Wednesday, February 18, 2015

today's choucroute

[NB: This post has been updated.]

I can't find sauerkraut anywhere near me—not at Home Plus, not at E-Mart, and not at Costco—so I'm going to be making my own "quick" (and faux) sauerkraut for use in my choucroute alsacienne. Strangely enough, my sauerkraut takes its inspiration from former-Olympian-turned-chef-humorist Brian Boitano. Boitano's recipe incarnates my intuition as to how to make sauerkraut quickly: instead of softening the cabbage up through the slow pickling process, you cook the cabbage on the spot in its pickling solution. This is going to be mighty fragrant, and I feel apologetic toward all my new fellow residents in this building, but This Must Be Done Or The World Will End. Come hell, high water, or Cthulhu's tentacled minions, I WILL have my choucroute!

UPDATE, 7:59PM: My thanks to Brian Boitano for the kraut recipe. Holy shit, that's good. And the most wonderful thing is that you don't have to wait several days for the kraut to ferment—by heating the pickling solution, you force it to infuse quickly into the cabbage. The net effect is similar to fermentation: the cabbage leaves soften and take in the pickling flavor. I did have to make a few changes, though, partly out of necessity and partly out of a difference in taste. I added a touch of salt, whereas Boitano's recipe calls for none (without salt, the kraut just wasn't savory enough). I couldn't find mustard seed anywhere quickly, so I used Maille brand whole-grain mustard, which is 90% mustard seeds, anyway. I also added pickle juice from a jar of large sweet gherkins sitting in my fridge, and I used regular old white cabbage instead of the savoy cabbage that Boitano recommends. Oh, and one last thing: I couldn't find the German beer listed in Boitano's recipe, so I bought some OB pilsner—a Korean brand. I experimentally drank some of the OB myself, and surprisingly, it wasn't that horrible. Quite a contrast with the time I drank a bottle of Heineken. God, that beer is shitty-tasting. Works great in choucroute, but by itself it's an engine-degreaser.


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