I have an "interesting" gene pool, to say the least. My mother was a proud Bavarian, and my father was Mexican. I was born with dark blonde hair, which later turned brunette. In my late 20's, my hair began to show early signs of white hair, that evolved into a
Any resemblence to my Latina half of my D.N.A. can only be detected by my love of Mexican food, beer and my
My mother passed away on October 12, 2002. For her memorial service, my siblings and I unanimously decided to give an Oktoberfest reception with Bavarian "oom-pa-pa" music, Bavarian blue and white decorations and traditional food.
We knew that my mother would have approved, because she loved being the
center of attention life of the party.
Since then, I have started an annual tradition of hosting my own intimate family Oktoberfest at our home. I enjoy making the traditional Bavarian dishes that I learned from my mother.
Bavarian Red Cabbage-- sweet & sour... one of my favorite dishes
My Oktobefest dinner is next Saturday, so I am trying to make at least one dish a day, since these dishes freeze well. Yesterday, I made my tried & true recipe for Bavarian Red Cabbage dish (originally posted last March) that is a true winner. Honest! I've seen many recipes that uses chicken stock, but that's not the way my Mutti made it. I've put just a few tweaks into my version, but it truly captures an authentic "Blau Kraut" (blue cabbage) that would be on your plate if you were in Bavaria. The cabbage takes a little over an hour to make, from start to finish. It freezes really well, too.
Coring, slicing, braising thre red cabbage-- adding fresh apple, red wine vinegar and brown sugar...and allspice, clove and a little nutmeg...
Mutti once owned a Bavarian Delicatessen & Gift Shop for almost 20 years. Since I spent six years working in my mother's delicatessen (and I complained that I was free slave labor), I gained a lot of knowledge about German cold cuts and sausages. "Bratwurst" -- "brat" means fried and wurst means sausage. There is a big difference between a Bockwurst/Weisswurst and a Bratwurst. Weisswurst (VISE-VURST) is traditionally made with all veal and has chives in it. It is heated in hot water and served with either a sweet grainy mustard.
Mom and Bavarian Delicatessen, circa 1984
In our deli, we sold two types of Bratwurst-- all veal, and another one that also had beef and pork. It's heated and then fried in butter.The pork style of brat has evolved into the Americanized version of "brats and beer". There will be a quiz after you read this...
Mutti, at the neighborhood deli in her hometown of Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria...
I took this photo in the 90's!
I took this photo in the 90's!
You would think that I love sausages, but I don't! They're okay, but I think I got tired of them. But, for some reason, I had a sudden craving for bratwurst. I decided to smother them with caramelized onions and my mom's "Bauern Kartoffeln" (Farmer Style Potatoes). This is classic comfort food from my childhood memories.
How I wish there was a good German deli where I live, but there isn't... not since mom sold her and "Bavarian Delicatessen" eventually met it's demise. Sadly, I could only find "bockwurst" at my butcher shop. Now, do you understand why I explained the difference? I have broken the Bavarian code, because I decided to fry a bockwurst! Let me show you:
In a pot of water, I heated the sausages and then turned off the water. Sausages should never be boiled!
In the same pan the I caramelized the onions (with a little olive oil), I added a small pat of unsalted butter.
Carefully, I cut shallow slits across the sausages-- just like my mom used to do.
In another pan, I cooked some bacon and then onion in the rendered fat-- then added some par-cooked Yukon Gold potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, which I had gently flattened with the palm of my hand...
Craig and I could eat these potatoes every day, and never tire of them.
Red cabbage, Bauern potatoes with bacon & onion, bratwurst and Bavarian hot mustard...
I have to say that I just might have a new liking for bratwurst--because anything that is smothered in caramelized onions can't be bad! A bite of sausage with some onion, followed by a taste of red cabbage and Bavarian potatoes... and a sip of ice cold beer. Schmeckt gut!
As we say in Bavaria - Mahlzeit!
From my Mutti's heritage to your kitchen,