Fall for the flavors of Oktoberfest

October 17, 2012 

German communities and restaurants around the country celebrate the flavors, food and fun that are Oktoberfest.

As a foodie, I remember the German festivals in Texas for the brauts, sauerbraten, sauerkraut and potato salad. I am not a beer drinker, so I went for the food and the polka bands. Who didn't want to be in Gruene, Fredericksburg or New Braunfels, Texas, during late September and October?

In the late 1980s, Keppner's, a German restaurant in Biloxi, Miss., that is now closed, served up fine Oktoberfest fare. To have those wonderful foods now, I make sauerbraten and German potatoes in my kitchen.

I was taken back to those recipes this week when Lynn Malley of Long Beach, Miss., called asking for a good German recipe. The Long Beach Senior Citizens group is celebrating Oktoberfest on Thursday with a special dinner. It's a potluck, and every participant is supposed to bring a German dish.

I shared two of my favorites with her: German potatoes and red cabbage sauerkraut. I turned German potato salad into German mashed potatoes that my family loves. It's a nod to my German ancestors.

As for the red cabbage, I love red or green cabbage just about any way its prepared. I got this red cabbage sauerkraut from Coastians Jim and Jeneva Shoemaker years ago. It's a keeper.

GERMAN MASHED POTATOES

1 small onion chopped

1 (8-ounce) package fresh mushrooms, wiped with a paper towel, and sliced

6 slices of bacon cooked crisp; reserve a little of the drippings

6-7 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cubed

1 cup low-fat sour cream

Salt, pepper to taste

Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of drippings. Sauté chopped onion and mushrooms in the reserved drippings. In another saucepan, boil cubed potatoes until tender and drain. Mash potatoes

and add onion, mushrooms and crisp bacon. Stir in sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

RED CABBAGE SAUERKRAUT

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups red wine vinegar

1 cup water

1/4 cup Splenda

1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 large head red cabbage, thinly shredded

Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the oil, vinegar, water and Splenda over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Stir while cooking until the Splenda has melted. Add the mustard seeds, garlic, and cabbage, and cook until the cabbage is soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Readers, if you have any more German recipes to share with Malley, please send them my way.

Pick of persimmons

"I grew up where you were supposed to wait for the first frost to pick the fruit off your tree. The sugar content would be perfect. We know that is not possible in the South," Jeanne Hill said. "I grew up on persimmon pudding. It is one of my favorites, and I bake plenty of them for gifts. Everyone I know gets one or two."

PERSIMMON PUDDING

1 cup persimmon pulp

1 cup sugar

1- 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup nuts, raisins and dates.

Place the dry ingredients into bowl and add the other ingredients; mix well, pour into lightly greased pan. This makes on large loaf cake. Bake 325 degrees for 1 hour; let sit before taking out of pan, wrap when room temperature and store in refrigerator. It will hold in the refrigerator for months. I usually double the recipe.

-- Submitted by Jeanne Hill

"This puding recipe is the one my mother made in the '40s. I don't know where she got it," Hill said. "She always served it sliced on a platter, with hard sauce, which is powdered sugar, butter and vanilla to taste."

PERSIMMON BARS

1 cup persimmon pulp

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil

1 egg

1- 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1-3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1- 1/2 cups chopped dates or raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine all the liquids, mix well, and add the dry ingredients. Stir in dates and nuts. Bake in greased 15-by-10-inch baking pan at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Pour glaze over the top while still hot.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine and pour over bars. I usually add more lemon juice, I like it tart.

-- Submitted by Jeanne Hill

Spaghetti squash

"Holly requested a recipe for spaghetti squash that she enjoyed on a cruise with her husband. I think this is the recipe she is talking about," Rose Wilson said. "I also had this salad on a cruise, and this is the closest I can find to it."

PICKLED SPAGHETTI SQUASH AND GLAZED RAISIN SALAD

(Serves 25)

2 pounds spaghetti squash

2 ounces sugar

2 fluid ounces rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 pound chopped green pepper

1/4 bunch parsley

2 sprigs thyme, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

2 fluid ounces olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 ounces almond slivers

Glazed Raisins:

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate

1 whole cinnamon stick

1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Wash the spaghetti squash under cold running water thoroughly. Peel them and cut them into 1- 1/2-inch cubes. Marinate the squash cubes with rice wine vinegar, cloves, sugar, chopped thyme, olive oil, lime juice, salt and cracked pepper. Place the marinated spaghetti squash in a greased sheet tray and roast in a preheated oven at 320 degrees for 15 minutes.

Toast the slivered almonds till golden brown in a salamander or broiler. Be sure not to burn.

Make glazed raisins by combining water, orange juice concentrate, cinnamon and raisins in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until raisins are softened and mixture is reduced to 1 3/4 cups.

In a mixing bowl, add pickled spaghetti squash, chopped parsley, slivered almonds and glazed raisins.

Toss them, adjusting the seasoning.

Garnish the salad with fresh pointed spears of romaine lettuce, radicchio lettuce, spring onion flowers, carrot spears and young celery leaves.

-- Submitted by Rose Wilson

Slumgullion memories

"I read your column weekly. Don't cook much anymore since it's just me, but many of the articles bring back memories," an Anna Maria Island reader said. "Some 60 or 65 years ago (I am now 75), my dad was a Boy Scout field executive, and when he took the troops to camp they always made 'slumgullion,' probably more than once. At that time, it included leftovers plus whatever they had on hand. I prefer the sound of the current recipes printed. I always thought he made up the name, and whenever he would offer to make it at home, we all 'politely' refused!

Spicy bell peppers, please

"Recently I read a recipe for red/orange/green bell peppers to be used for turning them into spicy, hot peppers. I have searched high and low to find the article and cannot locate it," said Ann Dey of Bradenton. "I remember one of the ingredients was cumin. Chili powder, crushed red pepper or cayenne was also listed. I know a couple additional ingredients were listed, but I have no idea what they were nor the measurements of each ingredient along with how long to marinate them.

"Could you find the recipe?" Dey asked.

Readers, we need your help. Do you have a recipe for these spicy bell peppers?

Wanted: Cornbread stuffed pork chops

"Once again I need your help," said Susan Daugherty of Bradenton. "I used to have a great cookbook called 'Cooking for Today' although it was dated around 1990. Somehow I have misplaced it.

"There is a pork chop recipe in it for cornbread stuffed pork chops, which is the best stuffed chop recipe I ever made. You use cornbread stuffing, bacon, onion, celery and some spices in it. Can you ask your readers if they have this recipe? I appreciate it," Dey said.

Readers, you've been asked. Please search your cookbooks and computer files for this recipe.

Andrea Yeager, can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net. Send contributions or requests to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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