Monday, December 31, 2007

Presenting Our Annual "Sauerbraten und Käsespätzle" Dinner!

Each year, between Christmas and New Years, we create (we don't just cook!) and devour (we don't just eat!) our annual Sauerbraten und Käsespätzle dinner. We look forward to this meal all year long, not only for its deliciousness, but for the great time we have preparing it. This year we got a late start in the day and didn't end up eating until 11 PM, but it was well worth the wait!

Tom's brother Craig is the master of the Käsespätzle and even when Tom and I were in Germany last September, we didn't taste any Käsespätzle that came close to his! Craig starts with 10 huge sweet Walla-Walla onions, over a pound of butter, a delicious mix of Emmathaler and Swiss cheese, and then puts his little brother and his nieces and nephews to work!

In the meantime, I throw together (and it really is that easy) the sauerbraten and get that cooking on the stove for just a fraction of the time (thanks to the red wine vinegar) that original sauerbraten used to cook in German kitchens.

Normally, I begin the rotkraut (also called blaukraut; what's with that?!) at the same time that I begin the sauerbraten, but due to circumstances beyond my control last night (too much heffe weizen beer?!), I didn't get it started until it was much too late and... well, it's still on the stove as I type this the next morning! But I did steal some still-too-raw rotkraut for my final photo!

So here's a bit of a vertical photo collage, beginning with a video that I took of the organized chaos in the much-too-small kitchen. Notice how everyone reveres me and my camera and eagerly participates in my production? (Pfffffft!) But I like this because it shows everyone's personality. Before the scene even really begins you can see Peter leave the room. He had just said something along the lines of, "If you're taking pictures or a video with that damn camera, I'm outta here!" But he does re-appear to get a glass, so HA!. Craig, Elisabeth and Aleks are deeply immersed in the dance that is Käsespätzle, with Elisabeth ignoring me and Aleks admonishing me not to narrate my videos -- so true to their personalities! (And Elisabeth licking the dough -- yuuuk -- is just pure Elisabeth!) Poor Kat is still on pain meds from her oral surgery; can you tell? Tom is washing dishes, which is just where I like him, and sweet Danelle -- well, she speaks for herself!

Tom insists that the goggles prevent onion-induced crying. I just think they look funny! But cutting ten huge onions does require the big guns!

So who are all those people sitting around my gold-accented New Years table? Left to right, that's Elisabeth's boyfriend Scott (yes, the one who brought me roses on Christmas Eve!), Tom's mother Rose (Nana), Aleks, Kat, Tom, his older brother Craig (for whom I am seeking a wife!), Peter, Danelle, and Elisabeth. In my gratitude journal, these guys all rank right up there with air to breathe.

(If Blogger would allow it, I'd post a caption with each picture, but for some crazy-stupid reason this simple task can't be achieved in Blogger (tips, anyone?) and even my geeky brother-in-law Craig couldn't get the html to cooperate enough to caption photos. Please tell me they're working on this!)

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Jen said...

Oh, Carol, I have guests coming shortly, so I can't bask in this wonderful post, but you have NO idea how much seeing this reminds me of my grandmother and the stories my mom told me. I've sent the post to my mom and hope she figures out how to open the link. What a lovely feast!

And Happy New Year!~

Anonymous said...

I always make Sauerbraten on Christmas Day, although I do it the "old-fashioned" way and marinate it for four to five days. Don't much care for the red vinegar taste. I also love to make Rotkohl (that's what it's called in Northern Germany) and usually serve it with Rouladen. Just made Rouladen yesterday and Hubby was in heaven. Are you familiar with Rouladen? I'm not sure, but it might be a Northern German dish.

Anonymous said...

Your brother-in-law looks quite lovely, however, if he's in the market for a girlfriend, he should untuck his shirt. That's the kiss of death IMO!
Cheers! Best in 2008 to you and your family!

She-She C said...

Do you have room at the table for one (ok, maybe two) more? I showed your blog to Mr. Ed and he's quite familiar with your dinner fare, as he'd spent 18 months in Hoehenfels many moons ago while serving in the Army.

Home's Jewels said...

That meal looks seriously yummy!

Maria said...

What? No recipes? You're making me hungry and causing me to miss Germany all in one post! :)

Jen said...

Now I got to see/read the whole thing. How wonderful! Oh, I loved the video and hearing everyone's voice, etc. What fun!

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