Quick Meals with Kraut
When customers at the farmer’s market tell me they like sauerkraut but aren’t sure what to eat it with, my response is that there’s no need to venture far. Farmers markets offer all sorts of ingredients that can readily be made into a satisfying and fun meal.
Every time I go to the farmer’s market, I come up with a new recipe, which depends on the season, availability of produce, and even how much time I have. Whether I’m preparing a quick sandwich or a full gourmet meal, it’s bound to be tasty. That’s where OlyKraut comes in.
While sauerkraut on a hot dog, veggie dogs included, is a fine option when grilling at a favorite picnic spot (my faves are the curry and our original), there’s a lot more you can do with kraut. Sauerkraut, like it’s cousin Kimchi, can be served both warm or cold. During Oktobest in Munich, a platter of warmed kraut might include sausage or other meats, in addition to chopped carrots, onions, and caraway. Sound familiar? That’s our Eastern European blend, sans the meat, and with a hint of sweetness. I wouldn’t hesitate to throw that on a reuben, tempeh or otherwise, well before October!
No need to wait until October for kraut. On a summer camping expedition, I heated chicken sausage in a skillet, and sautéed our curry kraut with some added Walla Walla onion. Threw in some potatoes, and dinner was served in 25 minutes. A stick to your ribs kind of meal. Recently, I jazzed up a bean soup with a healthy topping of Eastern European kraut. Savory and equally satisfying.
No need to wait for dinner for that matter. I use it for a farmer’s breakfast. Scramble up a couple eggs with the kraut of choice. Consider the spicy garlic blend. We have a pancake recipe for this, ever so slightly reminiscent of the dosas served in South India. Feel free to sub in the curry variety. For my fried egg sandwich on a bagel, I really like the curry kraut as a topper. No time to cook an egg or two? I spice up the cream cheese bagel, also with the spicy garlic kraut. If you do have time, try seasoning fried potatoes with some curry brine. Alternate a few tablespoons of the brine with your cooking oil. You’ll end up with less fat overall in the dish plus loads of flavor.
Back to lunch and dinner. One customer suggested making Pad Thai. It’s an easy recipe: Prepare your Thai Noodles and add a touch of coconut cream. Toss in a few tablespoons of our Spicy Garlic kraut. Heat in a skillet. Little to no additional prep needed. Spicy Garlic kraut already contains red pepper, potent ginger, and a number of other zesty ingredients that’ll save you about an hour preparing a fine dinner.
Few folks have time to prepare a full meal for lunch, and perhaps not even sufficient time for making dinner, so this is what I’ve been doing: kraut on a salami sandwich. Turkey would be a lighter alternative. Regardless, it's an easy picnic. I buy some bread from a local bakery. I get the salami nitrate free and locally sourced. The sandwich is served with a good mustard. It goes without saying that I’m always determined to top mine with some kraut. The Original, Eastern European, or Nettle are excellent options.
Perhaps cheese is your protein source. Some customers might opt for a light sandwich — perhaps freshly sliced cucumber from the farm. One or two tablespoons of any of our varieties will transform an ordinary sandwich into something fun and more loaded with nutrition than when you started. Should you consume meats, fermented products assist in the digestion of fats and proteins, all the while providing pro-biotics, vitamin C, mineral content, and fiber. Meantime, calories from the kraut are negligible.
“What’s the brine for?” customers ask repeatedly. It’s true: many customers like to sip it. We have a loyal fan base known to take brine shots on a summer day to lift their energy level. OlyKraut brine is full of electrolytes and probiotics. It will wake you up for sure. I also use brine to marinate pretty much any kind of vegetables before cooking. It's great on salads that I want around for a few days as well. Think Greek salad, beet salad, or quinoa salad. They’ll stay fresh for days or longer in our brine.
Brine can be thought of as a substitution for vinegar, which tends to overpower other flavors. The brine lasts months in the fridge and goes a long way in jazzing up a meal. I’ve added brine to flavor tapenades (spreads), salads, and to spice up tomato juice or even mineral water. I use it frequently in the skillet to braise potatoes, squash, and more. Just recently, I used our curry brine to spice up some wild-caught cod.
Some customers have suggested the brine in a dirty martini. We have a recipe for a Spicy Garlic Blood Mary, which is sure to be a hit. Our Curry or Eastern European brines would work equally well for this.
The harvest has a long way to go. Regardless, any time of year you’ll find yourself with too much of one thing, perhaps potatoes, and not enough of something else. Toss out the recipe book and look around. A jar of OlyKraut might be all you need to make a meal fun, healthy, and a real crowd pleaser.
Go ahead and indulge in that hot dog, meat or veggie, with one of our flavors of kraut. Just know that there’s a whole world of possibilities when it comes to serving this fine fermented specialty, which has some interesting origins. We’ll talk about that in a future blog piece.