Wednesday, July 2, 2008

july 2, 2008: frugal feasts grilled brats, orzo bake and onion relish

Brats in Beer
Makes 15—enough to generously serve 8 – 10 people
15 bratwurst – the ones we buy come 5 to a package
2 packages “Coney Island” style hot dog rolls
2 bottles dark beer such as IPA
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
Pour the beer into a large covered pan. Add the garlic and the brats and bring to a very low simmer. (The surface of the liquid should be just barely moving).
Simmer for 30 minutes on low heat, until sausages are cooked though.
Grill, turning frequently, until slightly charred and heated through.

Sweet and Sour Onion Relish
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ pound onions, cut in half and then thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are soft and lightly colored.
Add remaining ingredients and cook another minute or two, stirring frequently, until sugar is melted and onions are shiny.
Beer Brats with Onions and Rolls serves 8-10 generously and costs $1.02 per brat

Ricotta Orzo Bake
Serves 8-10
1 pound orzo or other small pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch leeks, (approximately 1.5 pounds), trimmed, chopped into ½ inch pieces and rinsed well. To clean leeks, slice in half lengthwise, chop and place in colander.
Put colander under running water and stir around with your hand until all the grit is washed away
2 cups frozen petite peas
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 slices vegetarian bacon, or regular bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cup whole milk
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or other herb of your choice such as chives, basil or oregano Zest and juice of one lemon
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
Bread crumbs made from three slices wheat or white bread, in food processor or blender, or 3/4 cup dried breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Fill a large pot with water and a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until slightly underdone. Drain and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped leeks.
Cook until the leeks soften and turn bright green, about 3 minutes.
Add the peas, salt and pepper and cook for one > minute. Remove from heat. Add the ricotta, milk, lemon, salt and pepper and mix well. Put the orzo mixture into a 4 quart casserole dish, and smooth surface with a spatula.
Top with the br eadcrumbs and drizzle with the melted butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, > until hot and bubbly around the edges. Serve hot or at room temp.
Ricotta bake serves 8-10 generously and costs $1.05 per serving.
A note on our costs per serving: All the ingredients were purchased at area grocery stores.
The prices do not include small amounts of household pantry staples like salt, pepper, vinegar and breadcrumbs.

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