Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Ramblings and Rote Kraut (Red Cabbage)

Do you remember last week when I said our Saturdays had been cold and snowy? Well that changed this week, just in time to celebrate the release of Hannah's Choice!

My husband and I have a favorite restaurant to visit when we want to celebrate - well - just about anything. Since last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, we headed up into the Hills to eat lunch at the Alpine Inn.

The lunch menu at this fabulous restaurant in Hill City features authentic German food. I ordered the "German Plate," packed with two kinds of sausage, sauerkraut, German potato salad, kase spaetzle and red cabbage. So delicious!

The rote kraut is hiding under the sausages. Do you see the purple
sticking out?

If you've read Hannah's Choice already, you might remember that Hannah's favorite food is rote kraut - red cabbage. Believe it or not, it's one of my favorites, too.

 Rote Kraut (Red Cabbage)
(serves one or two rote kraut lovers, about four normal people)

4 Tablespoons butter (or bacon grease)
1/4 cup minced onion
4 cups shredded red cabbage (The recipe doesn't make this much rote kraut! The cabbage shrinks as you cook it!)

1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons sugar

1 apple, pared and quartered

Melt the butter in a large pot (I use my 8 quart stock pot), then cook the onion in the melted butter until it's translucent.

Put the shredded cabbage into the pot. Then mix together the vinegar, water and sugar, and pour on top of the cabbage.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix lightly.

Place the apple quarters on top of the cabbage mixture.

Cover the pot and cook on medium-low heat until the cabbage is soft, about 20 minutes.

Note - the apple is for flavoring. You can mix it into the cabbage before serving, or eat it separately.

Serve as a side dish with any kind of meat.

We drove by Lake Pactola on our way to Hill City. All of the
lakes were covered with ice fishermen on this fine day!

After lunch we drove to Custer State Park and visited some of our favorite places. I was able to drink in the views I've missed so much during the past few months.

The grass is winter brown. Snow still lingers in places, but the sun is strong at this altitude, and all of our friends were enjoying the 50°+ weather.

We saw this little guy with his mom -

His crooked ear stands out, and I remembered that I had taken a picture of him last summer:

He's a little bit bigger and a LOT shaggier than in July, but he still has that funny lop ear.

We saw plenty of pronghorns, too.

These two were posing very nicely...

Until the guy on the left had to see what we were doing.

And we saw a lot of bison - probably close to three hundred in several different herds like this one. (Do you see the pronghorns in the lower right of the picture? They're hard to see against the brown grass!)

Last year's calves are looking good. Their horns are beginning to grow - they're between four and six inches long - and the young ones look like abbreviated versions of their mothers.

While I was taking pictures of the calves, this mama bison started walking toward our van.

It took a minute before we realized what she was doing.

She was licking the salt off the front of our van! She was a little disappointed when we backed up and drove around her.

When we were safely out of her area, I took a picture.

Bison tongue marks! That's a first!

So two questions for our chat today:

1) Red cabbage - love it, or hate it?
2) How was your Saturday - snowy in the big storm back east, or bright and sunny like ours?


  1. This post cracks me up!

    First, I spent to much time in Eastern Europe so I'll pass on the kraut and the cooked cabbage and anything that touched the cooked cabbage... except those sausages. OH MY WORD> I don't think I've ever seen sausages that big. YUM.

    The bison really made us laugh. Now my kids want to go find some bison. I told them if one wandered our way, I'd let it lick the car. Otherwise... we'll enjoy it here.

    Congratulations on your release and praying for great sales!

  2. This post cracks me up!

    First, I spent to much time in Eastern Europe so I'll pass on the kraut and the cooked cabbage and anything that touched the cooked cabbage... except those sausages. OH MY WORD> I don't think I've ever seen sausages that big. YUM.

    The bison really made us laugh. Now my kids want to go find some bison. I told them if one wandered our way, I'd let it lick the car. Otherwise... we'll enjoy it here.

    Congratulations on your release and praying for great sales!

    1. Your kids would get a kick out of a drive through Custer State Park - although Yellowstone is a bit closer for you!

      Those sausages...oh, my. They are delicious! And sooooo filling....

      Thanks for the prayers!

  3. I'm not a cooked cabbage eater, but all of Dave's German relatives are, so I'm a duck out of water on that side of the family.

    And my beautiful copy of Hannah's Choice arrived last week. I'm so excited to read it, and so excited for you, my friend!

    I'm finishing up my 3rd Grace Haven story, so I'm holding off on reading, it will be my reward... once this book is complete and sent of to NYC!!!

    We were west of the storm, but my two upstate farm-raised boys went out to walk around Manhattan and Jersey City because snow is just snow to them... and they get a kick out of seeing the effect of 24 inches on a metro area.

    But having grown up in Rochester, I know how tricky it is to move snow on city streets! Country roads are so amenable to plows and salt trucks, but city streets are a whole other tangle! I loved Cate Nolan's pics of her Brooklyn neighborhood.... Monster piles in tiny areas. :)

    I love the pics, Jan, thank you for sharing them, and now I want to have something come and lick the salt off my car. Or wash it, maybe???

    1. That picture Cate Nolan shared on Facebook was so heartwarming, wasn't it? The snow, the houses, the tree-lined streets. Beautiful to look at, but I know trying to get to work this morning was a nightmare!

      You're right - multiple inches of snow in a metro area is nothing to sneeze at.

      I loved your first Grace Haven story, so take your time to make the third one just as good. Hannah's Choice will wait! Thanks so much for buying a copy. :)

  4. Red cabbage? I've never had it. Don't think I've even seen it up here. Must go on a hunt and try this recipe.

    Bison tongue marks? You live on the wild side, Jan! A moving salt lick. Too funny. Lucky you weren't surrounded.

    1. Sometimes red cabbage is called purple cabbage, so you might be able to find it that way. It tastes a lot like regular green cabbage, maybe without that slightly bitter edge you get sometimes with green cabbage. And I've heard it's healthier - maybe the red/purple color provides antioxidants?

      But I love this dish - not spicy/pickely like sauerkraut, but buttery and savory. Mmmm....

      And I'm not sure I live on the wild side, but I sure love to visit! :)

    2. I'm glad to hear it's more buttery and savory! Even better for me. :)

  5. I'm used to regular cabbage but at least I can say I was raised on homecanned saurkraut. LOVE the stuff.

    Ice here but my sister got 32 inches and the town where they had the highest total of 40? That would be where my nephew lives in a house with four other guys who decided they could get by without oil for the furnace this winter. Ah, youth.

    1. Wait - they thought they could get by without oil for the furnace?

      Maybe they thought the cold and snow of the last few winters was just a fluke. Maybe it's just their youth, like you say. Me? I would want a full tank of heating oil in the fall. Then if we didn't need to use it we wouldn't buy any next year.

      Wisdom comes, not age. You learn wisdom by making mistakes. ;) I would guess that your nephew won't try to get by without heating oil in future years!

  6. Love the pix, Jan. Brings back memories. So does the food. Having lived in Germany for three years, I have a special place in my heart for German food. The little meat market near the ranch sells a homemade German sausage that we love. Works great sliced thin as an appetizer or for dinner, served with some Bavarian-style sauerkraut. My mouth is watering, though, just looking at your plate. I might have to come visit you so you can take me to this place.

    1. Oh, about that red cabbage. I've had good and not so good. The best was some that my neighbor in Germany made. And like a fool, I failed to get the recipe!

    2. My favorite red cabbage is made without the sweet/sour vinegary flavor so many recipes have. This one has a touch of that, but it isn't overpowering. You'll have to try it and see what you think.

      And you're welcome to come visit anytime. We'll head up to the Alpine Inn for lunch, and then go visit the wildlife at the state park. :) I know you love Texas, but you lived here long enough to get a hankering for the Black Hills now and then.

  7. Jan, I laughed so hard that the salt lick photo! :)

    I bet I would love this. I love sautéed cabbage (usually flavor it with bacon or butter or oil). But since I've always loved canned sauerkraut, I would probably love this even better.

    1. I hope you like this, Missy. It's different from sauerkraut - more like the sauteed cabbage you described.

      I often make a stir-fry with cabbage for lunch, but always with sesame oil and teriyaki flavors. I'll have to try it with bacon!

  8. We don't eat a lot of cabbage, red or green, but I'm not sure why. I like it, especially as cole slaw. I don't recall seeing red cabbage at the market here, but truthfully, I haven't looked for it.

    Love your Saturday 'adventure' photos. Our Saturday was pretty tame in comparison ... brunch at home with the family was a highlight. The weather was a mix of sun and cloud. I think out winter is about over. The snowdrops are growing already.

    1. Cabbage is a staple at our house. My husband loves it raw - he just cuts off a slice for a snack.

      And do you really think your winter is coming to an end? It's pretty early for us. We expect snow until May - interspersed with spring-like days from February on.

  9. I love red cabbage, Jan, so this recipe is going on the must-cook list. Thanks.

    Congrats again on the release. I definitely approve of your choice for celebrating! Glad the weather cooperated.

  10. First--congrats on the new release!
    Second--I LOVE red cabbage--I've been known to order a side of it, if it isn't included in my menu choice. My hubby and I both loved German food! Not sure I have ever had any German food I didn't love. My hubby LOVES German potato salad--served warm!
    Third--we are currently in Indi (until Feb 6) and the weather here has been great. High's in the 80's and even touching 90 some days--beautiful if we can just see beyond the haze. As nice as these warm temps abound, it really knows how to cool down in the evenings (mornings too) and the tend to blast the a/c--I have to carry a sweater at all times. ;-)
    Just wish I had another female here with me--I don't feel confident to go out during the day, while on my own....