Monday, April 2, 2012

Brussels 'kraut

There are two types of people in this world: Those who love cabbage, and those who are wrong.

Just kidding! Totally just kidding. But as a cabbage lover myself, I admit it's hard for me to imagine what anybody could possibly have against this miracle vegetable in any and all of its many beautiful (if occasionally flatulent) forms.

In fact, if you asked me under threat of violence to pick a favorite variety of cabbagey produce, I'm not sure I could: Gee whiz, but I love broccoli, and bok choy is so great with tofu, and then there's Napa cabbage for kimchi...

But really, if I think long and hard enough about it, I'd probably have to state with some degree of confidence that I am pretty bonkers over Brussels sprouts above all others.


Roasted, shaved, raw, sauteed, steamed, fried—you name it, I love 'em. Even Mr. Nervous is stoked on sprouts: We have them at least once a week in one form or another, and when they're in season oh boy just look out.

Probably the only place where Mr. Nervous and I deviate on the cabbage tip is my love of and his aversion to sauerkraut. But that's okay, because a.) that means more for me, and b.) I've mastered the perfect small-batch recipe for the stuff, which means I don't have to foist my extra 'kraut on the poor guy. (MINE ALL MINE!!)



If you're a one-kraut household, this is the perfect solution: You'll have just enough of the stuff to greedily dress your own creative take on the Reuben sandwich without needing to force the overwhelming bouquet of six quarts of briney cabbage on your loved ones. Win-win situation.

Small-batch Brussels sprouts sauerkraut
4 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
1 tbs salt
1 tsp dill or cumin seeds
In a mixing bowl, add the shredded sprouts and salt. With very clean hands, massage the salt into the shreds thoroughly, squeezing out excess liquid, until the volume of sprouts seems reduced by about half. Add the dill seeds and incorporate well. Transfer the mixture in layers into a clean glass jar or jars (along with any liquid released), pressing each layer down firmly before adding the next. Cover and store in a cool, dark place.

For the next two weeks, inspect the Brussels 'kraut every two days, continuing to press the cabbage down firmly, so that any liquid in the jar bubbles up over the top of the shreds. Remove any "bloom," or off-colored cabbage, from the top if it appears, and be sure to smell as you go: If it smells bad, it's probably not going to end well. If it smells clean but sour, you're on the right track. After two weeks (or when you've reached the desired level of sauer-ness), put the jar in the refrigerator to stall fermentation. 



Use as desired: On hot dogs, as a salad topping, or munched by the forkful right out of the jar.

Yields about 2 cups.

13 comments:

  1. is it weird that i LOVE brussel sprouts but hate cabbage??

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    1. Not really: They're very different things even though they're in the same family. It's kind of like if you thought I was awesome but didn't really like my sister. (But this would never happen, because my sister's way funnier than I am. Oh well, so much for that example...)

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  2. I LOVE all cabbage. I'd also be hard pressed to choose a favorite but baby bok choy is SO GOOD!! But so are brussels!!

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    1. I wonder if you can make BOK CHOY SAUERKRAUT!?!

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  3. I pretty much love any vegetable and I adore cabbage and sauerkraut. Happy Easter my friend, I have a little something for you on my blog!

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    Replies
    1. Go, veggies, go!

      (You're so sweet: Thank you for the award!)

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    2. I was just re-reading this (because I have been meaning to make my own sauerkraut) and realized I missed the whole point. I admit that April 2 will remain a really bad day in my office's memory and I was somewhat distracted, making me a teeny bit justified... but how did I not notice those were Brussel sprouts? After I read the word like 20 times in the post and looked at the pics? Forgive me, especially because I publicly posted in the past that if you are not giving a post the right amount of attention, then why the heck are you commenting???

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    3. Ha! You're the best. No worries at all. SURPRISE, IT'S BRUSSELS SPROUTS!!

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  4. really, brussels kraut? interesting. don't tell anyone, but i've NEVER eaten a brussel sprout and I'm old. Please link up to Foodie Friday

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    Replies
    1. You're never too old to eat your first Brussels sprout!

      (For the sprout-uninitiated, I always recommend the gateway preparation of roasting them with bits of bacon, and maybe a little maple vinaigrette, like so: http://to.pbs.org/rNOKxJ. No, really -- it's ridiculous. You'll wonder what took you so long!)

      I'll definitely check out Foodie Friday: Thanks for the link!

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    2. Yum, I will try this method. If I like it, I will tell you. Heck, I'll also tell you if I hate it. :) Thanks for linking to Foodie Friday! I'm pinning this!

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  5. You obviously made an impression on me! You're featured! Top 5 from FF

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