April 7, 2011

Spring Break is almost here! You know what that means: time for sauerkraut

When I lived with my best friend Rachel, who is a New York City teacher, the first day of school each year she would come home, pull out her calendar, and start marking down her days off, listing them out loud right in front of my dreadfully jealous ears: Labor Day, two days off for Rosh Hashanah, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day!, Thanksgiving, a week for Christmas, New Year's, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Winter Break (it's like spring break, only it's in addition to it), Washington's Birthday!, Spring Break, Good Friday, and Memorial Day. And on top of that the entire summer off.

I get seven paid holidays a year and 10 days of vacation.

In the beginning of the school years I always contemplated becoming a teacher.

That idea quickly dissipated as the school year got going. (Though it did rematerialize on Rosh Hashanah and Veteran's Day.) Rachel was the only 20-something I knew who couldn't wait to go to bed early on a week night because she was so exhausted. She was up hours before me, on her feet all day, and dealing with rebellious teenagers with lots of 'tude. Sounds unfun.

Teachers can't go to school exhausted. When you're a teacher and you're having a bad day, everyone knows it. There are no late nights out with your friends, no going to school hung over, because then all the nosy teens want to know what you did last night and why you look like such crap, and that's not fun to deal with when it's hard to do more than grunt. (That was my vision of Rachel at school after a rare week night out, slumped over her desk glaring through her hair, exhausted and hung over and grunting at her prying students while struggling to stay awake. Of course she rarely drank, but she did get stay out late now and then, and that image of her amuses me.)

I never had a Winter Break growing up in Michigan (unless you count the occasional much longed-for snow day). This year, though, I get spring break. My chemistry class is breaking for one glorious week and a half, and I'm taking advantage of it. While I don't get spring break from work (that time comes out of my precious 10 days), I'm making up for all those spring breaks in high school and college when all I did was a big fat nada. So now Berlin! Then Amsterdam!

I was pretty disappointed about not getting to go to Japan to visit my brother and sister-in-law, but we've changed course, and I’m getting excited about the trip we are going to take.

To adjust my palette for German food in preparation for my trip, I made Sausage with Potatoes and Sauerkraut.

Sausage with Potatoes and Sauerkraut
From EatingWell

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces (4 links) cooked chicken sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces (I used half a package of kielbasa I had in the freezer)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to brown to brown. Add the potatoes, sauerkraut, wine, pepper, caraway seeds and bay leaf, and bring those to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Don't eat the bay leaf.

It appears as though I forgot to take a picture of the final result. The russet potatoes I used instead of Yukon took so long to cook that I must have been so hungry that all I could think about was feeding my belly. Sorry about that!

While I am gone I will be posting pictures of foreign lands and foods, and I will tell you about them when I return. Though don't get too excited, I'm not leaving just yet. I still have another week to go in the city, but I'm excited about that too because my Baby Bro (who recently turned 30!) is coming into town this weekend!

1 comment:

  1. i think it still looks super yummy!! happy birthday to your brother!