If you make mustard, of course you need pretzels to go with them!
These are wonderful soft pretzels, better than the mall, and without questionable origins!
Top them with just salt. Or poppy and sesame seeds. Dip them in cheese sauce, or mustard, or even peanut butter
Your mouth will thank you!!
Recipe : (adapted from the wonderful Alton Brown)
3/4 C warm water
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast. Active dry or instant, it makes no difference here!
1 tsp salt
11 oz(approximately 2 1/4 C) all purpose flour
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter, melted
1/3 C baking soda
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tbsp water
Combine sugar, water, salt and yeast in a bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes, or until the yeast begins to foam. Mix in the flour and butter or oil, and knead by hand or in a stand mixer, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a covered bowl and let it sit for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a baking pan. Combine the baking soda and 5C water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, punch down the dough and divide it into 6 equal parts. Roll each part into a rope, shape it into a “u”, and then take then ends, twist them once, and press the ends down on the bottom of the “u”. Voila, pretzel shape!!
Now take the pretzels one by one. Gently transfer a pretzel to a large, flat spatula and lower it into the boiling water for 45 seconds. Carefully lift the pretzel out with the spatula and put it on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the pretzels have been boiled.
Brush each pretzel with the egg wash and sprinkle on some salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they are delicious and golden brown. Try to resist eating them until they are cool enough to handle!!
Makes 6 pretzels
Last week I had a sudden urge to make mustard. I love that I’m the kind of person who has a sudden urge to make mustard, and the ingredients on hand to do it with. I’m weird. Very strange things make me exceptionally happy.
And, really, it’s probably one of the easiest things to make. Certainly worth the payoff in amped-up sandwiches and salad dressings for the next month or so. The only drawback is you absolutely must let it age at least a couple of days before you use it. Otherwise it might burn your face off! It needs to age to allow the more volatile compounds(what mustard gas is made of-you don’t want to eat that!!) to escape. If you taste the mustard and it is too hot, let it age a little more, it may help.
If you make this mustard today, it will be more than ready for the soft pretzel recipe I’ll be posting Friday.
1/2 C mustard seeds, a mixture of yellow, brown, and/or black(remember, the darker the seeds, the hotter your mustard will be) I used 3/4 yellow and 1/4 brown for a moderately bitey mustard after a few days of aging.
1/2C vinegar Plain white is perfectly fine, but different vinegar can add nuance-try red wine vinegar, or malt vinegar, or rice or sherry wine vinegar. Whatever tickles your fancy! I used plain white vinegar
1/4C other liquid-you can use water if you want a straightforward mustard, but a dark beer, or white wine, or apple or raspberry juice all make different very interesting mustards. I used guinness in this one
1 tbsp-1/2C honey or brown sugar, depending in how sweet you like your mustard. I used 2 tbsp-not terribly sweet, just enough to temper the sharp edge of the mustard.
Combine the mustard seeds, vinegar, and liquid of your choice in a glass bowl. Cover and allow to sit for 4-8 hours, or even overnight. You want the mustard seeds to absorb the liquid. Just don’t add hot liquids-heat will kill some of the flavor elements in mustard and that is not what we want!!
Once the seeds have soaked up the liquid, put them in a food processor(for coarse mustard) or a blender(for smooth mustard) with the sweetener, and a touch of turmeric, if you want bright yellow mustard(I don’t bother, but it is pretty) Blend or process until the mustard is the consistency you want. Spoon it into a glass(metal or plastic will cause the mustard to develop off flavors) container and allow it to age in the fridge, at least three days.
Makes about 1 cup. Keeps in the fridge indefinitely.
Recently, I stumbled on this bread recipe.
How brilliant is that? a loaf of bread stuffed with cheese and green onions, laced with poppyseeds and baked to awesomeness. The only problem-half a stick of butter plus a pound of cheese. Way too much indulgence.
My version is lighter on cheese, with more onions, seeds and spices, and less butter. It’s still plenty indulgent, just more reasonably so. Proof that you don’t have to rely on whole sticks of butter to make things delicious!
I also used half a loaf of presliced sourdough bread instead of preparing an unsliced loaf like she did. It was more convenient, and super simple. You can use whatever bread you want, you just want it to be a sturdier loaf, not light and airy. Stale works just fine.
1/2 loaf of presliced bread, about 8-12 slices.
6 oz swiss cheese, shredded
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch cayenne, or more to taste(I like things on the milder side, a pinch is not spicy at all)
2 tbsp butter
1 Tbsp poppyseeds
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the butter and mix in the poppy and sesame seeds. Set aside
In a medium bowl, mix together the cheese, onion, paprika and cayenne. Layer this mixture in between the slices of bread (doing this on the tinfoil you will later wrap the bread in is the easiest way).
Drizzle the seed and butter mixture over the top and wrap the whole thing tightly in tinfoil. Place it on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Unwrap the top of the loaf and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy on top. Transfer to a plate and serve as soon as it has cooled enough to be handled.
Sometimes you just need something fast, and resorting to junk food isn’t an option. This is my latest emergency healthy food creation-between a dog rescue event that went longer than planned, and my sister’s dance recital I had 20 minutes in which to have dinner. Oops! Throw a can of beans and some other things in the food processor. Cut up some veggies. Dinner is served!
I love hummus of any type, really, but this is a particularly nice version. Green and bright and very tasty, I bet this would be a fantastic sandwich spread, as well as a dip.
Maybe I should make some more tomorrow!
1 can cannelini or navy beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp tahini
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 green onions, sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1 C spinach leaves, loosely packed
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Put all ingredients in the food processor. Process until smooth. Done!
Makes about 1.5 C
But sometimes, simple is best. Honey Mustard. You might have dipped chicken nuggets in it as a child. Or maybe not. In any case, it is a comforting, spicy-sweet choice with which to top your salad.
You might think the dill is weird, but really, try it. It’s not dill-y at all, the dill just heightens the mustard flavor. If you want a thicker or thinner dressing, feel free to adjust the sour cream to milk ratio however you want(with 3/4C total of both combined). All sour cream makes a thick dip, for veggies or pretzels, 1/4C sour cream and 1/2C milk will make quite a thin dressing.
1/2C sour cream
1/4 C milk
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/3 C honey
1/4tsp each onion and garlic powder
1/2 tbsp dried dill weed
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, and let it rest in the fridge for an hour at least to allow the flavors to meld.
This keeps at least a week in the fridge. Probably longer, but it’s never lasted more than a week in my house.
Makes about 1 cup
While they don’t mesh well with the classic garden salad, candied nuts are great to add crunch to any salad with a sweet note. Say, a salad with fruit, or even just greens with a sweet vinaigrette. Toss some candied nuts in and it will add enough protein to make your salad a meal. Incidentally, they are also delicious for snacking
This is a very basic recipe-you can add all kinds of things to it to make it whatever you want.
2C nuts(walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, whatever nut you like) in large, forkable chunks(I used walnut halves)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Line a baking sheet with greased tinfoil or a silpat. set aside.
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the sugar, nuts and salt. Cook, stirring continuously, til the sugar and butter have melted together and turned a lovely brown color. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla-it will bubble and hiss, but just stir it in.
Turn the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet and let them cool. Once they’ve cooled down, break them apart with your hands and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 2 cups of candied nuts
To the standard recipe, you can add all kinds of spices. It’s a great recipe to experiment with, but here are some idea
-a teaspoon of smoked paprika
-A pinch of cayenne if you like things spicy
-a quarter teaspoon each allspice, cinnamon and a pinch of cloves
-a teaspoon of chinese 5 spice powder
-a teaspoon of garam masala, toasted in the skillet before you add the butter
Be imaginative My favorite variation is smoked paprika, cayenne and cinnamon. It’s great with mangoes, peaches, and poppyseed dressing!