In a continued effort to save money, I am still dumpster diving for food in my own fridge and pantry. The other day, I found a jar of sauerkraut. I have no idea where it came from, or why I might have bought it. I like sauerkraut, but it isn't the sort of thing I usually buy, thinking, "Well, we definitely need this!" I mean, it's not a staple, like grits. We're Southern, not Midwestern or German. But the jar wasn't expired, so I hatched a plan. A further search of the freezer yielded a package of bratwurst. It was on!
When I found two lonely beers in the fridge, I knew exactly what to do. Out came the slow cooker, and in went the yield of my brief and fruitful search of our food supply: two beers, a couple of sliced onions, a spoonful of sugar, a few minced garlic cloves, some cayenne pepper, an apple that everyone was pretending not to see because it was a little bruised and mushy, and those delicious brats. I cooked it all on high for about four hours, adding a big scoop of sauerkraut in the last hour.
The brats didn't look quite right, so I sautéed them in a pan for a minute or so on each side, pretty much for aesthetics. My youngest son is usually the first to object to something different at the dinner table. He's learning to be polite, because it has been explained to him that if he doesn't, he will need to forage for food in the backyard. I can't push that too hard, because he's very independent and might take me up on it. Of course, the foraging would mostly involve begging for cookies, bananas, and grilled cheese sandwiches from the neighbors. Which they would probably give him. Now, that I think about it, this could be a very budget friendly way to feed an eight year old. But I digress.
Even he was thrilled with dinner, because it mimicked one of his favorite farmers' market treats, a German dog from The Wurst Wagen. He was not sold on the sauerkraut, and went with ketchup only. But that was okay, because more sauerkraut for me.
Speaking of me, this was a great meal, because we could all have it just the way we wanted. I had mine sans roll, with a side of spinach.
Some weeks, I don't feel very competent. Some days, using a mushy, soon to be composted apple to make a meal that makes everyone happy feels like a huge accomplishment. I may not be able to save the world, but I can darn well save this apple! I wish I could tell you that was an exaggeration of my joy, but...nope. It was one demoralizing week of fails. In the midst of such a week, saving an apple and having the whole family tell me how much they love a meal I made is everything. Also? Bratwurst is delicious!
What makes you feel accomplished in the kitchen? And how was your week?