Oktoberfest More than Beer and Pretzels
Oktoberfest – The Tradition Continues It is time to host another favorite fall event, Oktoberfest. The crispness of the days is upon us and this means a final outdoor party to celebrate the harvest along with some beer. ...
It is time to host another favorite fall event, Oktoberfest. The crispness of the days is upon us and this means a final outdoor party to celebrate the harvest along with some beer. Late in the summer we hosted a Wine Tasting and some of the party guests asked if this event might take the place of the Annual Oktoberfest. This is when you know your party has a life of its own and it has become a tradition. This party spills out onto the back deck so we always opt for a September and October date keeping with the usual fall time-frames of the celebrated event across the world.
Folks continually tell me that they will entertain after their kitchen is re-modeled, when they have time to clean the house and when they can find a date that will work with everyone. Stop this madness! Set date, allow folks to bring their favorites in beers and appetizers, and invite your guests to search for dust and you will not be disappointed! Admission for this annual event is beers to sample and a heavy appetizer to share. Allow you wine drinking friends to bring a bottle to share and everyone will be happy! This just keeps the party simple and that is another key to success.
We always start with nibbles as the drinking begins as the Bier Garten Opens. Over these past seven year’s folks have some to except certain treats to return to this menu. Home-made pretzels are always on this list. This tradition will continue and with these hand-made treasures is a Beer Cheese Dip that is a perfect complement. Need I say more? The original recipe suggested this be enjoyed with corn chips, but we think pretzels are a match made in heaven. Any home-made pretzels take this over the top! The Beer Cheese Dip recipe is shared below from the one and only Eva:
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar (I use sharp cheddar and always grate myself for the freshest cheese
- 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 pkg. (1 oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Milk Recipe Original Ranch salad dressing mix (Use the best ingredients here, do not substitute here with a generic brand!)_
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup beer ( the Cook gets the rest, hence the Cook’s treat)
- Chopped scallions (about 1 bunch)
- In a medium bowl, combine cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and salad dressing mix.
- Gradually stir in beer until desired consistency.
- Stir in scallions.
- Allow to rest in the fridge at least a few hours. Best made the day before.
- With so few ingredients, only use the best!
The snack table is loaded with many other treats, but this one-two combo is always with us.
This year the usual author of this famous dip will not be able to join us. Eva has graciously shared her recipe and one of my neighbors has agreed to carry the torch in her honor. As she heals at home, I have promised her and her family and basket of German treats on Sunday following our Saturday festivities. We will somehow try to bring the party to her!
This is one time that we will not be straying to find another similar recipe. This Beer-Cheese Dip is field tested and fabulous!
About the eight o-clock hour, the traditional meal of brats, browned onions, sauerkraut, pickles, mustards and a warm German Potato Salad will be served. A dear friend creates this traditional German side as we have yet to find an acceptable alternative created. The neighborhood bakery creates rolls topped with poppy seeds and one dear friend will bring some added home-made breads and we call this our feast! The brats are purchased from a meat market across town that smokes the most wonderful treats. With some terrific neighbors, we will make the trek for these sausages because they are more than worth the trip. These will immediately go into a beer and onion bath until ready for some grilling. I never mess with this menu, and it always delivers! I will create two batches of browned onions the week of the event in my crock-pot. If there are any onions left, a pot of French Onion Soup will be created.
Desserts this year will be brought from annual party-goers. There is something Buttery, Fruity and of course a Chocolate option. I have been looking for a reason to create my Carrot Cake and this might be another sweet treat offered. I like this cake option as I can create this delicacy days in advance and with the rich buttermilk glaze, it is best created in advance. As the hostess, I want as little to do on “game-day” as is possible.
On Saturday, I reserve the morning for grilling off the brats. Yes, I will start Mr. Webber and allow him to add his grilling magic to these treats. I will then allow the sausages to rest again but this time in a casserole dish atop some of those browned onions and cover them in some beer to re-heat for serving later in the day. My Saturday used to include creating the traditional Hot German Potato Salad, but I have a dear friend who will deliver this treat to the party and I am most appreciative. Then, I run to the store to pick up my pre-ordered rolls and ice and I am party-ready by noon. This gives me the afternoon to rest and as I jokingly say, find time to eat Bon Bons on the sofa! The best hostesses take good care of themselves so that they can enjoy their guests later in the day.
My biggest hint for a successful party is do not try to do it all. Enlist the help of your friends. In this case, the invitees know this drill well and always exceed my expectations. Fabulous beers show up, some even created in basements around the neighborhood, new appetizers are presented and no one brings chips and dip or salsa as the bar is high!
The invite list has remained very familiar over the years. We gather some familiar faces each fall and enjoy this event.