I’ve been swamped lately with my new job and the required barista training. It’s been really fun and interesting! We did drip and French press coffee training at House of Air. Then, I went to Oakland for 3 hours for 3 days to do espresso training with Blue Bottle Coffee. I went from knowing practically nothing about espresso to so much! I felt very accomplished when the last day, I made a cappuccino that was actually drinkable and delicious. Also, I loved the Blue Bottle vibe. Our trainers were very knowledgeable, yet laid back and fun to work with. And every morning, when we came in at 8 AM, they were playing metal or punk. That’s the way to start the day!
My new coffee training reminded me a lot of learning tea ceremony in Kyoto, with my high school students. It really resonates with me that we build rituals and importance around the simple things in life – what we drink, what we eat, and understanding how they are deeply affected by the season, the month, the week, the day, and our very selves in the moment of preparation.
It’s Fall, and it’s actually been feeling like it here in SF. October is my favorite month. The cool weather, the changing leaves (as much as we get that here in CA), and the darker hours always sets me musing. It’s a thoughtful time, and this month I’ve been really feeling nostalgic and homesick for both Colorado and Japan. I’ve been yearning for “home,” even as I wonder where that is these days, as I feel more and more attached to SF, yet continue to miss other places and people. Maybe that’s why I called my parents up one evening and asked for a recipe that I always want to make when October rolls around. To me, it’s a quintessential autumn recipe; surprisingly simple and always delicious!
Another Adventure in Cooking: Mom & Dad’s Autumn Saurkraut (for 2 people)
1/2 yellow onion – chopped
2 Bratwurst or Sausages – cut in half, or however you like to grill them (Fun Fact: We bought supplies the night the Giants started the series against the Phillies, and got special “Lincecum Brats”!)
1 – 1.5 red apples – peel if you like, cored, and sliced
Lots o’ sauerkraut
In a frying pan, brown the Brats or sausages. Add the chopped onion and when it’s soft and brown on the edges, add apple slices.
Drain out most of the liquid from the sauerkraut and add to the pan. Mix everything together.
Simmer on low for 20 – 30 minutes.
Add extras as you like: Salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, Dijon mustard (my fav!)
Brats are a little harder to use as I found you needed to cook them longer before everything else and they have a tendency to fall apart.
If you like your apples a little firmer, I would add them later – after adding the saurkraut, maybe even once everything is set simmering – otherwise, they tend to get mushy and lost in the mix.
Even More Autumn Cooking Fun: I’ve been trying to cook with squashes more, now that they’re in season. Last night we chopped up half a delicata squash and added it to a pasta sauce and were really impressed with how the texture and flavor benefited the sauce. It was so tasty! Also, we tried added freshly grated ginger to baked acorn squash and it really adds a delightful zing!