Friday, October 26, 2007


It's October and that means it's time for our annual Oktoberfest party to celebrate my husband's birthday. The party is heavy on German beer and meats. I also tried out some new ones this year and was happy they were good. The menu consisted of: Spinach & Cheese Puff Pastry Pockets, Buffalo Chicken Dip (aka Crack Dip), Hot Pretzels and Warm Mustard Cheese Dip, Grilled Brats and Sauerkraut, Potato Salad, Shrimp Salad (for the vegetarians), Macaroni & Cheese (for the kids), Birthday Cake, and Cookies. Unfortunately I didn't get shots of all of the food. But here are some pictures & recipes.
Cheese and Spinach Puff Pastry Pockets
12 frozen puff pastry shells, unthawed
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/4 cups grated Fontina cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 to 5 green onions, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the frozen pastry shells on the baking sheet and bake until they puff and become golden brown, about 20 minutes. Using a small knife, cut out the center of the pastry shells.

Meanwhile, stir the cream, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the spinach, Fontina cheese, Parmesan, and green onions. Spoon the spinach mixture into the baked pastry shells. Bake until the pastries are golden brown and the filling is hot, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pastries to a platter and serve.

Brats & SauerkrautPacker Brats
4 pounds bratwurst
12 (12-ounce) cans light beer
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
8 round hard rolls or 16 bratwurst or hoagie buns, split
Butter Kraut, recipe follows
Ketchup, for serving
Brown mustard, for serving
Chopped onion, for serving
Pierce the brat casing multiple times with a fork prior to boiling.

In a large pasta pot, add beer. Add onion and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add brats. Allow beer to come back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.

Remove brats from beer, pat dry and grill, turning frequently, until brats are browned all over, about 8 to 10 minutes.

To serve brats "Classic Style", serve 2 brats each on round, hard rolls with Buttered Kraut and brown mustard.

To serve brats "Stadium Style", serve 1 brat on a brat or hoagie pun with ketchup, mustard, onion and Buttered Kraut.

Buttered Kraut
1 (16-ounce) package sauerkraut, drained
1/2 (12-ounce) bottle beer
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

Place sauerkraut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat (this can also be done in a saucepan on the grill while grilling the brats). Add beer and cook until liquid is almost completely reduced. Add butter, cook, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and absorbs into the kraut, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Potato Salad & Shrimp Salad Platter Creamy Potato Salad
recipe from Katie of Good Things Catered
3 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

8 green onions, white and light green portions,
thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus
parsley sprigs for garnish
3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, plus mint sprigs
for garnish
3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil, plus basil sprigs
for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and boil until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and let cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch dice.
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, green onions, celery, and the chopped parsley, mint and basil. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to mix. To serve, transfer the salad to a large serving bowl and garnish with parsley, mint and basil sprigs. Serves 6.

Shrimp Salad

1 lb small Shrimp, cooked, shelled, deveined

2 Tbsp minced Shallots or Yellow Onion

1/2 cup finely diced Celery

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Sour Cream

2 Tbsp Lemon juice

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Old Bay, to taste

Place the shrimp, celery, cucumber, dill and shallots in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients except the salt, and pour the dressing over the shrimp. Toss well. Taste the salad and add salt, if needed. Toss well again. If the salad seems dry, add an extra tablespoon or 2 of sour cream. Cover the bowl and chill it for several hours. Mound the salad on crisp lettuce leaves or spoon it into hollowed-out tomatoes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Buffalo Chicken Dip - aka Crack Dip
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced celery

Heat oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into 9-inch pie plate. Microwave 1 minute to soften.
Whisk in salad dressing, Cayenne Pepper Sauce/Buffalo Wing Sauce, and cheese until smooth.
Stir in chicken and celery.

Bake 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through. If desired, garnish with celery leaves.

Cheese & Mustard Dipping Sauce for the Hot Pretzels
1/4 cup dark beer, such as stout or porter

1/4 cup Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 1/2 ounce Cheddar cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)

Combine the beer, mustard, butter, and cayenne in a small saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the cheese. Continue cooking until smooth and all the cheese is melted -- about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Those pastry pockets look soooo good!