Pumpkin, cinammon and ginger add a little fall to your recipes

Cinammon is one of the spices that is perfect in fall recipes.
Cinammon is one of the spices that is perfect in fall recipes. MCT

Readers often reminisce about old Coast restaurants, but rarely mention one that I miss.

The Keppner family owned and operated the only German restaurant on the Coast in the late ’80s and ’90s. Hurricane Katrina demolished the restaurant in 2005.

Fall reminds me of Oktoberfest and all the wonderful flavors of German food. The Keppners offered traditional German fare from potato pancakes with applesauce to bratwurst and noodle dishes.

The flavors of cinnamon and ginger are found throughout this cuisine, and they just taste like fall feels, a little spicy, but sweet.

Oktoberfest is celebrated starting in late September through mid-November in towns and cities in the United States.

The largest celebration, of course, is in Munich, Germany. Some six million people are celebrating through the upcoming weekend in Munich. While the crowds are staggering, think of the authentic cuisine.

When I lived in Texas, we enjoyed Oktoberfest at Bavarian Gardens, which had an outdoor patio, good food and, of course, a German band and dancing. Beer has never been to my liking, but I can enjoy a good bratwurst any day as well as sauerkraut on a hot dog.

New Braunfels, Texas, however, is the place to be for authentic German food and celebrations. That celebration kicks off in November and continues for two weeks.

The New Braunfels Smokehouse uses old German recipes and is known for its smoked meats you might have to go to online dealers to find it.

While it is hearty fare, German potato salad and a pot roast is good eating and simply say fall to me. I make my own applesauce in the slow cooker so I can control the amount of spices and sugar. Fresh is better than jarred.

Today, I thought I would share a German meatballs recipe that is served with sauerkraut, a healthier twist on meatballs and noodles.

Fall for Pumpkins

Pumpkins are popping up at farmers’ markets, grocery stores and, yes, pumpkin patches. Lately, folks have said fall brings too many pumpkin desserts and drinks, especially coffee. Not so. Pumpkin is a favorite whether in a dessert or breakfast muffin. Call me a traditionalist, but I also like a piping hot skinny pumpkin latte.

Emeril Lagasse’s chefs at Delmonico in New Orleans must like pumpkin, too. The dessert of the month is a pumpkin profiterole with pumpkin ice cream and dulce de leche caramel. Doesn’t that sound decadent, but delish?

I offer a pumpkin muffin that has all the right flavors.

Reader Needs Help

Leslie Sivak wants an easy gumbo recipe that is easy to follow, not too spicy and does not contain okra, which she does not like.

“I grew up East European food, what most people on the Coast would call bland,” she said.

German potato salad

8 medium baking potatoes (russets), peeled

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt (divided)

10 slices bacon

1/4 cup bacon drippings

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Peel the potatoes and cook in salted water (1 teaspoon salt) just until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces.

Combine vinegar, sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and set aside.

In a large skillet, fry the bacon until crisp; remove and crumble. Drain bacon drippings from the skillet reserving 1/4 cup. Return 1/4 cup bacon drippings to skillet, and sauté the chopped onion just until softened. Add the vinegar mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil.

Immediately add the chopped potatoes and crumbled bacon. Gently toss until heated through. Add black pepper to taste, and serve at once.

Notes: This recipe makes about 8 generous servings. However, in the unlikely event you have any left over, it's great, served cold, the next day.

From ‘Texas Recipes’

Bavarian Pot Roast

1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds)

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/4 cups water

3/4 cup beer or beef broth

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Cornstarch and water, optional

In a Dutch oven, brown roast in hot oil. Combine water, beer, tomato sauce, onion, sugar, vinegar, salt, cinnamon, bay leaf, pepper and ginger. Pour over meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until meat is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Remove meat. Discard bay leaf. If desired, thicken juices with cornstarch and water.

Freeze option: Place sliced pot roast in freezer containers; top with cooking juices. Cool and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Microwave, covered on high in a microwave-safe dish until heated through, gently stirring and adding a little broth if necessary. Serves 10.

Nutritional data: 281 calories; 16 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat); 99 milligrams cholesterol; 633 milligrams sodium; 5 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams sugar; 27 grams protein.

From Taste of Home magazine

German Meatballs

1 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 can (27 ounces) sauerkraut, undrained

1/3 to 1/2 cup water, optional

Addition snipped parsley

In a bowl, combine first 10 ingredients; shape into 18 meatballs, 2 inches each. Heat the oil in a skillet; brown the meatballs. Remove meatballs and drain fat. Spoon sauerkraut into skillet; top with meatballs. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until meatballs are cooking through, adding water if necessary. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional data per 3-meatball serving: 376 calories; 22 grams fat (7 grams saturated); 11 milligrams cholesterol; 636 milligrams sodium; 18 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams sugar; 4 grams fiber; 27 grams protein.

Note: Reduce sodium by rinsing and draining sauerkraut and replacing juice with water.

From ‘Taste of Home’ magazine

Slow Cooker Applesauce

4 pounds apples (I like Honey Crisp or Gala), peeled and cored (a hand-crank apple peeler works great)

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Can add 1/2 cup sugar if not sweet enough to your taste. I omit the sugar.

Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Add spices and sugar, if wanted. Cover and cook on high about 5 hours. This is a chunky applesauce. Place in blender or food processor if smoother applesauce is desired.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (pure pumpkin puree)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

8 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place paper baking cups into muffin pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar and brown sugar.

Beat in eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.

Top each muffin with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter. This will not look smooth, but it will bake up much prettier. Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

The Novice Chef blog