Late Summer Salad

I like to think that at the end of a season, a better one awaits. There shouldn’t be mourning from one season to another, for we don’t know what the new season might bring. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way but transitions can be tough. Along with a new season, uncertainty, insecurity, and fear are close behind. Luckily, for me, the only major transitions right now are the seasons changing and the company I work for is moving to a new location. Both transitions are very much welcomed but I know that’s a gift. Here’s to making the best of transitions. (more…)

Ok, enough with my philosophical rant. I guess that’s what happens when I blog right before bedtime. But seriously, I love the Autumn and all that it brings. Lately, it feels like Summer doesn’t want to let go and Autumn isn’t telling her she should. With that stubborn attitude comes confusion in the kitchen. Do I roast a chicken or make a fresh salad? Do I grill or throw together that pumpkin pasta I couldn’t resist just leaving alone on the shelf? I’m very confused but one thing I know is that it’s definitely not the time for chili just yet. This salad is for those of you, like me, who love the vibrant flavors of the Summer but long for the coziness of Fall. The fennel and apple make this salad super fresh and help balance the acidity of the vinaigrette. Plus, did I mention honeyed goat cheese? No? Honeyed goat cheese.

Here is our late harvest ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Extra virgin olive oil, red onion, apple, (I used Honeycrisp for a sweeter flavor but if tart is more your thing, Granny Smith will do just fine), fennel, lemon juice, arugula, dried cherries, shaved brussels sprouts, rosemary, Dijon, honeyed goat cheese, and apple cider vinegar.

I call this piece Controlled Chaos. We throw all of our ingredients that are not being used for the vinaigrette into a bowl. Save the goat cheese for last because it will dissolve if added in too soon. We admire this beauty and then move onto our vinaigrette.

Our vinaigrette is all sass. It’s tangy and with the rosemary, it has that subtle lemony herb flavor. We pour it over our greens and toss. Don’t add the goat cheese yet!

Sprinkle the goat cheese over individual servings or better yet, crumble the goat cheese and let your guests add it to their salad. It adds a wonderful sweetness that brings it all together. Side note: If you can’t find honeyed goat cheese, just add honey to your non-honeyed goat cheese. This isn’t a “good bye Summer” salad; it’s more of a “it’s been real Summer, now I’m going to hang with your friend Fall” kind of salad. Happy salad making!

Slow Cooked Brats with Onion and Apple Sauerkraut

Did anyone else enjoy their first football weekend of the season? In our house, we are divided. Some of us root for the Ravens (go B-more!), and some of us root for the Steelers (I won’t name names). Rivalries are fun; especially when fun bets are placed like a new cutting board or a criterion DVD. There’s something in the air that makes football Sundays extra delightful. Carbs are always available. Naps should always be taken. Everything should be finger food. No one wants to watch a game having to fork and knife something on their laps. Too stressful. Too. Much. Work. I don’t know if you have noticed but I’ve been trying really hard (like really, really hard) to come up with football friendly recipes. As a kid, my mom would always lay out a beach blanket in front of the football game and bring us picnic food. It was brilliant. Let’s keep that tradition going. Nothing too complicated, just simple, eat with your hands, kind of food. You get it. (more…)

Now, these brats were delish. BUT, these brats were also hard to photograph. I need grace here. Thank you. Back to the brats! There was so much flavor going on and the best part is: they hang out in a slow cooker all day until they are ready for some football munchin’, beer drinkin’, love. They are so tender, you wouldn’t need to give them the fork and knife treatment if you didn’t want to eat them with buns. But, buns make these finger food friendly so I highly recommend eating these on buns. Oh! Don’t forget the yellow mustard! Or spicy brown if that’s more your flow!

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Bratwursts, sauerkraut, fresh thyme, onion, maple syrup, brown sugar (mine started to melt and I have no idea why), apple, and buns.

Our onions and apples are cooked. The sauerkraut is added. Then here comes the hard part: throw it into the slow cooker.

Then, we sear our brats for color. I’m sorry if this photo is too provocative for you. Brats also go into the slow cooker and, are, you guess it, slow cooked.

These brats are great for game day. Start ’em early and keep them warm in your slow cooker until ready to eat. They are sweet and savory with that wonderful fermented sauerkraut flavor. Happy brats making!