Beer!

Now, I know this is a situation that seems unlikely, but I just happened to have some extra beer around the house. Extra beer? you’re thinking. Yes, extra beer–in the sense that we bought it for a barbecue, had a lot left over, found it to be taking up too much room in the refrigerator, didn’t really feel like moving it to a box in the basement, and realized that we definitely shouldn’t just drink it all to clear some space in the refrigerator.

So here’s what we did: put four brats in a 9×9-inch Pyrex dish, poured two beers on top, and cooked them (uncovered) in the oven for two hours at 375 degrees, turning the brats once (at the halfway point of the cooking time). You know, it worked quite well. My daughter put ketchup on hers (because she’s five years old), and my husband and I put mustard on ours. Quite tasty!

(Note: Many of my recipes are gluten-free, but this one is not. I don’t know if it’s possible to make a gluten-free beer, but I’ve never seen one.)

Simple Sausages and Apples

This hardly qualifies as cooking, since the quality of the ingredients almost entirely determines how good it tastes, but I have loved this dish since I was a child. It’s a great thing to put in the oven if you have work to do and want to get dinner squared away before getting started on your work.

You’ll need a pound of pork sausage links (the breakfast kind); I get mine from Pure Sprouts. If you are lucky enough to live in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, you can get yours there, too. If not, Organic Prairie is a good substitute. Yes, they’re expensive; non-factory-farmed pork is expensive. It also tastes much better, is better for the environment, and is less guilt-inducing because the animal had a good life before it became your dinner.

Slice five or six medium to large Fuji apples. Place them in a large Pyrex baking dish and cover them with the breakfast links. Pour maple syrup over the whole thing and bake it in the oven at 350 degrees. I like to bake it covered for 60 minutes and then uncovered for another 30. If the pork isn’t done by then (use a meat thermometer to check), you can re-cover it with foil and bake another 30 minutes.