Sauerkraut and Dill Patties

dill 2 2.17.14There was leftover sauerkraut…as there often is when you buy sauerkraut. It sat there in its container for a few days in the refrigerator. And, honestly, probably more than just a few days.

We had made tempeh Reubens with it originally, with thin slices of tempeh browned in a pan, then sandwiched between two slices of rye bread along with sauerkraut, thin slices of dill pickle, gruyere cheese and Russian dressing, all wrapped in foil and heated in the oven. One of my favorite sandwiches to make.

Inspired by those ingredients, and remembering that somewhere in the past I’d made patties with sauerkraut, I decided to see what I could put together from what I had on hand.

This is what I came up with.

I drained the sauerkraut in a colander, and pressed out excess liquid. It came out to 3 cups. I tossed that into a bowl.

To that, I added:

  • 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped dill
  • 2 cups of mixed baby greens, chopped (the mix I had was kale, chard, and spinach)
  • 1 cup of shredded gruyere
  • A few grinds of pepper
  • 2 eggs

I formed that into patties. I got nine out of that mix.

I had heated oil in a pan over medium heat, a little more than just to coat, and I preheated the oven to 350°. I browned the patties on each side, a few at a time, placing the browned patties in the oven to keep warm while I cooked the others.

When they were done, I pulled out the leftover Russian dressing my husband had made the night we had the Reubens. This is one of those dressings that’s a little different in each recipe you find for it. This is the combination he put together.

Russian Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 tablespoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced onion

dill 1 2.17.14This patty was delicious!

It was crunchy, moist…and tangy. The texture was almost flaky. The gruyere gave a little meltiness, and the dill rounded out the flavors of the sauerkraut, cheese and chopped greens.

Every other bite or so, I’d dip a piece in the Russian dressing.

Fun food.

And I used up all the sauerkraut!


Ripe Pear and Dill Panini

dill 2 2.8.14A ripe pear is just that much more mellow and sweet. And pears work really nicely with herbs. I’ve paired them with parsley. Cilantro would be lovely. Sage. I have a rosemary sprig sprouting in my kitchen, and I can see roasting or sautéing that with pear.

But right now, it’s all about dill.

And this time it graced a very simple sandwich.

I plugged in my panini press. While that heated up, I thinly sliced half of a small, ripe pear and also some sharp cheddar, and pulled sprigs of dill from their stems. I layered the pears on a slice of whole wheat bread, sprinkled the dill over top, and then laid the cheese on that. Topped with the other slice of bread.

dill 3 2.8.14When the panini press was ready, I brushed some oil on one side of the sandwich, and then placed that side down on the press. Brushed the top of the sandwich with oil, and brought the press lid down.

Those few ingredients and steps created satisfying bite after bite, each one containing mellow pear, a hint of dill, and a little richness from the cheese.

Such a nice lunch.

Creamy Two-Potato and Dill Soup

dill 1 2.2.14My mother doesn’t like dill. I do. Neither of these preferences is particularly important. They’re just preferences.

And yet, it’s the reason why I automatically reached for the package of dill when I was grocery shopping a few days after I’d visited my mom.

I don’t remember, were we watching a cooking show together? Possibly that, and the TV cook was likely using dill, which would have prompted the “I don’t like/I do like” conversation.

That little exchange lifted dill up out of the recesses of my mind, so that, when I saw the package of it in the store, it was inevitable I should reach for it and bring it home, where I promptly added it to a salad.

Then, the other day, when I took notice of not only potatoes in the fridge, but also sweet potatoes, I thought what a nice soup that would be, and what a great place to stir in fresh dill. So I made potato soup: russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, garlic, vegetable broth…and dill.

While I peeled and diced the potatoes (four medium russets, about 1 1/2 pounds; two medium-largish sweet potatoes, about 1 pound), one thinly sliced celery stalk simmered in a lightly coated pan over medium-low heat. I was keeping the heat lower on the celery, and also added some salt, so the celery wouldn’t cook too fast and brown too much while I diced the potatoes.

Then I tossed in the diced potatoes, along with four minced garlic cloves.

Stirred it all up. Added a little water to keep things from sticking, and put the lid on to keep moisture in and cook through.

Fifteen? Twenty minutes? Not sure…but enough time to clean up a little, empty the dishwasher, put a few other things away.

Took the lid off the pot at one point to check doneness, and was rewarded with the wonderful aroma of garlic. Added a little more water. Lid back on.

When all the potatoes were fork-tender (regular potatoes waiting patiently, because sweet potatoes were firmer and took longer), I added vegetable broth.

I had a one-quart carton, and added half, then used a stick blender to purée. The broth was a rich yellowy-orange, and lent a warm tone to the white potatoes (the sweet potatoes had turned out to be white when I peeled them). I added a little more broth at a time, wasn’t sure how much I’d need. Turned out the whole carton of it was just right.

dill 2 2.2.14Tweaked seasoning with salt and pepper.

Turned off the heat, and stirred in a couple of generous tablespoons of chopped fresh dill.

Ultimately, this is brothy mashed potatoes! Dressed up a little with the addition of sweet potato, bringing, well…a little sweetness.

And then light, grassy (in a good way!) dill freshness.

Creamy, savory-sweet, garlic-infused potato soup with dill…comfort-food soup.


One Eggplant to Start

eggplant 2 3.23.13Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. To quote the wonderful title of an essay written years ago by the late writer Laurie Colwin in Home Cooking, her collection of food essays.

That was me one day this week. When I was sure there was nothing in the house to eat…or, at least, that I’d feel like making. Because I’d been sick, and was basically in reheating/microwaving/leftovers mode, having had soup three times, two of those times my own leftover celery and rice soup from last week.

But I needed something more, something that felt like a whole meal.

There wasn’t really nothing in the house to eat, but I had allowed the contents of the refrigerator and cabinets to dwindle. Except for basics and some odd and end that might catch my eye when shopping, I hadn’t restocked. Intentionally. My husband was out of town most of the past couple weeks, I didn’t need much, and it seemed a nice opportunity to give everything at hand a chance to be used.

So I opened the fridge, and there it was, an eggplant. One of the odds and ends I couldn’t resist buying the week before.

And so there I was. Alone in the kitchen with my eggplant. Deciding what else to pull out.

And one by one I set them on the table. The eggplant. A package of prepared beets. A head of garlic. Some romaine. A few very limp-leaved scallions. Blue cheese and gorgonzola that might or might not still be good. Fresh dill left over from last week’s post. A couple of eggs.

Roasted eggplant. Salad. Omelet.

I turned the oven to 400° and cut the eggplant into 1/4″ vertical slices. Tossed those together in bowl with three cloves of minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and then laid the slices on a baking sheet I’d lined with parchment paper. I slid the tray into the oven. Roasted for 15 minutes. Turned the slices over, and roasted for about another 10 minutes.

While they were cooking, I threw out the small bit of blue cheese. Yes, you can tell when blue cheese is bad. It shouldn’t be fuzzy!

The gorgonzola had some iffy parts that I tossed, but there was enough in good shape for me to use. So when the eggplant slices were done, I crumbled a little over the slices. And then sprinkled some chopped dill over them for some green. Back in the oven for a few minutes to melt, and then took that out.

For the salad I ripped a few romaine leaves onto a plate. Sliced two of the beets and arranged the slices through the romaine. A little chopped scallion and chopped dill sprinkled over. Salt and pepper. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Very pretty.eggplant 4 3.23.13

I draped a few eggplant slices next to the salad, and sprinkled the crispy garlic bits over top of both, particularly the salad.

I added some chopped scallions to two beaten eggs and made a quick omelet.

The salty richness of the gorgonzola was nice with the softened eggplant. And every bite or so, a little dill did come through, especially when I combined it with a bite of the salad, which also had dill. And every time I eat beets I am reminded how much I really like them, their light, fresh taste.

The garlic bits were amazing. They got crispy after a half hour in the oven, and just added a great garlic crunch.

The little time and effort it took to make roasted eggplant, a simple salad, and a very basic omelet did this sick girl a world of good.


Celery and Rice Soup…Alas, Without Biscuits

celery 2 3.16.13I must confess. Biscuits look good, but didn’t taste good.

And I’m not sure why. It might be a baking powder issue. Did I miscount teaspoonfuls? Maybe.

Did I use too much dill? Not sure.

Possibly due to the capers. Since they’re jarred in vinegar, maybe the vinegar reacted with the baking powder.

I took a bite of the celery. That seemed fine.

Those are the things I mixed in with the dry biscuit ingredients: thinly sliced celery, a tablespoon of capers, a tablespoon of chopped dill, a little lemon zest from the half lemon I had left from the soup. They are ingredients that go well together, and I thought they’d work here, having successfully added a few herbs to biscuits before.

Ah, well. I’ll try again another time, and maybe that’ll clear up what happened here.

Still, the soup came out just fine.

Celery and rice. Light and easy.

Into a pan heated with enough oil to coat it, I added one small onion, thinly sliced, and three minced garlic cloves. I let them soften in the pan, then stirred in four cups of thinly sliced celery, and salt and pepper. Allowed the celery to cook and begin to soften.

I stirred in a cup of brown basmati rice, and let it cook a little, not quite browning, because liquids were being released from the vegetables, but, still, the rice releasing its lovely aroma. Then I poured in six cups of vegetable stock, and tossed in half a lemon, seeds removed. Lid on the pot, heat up to high. When it came to a boil, I reduced the heat to low and let it all simmer for about a half hour while the rice cooked.

I tasted from time to time, because I wanted the lemony back note, but didn’t want it to become too sharp. When the rice was cooked, I took the lemon out.

Even without the biscuits for accompaniment, a really nice soup. Light, uncomplicated, and the roundness of the lemon flavor complementing tender celery.