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!

Fall is the New Spring

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~William Cullen Brynat

 

From We Heart It

 

Spring is overrated.  At least in my book.  I’m not sure what it is but I’ve always felt more alive and more at home in the rich reds, welcoming oranges, comforting yellow and soothing browns than the bright pastels of spring.

Fall has always meant exciting new beginnings.  From working in the publishing world where you hoard all your  best books until Fall for release in  anticipation of the Christmas rush to now being back on a school schedule, Fall means things are happening.  It’s always been my favorite time of year.

This week is Fall Break and as I was driving through the rolling hills of Kentucky into Tennessee yesterday, my heart was utterly and simply happy.  The colors were stunning and there was just something in the air.  I love Nashville in the Fall.

I don’t know about you but my whole taste shifts in the fall.  It is the oddest thing.  My car is filled with music from Iron and Wine to Sarah Barielles (seriously great Fall music, get her new cd, it’s on repeat in my car).  I have the urge to make pies and pumpkin cookies (I have some great fall recipes coming later this week).  The beer selection in my fridge changes from refreshing golden wheat to hearty oktoberfests, ambers and spicy pumpkin beers and I like my coffee to have tastes of caramel, toffee or pumpkin. And who doesn’t like pulling out those fall sweaters and boots for the first time.  But more than going back to those fall traditions, tastes and activities, it’s also a time of renewal.

 

Also from We Heart It

 

This is an odd dichotomy I know but the way fall enters does this with such grace might be the secret to why I love it so much.  I have always been someone who despite loving to try new things, there are some things I will never give up.

Everything in my life is new right now. I am embracing it and loving every minute of learning and meeting new people, but this fall break I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back in Nashville, to catch up with the friends that are my heart and soul.  Fall is the time when you gather.  Whether it be for football, to pick out that perfect pumpkin, or Thanksgiving, we gather.  We gather and are thankful.  These people, just like fall traditions, inspire me and energize me.  This fall I have so much to be thankful for.

Not only that but there are so many new things happening this fall.  I am learning so much and thriving off of doing what I love every single day (and most of every night right now 😉  Just like the leaves, everything is changing and I am so excited about it.  This is my time to grow…why wait for Spring?

So here’s to corn mazes, pumpkin spice lattes, pies, pumpkin patches, cozy cups of coffee while reading the latest book from your favorite writer, football, dinners with friends, family and spiced apple cider.  Here’s to the colors changing, leaves crunching under each step of a morning run, and to that something in the air that heralds in the new season, filled with the people we love, traditions we cherish and the changes to come.  Happy Fall!