Tonawanda News

October 8, 2012

VUKCEVICH: Welcome cooler weather with fall recipes

By Marija Vukcevich
The Tonawanda News

— As summer fades into oblivion, everyone is talking about not missing those most unwelcome heat waves of a few weeks ago, and asking if summer goes, why won’t the guests!

Celebrations for Oktoberfest continue locally. Did I hear that something is happening Saturday on Falls Street in Niagara Falls that promises to be another Oktoberfest, Western New York style. Watch for the latest update on these pages.

I am looking forward to a taste of a pumpkin spice latte coming with a friend from Buffalo — she won’t share the recipe — and am equally excited about the contributed recipes below, for red cabbage, apples and sausage; and Cindy’s pumpkin walnut bread.

I hear through the grapevine, or pumpkin patch, that the latte is from Starbucks?

Yes, squirrels are stocking the larder for winter. Dry brown leaves and acorns have been crunching underfoot for weeks now. Under cover of darkness, a new season has slipped in, and it is dark at 7 a.m.! 

Autumn is here, bringing fresher air, cooler weather, shorter days and confusion about what Oktoberfest is really about. But I digress.

Friends tell me that Buffalonians celebrate Oktoberfest in fine fashion until the end of this week, as did folks of Wheatfield, many years ago. This lovely town east of Niagara Falls International Airport, has a fascinating history. Joshua Pettit came in 1810 and settled near the Niagara Iron Works where he opened a historical society of North German settlements in Western New York. 

Wheatfield! The name stems from the agricultural use of the town lands, the growing of wheat in days gone by. 

Oktoberfest began as a celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria — who later became king — to Princess Therese of Saxon-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. 

Authentic German-inspired red cabbage, apples and sausage

4 tablespoons rendered bacon fat

2 tablespoons sugar

1 small yellow onion, chopped

4 cups shredded red cabbage

2 tart red apples, such as Jonathan, cored and sliced thin, but not peeled.

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 to 1 1/2 pounds German sausage, bratwurst, or Polish-style smoked sausage

1 pound new potatoes

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup beer

Melt the bacon fat in a large skillet over medium heat. 

 Add the sugar and cook, stirring often, until the sugar browns, about 4 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the onion and saute it until it is golden, about 5 minutes.

Add the cabbage, apples, vinegar and caraway seeds, and stir to blend.

Place the sausage links and the potatoes on top of the cabbage mixture.

Season with salt and pepper, and pour the beer over all.

Bring the mixture to a boil, over medium-high heat, reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 45 minutes.

Taste, adjust the seasonings and serve hot.

This recipe serves 4 to 6 and can be easily doubled.

Pumpkin walnut bread

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (don’t use imitation)

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center.

Lightly coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with melted butter or canola oil spray and line it with a piece of parchment paper that extends 1 inch beyond the edge of both sides of the pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger and salt until thoroughly blended.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable or canola oil and vanilla extract and blend well.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth.

Add the walnuts and stir until they are evenly distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the top.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Our Nov. 4 column will feature time-honored Thanksgiving Day recipes, and yours are welcome. Don’t forget to vote Tuesday!

Marija Vukcevich is a freelance writer from Lewiston. Contact her at