Sunday Picnic Brats, Kraut and Pretzel Rolls

Rainbow Brats, Sauerkraut Vitak, and Pretzel Rolls 2

Oh how we love pumpkin season. You did know this gourd-ish squash has its own season, right? Winter, Spring, Summer, Pumpkin…. We anxiously anticipate it every year. ~Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, October 2010

Korean chicken fried chicken got bumped from the Sunday menu for quick brats on the grill night…Korean chicken today!

The typical prep for the brats, a nice bubbly low simmer in beer to which I added a few “brat” spices and a whole sliced onion (to be grilled with the brats).  John’s homemade sauerkraut was wonderful as I hovered over the jar plucking out bites while I simmered down the brat bath (remove brats) and then stirred in the sauerkraut for a brief warming.  I had to finally put the jar in the fridge to keep my hands off of it…wonderful and now I want to learn how to make it myself.

I’ve wanted to try the pretzels rolls that are available in many grocery deli sections, but they always look too heavy for me so my adventure in baking these little gems began with a brief internet search and finding just a few recipes to try Mel’s recipe sounded just right and I followed her recipe exactly as written on her blog.  I made them the first time at high altitude  and again here at sea level so slight adjustments may be necessary for the oven cooking times.  I found the KA information quite helpful:

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/high-altitude-baking.html

Pretzel Hot dog buns 2

I had great success with my first attempt at making her pretzel rolls and I thought that I would honor the bratwurst from Rainbow Meadow Farms and my neighbor’s homemade sauerkraut with a freshly baked “hotdog” pretzel rolls using the recipe that Mel posted on her blog (link below).

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/amazing-soft-pretzel-rolls/

Farro Piccolo  and ava  Beans 3

Since it was a picnic/cookout type dinner I also prepared two fantastic salads, a cauliflower salad from way back…1987 and still a fresh addition to a fall dinner.  The second was a quick faro piccolo salad that I tossed together using what was available in the vegetable bin a big fat juicy heirloom tomato, English cucumber, green onions, fresh fava beans and minced garlic.  All tossed with some really good EVOO, freshly squeezed lemon juice, some of the last remaining basil of the season, fresh oregano leaves and a few thyme leaves.  Gently seasoned with salt &  pepper and cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Caulifower Salad 2

                       Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Capers
1        head  cauliflower, cut into 1 inch flowerets (about 6 cups)
1        assorted Italian pitted olives (about 3/4 cup)  chopped
3        ribs  celery — sliced thin diagonally
1/4     cup  chopped drained pepperoncini
2        tablespoons  drained capers
1/2     cup  drained caperberries
3        tablespoons  white wine vinegar
3        tablespoons  Extra-Virgin Olive oil
2-3      flat anchovies (6 is just too many!)

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook cauliflower and drain under sold water to stop cooking.  Drain cauliflower well and put into a large bowl and toss with olives, celery, pepperocini capers and caper berries.

Make vinaigrette:  In blender, blend ingredients until well combined.  Add vinaigrette to salad, tossing well. and season with salt and pepper.  Salad will improve in flavor in a jar covered and chill at least 1 day and up to 5…Bring to room temperature before serving…serves 12 as part of an antipasto assortment.