Getting all my friends together for a night is difficult. We all work in media so our schedules are very unpredictable. Luckily this Friday night in September all of our schedules aligned for a beautiful fall evening. I decided to make Oktoberfest style food for everyone, because it’s a crowd-pleaser and everything I made was so easy and ready in a flash.
The menu included a big Bavarian pretzel (along with little pretzel nuggets) with beer cheese spread and mustard, bratwursts marinaded in German beer and then grilled, healthy apple slaw and to end the night with s’mores by the fire.
Most of this German-fest was brought to by Stew Leonard’s grocery store. We love going there because they have local produce and it isn’t your typical grocery store with aisles. It takes you on maze through the store with fun farm animals all around that sing! If you’re ever in the CT or NY area and pass by one, check it out.
We got 2 lbs of brats to put in the crock pot to bathe in the beer. All you need is your brats, a bottle of German beer and one onion sliced up. Dump it all in the crock pot and turn it on low for 4 hours. I poked holes in the brats with a fork to make sure all the beer got in there.
Next I made the apple slaw. I used Skinnytaste’s Gina Homolka’s recipe for this one. I added about a cup of pea shoots (I just had some off hand) and I didn’t make my own poppyseed dressing. I didn’t think I could find another use for the poppyseeds so I just bought a fat-free one for $2 (and also – who’s got time for that??). For this recipe having a food processor is so helpful! You also need a spiralizer for the apple. I realize this is a specialty tool but if you don’t have one they’re worth the investment. I love mine! I make a lot of healthy veggie noodles with it and this apple slaw! You can find affordable hand spiralizers or if you want to splurge a little try the Williams Sonoma one I have in my kitchen. All you have to do is chop up 2 cups of green cabbage, two cups of red cabbage, spiralize the apple, toss in the pea shoots and top it with dressing. And you’re done! That was so easy. I put the dressing on a few hours before everyone arrived. Because it’s cabbage it won’t get soggy like regular lettuce. It will also let the flavors marinate a little. Here’s the recipe below (with instructions for the poppyseed dressing if you want to try it out):
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 granny smith apples, stem removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Next is the best part – beer cheese dip! You also need a food processor for this (thanks for the best Christmas present ever, Mom!) recipe. All you need to do is put everything in the food processor (except for the beer), start to blend the ingredients and stream the beer into the hole of the food processor, then beer cheese complete! Just make sure to refrigerate it for about an hour before serving. All that’s left to do is heat up your pretzels in the oven so they’re warm and soft. Here’s the beer cheese recipe –
1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoons yellow mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup German beer (or non-alcoholic beer if you don’t drink or are pregnant!)
Everyone arrived including my friend’s 9 month old little boy Brady! Such a cutie. We ate all the German delights and enjoyed some German beers right from Europe and some an hour away in CT. It was so nice to enjoy everyone’s company outside of a wedding (even though those are always fun, too). We ended the night by the fire with s’mores as desert. It was such a great evening with friends. I hope we get to do it again soon!
Did you have an Oktoberfest celebration? Do you have a favorite German beer? Let me know! This German would love to hear about it.