Thursday, June 29, 2017

Brats on the Go: Fast food that's good for you

Fast-paced life, stuck at work, stuck in traffic, but the food needs to hit the table when everyone's hungry. What to do? Preparation is good, having certain items in the freezer ready to thaw and cook is very helpful, but often you need to throw something in a pan, pull together a salad and eat.

Brats are a lifesaver! I put six in a small roasting pan or glass baking dish, roast for 30 minutes and serve with this easy honey-mustard sauce and steamed broccoli or a refreshing green salad. Boom! Dinner's done!
Smoke gets in your eyes when you grill, so why cook your brats that way?

Yes, I cook bratwurst in the oven. Not on the grill, not in a pan on the stove. No coals to heat for grilling and no oil all over my stove to be cleaned up later. Preheat the oven to 400 F and place the bratwurst in a lightly oiled glass baking dish. * They don't burn, they brown evenly and clean up is a breeze.

If you're in need of something for a social event, pull the brats out of the oven when they're done and cut into thick diagonal slices (cut on the bias about 1" thick). Pile them up on a plate next to a big bunch of pickled okra with a little bowl of honey-mustard sauce in the center. By the time you've touched up your mascara or trimmed your cute little beard, everything is ready.

Of course, you can always eat the brats on a bun with mustard and sauerkraut or onions and peppers or whatever else you wish.

Shopping List:
6 bratwurst
3 T Dijon mustard
4 T honey
1 T mayonnaise

Mix well with a whisk and refrigerate.

Do you want another fast food dinner idea?  Roast a pork tenderloin, allow to rest for 10 minutes and slice. Serve with this sauce and steamed asparagus or green beans on the side. Delicious, fast and easy! Time to jazz things up? Put 1/8 of a stick of salted butter and 1 cup sliced almonds in a non-stick pan. Cook until butter is browned and foamy and almonds are toasty colored. Pour over the asparagus or green beans and toss.

*To give the appearance of grilled bratwurst, score each sausage diagonally before putting in the oven. Just run a very sharp knife across in a diagonal line and about an inch or so apart for the length of the sausages.


Maybe not an error. Perhaps more of a typo-type of editorial omission... Uhm... Err... Bottom line: Yesterday's post had a couple of wandering sentences. It was like an unfinished construction site, which nobody noticed, so traffic was allowed in. Not a big deal. You would have figured it out, but we erred and we've corrected and now all is deliciously in place. Phew!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Mere Trifle: A July Fourth Dessert

A trifle can be as simple as fruit-topped pudding or vanilla yogurt

It's nothing. A mere trifle! Well, if you're making it for dessert, even though it's relatively easy to prepare, this is serious work. But what if you're not in the mood for all of the serious preparation? Then switch over to the easy side of the dessert maker's kitchen.

The essence of a traditional trifle is: custard (or pudding), fruit, cake (sprinkled with rum or whiskey), whipped cream and toasted almonds. You layer everything in a large glass or crystal bowl, finishing it off with whipped cream and toasted almonds. Make this with instant pudding and store-bought cake the night or day before, and your life is easier on the actual holiday. If you’re a purist and have time to spare, try this traditional recipe or this one from Martha Stewart (even though they don’t use custard or almonds).

My No Recipe Recipe
Sliced fresh strawberries, peaches and blueberries
Instant vanilla pudding (prepared and cooled to set)
Pound cake, angel food cake or a jelly roll  (cut into large slices or cubes)
Whipped cream (with sugar and vanilla) or the other stuff you buy in a plastic tub
Toasted almonds

  • Combine fruit with a few tablespoons of sugar and a couple tablespoons of rum (spiced rum is especially good). Toss and set aside for about 10 minutes to give sugar time to dissolve.
  • Begin layering in a large glass or clear plastic bowl.
  • First layer, fruit. Second layer pudding. Third layer cake.
  • Sprinkle cake generously with rum.
  • Duplicate layers. Sprinkle cake with rum and any fruit juices that may be left in the bowl.
  • Top with a thick layer of whipped cream and distribute almonds evenly over that.
  • If you have unused fruit, put into a small bowl and serve on the side.