Cookers & Kibitzers: Oktoberfest Food Fun

Oct 27, 2012 | 2012 Articles, Food Fun, Irene Morse

by Irene Morse

The Cookers & Kibitzers Club is a group of women in Visalia who get together each month to enjoy cooking good food and having great conversation. See what they have for us this month-there are recipes at the end of this article.

The Cookers & Kibitzers celebrated Oktoberfest this month. It was a spectacular Indian Summer day and we spent part of it just lounging on the deck and chatting.

After a while, it became clear that we wouldn’t be eating if at least some of us didn’t go inside and begin cooking. We did, however, set the outdoor table so we could continue basking in the soft sunshine with our meal. Then, as our Southern Living recipes stated, we put the Oomph in Oompah!

The Menu:
Served six of us, with left-overs, for $13 each (not including wine and beer)

Chris brought an ice chest filled with a variety of German beer and ale. Some of us enjoyed a Pinot Grigio which complimented the menu as well.

Caraway Sour Cream Soup
Rye Bread


Boiled Red Potatoes ready for slicing for Hot German Potato Salad

Currant-glazed Roasted Hens
Hot German Potato Salad
German Red Cabbage

Fresh Grapes
Perhaps a small piece of chocolate

Although some of us were dubious about Caraway Sour Cream Soup, it was lovely. The sour cream added a German tartness to the savory soup.

We didn’t know that Deb doesn’t do caraway seeds so she just munched on rye bread as a starter. We’re all pretty flexible about our food issues and caraway is the predominant flavor so couldn’t be omitted from the soup.

The soup is very good but not highly flavored. Some of us were wishing for a bit more salt and pepper so the shakers went on the table – which they rarely do. The cookers and kibitzers discovered that, in the home of a blind person, it is the salt shaker with the rubber band around it.

Chris made the rye bread at home and brought it for our meal. It was yummy and fortunately, she didn’t put caraway seeds in it.

We found that Cornish Game Hens can be a bit pricey but each hen is plenty for two people. We asked the butcher to cut them in half for us, making our job a lot easier. We just used brute force (and ample napkins) at the table to pull the leg and wing from the breast.

Janet prepared the hens; Chris took on the potato salad and the cabbage and Beth made the soup. I circulated – and picked up the tip of the month – and, of course, Deb snapped away with her camera.

It was a lazy afternoon. Our tummies were full to overflowing with heavier food than we’re used to. We agreed we each might fix one or two of these recipes at home but save the full menu for special occasions.

As the autumn afternoon faded, we finished our meal with a bowl of fresh grapes, the last of our wine or beer and, for some, a small square of Ghirardelli chocolate.

Gary was delighted that Janet stayed to watch the ball game with him. At last Gary had someone he could talk to about the game, who responded with more than “Mmmm Hmmm” and who even occasionally joined him in a whoop! I found a quiet corner, a glass of wine and a good book.

Cooking Tip of the Month:
When dicing carrots, it is easier to cut them into manageable pieces. Slice each carrot in half length-wise and in half again width-wise. You now have a flat, easier to work with, surface to put down on your board. Cut each carrot piece into smaller sticks (the size will depend on how large or small you want the dice – sometimes you won’t slice them into smaller sticks at all).

You can now dice the carrot sticks into whatever size you need for the recipe.


Caraway Sour Cream Soup
This is a recipe – serves 8

2 Medium Onions, Diced
1 Cup Celery, Diced
1 Cup Carrots, Diced
1 Tblsp Caraway Seeds
3 Tbsp Butter
½ Cup All-purpose Flour
4 Cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
1 Cup – 8 Oz – Sour Cream
½ Cup Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pan, sauté the onions, celery, carrots and caraway seed in butter until vegetables are tender. [We kept ours slight crunchy which we loved].

Remove from heat and stir in flour until well-blended.

Gradually stir in broth. Return to heat and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine sour cream and milk. Add about 1 cup of broth mixture, stirring constantly.

Return all to the pan. Heat through (do not boil). Season to taste with salt and pepper

Chris’ Light Rye Bread
This is from the Oster Bread Machine recipe book – makes 2 Baguettes

1 3/8 Cups Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp Packed Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 Cups Bread Flour
1 Cup Rye Flour
2 tsp Active Dry Yeast

Add liquid ingredients to bread pan.
Add dry ingredients (except yeast) to bread pan.
Make a well (hole) in the flour where you pour the yeast.
Put the bread pan into the breadmaker.
Set the bread machine on “Dough, Whole Wheat and Select Crust Color.” Then press “start.”

When the dough has been mixed, remove it from the machine, knead it a few times and divide the dough in half.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees for 5 minutes.

Form the dough into two baguettes. Put each into a greased baguette pan. Turn the oven off; place the baguettes in the oven, covered with a clean kitchen towel. Leave it until dough doubles in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make slits in the top of the loaves and spritz with a little olive oil. Bake about 20 minutes.

Currant-glazed Roasted Hens
This is a recipe from Southern Living – serves 8

Lemon for Flavor and (nearly) Antique Measuring Spoons

4 Cornish Game Hens (about 12 Oz each)
¼ Cup Butter
1 Jar (10 Oz) Red Currant Jelly
1 ½ Tblsp German-style Hot Mustard
1 Tblsp Lemon Juice
½ tsp Thyme Leaves
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees

Cut hens in half length-wise…better, yet, ask the butcher to cut them.
Arrange cut-side down on a cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes

Meanwhile, in a small pan, combine red currant jelly, mustard, lemon juice and thyme leaves. Cook over medium heat until jelly melts.

Brush glaze over hens. Continue baking hens, basting often until tender – 15 to 30 minutes.

Hot German Potato Salad
This is a recipe from Southern Living – Serves 6 to 8

9 Medium Red Potatoes
6 Slices Bacon
1 Medium Onion, chopped
2 Tblsp All-purpose Flour
2 Tblsp Sugar
2 to 3 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
½ tsp Celery Seed
¾ Cups Water
1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Slice potatoes in half and cook in boiling water 25 – 30 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.

Sauté bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove, reserving drippings, crumble bacon and set aside.

Sauté onion in reserved drippings until tender. Add flour, sugar, salt, pepper and celery seed. Stir until blended. Cook 1 minute over medium heat.

Gradually stir in water and vinegar. Cook until sauce is thickened and bubbly.

Cut cooled potatoes into ½ inch slices and layer 1/3 into a 2 ½ quart serving bowl. Drizzle with 1/3 of sauce and 1/3 of crumbled bacon.

Repeat procedure twice more and serve warm.

German Red Cabbage

This is a recipe from Southern Living – Serves 8

Red cabbage

¼ Cup Sugar
¼ Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Medium Red Cabbage (about 2 ½ Lbs), shredded
2 Slices Bacon
1 Medium Granny Smith Apple, chopped
½ Cup Chopped Onion
¼ Cup Water
2 Tblsp White Wine Vinegar
¼ tsp Ground Cloves
Salt and Pepper

Combine sugar, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar stirring until sugar dissolves.

Pour over shredded cabbage, toss to coat. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

Sauté bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving drippings. Crumble bacon, set aside.

Cook apple and onion in reserved drippings, stirring constantly until tender.

Add cabbage mixture and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Add white wine vinegar, cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Spoon into serving dish, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and serve warm.

Learn more about the Cookers & Kibitzers Club in Irene’s first article here at KRL.

Want to know how to see your ad like this at the end of an article? Email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] for more info. 10% of all ad sales now goes to animal rescue.

Irene Morse is a freelance writer. When not hanging out with her husband, Gary, and their large family, she enjoys traveling in search of adventure and examining the human condition through drama and community theatre. Read her family’s Christmas story in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Christmas Magic, 2010. Her column on theatre appears regularly in the local newspaper. Email her at irene [at]


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