Monday, September 20, 2010

September Oktoberfest

Two days ago Oktoberfest began. In the United States this holds little (if any) meaning since most people just know that this vaguely involves beer and are unaware that twelve of the sixteen days of the celebration take place in September. German and Bavarian cuisine is something I seldom make mostly because we only spent about 45 minutes at culinary school learning German cooking. The remaining 1,035 hours were devoted to French cooking.

I did have a few German chefs at school who would sometimes slip in some German cooking tidbits, taking cautious looks around then returning to their lecture about how to make a beurre blanc if the dean happened by the classroom.

I had some Finocchiona salami lying around so I decided to slice that up. Finocchiona is a Tuscan salami made with fennel seeds. It is in no way German but I figured if I served it with a sweet mustard (my favorite SchoolHouse Kitchen Sweet Smooth Hot Mustard), sliced onion, cornichons, and rye bread with butter I could detract from its Italian heritage.

For beer I opted to go with an actual German beer in the Oktoberfest variety rather than the local American varieties I've been enjoying so far in the tail end of summer.

I have to say that the Oktoberfest beer from Spaten was my favorite so far. It was very simple and reminded me of the fact that a lot of the American versions I've tried recently seem to be trying too hard.

For the main course tonight I browned some Weisswurst and stewed some onion, red cabbage, and sliced apples (still going through the apples we picked in Vermont) along with some rendered bacon. Jen had seen these sausages in the fridge a few days ago and voiced her disapproval. I believe she said they looked like maggots or something. She's always saying things like that. I guess maggots look a lot different in Canada. And a lot more delicious.

This explains a lot! Amy Hepworth must be from Canada!

I have not made spätzle since culinary school. One of my chefs (who will remain nameless) showed me how to make spätzle batter and flick it off of a cutting board into a pot of boiling water in thin ribbons using the back of a knife. He was incredible at making spätzle. Unfortunately he was a terrible teacher. This is the only thing I really learned from him during my time at the school.

Coincidentally he was the only chef that I had for two different classes. Lucky me.

In the grand scheme of things I think it might have been worth it because I did learn how to make some pretty good spätzle.

Finally I made some pan-fried potatoes which the Germans call bratkartoffein. This is basically exactly like making home fries. I rendered a little bacon, cooked some onion, toasted some caraway seeds, and then browned the potatoes to at least give them a little bit of a German flair.

I would have liked to make a German dessert, perhaps some sort of apple streusel, but I had already used up most of the allotted hour to make everything you see above.

Instead I ate a delicious cupcake that Jen stuffed into a coffee cup and smuggled home to me. Jen had her dessert first so I just rammed the cupcake into my mouth while I sat on the couch and watched an episode of Doctor Who.

The ceremony of our meals tends to break down rather quickly once dessert hits.

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