I'm still in a German food coma following this past weekend's Blocktoberfest, an annual blowout the wife — she of Austrian heritage — and I host for friends and family this time of year.
Although we scaled back the bash several years ago when kids came along, we've been ramping it back up recently by incorporating everyone's little ones into the festivities.
Saturday night's soiree drew about 80 guests to our house, with adults sampling a dozen different German beers around the firepit, while the kids bobbed for apples, tested their limbo skills and toasted marshmallows for s'mores.
And a bigger crowd means more food, so we biggie-sized the buffet as well.
While I was outside grilling sausages and brats (shipped in from Germany, this year) Amy was inside setting up a table full of her homemade German potato salad, sauerkraut, cooked purple cabbage, sauteed peppers, cucumber salad and apple salad, along with assorted pickles, mustards and jumbo pretzels.
Guests added to the bounty by bringing pecan pie, pumpkin cheesecake, appetizers and more. From fine friends and family to fantastic food, it was an affair to remember.
Now, what to do with all of those the leftovers?
A reheated plate the next day was as good as the night before, but we may eventually want to shake thing up. I thought all of our extra sausages and kraut might make an awesome fall soup, so I Googled said creation and stumbled on a good one from the Food Network's Emeril Lagasse.
I'm not a big fan of Emeril usually (bam THIS, dude!) but I figure the man probably knows his sausage. His recipe is included this week.
In digging through my old clipped recipes, I also came across another one that looks fantastic.
Also starring sausages, although ones of the Italian variety, this recipe serves them with sauteed onions and broiled green tomatoes over cheesy, creamy polenta. But this dish gets a creative kick with a finishing touch of honey and herb-seasoned grapes.
I haven't made it yet, but can already taste its sweet, salty, spicy, savory goodness. The recipe looks more complicated than it is, so it's definitely one I'll be trying soon.
Contact writer Steven Keith at 304-348-1721 or by e-mail at
Sauerkraut Soup with Sausage
1 lb. smoked sausage or kielbasa, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup hard cider
1 (32-oz.) jar sauerkraut, drained and rinsed briefly
8 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup peeled and cubed potatoes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add the sausage. Cook until the sausage is caramelized and the fat is rendered, 4-6 minutes. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.