Something about the advent of October makes me want to cook hearty Germanic things like sausages. It doesn't really feel like fall in Georgia yet but last night we did have windows open and were able to enjoy a cool evening. Melanie said it was a fantastic weekend, weather-wise. I wouldn't know as I was busy working on my thesis--beautiful weather and I squandered it in front of the computer. But we had a seasonally appropriate dinner last night, so that kind of made up for things:
I bought 4 kielbasa sausages from the DeKalb market and put them into a dry saucepan over medium-high heat. I let them sear until browned, then flipped them over to do the same on the other side. Each side probably took about 2 minutes to develop a nice browning. Then I covered the sausages with almost an entire bottle of Sweetwater Happy Ending Imperial Stout. I used it because the one lone bottle had been lingering in our fridge for ages and nobody seemed likely to drink it anytime soon. You can use any kind of stout that you like, otherwise any darker beer would be fine too. The stout adds an interesting malty sweetness though. I also added 1 chopped/smashed garlic clove and 2 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste and mixed them into the stout over the sausages. Let the kielbasa cook in this liquid for about 10 minutes, or until done through. The liquid will cook down into a thick sort of sauce. Serve the kielbasa one per person with some of the sauce.
We also made mashed potatoes (you know how, cut up Yukon Gold potatoes, boil them until soft, make Jeremy mash them up with lots of butter, some milk and tons of salt and pepper). The stout-tomato sauce from cooking the kielbasa is really tasty drizzled over the mashed potatoes like gravy on the side as well.
I appropriated the red cabbage and apples recipe from something in Gourmet magazine. Melanie sliced up 1 small head of red cabbage into thin strips. I sauteed lightly 2 chopped cloves of garlic in 1-2 tablespoon of butter until soft. Then dumped in all the red cabbage sliced up by Melanie, tossed it around in the butter over medium-high heat. We chunked up 1 apple into 1" pieces and added that to the cabbage along with about 1/4 cup of apple cider. Mixed everything up well, added a teeny pinch of allspice, salt and pepper, then turned the heat down to medium and covered the pot. Checked on it about 7 minutes later, stirred it up and uncovered to cook down some of the liquid. It cooked for another 10 minnutes or so. It turns this brilliant, pretty purple-red color and the apples get very soft. At that point, turn off the heat and add 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and more salt and pepper to taste.
We also had another variation on arugula salad. This time first toasted pine nuts in butter and salt and pepper until they were lightly browned--no more than 1 or so minutes stirring them over high heat should do it. Tossed the arugula with one chopped yellow tomato, half the pine nuts, a ton of grated parmesan and a dressing (made with juice of 1 lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, all shook up together in a jar, as usual). When it was all tossed up, topped it with the rest of the toasted pine nuts and small chunks of parmesan.
Dessert was sort of exciting--I never make dessert but the tomato tarts from earlier in September had me thinking about a sweet(ish) version. Took a sheet of puff pastry and trimmed it into an oval shape. Spread the center with about 1/2 cup of marscapone cheese. Drizzled the cheese with honey. Thinly sliced 2 black plums in half and then the halves in half--to make lots of little half moon shapes. Placed the plum slices in an overlapping concentric circle pattern over the honey and marscapone. Drizzled with some more honey and tucked almond slices in all around. Pulled up the sides of the puff pastry to form an open faced tart around the plum slices. Baked it at 350 degrees, until the pastry was poofed up and seemed to be fairly set--about 25 minutes. Delicious and fall-appropriate.