I couldn’t wait to start our very first recipe. To know exactly what was for dinner tonight was oddly calming. We wouldn’t have a long debate about whether or not we saw anything appealing in the fridge or if we should call take-out or who to order from. Tonight I knew exactly what we’d be eating. I felt like a kid on the first day of school, incredibly excited but also nervous. I hoped these recipe’s would treat us nicely.
Like a good student I headed to the store midday full of enthusiasm. What is it about the store? Is it the life force sucking lights that turn you into thoughtless drone that wanders the isles aimlessly…wondering what else you might need or is the odd time warp that seems to exist inside. You enter the store. Shop feeling as if no time has passed and before you know it, the sun has set and the sky is dark. You’ve just lost 2 hours of your life.
I don’t really like the store at all so I was shocked to find myself happy to be there. That lasted all of three seconds. Once inside, it was brought to my immediate attention that the store manager was bored. How do I know this? The entire store was being “re-organized” and nothing was where it should been. I narrowed my eyes despite my instant annoyance and plunged into the abyss that was the store.
I walked briskly snatching up a basket and quickly began to search for my ingredients. Despite my internal cheerleading insistence that I should be able to find everything, I couldn’t find anything. I slowed down and retraced all my steps. Back and forth, I began to pace. I managed to locate the rye swirl bread, it was right next to the hair products. Of course. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I found the Caraway seeds next to the cereal.
At this point I felt like cheating and skipping this ingredient. I already had a cupbored filled with spices I ignore, why would I add one more to my collection? But I purchased it anyway….like a
good defeated slightly irate student. The one thing I could count on was the bratwurst. Thankfully, they hadn’t moved the meat department. I tried to locate venison sausage first. On the only trip we’ve taken to Canada, I hit a deer on the way home. It derailed us for two days and costed a ton of money. I’d thought eating part of Bambi for dinner tonight would be therapeutic…but I had no success.
The last thing on my list that we didn’t already have was the sauerkraut.
I ran around the store and nothing surfaced. It was maddening the lack of sense the store now had. The Greeting Cards now shared an isle with the “Feminine Needs” products. I can only imagine the horror this presents when the cheerful vs. the bitter collide on a daily basis. To top it all off, I had poorly chosen a basket over a cart and the weight of it on my arms felt crushing. I’d also chosen to wear a warm sweater on the one day the sun decided to debut this season. There is a reason more murders occur in the summer months than any other time of the year. Heat makes people angry, impatient, and more aggressive. I was a quickly becoming one of those people.
I gave up the search and went straight to customer service. Thankfully, a employee was able to direct me to the only 3 cans and 2 jars of sauerkraut in the whole store. It was on a dark bottom shelf in the middle of yet another “confused” isle.
When I walked out of the store, the sun was gone and it was dark. I’d been in there a whole hour. I came home, climbed three flights of stairs, and ran straight into my husband. My arms were full with groceries and I had a slightly crazed gleam in my eyes.
This dinner had better be good.
We began by grilling the bratwurst instead of using a skillet. Our electric stove tends to eat our dinners for dinner and we’ve learned to shy away from it at all times if meat is involved. While they cooked, we buttered a pan, toasted the bread, and spread some Dijon mustard over it. We laid out all the ingredients we’d need before the eternal debate began.
I’m one of those people who ridiculously over cook there meat out of fear it’s not cooked all the way through. Meanwhile, my husband is on the side lines urging me to stop killing the meat. It’s already dead, dear. And some meat, according to him, can be cooked and still look slightly pink.
Our brats were at the “slightly pink” stage and the debate was on. While normally, the meat cooks extra long while we “decide”. This last Christmas, we we’re given a meat thermometer. In two seconds flat, he pulled it out, skewered a brat, and declared it was cooked. Slightly shocked, I had to agree with the 212 temperature.
We split open the brats lengthwise and added them to a skillet with hot oil. Then, we sprinkled the caraway seeds on to the brats…and out of pure curiosity, tasted the seeds to see what the big deal was. We were surprised to taste a minty, rye flavor from the seeds. The most central flavor to rye bread in fact can be heightened and attributed to these little seeds. Who knew?
After rolling my eyes at the recipe’s insistence that only “30 seconds” pass from when you add the seeds to when you add the broth and sauerkraut, I added it. We watched as the sauerkraut and broth boiled in a sea of brats. The tasty aroma was making our stomachs growl. My husband and I passed the time by lovingly basting the brats in the excess liquid whenever possible. Once all the liquid had evaporated, we threw the sauerkraut and brats on to the mustard bread (after adding two slices of thin swiss cheese) and set our oven to broil for two minutes.
We foamed at the mouth when we opened up the oven door to find a bubbling mix of heaven. We set our plates and I reached to grab up a bottle of ketchup…just in case you didn’t know, it’s a cure all for most dinner related
ailments items. That was until my husband scoffed, “You’ve got to be kidding.”
I bargained with him that I would at least take a few bites before “desecrating” it.
I needn’t have. It was pure heaven. Pure heaven. The brat was reinvented. It tasted like something out of a dream. Like something you might feast on the 4th of July with. It was so good, we didn’t talk at all while we devoured our sandwiches. The strains of the day melted completely out of sight…and were forgotten in the bliss that was this recipe.
Find here it here: Open-Faced Sausage and Canadian Swiss Reubens