Woo Hoo It’s Appletoberfest!

It’s my favorite time of the year, Appletoberfest.  Okay, maybe that is not a real word, but it combines two of my most loved holidays, Oktoberfest and the Bayfield, WI Apple Festival.  If you have never been to this particular feeding frenzy up north in Bayfield, you owe it to yourself to take the trip.  About 60,000 people converge on this tiny, hilly town on Lake Superior and eat and drink everything apple.  From cider to pie to apple brats, if you want it apple flavored, they probably have it.

The culmination of the weekend is the parade on Sunday afternoon.  High school bands come from all over to play in the hour and a half long display.  It’s always fun to see if we’ll freeze or sweat as we watch.  On the shores of Lake Superior you just never know!  But one thing is for sure, this festival has been voted top ten in the country for a reason and you don’t want to miss it.

My other beloved celebration is Oktoberfest.  There’s a full-blooded German in my house, and he loves their food.  Since we can’t make it to Munich, we try to bring Munich to Minnesota.  It has been a fun and challenging labor of love to learn to cook this food; but it is worth every minute.  I’ve written in a previous post about my skepticism towards vinegar.  Now that I’ve gotten over that fear and embraced my new bitter friend, it’s like a whole new world out there.

One of my favorite side dishes is red cabbage.  Now don’t go wrinkling your nose and saying you don’t like it.  Try it, you’ll be surprised!  I used to think coleslaw was the only use for cabbage.  Oh I am so sorry, cabbage Gods.  This dish mixes the sweetness of the wine and apple with the tartness of the vinegar and onion, and who doesn’t love bacon?  Okay, you could leave that out for your vegetarian friends, but try this dish.  It’s not just for Appletoberfest anymore!

Red Cabbage

1 small head red cabbage                                                                       

4 T red wine vinegar or cider vinegar

1.5 T butter or olive oil

1 T sugar

1 medium onion

2-3 tart apples

1 C red wine

3-4 cloves

2-3 bay leaves

salt (good pinch)

5-6 pieces of bacon (optional)

 Wash the cabbage.  Remove the trunk and cut into fine strips.  Brown the sugar in the butter until light brown.  Add the onion (finely chopped), the bacon (chopped), and the apple (peeled and cubed).  Saute a few minutes and add the cabbage.  Pour the vinegar on the cabbage to keep the color, then mix all the pan together.  Season with salt, the wine, bay leaves, and cloves.  Cover and steam over medium heat about 45-60 minutes until the cabbage is tender.  Add salt and pepper or more wine if desired.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.

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