Roll Out the Barrel: Oktoberfest Party

Oktoberfest Party: Photo Booth

It was one of my best friends birthday recently so we decided to throw her a birthday party with an Oktoberfest theme. Whats not to like, beer, costumes, and German food.

To start I decorated with some beer and fall things I had around the house, empty bottles, beer steins, burlap runner, dried wheat and fall leaves. I also bought a blue and white harlequin tablecloth ( the official Oktoberfest pattern) from a party store and hung it over a curtain rod in my family room to make a back drop for a ” photo booth”. I had props like steins, lederhosen, German signs and Oktoberfest bibs from the party store. I set my camera on a tripod in front of it and tried to get shots of all the party goers.

I am also very lucky that I have some home brewing friends who made a keg of beer especially for our party, delicious!  But this is a great time to taste some of the fall varieties of craft beers like Oktoberfests and Pumpkins.

For appetizers I set up a “Pretzel Stand” I had assorted flavors, shapes and sizes of pretzels and dips to go with them. I even made some homemade Pretzel Bites by following this recipe. http://www.snixykitchen.com/2012/10/24/pretzel-bites-with-four-distinct-dipping-sauces/. I made the dough a day ahead of time and covered it tightly with plastic wrap. then boiled and baked the pretzels the next day. I also found that I needed to add about 3/4 c more flour than the recipe called for to get the dough to be the right consistency but I live in Florida and baking here can be weird.

Oktoberfest Party: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Oktoberfest Party: Pretzel Stand

For dips I made a Sweet and Spicy Mustard Sauce

1 c mayonnaise

3/4 c coarse mustard

2 T  jarred grated horseradish

2 T honey

Oktoberfest Party: Sweet and Spicy Mustard

a Chocolate and Toffee Dip

1 brick cream cheese softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 c toffee chips (Heath)

1 t vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer on low until combined.

Oktoberfest Party: Chocolate and Toffee Dip

I also made Beer Cheese Dip using an Oktoberfest Beer instead of an IPA.

To make all of the food seem more festive I labeled them with German names on the tables.

For the main course we had Brats braised in Beer, Rouladen, Oma’s Potato Salad, Saurkraut with beer and apples, and Homemade Cucumber Salad

Oktoberfest Party: Rouladen

Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers peeled and sliced thin

1 cup sour cream

2 T sugar

2 T white vinegar

1 t dried dill

1 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

Slice cucumbers and place in a colander to drain for 20 minutes, then mix all ingredients together in a large bowl

Oktoberfest Party: Cucumber Salad

Last but not least, everyone’s favorite, cupcakes. My friend made 3 different kinds for our Oktoberfest themed party. Apple Strudel, German Chocolate and Bavarian Cream. ( I will try to get the recipes to post on here)

Oktoberfest Party: Cupcakes

Fun was had by all, the food, beer and company was all delightful. Go on try some of these ideas at your next Fall party and share your tips below.

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Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

 

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

2lbs Beef Stew Meat

1/2 onion cut into chunks

1 T olive oil

1 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

2 T Sweet Hungarian Paprika

2 T flour

2 garlic cloves chopped

2 T tomato paste

10-12 oz beef broth

3 bell peppers sliced

1/2 t caraway seeds

2 T balsamic vinegar

Add  1 T paprika, flour, salt and pepper to a large bowl or plastic bag. add meat and toss or shake to coat. Heat olive oil in a large pan add beef and onion and cook until browned. add garlic and caraway seeds and cook 1 minute more. add beef broth (enough to cover meat), remaining paprika, tomato paste and vinegar, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook over low heat for 45 minutes-1 hr, sauce with thicken and meat will become tender. Add peppers and cook 20 minutes more over low heat or until peppers are soft. Serve over buttered noodles or mashed potatoes.

Hungarian Beef and Pepper Stew

 

It’s that time of year!: Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

I love fall and even though it’s not quite here yet I couldn’t resist making something with pumpkin. This is just the beginning, stay tuned for more pumpkin recipes or try these.

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

2T pumpkin puree

1/4 c apple cider vinegar

3 T olive oil

1 t honey

salt and pepper to taste

add all ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth ( you could also wisk by hand)

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces

1/3 c maple syrup

1 canned chipotle pepper chopped plus 1 T adobe sauce (canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce can be found in your supermarket in the latin/mexican section)

1T olive oil

1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 400.Mix together maple syrup, olive oil, adobe sauce and chipotle pepper in a medium sized bowl. Add squash and toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, bake for 20-30 minutes(or until fork tender), turning once.  Serve.

 

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

This is a yummy side dish or a meatless main meal, would also be a lovely side for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

1 package orzo pasta cooked and drained

I cup chopped eggplant

I cup chopped and peeled acorn or butternut squash

1/2 cup carrots chopped

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers, I used yellow and red

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 c chopped onion

2T olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Toss all chopped vegetables with 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.

Add vegetables to a large bowl and add in cooked and drained pasta, 1 T olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve.

*Use what you have on hand this is a great way to use up leftover vegetables, be creative.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

I bought a bag of the pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses and liked them but thought these would go great with an oatmeal cookie, and so the idea was born. I made them and even my finicky kids who aren’t crazy about oatmeal cookies devoured them. Shh don’t tell but it’s my new favorite fall breakfast , sweet with a touch of spice.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

1c brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c butter

1/4 c water

1 egg

1 t vanilla

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1 c chopped Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses

Preheat the oven to 350

In a large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, water, egg and vanilla, mix on low- med speed until creamed

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Slowly add this to the butter mixture, mix until well combined.

Stir in Chopped kisses. ( I refrigerate my dough for about 10 minutes,  this  keeps your cookies from spreading and becoming too thin while baking) Drop 1 T rounds onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool, store in an air tight container.

Cauliflower Bisque with Smoked Gouda

 

It is soup weather, this decadent, silky soup is great for guests and kids.

2 T butter

1 cup chopped leeks

1/2 c chopped celery

2 garlic cloves chopped

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 c half and half

1/2 t salt

white pepper to taste

2 c shredded smoked Gouda cheese

 

melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven, add leeks, celery and garlic, saute until leeks and celery are soft, about 8 minutes, add cauliflower and saute for 2 minutes more.

 

add broth and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Puree mixture in a large blender. Return to pot add cream, 1 1/2 c cheese, salt and pepper. cook over low until cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining cheese.

Pork Chops with Orange Butternut Sauce

 

Butternut squash and pork chops are classic fall food, this sauce gets a little zip from oranges which are also coming into season.

Pork Chops with Orange Butternut Sauce

8 boneless pork chops

2 T butter

3 cups butternut squash peeled and cubed

2 garlic cloves

1/2 c chopped onion

3/4 cup orange juice ( used fresh squeezed if possible)

1T balsamic vinegar

1/2  t dried sage

1/2 t ground ginger

1/2 t ground cinnamon

water

salt

chili powder

Melt Butter in a large pan over med high heat. add squash and onions, saute until onions and squash are browned. add garlic and saute until garlic is soft and golden.

add orange juice, vinegar, ginger, sage and cinnamon , bring to a simmer and cover. cook for 15-25 minutes or until squash is soft enough to mash with the back of a spoon. Use a hand blender to make into a puree ( you could also hand mash or use a regular blender) remove from pan and set aside.

Sprinkle chops with salt and chili powder, brown on each side in the pan. You may have to do this in small batches depending on chop and pan size.

 

Add puree back to the pan with chops cover and cook over med heat for 20 minutes or until chops are done. add water if necessary ( I used about a 1/4 cup). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

 

 

5 Minute Craft: Frosted Pumpkins

I love crafts but often don’t have the patience to finish them. This one is so easy that even I can do it. It’s cheap too and makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece. This method is easy and I already have ideas for Christmas to use pears and persimmons.

Frosted Pumpkins

1 bag epsom salts (so much cheaper than glitter, and has a nicer subtler effect)

2 T white glue

2 T water

paintbrush

small pumpkins or gourds

Mix glue and water together, I used a disposable cup for easy clean up. Paint pumpkin with glue mixture.

Sprinkle with epsom salts. I did it over a paper plate for faster clean up.

Let dry and arrange in group on table, I scattered some fall leaves around first, I would use real ones but I’m in Florida so I went with the silk ones. This would be fun with kids too as a party craft.

Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Chili

 

Get out the spice rack, this thick and satisfying chili has a great depth of flavor, warm, hearty, earthy and spicy. Perfect for Halloween night or any fall dinner, serve  it with naan or couscous.

Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Chili

1 1/2 lbs ground beef or lamb

3 tbsp hot curry powder

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t cardamom

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 t cumin

1/4 t nutmeg

1 T cinnamon

1 T honey

1 T tomato paste

4 garlic cloves chopped

1 c yellow onion chopped

1 150z can of pumpkin

1/2 c chopped dried apricots

14 oz can peeled tomatoes and juice

2 cups small gold potatoes quartered (or bite size)

3-4 c beef broth

salt to taste

In a large heavy pot brown ground beef over med high heat until cooked through, add, all the spices, tomato paste and honey, stir and cook 1 min, add garlic and onions, cook 2-3 minutes more, stirring constantly.

 

Add pumpkin, apricots, tomatoes and potatoes, stir, add broth and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.