Friday, September 6, 2013


It was the keg tap that was heard all over the world. This past weekend was the official opening of Germanys’s most famous festival- Oktoberfest; Held in the beautiful Bavarian city of Munich, or München.

I had some folks over this weekend for a little Oktoberfest celebration. I put a bouquet of flowers into my 1L Hofbräuhaus Bierstein and got to cooking. We had Schnitzel, spätzle and rotkohl (try saying that3 times fast or even once for that matter).
Before we proceed, I must let you in on a little secret.
Schnitzel is Austrian- the delicious word “Wienerschnitzel,” comes from the word Wien, or as we say, Vienna.
But, Hey- it’s my party and I’ll make schnitzel if I want to.

1 pork tenderloin
1 cup flour, in a shallow bowl
2 eggs, beaten in a shallow bowl
1 cup of bread crumbs in a shallow bowl
Oil for frying

Get rid of the fat and stringy bits on the outside of the tenderloin.
Cut the tenderloin into slices, about an inch thick at an angle.
This is the fun part.  Get a meat mallet and pound the pieces of pork- you want them about ¼ inch thick.  Repeat with each slice of meat. If you don’t have a mallet you can put the meat between plastic wrap and use a rolling pin, or the bottom of a heavy pot to flatten.
Heat ½ inch of oil in a pan.
Take a piece of pork, and dredge it in the flour, dip into the egg and then press into the breadcrumbs.
Repeat with all.
Check if your oil is hot. To do this- take a wooden spoon and gently stick the handle into the oil- if little bubbles come out of the spoon, it is hot enough.

With tongs gently place the pork into the pan- making sure not to crowd.  They will cook quickly since they are so thin. When the bottoms are browned, flip and cook the other side.
Drain them on a cooking rack, placed over a cookie sheet- don’t drain on paper towels- that makes your food mushy!
Keep the cooked schnitzel warming in the oven at 170 or so, while you cook the other batch/batches.
Serve with a wedge of lemon, and some parsley and a side of Rotkohl . Rotkohl is braised red cabbage. I know that might not sound good, but it is ridiculous how delicious it is! The first ingredient is even bacon!

3 slices of bacon, chopped
½ onion, diced
Head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup of red wine
1 cup of apple juice
5 cloves
¼ cup of cider vinegar

On a giant pot, cook the bacon for about 3 minutes.
 Add the onions, cook until the onions are softened.
Add the cabbage and stir.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Cook over low heat for 3-4 hours- stirring occasionally.
There you go!
You have a wonderful and festive German meal!
Guten Appetit!

The first time I had German food, I was 16 years old and taking part on an exchange program.  (I had never had beer before either, so the trip was quite enlightening!)

My host mom worked at a bakery, and she would bring me amazing little brötchen, studded with sunflower seeds; I would bring them to school for lunch. After school we would walk through the town, and usually stop for an ice cream.  I just couldn’t get enough of the Himbeerbecher (raspberry ice cream bowl .) There was even ice cream that looked like spaghetti- Spaghettieis!
When school was out for the summer, we ventured out to explore the country. We dined on pork medallions and wurst in outdoor biergartens under fairy lights. I was also introduced to a brand new love- schnitzel …more specifically jaegerschnitzel.   We toured the famous Schloß Neuschwanstein (the big Sleeping Beauty looking castle) and afterwards we stopped at a rustic little restaurant, where I ordered venison medallions and spätzle. It was a revelation- I still remember it all these years later. As we travelled out of Germany and to Austria and Switzerland I tried many more foods.  I was blown away by Raclette in Switzerland, it was a plate full of melted cheese. How wonderful! Though, I will be happy if I never have to eat Leberkase again. Translated, it means liver cheese- it looked like a 1cm thick slab of hot dog on the plate, and it was as BIG as the plate.
After my exchange and touring, the rest of my classmates returned home, but, I had extended my visit so that I could go visit German relatives- It was here that I really saw what excellent German cooking could be.  My Tante Christa is one of the best cooks I have ever met- hands down. In my eyes, she is one of the best cooks in the world.  There is the passion that goes into her food, but you can tell that she has the innate skill to create meals that are works of art, and create flavours that you remember your whole life.  She would make these amazing lunches every day for us , and I don’t know if she knew how much I appreciated her cooking, but watching her cook and enjoying her meals was a revelation.
I have always loved to cook, but my first (and subsequent) trips to Germany really opened my eyes to the possibilities.  I don’t know if I feel such affection for the food because German is a heritage that I feel very proud of or if I just fell in love with the place- regardless- German food is awesome- and to make some delicious dishes all you need is a little time, and some great folks to share it with.


( Originally Posted 9/20.2011 on TB

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