OktoberFEAST

 
 
Even though technically Oktoberfest is already over and done, there are plenty of reasons to have an OktoberFEAST yet this fall.
 
My cousin Mollie and I have been wanting to get together and make a delicious German meal for ages, and October seemed the perfect time to do it.  With a little planning and some time in the kitchen, we pulled off a feast for our family and friends.
 
Oktoberfest Tablescape
 
For the table, we pulled together both traditional fall decorations with souvenirs from our individual trips to Germany.  Each guest at the meal was greeted with a placecard giving them a German name for the night.  Yes, Gary had to answer to Bubi… and it’s pronounced exactly as you think it is.  Mollie and I are super mature.
 
Dorky Beer Maiden
Yes, I know I am a huge dork.
 
I scored the giant glass mugs at the dollar store.  The upside was that they were so cheap, everyone could take his mug home as a gift.  The downside was that they were so big, one beer only filled them up halfway!
 
The menu was full of delicious German treats, all made from scratch, thank you very much.
 
Homemade Sauerbraten
 
 
If you haven’t tried sauerbraten, you are missing out.  It is like nothing you’ve ever tasted.  I am a little nervous to describe it to you because terms like “pickled beef” and “sour meat” are likely to make your nose wrinkle.  Really, the beef has such a tangy acidity that the flavor jumps all over your mouth.  I can’t explain it.  It’s indescribable.
 
It’s just good.  You should have some.
 
Sauerbraten Gravy
 
Sauerbraten gravy is made by taking the cooking liquids from the beef and thickening it with crushed gingersnaps.  Really!  Gingersnaps!
 
Homemade Spaetzle
 
 
If you have never had the pleasure of eating fresh spaetzle, the best way to describe it is as a cross between fresh pasta and fresh dumplings.  Delicious.
 
I have a spaetzle maker that my mom gave me back in college which makes cooking spaetzle much easier than if you have to force the batter through a colander.  If you are going to make spaetzle more than once in your life, I highly recommend buying one.  They aren’t too expensive are definitely worth it.
 
Homegrown Carrots with Beer
 
 
Carrots in a beer glaze.  Nuff said.
 
Homemade Red Cabbage
 
 
 
 
 
We used that recipe with a few tweeks.  First off, we doubled the entire recipe to feed our whole crowd.  Second, we used a whole package of bacon.  More bacon is always better, right?  Finally, we added about 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar to add the right amount of tartness to the cabbage.  Real crowd pleaser!
 
Apfelkuchen
Apfelkuchen mit Zimtsahne
 
I tossed around the idea of making another Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte for dessert but decided to go with something more  seasonal.  Apple cake feels very Fall to me.
 
I made Smitten Kitchen’s Apple Cake recipe the day before the feast.  The only adjustment I wish I would have made was to take the cake out of the oven about 10 minutes earlier.  The bottom and the very edges got just a little too dark.  My cousin whipped some heavy cream with a little sugar and cinnamon to top each slice.
Have you ever hosted an Oktoberfest party or, be still my heart, been to the actual Oktoberfest in Munich?  I would love to hear about it!

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Thanks,  Jessica Hill
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