the stew.  Lastly, the original called for quite a bit more butter and oil than I used (4 TB butter and 1/4 c oil), but I found that the recipe was perfect without all that added fat.  The end result was nothing short of divine.


I’m sending this recipe to Joanne of Eats Well With Others for her Regional Recipes roundup of Irish dishes! 

img_7237-smallGuinness Beef Stew


(Yield:  6 to 8 servings)


1 1/2 TB olive oil

1 1/2 to 2 lb stewing beef, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes (I like to use beef sirloin)

1/2 small head cabbage (I used Savoy, but you could also use green leaf), chopped

2 large white onions, chopped

2 c Guinness stout

2 beef bouillon cubes

2 bay leaves

1 tsp ground marjoram

4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

4 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced

4 medium stalks celery (leafy tops included), chopped

1 starchy potato (such as russet), washed and diced (not peeled)      

1 TB unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 1/2 TB all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper

Fresh minced parsley (optional, for garnish)


In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat the oil on medium to medium-high heat; when the oil starts to ripple, add the beef and cook until browned on all sides (about 5 minutes).  Add the cabbage, onion, Guinness, bouillon cubes, bay leaves, marjoram, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, and enough water to just barely cover everything (about 3 c).  Bring the soup up to a boil, then cover it, turn it down to a simmer, and let it cook for 60 to 90 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until the meat is almost tender.


Add the carrots, parsnips, celery, potato, and enough water to just barely cover everything (about 1 c) and bring the soup up to a boil; turn it down to a simmer, cover it, and let it cook 15 to 20 minutes stirring occasionally, or until the veggies and meat are tender.


In a small bowl, knead together the butter and flour until completely combined.  Whisk this mixture (called a beurre manié) into the stew to thicken it.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve garnished with fresh minced parsley.


If desired, serve with Irish Brown Soda Bread.


In The Irish Pub Cookbook I also came across several recipes for Brown Soda Bread.  I couldn’t decide which one sounded the most delicious, so I made a variation incorporating the best of both recipes.  This bread is really the perfect accompaniment for that hearty stew.


Irish Brown Soda Bread


(Yield:  1 (9-inch) loaf)


3 c whole wheat flour

1 c all-purpose flour (plus a little more to dust the pan)

1/4 c wheat bran

2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp fine salt

1 large egg

4 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (plus a little more to grease the pan)

2 TB honey

1 1/2 to 2 c buttermilk


9- by 5- by 3-inch loaf pan


Preheat the oven to 375F and butter and flour the loaf pan.  In a small bowl, combine the butter and honey.  In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat bran, baking soda, and salt; make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to stir in the egg, then the butter/honey mixture, then about half of the buttermilk.  Gradually add just enough buttermilk so that a soft dough forms; be careful not to overmix. 


Transfer the dough to the pan and smooth the top with a spatula that has been dipped in water or buttermilk; bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack and cool for about an hour.


If desired, serve with Guinness Beef Stew.


Hello! I’m Faith and I write An Edible Mosaic. This is my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Welcome to my mosaic of recipes.

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