Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hot Buttered Pretzels

I am not a shopper. Walking the mall is not my favorite past time. I do like to browse stores like Williams-Sonoma, go figure?! So what does the mall hold? Soft, golden, buttery pretzels; the aroma wafts throughout the walk ways for several stores, chases me around the kiosks, calling to me.
One of my favorite cookbooks, King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion, has an excellent hot buttered pretzel recipe. I have never made something from this book which has not turned out well.
There you have it, still warm, soft, brushed with real butter, oh happy day! The only change I made to the King Arthur recipe was to give the dough a baking soda bath before baking, instead of sugar, this causes the exterior to be alkaline and give the pretzel the familiar chewy texture, it also causes the exterior to brown quickly without drying the interior.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, melted
coarse salt of choice, kosher or pretzel
In a large mixing bowl, combine the water for dough, sugar and yeast, allow to rest 5 minutes.
 Add the rest of the dough ingredients, knead for 5 minutes, until soft and smooth, not sticky. Cover and allow to rise 30 minutes.

Knead again for 1 minute.
Cut into 8 pieces.
Preheat oven to 500F.
Mix the water and baking soda in a small pan, warm and stir until most of the soda is dissolved and it is hot to the touch.
Roll each piece into a long snake.
Dip into the hot soda bath.
Tie into shape, place on a lightly greased sheet pan.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bake for 8-9 minutes.

Brush with melted butter.

Can hardly wait! What?! Who is going to miss that little piece?
Enjoy warm. These are best the day they are made. sad.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Savory Roasted Potatoes and Onions

This is a follow-up to the roasted cauliflower post, since then I have roasted loads of veggies. I was at a class recently, afterward discussing healthier cooking and getting vegetables into our children (and husbands), I told one of the ladies that I had been roasting them with different seasonings, she replied that she had been doing the same and her favorites were snow peas and parsnips. Okay, so I confess that parsnips are not a favorite vegetable for me, I have "palate imprinting" from my Mom's vegetable soup. Perhaps I'll be brave soon and try them roasted but for now, here are the potatoes and onions which were delicious. And, yes, I know potatoes are not a vegetable.
3 lbs red or gold potatoes, washed and cut into bitesized chunks
4 medium onions, peeled and cut into bitesized chunks
olive oil for drizzling
smoked paprika
onion powder
garlic powder
First, don't freak out because I didn't put measurements! Some people like more seasoning than others so we are going to use what we like, a little or a lot, you choose.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
In a very large bowl, place the potatoes and onions.
Drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat, maybe 3-5 tablespoons.
Sprinkle all the seasonings on the top.
Toss to coat all.
Place on an ungreased sheet pan. Be sure to leave space between so they roast not steam.

Roast for 18-20 minutes or until they are tender when poked with a fork.

 A "twofer".
 Crisp outside, tender inside, full of flavor!
Hope you enjoy them!
And just in case you have to have measurements, I used 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and a heaping teaspoon everything else.