Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"The Tailgater's Cookbook" & "One-Pot Meals Seventh Annual Readers Best Recipe Cookbook Minneapolis Star and Tribune" - Brats in Beer and Green and Gold Salad

Date I made these recipes:  September 20, 2015 – Green Bay Packers Home Opener

The Tailgater's Cookbook by David Joachim
Published by:  Broadway Books
ISBN: 0-7679-1835-5
Purchased at Powell's – Chicago
Recipe:  Brats in Beer – p. 68-69

One-Pot Meals – Seventh Annual Readers Best Recipe Cookbook by the Minneapolis Star and Tribune
Published by:  Minneapolis Star and Tribune
© 1983
Purchased at Arc's Value Village Richfield
Recipe:  Green and Gold p. 53 (columnist Mary Hart's recipe)

Finally!  Finally, finally, finally, my Green Bay Packers beat those evil Seattle Seahawks in a grudge match at Lambeau Field.  Plus, it was the Packers' home opener so that made it all the more special.

But you would know that at the same time the game was going on (night game), so were the Emmy Awards and this resulted in major channel-flipping on my part.  This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as I've found that sometimes changing the channel means that the Packers get organized and score and that is exactly what they did last night.  I'm somewhat convinced that if I watch them when they're down that this may jinx them and so I will flip back and forth until the danger has passed. (We all have our little superstitions in life and this is mine.)

Given that Wisconsin is know for beer, brats (and cheese), selecting this recipe from The Tailgater's Cookbook was a no-brainer.  But I do take exception to the author's statement "If you're at Soldier Field for a Chicago Bears game or at Lambeau Field for a Packers game, you'll fit right in with these brats on the grill."

For the record, there is no reason to go to Soldier Field for a brat.  None.  Oh sure, if you're a Bears fan, but why would you be?  ;)  By the way, the Packers played Da Bears in Soldier Field last week for the NFL season opener and they beat them.  And this is as it should be. 

This recipe is very easy to make but I used the wrong beer, making the dish a little more tangy (read:  bitter) than it should have been.  If you use a lighter beer like an IPA (India Pale Ale) you'll be fine as the beer flavor will compliment, not overpower the brats. 

And then there's the Minneapolis Star and Tribune newspaper's annual readers [cooking] contest Green and Gold Salad to talk about.  Out of all the recipes I could have made, this one spoke to me because green and gold are Packers colors.  But I was sure tempting fate by making something out of a Minneapolis/Minnesota cookbook seeing as how this state's home team is another Packers rival – the Vikings.  Now, the Vikings played another NFC North opponent, the Detroit Lions, yesterday and won as did the Packers, but if the Packers had not prevailed, then I would have been beside myself thinking that I jinxed my team.  Happily, all's well that end's well.

Although this salad really didn't "go" with brats and kraut and beer, it was tasty and refreshing and it was green and gold so it fit with my theme.  I can be all about themes.

Both cookbooks have a ton of recipes that should float your boat, if not your football.  The Tailgater's Cookbook has a variety of menus geared toward various NFL games, as well as NCAA and even NASCAR events.  Plus, there's a directory for sourcing tailgating gear starting on page 179, and so if you can't find something to like in this book then I just don't know.

The Minneapolis Star and Tribune book – Seventh Annual -  is a compilation of best recipes from readers hinder and yon, including, of all things, a dessert recipe from my former voice teacher, Vicky Mountain.  Vicky won 2nd place in the "Baked Desserts" contest for her "Sinful Chocolate Custard," a recipe I normally would have tried out except I'm feeling a little chocolated out right now.  Back in 1983, the year of this contest, Vicky was teaching at the West Bank School of Music.  She's now voice department chair at MacPhail Center for the Arts (formerly the MacPhail School of Music) and when she's not there, she's gigging in jazz clubs around the Twin Cities area.  I was surprised and yet not to see her photo in the book as she is a great cook as well as an outstanding vocal teacher.  I took voice lessons from her years ago and had a blast. 

Besides Vicky, other notable celebs in this cookbook are Star and Tribune columnists Mary Hart and Al Sicherman, who handled all that was cooking and recipes for the newspaper.  Mary wrote a column in the Star and Tribune paper, "Ask Mary," and Al wrote a column called "Tidbits," in which he would often bring to our attention food items coming to market or comparisons of size, price and taste of those that had already hit the market from companies like General Mills or other big food producers.  Al is also very funny so reading his columns was a high spot to many a dull day.

Speaking of dull, while baseball can get kind of snoozy from time to time, I dare say that there is not an NFL team out there that puts us to sleep, even on their worst game day ever.  It's why I love/hate football and why it is the only reason I ever embrace the coming of fall.  And these recipes are a great way to get into the spirit even if your colors are not green and gold (although they should be).

Brats in Beer – makes 10 brats
2 ½ pounds of your favorite fresh bratwurst (about 10 links) (Ann's Note:  the author recommended Johnsonville Brats and don't you know, they are a Wisconsin product.)
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
1 bottle or can (12 ounces) beer  (Ann's Note:  for best taste, use a "light" beer like an IPA – India Pale Ale.  We only had dark on hand and it was a bit bitter.)
1 green bell pepper, cut into short strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or vegetable oil, optional
10 crusty sausage or steak rolls
½ cup coarse German mustard

Ann's Note:  This recipe is intended for the grill but it started raining about grill time so I used the stove-top instead, simmering the brats and sauerkraut mixture for 30 minutes only before serving.

Heat grill to medium and let rack get good and hot, about 10 minutes.  Brush and oil rack, then grill brats until nicely browned all over, turning now and then, 15 to 20 minutes total.  Put brats in a large disposable aluminum pan directly on grill.  Mix in kraut, beer, bell pepper, onion, and butter or oil, if using.  Stew in pan (on the grill), mixing occasionally, for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours (for a charcoal grill, add fresh coals every hour or so.)  Serve on rolls with a steaming slew of kraut, peppers, onions, and a thick band of mustard.

If you like your brats with a crisp skin but still want the stewed flavor, reverse the cooking process in this recipe.  Stew the brats in the pan with the other ingredients first; then when you're ready, toss them on the grill until the skins are browned all over and the brats are cooked through. 

Green and Gold Salad – Makes at least 6 servings
1 ½ large heads of Romaine lettuce
3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
Orange dressing:
2/3 c. salad oil
3 T white vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 small clove garlic
1 ½ T grated orange peel
1 ½ tsp basil
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Prepare orange dressing by placing ingredients [salad oil, vinegar, orange juice, orange peel and spices] in a blender at low speed for a few seconds.  Refrigerate for 1 hour in a covered jar. 

At serving time, break Romaine into pieces and add oranges and avocados.  Toss with ¾ cup of Orange Dressing.

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