german buffet help

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good day all,

 i have been asked to cater a dinner following a concert of mostly german classical music....i really haven't a clue about german food, or what would be able to sit on a buffet line...my taste always gravitates towards lighter dishes...salads etc..is there a german equivilent to antipasto?, but as i said, i'm clueless on german cusine...any help, ideas, suggestions would be greatly, greatly appreciated... thanks...keep in mind that its hot...even here

joey
 
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I use to work at a German restaurant back in the 90's.

A good appetizer for a buffet would be currywurst. You could use knockwurst, tomato sauce, paprika, and curry powder (making your own curry blend would probably taste better, but you could use a commercial one to make it easier for you).

Another item that could be used on a buffet would be rouladen, which is a braised beef roll filled with an onion, bacon, and pickle mixture. There are many other fillings, but that is what we used. It's usually served with a brown sauce, we took the braising liquid, strained and reduced it, and I believe added a roux.

A warm potato salad would also be nice. Spaetzle(egg noodles) would probably hold ok for a buffet as well. I remember making deviled eggs with dijon mustard and capers.

I'm at my day job, so I don't have any of my notebooks with me, but I'll look when I get home.
 
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Way back when cheftalk first started, I was the sous chef at a German restaurant. Here's some stuff to add to Will's good ideas:

German antipasto is usually charcuterie, smoked fish (trout, eel, etc), pickled vegetables and various cheeses.

These would work on a buffet line, but don't exactly fit under the category of "light food":

German pork ribs - squeeze the juice out of some sauerkraut and marinate the ribs in that. Then braise them in sauerkraut. Serve the kraut as a side

Sauerbraten - I used to do a different version of this than the traditional. Marinate top round in half red wine vinegar, half red wine, onions and clove. Roast off to med rare and slice thin. Serve with a gingersnap brown sauce.

Paprika Chicken: get some fresh wings in, put them in a paprika brine and roast them.

Schweinbraten: roast pork loin. I did mine with a mustard/garlic rub.
 

phatch

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Don't forget some liverwurst to go with the dark bread and cheese.

Lots of dumpling varieties, Klosse, Knoedel along with the Spaetzle.

Some soups, leek and potato, asparagus soup

Lots of different breads and rolls

Rotkohl

cucumber salads
 
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thank you all for your suggestions...i still have a few questions, but have more or less come up with a working menu(always subject to change). please give me your thoughts on it...

~ grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut

~ roasted pork loin with a sauce...i like the sound of the gingersnap brown sauce...greg, would you give me that one?

~ spaetzle, potato pancakes, egg noodles or german potato salad

~ platter of pickled veggies,pickled herring, liverwurst, cheeses, radishes

~ cucumber salad.....any specific dressing for that? i'm thinking red wine vinegar, red onion kinda thing

~ dark bavarian bread,rye bread,onion rolls...butter!

~ german chocolate cake.....what else could it be!

did i miss anything?

i like the rouladen idea as well, but too labor intensive for me, i think..the pickles in the filling leaves me completely cold...don't think anything that people have to pick up and eat with their fingers would work for this well heeled group, so the ribs are out...still thinking about the potato salad though. any particular cheeses that i should use on the platter? another salad idea would be great..gingersnap sauce for the pork loin, greg, don't forget...thanks all..i really really do appreciate the input...now maybe one of you can come cook it for me!...not my type of cuisine or taste, but will be good for me to expand my horizon, i guess...gavolt!!!(sp).... by the way, what is rotkohl? german for roadkill?

joey
 

phatch

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Pickles in the filling is more in the sauerbraten tradition. There are many different types of rouladen with different fillings.

Rotkohl is a red cabbage dish, often sweet and sour with apples, but more subtle than most people think of  for sweet and sour.
 
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thanks phatch...think i have had the red cabbage/apple dish and really enjoyed it...i might add that for the pork loin, or sub it for the sauerkraut to go with the brats

joey
 
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Our pastry chef (who had worked in Germany) actually showed me the gingersnap sauce the way he'd seen it done. All he did was take some gingersnap cookies, crumble them up and mixed them into a brown sauce. Make this ahead of time to give the flavor time to marry.

Cucumber salad usually would utilize a vinegar that won't color the cucumber. I would use a white wine vinegar and some fresh dill.

For cheeses, I'd go with pretty much any continental European cheeses. Muenster, havarti, smoked gouda, emmentaler and my personal favorite, butterkase.

I'd also look into the availability of some weisswurst, your well-heeled crowd might like the sound of that better than the working-class brat.
 

phatch

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Weisswurst is a specialty of Munich and a tasty sausage. Check with your purveyor to make sure it has a good snap when cooked or it can be a bit insipid.   I really wish the regional bratwurst varieties would catch on in the US. They can be quite different from each other.
 
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Snitchztel  A La Holstein., Roast Duck, Head Cheese, Roasted Beet Salad, Huzereten Salad(slivered beef, dill pickle onion)

Roll Mop Herring. Potato Pancakes,  Beef A La Deutche ,Blood wurst , German choco cake, Dobosh layer cake. and on and on
 
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How could I have forgotten cucumber salad?  The main one I remember had a sour cream base with chives and dill. Don't add it to the peeled and salted cucumbers until right before service as it makes the cucumbers soggy.

A lot of really good ideas in this thread.
 
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German rye bread

Onion pie

Sauerkraut salad with ham

potato dumplings

Kielbasa with paprika cream Schnitzel

German meatballs

Pork tenderloin

Beet Salad with egg, dill, celery , onion, mayo & sour cream

Desserts

German bee sting cake

Apfelstrudel

Topfentorte cheesecake

Banana chocolate cake

German chocolate

Anise Kuchen

Fastmachts (drop donuts-then sugared)

Almond poppy seed cookies  

Springerle (cookies)

Lebkuchen (taste like spice cake- but cookies)

a thought....
 
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umm, beet salad sounds great as well.... roasted? think i would prefer to do it without the sour cream, mayo..maybe with red onions, walnuts, balsamic and a little sweetener(apple juice?)...assuming i can get the weisswurst..is that a raw product? we do have a local organic meat processor here that packages their own sausage, so i'll ask them what they might have that is similar...would any of the boars head products work? what is the next best sausage if i can't get the weisswurst? raw is better than cooked i assume? whats in the german meatballs? not pickles, i hope....and the sauce for the meatballs? thank you all for your great input...as for the cheeses...of course,havarti, gouda, jarlsberg etc...duh! will post to let you know the final menu and the final outcome.....thanks again chefs...hope your day goes well

joey
 
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Weisswurst is raw, bratwurst should be as well. I don't recommend Boar's Head bratwurst, even Johnsonville makes better. If that local place is within your budget, I'd bet they have a better product too.
 
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Yes, I would roast the beets as you stated. I have always made that salad with mayo and sour cream as it holds better , you can toss in finely chopped  celery. I enjoy alot of fresh dill , and just before refrigeration I put a bit of the dill pickle juice in to enhance the flavors .....but its your call .

No, there are no pickles in the meatballs lol.....the meatballs are pretty much your standard ingredients ( I like to put a touch of caraway powder in mine)  a mushroom sauce would be nice, or a white sauce with fresh dill weed. It is your call.

With all the posts, its sounds like a nice menu.....you will hit this out of the ballpark !

"Beifall" !
 
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many thanks again chefs,

 i will rethink and refine the menu once again based on all your wonderful suggestions and information..i do like the meatball in sauce idea as i do think this well heeled(fossilized) group would like them and understand them better, and they won't have to chew so much as with the pork..addition of fresh dill in something is perfect..tell me, why does it seem that all the rich people are old? anyway, one last question, i promise...i would like to put out some sort of fresh salad with baby greens..what type of dressing?..nothing creamy..i'm thinking maybe a poppyseed(sweet/sour)? or maybe a dressing using the rotkohl as a base? maybe ending up with the roasted beets in it...  google has left me hard and dry trying to find 'modern' german cuisine..is there such a thing?...can't believe the whole country eats the typical stuff..maybe if they renamed it to sound better.... as for the weisswurst issue, i will get the best sausage i can...raw...can i par bake them the day before or earlier in the day and then finish them on the grill or will they shrivel up as much as the guests?...thanks again all..think i'm done with all the questions

joey
 

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