A few months ago, I decided to make sauerkraut.
This wasn’t exactly a spur of the moment decision. Part of it was a desire to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps, and of all the others in my family who made their own kraut throughout the years. Part of it was a plan to become my dad’s favorite child, since it’s one of his favorite things to eat.
And part of it was because I wanted to ferment SOMETHING.
My brother started brewing beer in our basement. His special ladyfriend makes her own kombucha. We’ve dabbled in kimchi and okra pickles the past few summers when our CSA provided us with a glut of fresh veggies. (And if you’ve seen “Portlandia,” you’ll think this is kind of funny. I just pickled this blog!)
Last October, I tasted some smoked jalapeno sauerkraut at a farmer’s market in San Francisco. The heavens opened, the angels sang, and I thought, “I want to do this.”
So the stars aligned in March, when I put a whole bunch of stuff in my Amazon shopping cart because I figured I needed it to be successful.
And then I put it all back when I found this recipe for small-batch kraut. We’re talking VERY small batch: one head of green cabbage, one quart-sized Mason jar.
The first batch was all right. It’s a bit dry, which I think I can remedy with a little practice. I gave half to my dad, who noted the dryness, and mentioned that his grandma never put so much caraway seed in her kraut. (But, he said, keep trying.)
Now I have a pint jar of kraut in my fridge, and not a lot of ideas for it.
We eat brats every now and again; obviously it’s an excellent accompaniment to a good smoked sausage of some sort.
Lately, I’ve been eating it for lunch as a quesadilla.
Laugh if you must, but sometimes it’s the true highlight of my day. It’s kind of tangy, and the texture of the chewy kraut and slightly crispy tortilla is at least complex enough to keep me interested. I usually put a little bit of cheese on it to glue the whole thing together, but not always.
One of these days I’ll try it with a little turkey or corned beef, and some nice mustard, and call it a reuben (or a rachel) quesadilla. I’m all about the fusion food.
In the meantime, send me your thoughts on what I can do with the remaining half-pint of sauerkraut. I’m starting to get worried that the novelty of the quesadilla will wear off.