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September 12: Midday Fix - Chef Carlyn Berghoff

26th Annual Berghoff Oktoberfest
September 14-16
11a.m. to 9 p.m.
John C. Kluczynski Federal Plaza
Adams and Dearborn

This open-air celebration boasts the best Bavarian-style revelry Chicago has to offer with classic German food, Berghoff's private-label Oktoberfest beer, and Bavarian polka performances by the beloved Johnny Wagner Band. Admission is free. This year's festivities also include live entertainment:
• Johnny Wagner Band: 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, September 14 through Friday, September 16
• Maggie Speaks: 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14
• Sixteen Candles: 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15
• Sorry for Parting: 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16

Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group
17 W. Adams Street

Barbecued Chicken Thighs
Serves 6-8
This simple recipe is an Oktoberfest favorite. The combination of chopped shopped shallot, garlic, and fresh oregano in the vinaigrette gives the marinade enough assertive flavors to balance the dominant balsamic vinegar. I always prefer to cook with chicken thighs because they are that much more flavorful then chicken breasts.

8 chicken thighs

Berghoff's Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients except the oil; slowly whisk in the oil to make vinaigrette. Let stand for at least 1 hour before using as directed. May be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 week.

Marinate chicken thighs in Balsamic Vinaigrette Marinade in a zippered bag for 2 hours. Grill till done.

Beets with Oranges and Candied Almonds
Serves 8

4 large oranges, plus extra for garnish
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds boiled or roasted fresh baby beets, peeled
1 cup Candied Sliced Almonds
2 Tablespoons chopped chives for garnish

Zest one orange and reserve the zest. Into a small bowl, juice all four oranges. Place the oranges juice and zest, butter, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a shallow saucepan. Bring to boil. Decrease the heat to medium and reduce the mixture for 3 minutes. Add the reserved beets to the saucepan and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Raise the heat to high and continue cooking, to reduce the sauce mixture to a thickened glaze consistency (the beets should be coated). Add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
Serve at room temperature in a bowl or on a platter, sprinkle with Candied Almonds and chives. You may also garnish the dish with sliced oranges or slivered orange peel.

Variation: You may also use larger beets and cut them into ¾ inch cubes.

German Potato Salad
Serves 8

Dressing Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups cider-vinegar
1/2 cup minced sweet onions
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Salad Ingredients:
8 large white potatoes, peeled, boiled, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (about four pounds)
1 cup cooked, chopped applewood-smoked bacon (3 ounces)
1 cup chopped scallions

Prepare this salad 4 to 6 hours, or one day, ahead of serving, for its flavors to blend optimally. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk to mix well. Cover and let stand for at least 2 hours before using as directed. This recipe makes 1 2/3 cups of dressing.
Make the salad: Gently toss the hot, sliced potatoes with the bacon and chopped scallions. Stir in the dressing and toss gently to coat evenly. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 to 6 hours, or overnight. The salad can be reheated in the microwave if you wish to serve it warm.
To serve: Place the salad in a bowl.

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups applewood-smoked bacon, chopped (1 pound)
1 cup Berghoff Larger beer
6 cups bagged or canned sauerkraut rinsed and drained
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon toasted caraway seeds

In a 17-inch skillet, cook the bacon until crispy, drain off the fat. Add the beer to the pan to deglaze it. Stir in the sauerkraut, butter, and caraway seeds. Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep warn.

Chocolate Brownies
Makes 18 to 24 Brownies

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cups chocolate chips
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional)
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, combine the oil and sugar on medium speed until creamy. With the mixer running, add the eggs two at a time, until all are incorporated and the mixture is creamy. Stir in the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add the cocoa mixture until just in-corporated. Stir in the chips and nuts by hand. Spray a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack to room temperature. Place the pan in the refrigerator until chilled. Cut the brownies (3 by 6) into eighteen pieces, or (4 by 6) into twenty-four. Store the brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Carlyn Berghoff, CEO, Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group, is a multifaceted businesswoman committed to her work, to her family and to herrole in the community.

Carlyn Berghoff wrote a best-selling cookbook, The Berghoff Family Cookbook (Andrews McMeel, 2007) and published her second, The Berghoff Café Cookbook: Berghoff Recipes for Simple, Satisfying Food, in September 2009. Currently, she is writing her third book -- Strategies of Coping with Celiac Disease; as told from her teenage daughter, Sarah'sperspective.

Carlyn is a chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, one of six females in the class of 1982 and president of the Student Body. She received her bachelor's degree in hospitality management from Florida International University in 1983. In 1986 she opened Artistic Events, a premier off-premise catering company that she has operated ever since. In 2006, after her parents closed the Berghoff restaurant, she purchased the assets, moved her catering company to the historic Berghoff building, and now operates the bar, dining room and café there. In 2008, Carlyn renamed her company the Berghoff Catering & Restaurant Group.

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