Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Dynamic Duo - Sausage and Beer!

Which Olympic events are capturing your interest? Are those events different from what you watched when you were a kid? The countries participating in the Olympics sure are different from when I was a youngster cheering on the athletes. Of course, those were the days when the Berlin Wall was still quite erect, and the letters USSR blazed across the back of athletes’ jackets. Governments have come and gone, new countries have formed, and old countries have reunited, yet one constant still remains strong. That “WOW, How’d they do that?” factor when watching the athletes literally reach new heights and set new records continues to amaze and delight those riveted by the games.

Now a days, my children watch German athletes compete under one flag rather than two like they did when I was a kid. As I write this, Germany has the 3rd most gold medals of all the participating countries. With more events left to take place, it will be exciting to see who stands tall on the podium.

Tonight’s menu honors the cuisine of Germany. German food is comfort food. Lots of yummy sausages and hams, crunchy kraut and savory potato dishes, chewy noodles and apple pastries, and don't get me started on those chocolate deserts!

Today, I found myself on the East Side of the big town getting school uniforms for my girls. Yep, they wear uniforms and I love it. No worries every morning about what to wear, and laundry is a snap. Anyway, there is a charming German deli about 5 minutes from where we were, so of course we stopped in. I love it when fate works for me like that!

I love deli’s. Real deli’s, not the pseudo-deli counters at the mega supermarkets. I’m talking about old world deli’s, full of home crafted unusual meats, pungent cheeses, and imported delights from the old country. The sounds of heavy accents are common place, service is not rushed, and the food is outstanding. We left the deli with ingredients to complete our Olympic Dynamic Duo, including wonderful Weisswurst (pronounced “vice-vurst”) sausage, seasoned sauerkraut imported from Deutchland, and a couple chocolate treats for the kids.

I love wiesswurst, and even better, so do my kids. (Can you hear the angel chorus at that statement?) Some folks call this bratwurst, but that’s not completely accurate. This sausage is very finely ground, mildly seasoned, fully steamed/boiled at time of purchase, and only requires a few minutes on the grill to give it that wonderful grilled flavor. One bite of these babies, and your tummy will make happy noises and your feet will do a happy dance. Mine did.

Preparing our Olympic feast was a snap. One onion, sliced in half rounds (I love half rounds), and slowly caramelized with just a wee tad of my go-to three: canola oil, olive oil, and butter. It took about 25 minutes over med/low heat. Um, I do stir my onions when they are slow cooking. I know that would make the food network groan, but it works for me. For the sausages, I simply made slits in them, every inch or so, to minimize splitting open as they grilled. They were grilled for 3 minutes per side on a medium hot grill, then nestled into a crusty, chewy roll, and topped with tangy, crunchy kraut, caramelized sweet onions, and a drizzling of spicy brown mustard.

Have mercy, these were good! Ok, ok, my kids ate theirs plain, and my gluten free baby had hers on a stick, but all in all the meal was a success. (I purchased the sticks at the craft store, baking section/candy sticks.) These beauties were served alongside creamed potatoes and fruit on the side. I wonder how you say YUM! in German?

Do you like kraut? I like good quality kraut ... just a hint of tang, lots of crunch, and mild flavor. How about onions? I like onions, especially these slow cooked, yummy caramelized gems. What about mustard? I love most mustards, especially this grainy one. Surprisingly, I'm not that crazy about straight up Dijon, but like it mixed in stuff.

You can, of course, purchase bratwurst at the store. Make slits in the sausages, about an inch or so apart, the entire length of the sausage. Poach at a low boil in water or beer, covered, for 20 minutes, adding more liquid as needed to keep the sausages poaching. Remove from the pan, and grill or broil about 3-4 minutes each side until golden and done. The sausages may split open even more … no problemo --- they hold more goodies in the bun that way!

Oh, and check this out!!!

Do ya see it? It took me a while to catch it, and I got so sophmorically excited when I finally did. Check out the label on that German beer. PAULAner! Ha! It's that fate thing again! I had asked hubbyman to pick out a German beer to go with our sausages, and look what he did. Ah, the man does has a sense of humor. Neither of us are big drinkers, we aren’t teetotalers either, but to tell the truth, I don’t know when the last time was I had a beer. That said, this beer was actually pretty tasty and stayed refreshingly cold in the frosty mug. It paired marvelously with our meal, and I actually enjoyed it. Hubbyman kept his loyalties alive, and opted for an Oregon microbrew. It’s a darker beer, almost black, and he enjoyed it.

Tune in again to see where our Olympic culinary travels will take us next.


Now here’s something we hope you’ll really like (I sound like Rocket J Squirrel):

On a completely different subject, my youngest Olympiad would hold her own if there was an event titled “Learn how to sew on your own.”

Here’s a photo of the prototype little top that she made this afternoon. It’s 100% hand-sewn, including buttons and button holes.

She’s forever drawing up clothing designs, and this afternoon, she sewed this completely by herself. Not bad for 9 years old! Someday in the near future, in a store near you, you may find yourself purchasing her clothing creations!


Jan said...

Ooooh now they look delish! A great idea for a quickish dinner.
PS: Your daughter is really clever!

noble pig said...

Oh how yummy! And I can't beleive she can sew like that. I can't sew a button!

Mrs. L said...

I've already planned to have bratwurst and saurkraut for lunch tomorrow!


your family is already in my heart - i love your young one's creativity, and you made my mouth water with that delicious sausage roll (as we would call it in new zealand)

Nita said...

The sausage dinner looked divine, isn't funny about beer - I'm stilling nursing my 6 pack of Haymaker, figuring it should last until we get done with hay!

Which deli? We have our bacon and ham cured at Otto's, DELI-CIOUS!!

Your hubby has a good sense of humor, I bet he spent some time finding just the right beer for you!

BTW - I loved Rocky and Bullwinkle, too. "I gotta get me a new hat!"

Jude said...

That's what I call a meal. Paulaner is good stuff.

Anonymous said...

That looks like a meal my hubby would do a happy dance over! :) Your daughter is creative just like her momma.

Grace said...

my feet are doing a happy dance just looking at that spread, so i can only imagine what'd happen if i was actually eating it. and how wonderful that you had an appropriate and personalized beer to drink with it. :)

Bellini Valli said...

This reminds me so much of Oktoberfest. Also we might just have to keep an eye on your daughter she may be the next big clothing designer out there.

Nita said...

I forgot to say how talented your girl is - she WILL be designing her own line soon I bet. Her creations beat what we are seeing these days in the advertisements. Bravo to you for encouraging her!

Marjie said...

Good work, little miss! She's a winner, no doubt. And so's her mom. Any kind of sausage in a great big roll is wonderful!

Lo said...

Beer and sausages!?!
This WI girl simply can't resist. Especially when you throw some nice sauerkruat into the mix.

Your daughter has talent... what a fun post! And I'm starting to really love your family!

Pam said...

Oh my gosh! I want one of those sandwiches so bad. When we used to live in St. Louis, they had an Octoberfest that had the best sausage!

Bridgett said...

Now that looks really yummy! Your daughter did a fantastic job on the shirts. Those are too cute.

Aggie said...

What a great post Paula!! I am loving your Olympic meals!

I love German food...sadly I don't really get to eat it too often (I guess that's good for my waistline!). I love good German beer too!! Onions, kraut, mustard on my sausage!

Also, I love love love good delis! There are none where I live, it drives me crazy. I remember visiting an Italian deli several times a week when I was young living in NY, sausages, salamis and cheese hanging everywhere...mmmm.

Kristen said...

Your daughters designs are fantastic! I'm impressed.

You can't go wrong with food from Germany :) I had no idea that they had the oldest female gymnast participating... what was she, 33? Unheard of for a gymnast these days!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I agree about a good deli,we have our favorite Italian and polish deli's but not a lot of German ones here.
I love how your making meals in tune with the olympic's, you're making me want to dig into that, looks mighty good! I think project runway might be in our daughters future!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Sorry I ment Your daughters future!! Mine can't even thread a needle! lol

Paula said...

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Jan: They were very tasty indeed! My youngster is a clever little being!

Noble Pig: Yummy is the right word for sure! She loves to sew on buttons!

Mrs: Hope your lunch was gooood!

Mediterranean Kiwi: Oh Maria, your words are so kind and really warmed my heart! I truly thank you! And now I know what a sausage roll is! :-)

Nita: I've been thinking about you working on the hay during these tarzan hot days! The deli is a little place called Edelweiss right off of Powell and 12th. Boris and Natasia would give it a thumbs up! I'll have to check out Otto's next time we are over that way! Thanks for your comments about my aspiring designer!

Jude: I'm surprised that I actually liked the Paulaner, but then again with a name like that, how could I not?

Perennial Gardener: These sausages are man pleasing, for sure! Thanks for your thoughtful comments!

Grace: It really was a fun meal to eat, and wash down with a cold one!

Bellini Valli: It will be Octoberfest time before we know it! She will be an awesome designer!

Marjie: Thanks for your kind words about my budding designer. That's high praise coming from you ... we know you are a very accomplished and creative seamstress! Actually, you're very creative on many levels!

Lo: Ah, beer and sausage are quite alluring! Thanks, too, for your comment about my brood! :-)

Pam: Come on over, I'll grill one up for you and we'll have our own Octoberfest!

Bridgett: Thanks! Did you get my response to your message? I can't tell if it went through or not. I sent it Saturday morning. :-)

Aggie: Thanks! I see you like yours loaded with goodies, too! Italian deli's are terrific ... I could visit one everyday and never get tired of it!

Kristen: There is another athlete competing that's 41 years old ... an American swimmer! My kids keep telling me that I should practice and compete. Uh huh. Yeah. That's gonna happen. Let me get right on that.

Proud Italian: Oh, you've named two of the best deli's in the world! I haven't been to a Polish deli since I moved from the midwest. Oh, I would love to eat a good pierogi again! And, my daughter would totally rock project runway! She's the go to girl in our house for putting together the best look for everyone!

Donna said...

Love your blog and the references to the Olympics! Good use of "Gold Medal" titles!

The Paula beer was a great touch!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I think your Olympic theme nights are so cool. This recipe is definitewly a keeper with football season just getting underway. My family would love this.

Pam said...

Sausages and beer is my husbands dream meal... Great pictures! Your daughter is talented... I bet she'll end up being a fashion designer. Tell her the tops are really pretty for me.

Paula said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!

Donna: Thanks for stopping by! One of these sausages sliced up would go great with your quiche!

Katherine: All we'd need is a stadium blanket to keep warm and we're all set for a tail gate party! Except, um, I've never been to a tail gate party! It will be my first one!

Pam: My hubby is a meat and potatoes midwestern guy! He loved this sausage! I shared your comments with my budding seamstress; you made her day!