The days are getting a bit shorter and an occasional chill will brush your cheek as the world's largest ethnic party officially brings on autumn. Depending upon the year, this food and brewfest takes place between late September and mid-October. This year Germany will celebrate Oktoberfest, a wonderful event, from September 20 through October 5, 2003.
In various places throughout the world, parties will be held with the sound of German folk music and the scent of wonderful food filling the air once again. It's PARTY TIME!
The Home of Oktoberfest
The mother of all Oktoberfest parties will take place, of course, in Munich, Germany, the birthplace of the festival. Up to 7 million people will gather in the city to enjoy the largest food festival in the world, where they will stuff their faces with sausages, kraut, and pork knuckles while drinking foamy lager out of huge steins, and swaying to brass band music.
Oktoberfest is a celebration that began long ago, dating back to the year 1810, when the royal wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen took place on Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields"). As time passed, Oktoberfest lost site of its original heritage, but was preserved with even more spirit, fun, and festivities. Named after the traditional place of celebration - Theresienwiese - Oktoberfest is called by the local people simply as "Wiesn."
Another tradition of Oktoberfest in Munich is the Mayor's exclamation "Ozapft is," (or as it sounds in High German "Angezapft ist es") which means "It's been tapped." The Mayor taps the first keg of beer and declares that Oktoberfest has begun.
It is the brewing calendar that made Oktoberfest inevitable. Before refrigeration, brewing in warm weather was a crapshoot: contaminants like wild yeast often spoiled the beer. So brewers took the summer off, but not before making one final batch and storing it in a cool place in the mountains. The beer was called Märzen, a robust, reddish-amber lager the Bavarians enjoyed all summer.
According to statistics, 7 million visitors consume 5 million kegs of beer, 700000 fried chicken, 400000 pairs of bratwurst (pork sausages) and many more German specialties. Nevertheless they are not just passive eaters and drinkers. All festivities are accompanied by a rich and spectacular program of events for the enjoyment and excitement of visitors of all ages.
Oktoberfest in the New World
Immigrants to the new world ensured that the great festival would stay alive. Today, hundreds of cities and towns across the United States and Canada continue the tradition with their own smaller versions of the event. Cities with large active German-American populations hold city-wide parties, while others will host small church socials, and neighborhood get-togethers. Check your community calendar and be sure to join the fun.
Here are some recipes to help you incorporate some authentic German foods into your own menu, such sauerbraten, bratwurst, sausages, potato pancakes, and cabbages of all kinds.
Homemade German Style Bratwurst
Now, you never have to wonder WHAT'S IN THIS STUFF???
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
2-1/2 lbs. lean veal (preferably Shoulder), chilled
2-1/2 lbs. pork belly or fatty pork Butt, chilled
2 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
8 Yards prepared casings (about 4 oz.)
2 Tbsp. melted salted butter
1. In a small bowl, soak the bread crumbs in the milk.
2. Grind the veal and pork belly together, first coarsely and then finely.
3. Place the meat in a large bowl. Add the salt, nutmeg, white pepper and softened bread crumbs.
4. Mix well with your hands until thoroughly blended. Working with about one-quarter of sausage filling at a time (cover the rest and refrigerate the remainder).
5. Stuff the casings loosely with the sausage filling. Pinch and twist into 4 inch links. Refrigerate the first ones while doing the rest.
To cook, prick the sausages all over to prevent the skins from bursting. Place as many sausages in a skillet as will fit in a single layer without crowding. Pour in about one-half inch of water, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Pour off any liquid. Add butter to the pan and cook uncovered, turning, until the sausages are evenly browned, about 10 minutes.
Yield: 4 lbs.
Oktoberfest German Potato Salad
Now you have your own recipe that other folks will ask you for.. ;)
8 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
2 Tbsp. salt
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup and dried parsley
Ground black pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add peeled and cut potatoes; cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add onions.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, sugar, parsley, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in the potatoes and onion. Let stand for 1 hour before serving to enhance flavors.
This recipe has been scaled to yield 20 servings.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: approximately 15 minutes
German Bean and Sausage Soup
What could be better than a steamy bowl of rich German Bean and Sausage Soup at any get-together?
1 Tbsp. plus oil
2 cups onion, chopped
4-1/2 cups carrots, sliced
4-1/2 cups potato, peeled, cubed
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp. dried marjoram leaves (optional)
4 cups beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs. HOMEMADE BRATWURST, or smoked turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch slices
4 lbs. canned Great Northern beans, undrained
3-3/4 lbs. canned cut green beans, undrained
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender.
2. Add carrots, potatoes, parsley, marjoram, and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
3. Add sausage and beans.
Cook until thoroughly heated.
Authentic German Style Noodles
Yep, the real deal.. make 'em once and you'll be chased around the kitchen by any man worth his salt!!.. ;)
4 eggs with
2 Tbsp. water
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour sifted with salt, and nutmeg
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
1 lb. sour cream, use 1/2 in this step, and save remainder for cooking
1 tsp sugar
1. Beat in mixer or large bowl, the eggs with water. Slowly add flour sifted with salt and nutmeg. This will make VERY stiff dough that you will have to finish kneading by hand on clean flat flour-dusted surface.
2. Using a rolling pin (or if you have a fancy pansy, dough roller, like moi...), roll out dough till its paper thin.
(NOTE: the thinner the better! To make it easier, divide dough in 1/4's.)
3. Spread with sour cream and sprinkle with a "bit" of sugar.
4. Roll up tightly like a jelly roll.
5. Slice into 3" to 4" rolls.
1. In a heavy, large skillet, mix equal parts water and butter and bring to a boil.
2. Carefully place noodle rolls in skillet. Cover tightly and cook till most of the water is gone.
3. Uncover and turn rolls over when lightly brown.
4. Spread on more sour cream and continue to cook till cream thickens. Serve hot as a side dish
Serves 15-20 with other Oktoberfest items...Yummmmmm
Recipe is dividable and adjustable.
You can't, or at least shouldn't have an Oktoberfest celebration without meatballs. We haven't let that happen!
3 lbs. beef, ground, lean
1 cup whole milk
1 cup bread crumbs, dry
1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
1/2 tsp. allspice, ground
1-1/2 tsp. ea. salt and pepper
4 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 cup and 2 Tbls. water
1-1/2 cup cider or distilled white vinegar (I prefer cider)
1-3/4 tsp. ginger, ground
1 bay leaf
6 Tbls. sugar, brown
6 Tbls. unbleached flour
1. Mix beef, milk, crumbs, cloves, allspice, salt and pepper. Form into meatballs.
2. Brown meatballs in hot oil. Drain off fat.
3. Add 1 cup water, vinegar, ginger, bay leaf, and brown sugar. Cover and simmer 1/2 hour. Skim off fat.
4. Remove meatballs and keep them warm.
5. Mix flour and 2 Tbls. water and slowly stir into the pan juices to make gravy. Pour gravy over meatballs
Serve with buttered noodles.
Yields: 12 servings
German Chocolate Cake
I know, after a meal like the above, you would want a sugar-free, low fat GERMAN CHOCOLATE cake.
1 cup bran cereal
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar (or any of the dry sugar substitute equivalent)
1 medium egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. chocolate flavoring
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa, preferably Dutch
1/4 cup sugar (or any of the dry sugar substitute equivalent)
2 Tbsp. instant nonfat dry milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1. In a large mixing bowl, place bran, water, sugar, egg, canola oil, vanilla, chocolate flavoring, and lemon juice. Mix lightly and let stand for 30 to 45 minutes.
2) Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, dry milk, cinnamon, and salt and stir to blend well. Add flour mixture to the bran mixture and mix at medium speed about 1/2 minute or until well blended.
3) Place in a spray-coated 9-inch square cake pan and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, or until the cake springs
back when touched in the center and sides pull away from the pan. Cool to room temperature and cut into 3x4-inch
squares to yield 12 squares.
This is the real apple Strudel
It won't take long for you to discover this wonderful German pastry is a bit time consuming to make, but it can be a lifelong memorable experience, especially if you make it with the kids or a friend.
My great grandmother had a few neighborhood lady friends that were from Austria and Germany, and although they were still as active with their families as my Nanny was, they would get together often. And when they did, it was usually around the holidays, or my birthday. What they could do in a tiny kitchen, with battered and dented equipment would just take your breath . . .
When this group of ladies would have what they would call a Strudel klatch, and it was held at our house, I would be invited to help. I was still fairly young at the time. It was and still is one of my fondest memories of my childhood. Nanny never made Strudel by herself. I became an integral part of this wonderful gang, but as the ladies began getting older, we found it more difficult to get one of them to help. Soon it was just her and I.
We would chop apples together, stretch the dough together, and roll it up and bake it together.
As she got very old, into her mid 90's and start to sit a lot and rock, I would ask her for her Strudel, and she would fuss and complain, but soon she and I were singing with flour everywhere. I had to plan theses days because I was now busy with work and a new family, but I never regretted those special times and would give anything to be with her just one more time . . . (There is never enough time to spend with loved ones, trust me my dear friends, please don't pass up a moment.)
Start a new and wonderful tradition in your family . . . and on the eve of Oktoberfest, or anytime . . . create a memory.
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Generously butter 2 large baking sheets (not lard or shortening)
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 small egg, beaten
2 teaspoons cooking oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center.
2. Add the beaten egg and cooking oil, and mix well.
3. Stirring constantly, gradually add the lukewarm water. Keep the mixture a smooth paste and keep mixing until a soft dough is formed.
4. Turn dough (dough will be sticky) onto a slightly floured pastry board.
5. Hold dough above board and hit it hard against the board about 120 times. Dough will become smooth and elastic and leave the board easily.
6. Knead slightly and pat into a round. Lightly brush top of dough with cooking oil (not olive oil). Cover with inverted bowl and allow to rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the following:
FILLING for STRUDEL
1 cup butter, melted and set aside to cool
4 medium size cooking apples (about 1-1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons Vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Allspice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped finely
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (done with a zester, then diced fine. Or use a hand grater)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs (about 2 slices bread)
2 tablespoons dark seedless raisins
3 tablespoons Currants
1. Wash, core, and pare apples. Cut into slices about 1/8 in. thick and put into bowl with vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Toss lightly to coat slices evenly. Set aside for at least 30 min., tossing occasionally.
2. Mix together white sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Blend in 2 tablespoons brown sugar and set this mixture aside.
3. Chop walnuts and set aside. Grate Lemon peel and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet and toss dry bread crumbs in butter until thoroughly coated.
ROLLING AND STRETCHING THE DOUGH
1. Cover a table (about 48 in. by 30 in.) with a clean cloth, allowing the edges to hang down.
2. Sprinkle with about 1/2 cup flour, most of it in the center of the cloth.
3. Place dough in the center of the cloth and roll into a square. If necessary, sprinkle more flour under the dough so it doesn't stick. With a soft brush, lightly brush off any flour on top of dough, and brush top with cooking oil. (Oil aids in preventing holes during stretching.)
4. With palms of hands down, reach under dough to its center (dough will rest on backs of hands) and lift slightly, being careful not to tear the dough. To stretch dough, gently and steadily pull arms in opposite directions. Lower dough to table as you walk around table, pulling to one side and another, but not too much in one place. Keep dough close to table. (If any torn spots appear, do not try to patch.) Keep pulling and stretching dough until it is as thin as tissue paper.
5. With scissors, cut off thick outer edges of dough. Allow stretched dough to dry for a short time, not more than 10 minutes.
FILLING, ROLLING and BAKING
1. Paint dough with 1/2 cup of the cooled melted butter.
2. Sprinkle the buttered bread crumbs evenly over 1/2 the buttered dough, in the center, leaving sides free of filling so they can be folded over the apples
3. Cover the crumbs with apple slices, sprinkle lemon peel over apples.
4. Toss on evenly the chopped nuts, raisins and currants. Sprinkle the spiced sugar mixture over the nuts and fruit.
5. Drizzle mixture with 1/2 cup melted butter.
6. Fold dough on 3 sides over the filling. Beginning at the narrow folded end of dough, grasp tablecloth with both hands. Holding it taut, slowly lift cloth, rolling dough over filling. Pull cloth toward you, again lift cloth, and slowly and loosely roll dough until it forms a large jelly roll.
7. Cut Strudel into halves, and lifting half on cloth, gently roll onto baking sheet. Brush off excess flour from each roll. Cut off ends of dough and pinch together so filling won't ooze out during baking. Roll may be shaped into a large circle or "horse-shoe" shape if desired. Brush top and sides with melted butter.
8. Bake at 350° for 35 to 45 min., or until golden brown. Baste and brush about 4 times during baking with melted butter.
9. When Strudel makes a crackling sound when touched, it is done. (The baked dough should not be smooth.)
10. Remove to cooling rack; cool slightly. Sift confectioner's sugar over top if desired. Cut in two-inch slices and serve warm.