Friday, August 14, 2015

Pimento Cheese, Please - Kielbasa and Kraut

Hello fellow New Yorkers, let me introduce you to a Southern Wonder:

Yes, that is the much-vaunted Pimento Cheese, the good stuff, made from Real Cheese (I don't want to think about the alternative.)

So I put some of this Pimento Cheese on my hamburger, and it was delicious.  But that begs the question, why did I even try to eat a hamburger?  Why do I ever try to eat normal food?  Even now, I'm looking at the remaining half and dreaming ...

Peachy Cheesy Pimento Cat Picture, in the kitchen of course.

"Feeling better"

One of the really truly rotten things about fibromyalgia and depression is that my mood can plummet faster than the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Having lived past that dreaded employment hearing, I was feeling better.

Then I got an innocuous email telling me that the U.S. Post Ofice (is there any other?) had tried to deliver something to me at my work address from the State of Florida  First I thought it had to do with my retirement, but that outfit knows to send stuff to me at my home address. Therefore, it must be Something Bad.  Therefore, I must have done Something Wrong.  Are you following this?  Can you please explain it to me? Because I have no damn idea how I got from A to B. A touch of paranoia, you say? A guilty conscience? I've been sitting home minding my own business for 5 months - when did I have a chance to do Something Wrong?

"No Mo' Better"

Naturally, I'll be a wreck until I have a chance to pick up this Offending Object at the Post Office.  And so my mood, which was temporarily lightened, got slam-dunked from here to Amway.

Speaking of cooking, I haven't really done any in a few days ... letting the stacks of aluminum trays wind down.  I think my boys might be getting a little nervous. Not that anyone is going to starve in this house, but the freezer ain't the refrigerator, if you catch my drift. Me, I'm enjoying the gyro-flavored potato chips.  Sustenance is where you find it.

Who wants to drive in this?

I had wanted to stroll on down to the Lower Forty and do a little more clean-up among the vegetables, but the monsoon came early today, so I am staying under cover of roof and wall.  How dry I am, eh? Unfortunately, I have a 2:45 appointment at yet another doctor, which I am seriously considering canceling because a) it is pouring outside, and b) I fully expect this appointment to be a total waste of time.  Look dudes, if you can schedule a follow-up appointment two or three months out, there's nothing wrong, right?  If you're thinking I am over this medical mayhem, you are correct. And c) I have a terrified Yorkie on my hands.  She cannot tolerate thunder, lightning, or torrential rain, and Kissimmee just hit the trifecta.

There is food for fifty in the freezer, but I think I am going to whip up the very simple, very satisfying Kielbasa and Kraut.  I cannot remember if I have ever posted this recipe before - I am still working on a usable index, but there are between 250 and 300 recipes on the blog - but it is so good and so simple, it is worth a second look, assuming there was a first look.

I have admittedly tampered with this recipe in the 35 or so years I have been preparing it for my family - sautéing the onions in a separate step, throwing bacon and garlic into the mix, and yada yada yada. What it comes down to is the the original way is best.  One pan, four main ingredients.

But first - let's talk about seasoning.  It is very hard for me to state exactly how much of any one seasoning to add to a dish.  Everyone's taste is different.  Everyone's cooking audience is different. Salt, heat, exotic spices - these are all a matter of taste - precisely, the cook's taste, or that of your taste testers.  I like to have Rob check the taste of each dish, because after a while, my tastebuds go haywire. Fresh tastebuds, that's the ticket to good cooking. There may be times you may want to add something I haven't listed, because you know the flavor profile preferences of your eating audience. Go for it, I say.

Kielbasa and Kraut

1 pound sliced kielbasa (I use Hillshire Farms and I slice on the diagonal)
2 sliced onions
1 can sauerkraut (I use Silver Floss Bavarian style), rinsed and drained
salt, pepper, caraway seeds (I also used a bit of Emeril's Essence, cayenne pepper, and parsley flakes)
1 cup sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise (I used Hellman's. Duh.)

Place the onions in the bottom of a heavy pan.  Cover with the sliced kielbasa.  Cover the pan and steam over medium-low heat until the onions are soft.  Remove the cover and mix in the sauerkraut, salt, pepper and caraway seeds.  Heat through.

Just before serving, mix the sour cream with the mayonnaise to make a smooth sauce.  Add slowly to the kielbasa and kraut, stirring over a low heat.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Now, because I can never leave well enough alone, I will tell you that today I doubled the sour cream and mayonnaise because I planned on serving this with noodles, and I wanted some extra sauce for that.  Just an idea, you don't have to do that.

You know what goes really well with this? Potato pierogen. Frozen is fine - it has to be, I've never made them from scratch.  Any kind of potato goes well.  And those cute little spaetzle things I've made a few times in the past. But today, it's all about broad egg noodles with peas.  Good mix.


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