Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brat Beer Bath, Baby!

Another warm, comfort food for Sunday night's dinner. I love sausages and brats, and I really love the ones that are made with things other than just the usual innards. Tonight we had chicken and apple sausages, and I didn't feel like standing around with a pair of tongs out in the cold, so the "brats got a bath."

I used my BIG cast iron skillet, which always makes a nice pot. A stick of butter, and bunch of sliced onions to start (I used yellow and red just because those were leftover from other stuff), and I let that simmer till the onions got somewhat soft, but not translucent. Added two beers (David insisted on his Miller High Life - "it's the champagne of beers, Mom!"), and once hot-added the sausages. Just simmered till they were looking to burst. These were previously fully cooked, by the way. I found some fluffy, over-sized hot dog buns at the bakery, and served them with Texas Caviar (black-eyed pea salad) and some sweet yellow cherry tomatoes.

The Texas Caviar is another recipe to be found in the Strand Family cookbook. An old friend from church, Landa Cartwright, gets credit for this one. I've had other black-eyed pea salads, but this one is the best. Easy to make, too. Just get a large mixing bowl and dump 4-5 cans of black-eyed peas in (drain all but one or two cans), 1 medium red onion-chopped (oh yeah, that's why I had red onion!), 1 green 1 red, and 1 yellow bell peppers-chopped, 1 large bottle of Kraft LITE Zesty Italian Dressing, 1 jar of picante sauce (I use mild), 1 large can pitted black olives-finely chopped, and you can add jalapeƱo to taste, though I leave it out. That's it. Mix it up, refrigerate in a container, and the saying goes, "the longer it sets, the better it gets!" It is true. Wait at least 24 hours before you serve it. It's great on crackers or big scoop chips; and I like it cold, but you could heat it as well. This will pass for eating black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year.
On another note, I wish I had taken pictures of breakfast this morning. We had my version of Migas, along with fried potatoes and onions (I eat a lot of onions?), and a cast iron skillet of "greasy" refried beans. I would have loved to post a picture of those beans. Usually when I heat up refrieds, I do add a little bacon grease, but this time I wanted them to get really dark and smoky flavored. I learned the term "greasy" the other night when we were at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants "Ojeda's," and I asked our waiter for the "darker" refried beans they serve with the Carne Asada. He said, "Oh, you want the GREASY beans!" And of course I said "Okay!"
So this morning I fried a whole pound of bacon and reserved the grease for the beans; I used about half of it when it was all said and done. And using the iron skillet just added to the flavor. They were perfect if I do say so. The Migas were just scrambled eggs (I use a little sour cream to get them fluffy); all that crunchy, crumbled bacon; shredded monterey jack cheese, and broken corn tortillas chips. Mixed it all together and put it in a casserole dish in the oven for a few minutes with a little extra cheese melted down over the top. I love breakfast. And I really love Mexican breakfast. Don does too, especially when he wakes up on Sunday morning, gets in the hot tub and is served a Tequila Sunrise before his Mexican breakfast. Hey, I like to do it up right, right? We're still coming down from our recent trip to San Antonio. I have foodie pics from that I'll post over the holidays.
Okay, I've rambled on about food--so what's new! Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans

Sara (shout out!) is on me about not blogging, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday. It was weird; I didn't cook much. We were invited somewhere else for the actual Thanksgiving Feast, so all I made was a side dish. I cooked a turkey later, but we just went into immediate leftover mode with it and never actually made it as a "meal." Speaking of leftovers, you know how I love them. My favorite leftover from thanksgiving is to cut a dinner roll in half, smear it with mayo, lay several pieces of dark turkey meat, some cornbread stuffing (my favorite) and some cranberry sauce on it, and that's my deal. So it was a little strange this year not to do that--but I made due.
This is a picture of the side dish we have every year now--
Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans. If you know me, you know I have a thing for bacon. And as much as I love it savory, I love a sweet twist on it as well. (Notice, I did get my turkey sandwich in there, but it's on Asiago Cheese bread with just mayo--I lived through it!)
So this is a recipe you can find in the Strand Family Cookbook. (Secretly, behind my mom's back, I gathered recipes from all of her side of the family in order to present a cookbook to her on her 70th birthday. The Strand family/descendants are awesome cooks!)

So this recipe is in there, but here's how i
t goes:

3 cans of whole greens beans (not cut or French style--use the long "whole" ones), drained
1 lb. bacon, cut strips into thirds
1 C. packed brown sugar
5-6 T. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

Wrap 5-6 green beans with a piece of the bacon and lay seam side down in a lightly greased, 9x13 Pyrex dish. Continue until all the bacon and/or greens beans are used. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic. Mix well, and pour the mixture over the bundles, making sure to hit all of the bacon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

That bacon becomes a kind of candy--so good!

More to come.