I had not intended to make this a complete “Oktoberfest” column this week, but once I got started with all the delicious German dishes it was hard to quit! Once that fall nip hits the air, I start thinking about fall cooking and with that, German cooking comes naturally to my mind—the food is delicious, comforting, and easy to prepare. Today I am short on space and long on recipes, so enjoy!

I received the piece about “grandma’s apron” and just wanted to pass it on, and I know it will bring back some memories to some of you. That’s it for this week. Stay safe and stay in touch!

The principle use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress underneath, but along with that, it served as a holder for removing hot pans from the oven; it was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken-coop the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came those old aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids; and when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling-wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled it carried out the hulls.

In the fall it was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out on the porch and waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields for dinner.

It will be a long time before anyone invents something that will replace that old-time apron that served so many purposes.

— Author Unknown

Sauerbraten in Crockpot

Richard’s Note: This easy recipe has all the wonderful flavor without the wait of marinating!

1 cup chopped onions,

1 cup beef broth,

1/2 cup cider vinegar,

15 ginger snaps,

2 Tbs. brown sugar,

2 Tbs. chopped parsley,

2 lbs. beef roast, cubed

Spray cooker with no stick spray, combine ingredients except ginger snaps and brown sugar and parsley. Cook on low seven to nine hours. 15 minutes before serving stir in the crushed gingersnaps and brown sugar. Cook 15 min more, until thick. Before serving sprinkle with parsley.

German Style Pork Chops

Note: Any good brown mustard would work well in this recipe.

6 pork loin chops, cut 1 & 1/2-inch thick

2 tsp. vegetable oil

2 cups apple cider

OR

2 cups apple juice

1/3 cup Viennese or German-style mustard

3 apples, unpared, cored, and sliced 1/2-inch-thick

1/2 cup currants

OR

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup sliced green onions

2 Tbs. cornstarch

1/4 cup water

Heat oil in large skillet. Brown pork chops over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Combine apple cider and mustard; pour over pork chops. Cover; cook over medium-low heat 45 minutes. Add apples, currants and green onions. Cover; cook five to 10 minutes longer. Place pork chops and apples on serving platter; keep warm. Gradually stir combined cornstarch and water into cider liquid. Cook and stir until thickened. Serve sauce over pork chops and apples.

Pork Chops and Red Cabbage

6 center loin pork chops, cut 1/2-inch thick

2 tsp. oil

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. dried sage and thyme leaves

1/8 tsp. pepper

2/3 cup water

2 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces

4 cups coarsely shredded red cabbage

1 cup onion slices

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced pears

Heat oil in large skillet. Brown pork chops over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt, sage, thyme and pepper. Add water. Cover; cook over medium-low heat 50 to 60 minutes or until pork chops are tender. Meanwhile, cook bacon in Dutch oven until crisp. Add cabbage and onions. Cook and stir over medium heat five minutes. Add one-half cup water, vinegar and brown sugar; mix well. Cover; simmer 15 minutes. Add pears; bring to a boil. Serve pork chops on top of cabbage.

German Brats

NOTE: Always be sure to remove bay leaves after cooking and before serving any food. Bay leaves present a choking hazard.

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (32 oz.) can sauerkraut, rinsed then dried

2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 cup water

1/2 cup dry white wine

OR

1/2 cup apple juice

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 tsp. instant chicken bouillon granules

1 tsp. caraway seed

1 bay leaf

1 lb. bratwurst (5 links)

1 large apple, cored and sliced

In a large skillet cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Crumble and set aside. Reserve two tablespoons drippings in skillet. Cook onion and garlic in reserved drippings over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sauerkraut, potatoes, water, white wine or apple juice, brown sugar, bouillon granules, caraway seed, and bay leaf. Add up to one-half cup more water, if necessary, to cover potatoes. Bring to boiling. Score bratwurst; add to sauerkraut mixture and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are just tender, stirring occasionally. Add the sliced apple; cover and cook for 5-10 minutes more or until apples are just tender. Remove bay leaf.

Bavarian Chops

4 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick

2 Tbs. flour

1 tsp. butter

1/2 cup chopped green onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz. mushrooms, sliced

1/2 tsp. thyme

8 oz. beer, room temperature

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Buttered noodles (optional)

Minced fresh parsley (optional)

Lightly flour chops. Melt butter in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. Brown chops quickly on both sides. Remove, reserve. Add green onion, garlic, mushrooms and thyme and sauté an additional minute. Return chops to skillet, add beer; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer seven to eight minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with noodles, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Chilled Marinated Cucumbers

Richard’s Note: Sometimes I like to vary this a bit. I salt and sugar the cucumbers and onions and let them draw water. And I like to add some dried garlic. Then before I serve it, I might or might not pour off some of the water, depending on how much there is. Then I add to it equal parts of sour cream and mayonnaise. It makes a delicious side dish. I think this side dish goes with everything!

2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced very thin

1 large onion, sliced very thin

1/2 cup cider vinegar

2 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. salt

Place cucumbers and onions in a non-metal bowl. Combine one-half cup water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Pour over vegetables. Chill. Store covered.

Cold Oven Pound Cake

1 cup margarine

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups white sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup milk

3 cups all-purpose flour

Do not preheat oven. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour alternately with the milk. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake in cold oven, then set the temperature to 300°. Bake for 90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Good Pound Cake

1 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups white sugar

5 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 tsp. rum flavored extract

1 tsp. coconut extract

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp. rum flavored extract

1 tsp. coconut extract

1 tsp. almond extract

1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 10-inch tube pan and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and 3 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add one teaspoon rum extract and 1 teaspoon coconut extract. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and evaporated milk. Mix until smooth. Pour batter into 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 325° for one hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool. Make the glaze: in a saucepan, combine one cup sugar, one-half cup water, one teaspoon rum extract, one teaspoon coconut extract and one teaspoon almond extract. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Use a toothpick to pierce all over the top of the cake. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and allow it to soak in.

German Chicken with Sauerkraut

Note: This sounds like a crazy recipe, but it is really quite good. The barbecue sauce imparts a nice sweetness to the sauerkraut, and the result is a delicious sweet-sour dish. I like to serve this with mashed potatoes for a quick, easy supper.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 cup barbecue sauce

22 oz, sauerkraut

Preheat oven to 350°. In a 9x13 baking dish, place the sauerkraut in a single layer. Place the chicken breasts on top of the sauerkraut. Pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the juices run clear.

German Potato Soup

Note: This potato soup is all the more delicious because of the three kinds of cheese it uses! And no potatoes to peel!!!

4 cups water

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

4 Tbs, chicken soup base

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

2 large carrots, finely chopped

4 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large onion, diced

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup mayonnaise

8 oz. processed cheese food (such as Velveeta)

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 cup dry potato flakes

In a large stock pot, combine water, chicken broth, chicken soup base, black pepper, carrots, diced potatoes, and onions. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add celery and red bell pepper, and simmer for five minutes. Gradually add mayonnaise to hot soup, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to medium low. Gradually stir in processed cheese, sharp Cheddar cheese, and Swiss cheese; continue stirring until cheese melts, about five minutes. Mix in potato flakes. Remove from heat, and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

German Rouladen

Note: This is one of my favorite dishes. I usually serve it with red cabbage and potato dumplings or mashed potatoes. Once I saute mine, I put them in the pressure cooker for about 40 minutes. They come out fork tender and delicious. Then I thicken the broth with cornstarch for a wonderful gravy.

1 & 1/2 lbs. flank steak

German stone-ground mustard, to taste

1/2 lb. thick sliced bacon

2 large onions, sliced

1 (16 oz.) jar dill pickle slices

2 Tbs. butter

2 & 1/2 cups water

1 cube beef bouillon

Cut the flank steak into thin filets; about 1/4-inch thick and three inches wide. Generously spread one side of each filet with mustard to taste. Place bacon, onions and pickle slices on each filet and form into a roll. Use string or toothpicks to hold the roll together. Heat a skillet over medium heat and melt butter. Place the rolls in the butter and sauté until browned. Pour in two and one-half cups of water and add the bouillon cube; stirring to dissolve the bouillon cube. Simmer the rolls for about an hour.

German Lentil Soup

Note: You can leave the ham out, and it is still good!

2 cups dried brown lentils, rinsed and drained

3 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup cooked, cubed ham

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

5 drops hot pepper sauce

1/4 tsp. caraway seed

1/2 tsp. celery salt

1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Place lentils in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add chicken stock, bay leaf, carrots, celery, onion, and ham. Season with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, nutmeg, hot pepper sauce, caraway seed, celery salt, parsley, and pepper. Cover, and cook on Low for eight to 10 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Or on top of the stove:

Place lentils in a stock pot with chicken stock, bay leaf, ham, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery, and onion, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add additional water if necessary to keep the mixture soupy.

Slow Cooked German Short Ribs

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

3 lbs. beef short ribs

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 slice onion, sliced

1/2 cup dry red wine or apple juice or cider

1/2 cup chili sauce

3 Tbs. packed brown sugar

3 Tbs. vinegar

1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons flour, salt, and pepper. Coat the short ribs with the flour mixture. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown short ribs in olive oil. In a slow cooker, combine onions, wine, chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and chili powder. Mix thoroughly. Transfer the short ribs from the skillet to the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on Low for six to eight hours. Remove ribs, and turn the slow cooker control to High. Mix the remaining two tablespoons of flour with one-fourth cup water, and stir into the sauce. Cook for 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.