Oktoberfest Y’all

“I’ve decided to retire and let myself go. I’ll have potatoes for lunch and potatoes for dinner and beer. God, I love beer! And treacle pudding and cherry tart and cream, cream, cream, cream, cream, cream … as god is my judge, I’ll never eat a lettuce leaf again.” ~ from the movie “Being Julia”

oktoberfest-zinzinnati-logoYou can smell it in the air.  You can feel it in your bones.  Those crisp fall mornings that whisper Fall is on her way…those are the mornings I love.  Just recently Summer has been wearing out her welcome here in Cincinnati, and those cool mornings are the ones that greet me as I head to the gym before work.  And I for one, could not be happier.

This past weekend, Cincinnati, or Zinzinnati, ushered in Fall as only Zinzinnati can…Oktoberfest.  Touted as the biggest and most authentic Oktoberfest this side of Munich, I could almost smell the potato pancakes, bratwurst, and strudel from my office on Friday.  I love that Cincinnati does this.  What better way to ring in my favorite season of the year.  Plus…there’s beer.  Fall beer.  Oktoberfest beer.  What could be better.

ImageSince our office is right on the square, during lunch, we went to go watch the Running of the Wieners.   This event kicks off Oktoberfest, and yes, it was as great as it sounds.  From what I was told, if you have a wiener dog, you pay $50 to get a hotdog uniform (either mustard or ketchup) and a shirt that declares, “I’m a Wiener”.  Then you get placed in a heat, bring your pup to the square, and watch those little legs run.  It was hilarious.  These little pups were like celebrities.  I felt like I was watching the opening credits of 101 Dalmatians.  Each owner looked exactly like his or her pup.  I just couldn’t get enough.

Since the Husband has three tests coming up this week, we weren’t able to take part in Zinzinnati Oktoberfest more than an after work Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest.  But that doesn’t mean we didn’t help welcome Fall.

So while some in Zinzinnati welcomed Fall wearing  lederhosen, stein in hand, we welcomed her with football, walks along the trail way, and a fall feast.  I love everything fall, the boots, the sweaters, the books, but I especially fall flavors.  Even though we couldn’t go have a brat on the square, I wanted to come up with something fun to make while we watched football Sunday night…ahem…while we watched the Steelers try to play football Sunday night.  But that’s besides the point.  Enter Jenna from Eat, Live, Run.  I started reading her blog in law school and whenever I had time to try a new recipe I tried one of Jenna’s.  In this household, we’re Jenna fans.  So of course that was the first blog I visited.  And low and behold, she dishes up another winner: Beer Brats with Caramelized Onions.

Perfect.

IMG_1351We made sweet potato fries to go with them and it was the perfect fall dinner.  We’ve been eating pretty clean here at the McGlothlin household recently so typically I would use olive oil to coat the sweet potatoes, and I normally would have used turkey sausage as a substitute for the brats.  But it’s Fall.  And let’s be honest, sometimes you just have to bring it in for the real thing.

Jenna suggested a holiday beer or pumpkin beer to soak the brats.  I used Southern Tier Pumking, which ended up being a bit too sweet once it cooked down.  You’ll want a full, flavorful seasonal with a little kick.  I think next time I might try Dogfish Punkin or Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale.  Or if you want to pick up the beer while you’re getting everything else on the list, Sam Adam’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale would be a good bet.  Whatever you choose, make sure you get enough so you can enjoy some while you cook.  Prost!

Beer Brats & Caramelized Onions
Originally from Eat, Live, Run

Ingredients
– 1 lb. bratwurst
– 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
– 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
– 1 bottle beer (12 oz)
– 1 Tbsp olive oil
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
– 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Directions
– Turn on the grill outside and let it heat up.
– Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
– Once hot, add the onions and saute for about 10 minutes, until golden.
– Add the thinly sliced garlic and saute for another three minutes until toasty.
– Add the bratwursts to the pan, along with the beer. Stir and bring to a boil.
– Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the brats turn white.
– Remove the sausages and place on a plate.
– Turn the heat to high so the beer mixture boils again.
– Add the salt, brown sugar and Worcestershire.
– Stir well and continue boiling.
– While the “sauce” is boiling, grill the sausages for only about 5 minutes, you just want to finish them on the grill.
– When done, bring the sausages back inside and place them back in the beer sauce and spoon sauce over.
– Serve brats with sauce and onions on top. (We toasted some buns and ate them that way…if your grocery store has pretzel buns, definitely go for those).

I'm sorry, I just can't get this image out of my head.

I’m sorry, I just can’t get this image out of my head.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients
– 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
– Melted butter (just enough to lightly coat the potatoes…and don’t skimp here.  For some reason olive oil just doesn’t have the same effect taste-wise and baking-wise)
– A couple shakes of course sea salt

Directions
– Pre-heat the oven the 375
– Mix the potato slices, melted butter and salt together
– Spread the potato slices on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes
– After 10 minutes flip the potatoes and cook for 10 more minutes
– Serve with a dollop of wasabi mayo

Oh, and for those who want to see the Running of the Wieners, check out the video on Instagram.

Have a great week!

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Where I’d Rather Be Wednesday

I crave their brunch 7 days a week

“A great chef is an artist that I truly respect.” ~Robert Stack

A friend over at Wee Little House, has “I’d Rather Be Wearing Wednesday,” which I absolutely love! If I could raid a virtual closet, it would be hers. Anyway, it got me thinking.  If you remember I did a post awhile back about Monday mornings.  I love my job but sometimes, now that the weather is nice, I simply don’t want to be in an office all day. This is how we ended up at Where I’d Rather Be Wednesday!

This morning, as the sun creeps over the treetops to welcome what is sure to be a beautiful Spring day in Nashville, it  is especially hard to pass Marche on my way to cubeland and not pull over and ask for a job for a day.

Marche's marketplace. Picture from Metromix

Marche is a European style cafe and marketplace that has come to be my favorite weekend brunch spot. It’s not even a ten minute walk from my house and I swear I can smell the croissant french toast on any given Saturday morning. I blame this obsession with it on my dad. Mom and Dad came to visit when I was moving into my new place and we headed down there to grab some lunch and he liked it so much we went back the next day! Come to think of it, I might be able to blame all my food obsessions on my dad. We would hardly ever go to McDonald’s as kids but when we did it was because Dad was craving a big mac. Anyone who knows me knows I get some serious cravings for cheeseburgers at the most random times. But I digress, back to Marche.

It’s just so inviting to me on the corner of what is considered to be the heart of East Nashville, 10th and Main. Windows wrap around the outside giving diners the feel they are relaxing in front of their own window on the world, which for a people watcher like me, couldn’t be better! Inside it’s open, with fans whirling overhead, and the buzz of conversation is mixed with the clink of coffee cups on the naked wood tables. I adore it. The whicker chairs, the breeze meandering through the open door, the exposed kitchen, the simple flower in the center of the table, it’s simple yet otherworldly. On a Wednesday like this, although I swore I’d never want to work in food service again, I would love to be a chef at Marche.

Photo by Wander Girl on Ponder My Wanderings Blog

My sister is in culinary school and I think I am secretly jealous of her. I wish I could like her and like Margot McCormack (the mastermind behind Marche), take fresh ingredients and create something mouthwatering.  That’s why I want to work at Marche. I want to learn how to create these masterful concoctions.

So much of most of our jobs are constant to-do lists that follow you day to day and sometimes you feel you get nothing done even though you have been chugging along all day. I think because of that- even though it’s tough work, I just think there is something so satisfying and gratifying in putting a delicious meal on a table for people to enjoy with friends and family. Cooking. I with that was my to-do this today.

This Wednesday, I would rather be walking apron in hand to Marche.

Two things…

1-I’ve heard rumors about cooking classes at Marche/Margot…true or false?

2- Marche this Saturday? Bellinis and french toast? Who’s in?