Here we go again – the temperature has plummeted and winter is here. It’s a rite of passage for Canadians to bitch and moan about the demise of summer and the return of the frost. We have yet to build up our thick winter skin, which means this measly zero degree temperature feels bone numbing. Come February we will be begging for this weather.
I love the beginning of winter – the first snowfall to be exact. Not the piddely blow-away stuff, but that first night the snow blankets the earth and a serene silence sets in. Venturing out into the darkness (which comes earlier and earlier), surrounded by moonlight bouncing off the vibrant whiteness and lighting up the night.
Maybe all this sentiment comes from the festive mood I’m in after completing half my Christmas shopping. I adore the hunt to find something for my loved ones – that perfect book, a cozy sweater, a little keepsake – to remind them how I feel.
I eagerly await holiday traditions, like watching “White Christmas” at least three times. Johnny and I spend Christmas Eve having a little teppanyaki, a fancy cocktail and a movie. I love it. I love trimming the tree, seeing the Nutcracker, spending time with our families – I even love bundling up for our doggy walks by the lake – seeing the winter waves crash against the icy rocks. It has such a wild and violent energy, it’s almost poetic.
As the temperature continues to drop I will try to stay strong and refrain from kvetching, but I’m Canadian through and through. After all, this is a lovely season that encourages us to snuggle up to those we love and a great time to make those hearty classics we missed so dearly during the sweltering summer months.
SIMPLE SAUSAGE AND SAUERKRAUT BAKE
This is inspired from a Martha Stewart recipe for Chicken Legs Braised in Sauerkraut. It’s amazing with chicken, juicy and comforting, but I had some gorgeous sausage kicking around and gave it a go. You could also do a mix of both!
I recently made my own sauerkraut – it’s so so so easy and super healthy too. There are tons of recipes out there, but since this is a Martha theme try hers. Once you’ve tried it, branch out. I’ve used purple cabbage and then tried some kimchi. Have fun, it’s only food. I use it with my egg tacos as a crunchy garnish or maybe on a naughty bacon sandwich.
I serve this with roasted potatoes and/or some toasted dark rye bread. Definitely some sort of mustard is essential – I like a nice, spicy one. Beyond that, it’s up to you… as always.
4 cups sauerkraut, home made or from a jar
1 large carrot, grated
1 onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 apple, cored and sliced into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
optional: 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp each dried thyme, dried mustard, sugar
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
4 tbsp apple cider or white wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
450 – 500 grams sausage, about 4 depending on the size
1 tbsp olive oil
TO SERVE: sliced rye bread and butter, good quality grainy or spicy mustard
Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a large oven proof pan or casserole dish, toss the sauerkraut, carrot, onion, apple, garlic and fennel (if using), and all your spices and vinegar. Make sure everything is well combined.
Now brush or toss your sausages in oil and nestle on top of the veg. Pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and flip the sausages and mix about the veg. Get it back in the oven for another 25 – 30 mins until the sausage is nicely browned.
To serve: offer up your sausage whole, or as I did, slice them and mix with the sauerkraut. Take it to the table and let your guests eat family style with all you fixings.
Want to smile? Here’s two reasons: