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{Recipes include Pretzel-Wrapped Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs with Mustard Sauce — Buttermilk Chicken Lollipops  —  Mac ‘n Cheese Mini Pies  —  Pastrami Pizza with Homemade Russian Dressing — Garbanzo Bites — Apple Cheesecake Squares}

While I had no emotional stake in the game, it’s an opportunity to gather with friends who I can cook for.

My cooking is based on whatever inspires me at the moment, or whatever theme seems apparent. Do I cook foods that could be served in “super” bowls? Is there a specialty that either Seattle or Denver are famous for? Or do I focus on my home state, where the game is being played? Yep. New York inspired recipes won.

When I think of New York I immediately think of pastrami, pretzels, hot dogs and apples. My menu was done: pastrami pizza, pretzel-wrapped hot dogs (with the hot dogs wrapped in bacon first), and apple cheesecake squares (with a salted caramel drizzle). A few other dishes filled: mac ‘n cheese mini pies, grilled speck-wrapped asparagus, Break Wind Farms Organic Jalapeno Beans (they’re “fartootempting” – a trademarked tag line), roasted garbanzo beans for snacking, buttermilk chicken lollipops, and brownies.

Let’s start with the pretzel dogs. I tried making homemade pretzels once and kinda failed. I didn’t want to buy pretzel dough, or the box of Auntie Annie’s dough mix. Those little dough-wrapped dogs at Auntie Annie’s gave me the inspiration for this dish, but I opted for traditional hot dogs instead of minis. I started my dough early in the morning, and continued with my shopping, prepping and cleaning. Dough is really easy to make, and yeast never ceases to amaze me. The “doubling in size” is crazy.

I bought the long, skinny Nathan’s hot dogs (NY hot dog, mais oui.) A spur of the moment idea and exactly eight slices of bacon left in the refrigerator. I partially baked the bacon to wrap the dogs, before wrapping them in pretzel dough. Brilliance. The salt from the dogs, with the salt from the bacon, and the pretzel salt topping was perfectly salty. Poppy or sesame seeds would have been good pretzel topping choices, too. I served it with a mustard dipping sauce, inspired by Aaron McCargo-FoodNetwork.

Pretzel-Wrapped Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs

pretzel wrapped bacon wrapped hot dogsWhat you need:

  • 1 package regular active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 c warm water (you may need more water, depending on climate, heat, etc.)
  • 4 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 8 hot dogs
  • 4 c water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c coarse sea salt
  • 4 tbs butter, melted

What you do:

  • In mixing bowl with dough hook add yeast and sugar.
  • Add water and let stand 5 min.
  • Add flour and mix until a smooth, elastic ball is formed.
  • Grease lg bowl and place dough in it, turning to coat.
  • Cover with plastic and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Heat oven to 400°.
  • Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place bacon on paper, leaving space between each slice.
  • Cook for about 15 min.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to plate.
  • Let cool for a few minutes; you want the bacon to still be pliable.
  • Carefully wrap each hot dog with bacon.
  • Let cool on baking sheet, so bacon “hardens” around hot dog.
  • Heat oven to 425°.
  • Turn dough onto lightly floured surface.
  • Press gently to flatten.
  • Divide into 8 pcs.
  • Roll each piece into long rope, about the length of two hot dogs.
  • In lg saucepan heat 4 c water.
  • Whisk in baking soda.
  • Heat to boiling.
  • Wrap each hot dog with dough, pinching ends together to seal edge.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Using tongs, dip each pretzel dog in water mixture for 30 sec.
  • Place on cookie sheet.
  • Brush pretzel dough with egg wash.
  • Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  • Bake 12 to 15 min, or until golden brown, turning halfway.
  • Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.
  • Serve warm with ketchup and mustard sauce, if desired

Mustard Sauce

What you need:

  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs whole grain mustard (I used The Fresh Plate)
  • 2 tbs honey mustard (I used The Fresh Plate)
  • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

In bowl mix all ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

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“Keep it simple; use the freshest ingredients available and put them together in such a way that the flavors, colors, and textures combine to bring out the best in each other.” — Bradley Ogden

Next up were Chicken Lollipops inspired by Bradley Ogden, a San Francisco-based chef. His passion and commitment to evolve American cuisine encourages us to use seasonal farm-fresh American produce and proteins.

Buttermilk-Battered Chicken Lollipops

chicken lollipopsWhat you need:

Chicken:

  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 2 tbs cayenne, divided
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 8 lg drumsticks
  • 1 c flour
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Sauce:

  • 1/2 c blue cheese dressing
  • 1/4 c smoky BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1 tbs chopped cilantro
  • Celery and carrot sticks

What you do:

  • Cut chicken skin near drumstick end.
  • Cut through the meat and tendons.
  • Push chicken skin and meat up towards top, to form a lollipop shape.
  • In lg shallow covered baking dish mix buttermilk and 1 tbs cayenne.
  • Add drumsticks, turning to coat.
  • Marinate at least 6 hours, overnight is preferable.
  • Heat about 1” oil in sauté pan.
  • Heat oven to 350˚.
  • In lg bowl mix flour with remaining cayenne and season with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge chicken in flour mixture.
  • Place chicken in sauté pan and cook about 3 min on each side.
  • Serve with dip (below), celery and carrot sticks.

Blue Cheese Sauce:

  • In mixing bowl whisk together blue cheese dressing, bbq sauce and maple syrup.
  • Add cilantro.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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Mac ‘n Cheese Mini Pies

mac 'n cheese mini piesMy new obsession is a mini pie press that forms rectangle pies, a la Pop Tarts. For this I used homemade baked mac ‘n cheese that was a day or two old, sliced into thin rectangles to fit inside the form, sandwiched between two slices of Boggy Meadow Farm’s Rosemary Jack Cheese.

You don’t need a pie press. Cut your dough into lg square or circle. Lightly fill center of one half of surface with filling. Brush edges with egg wash. Fold over unfilled half. Press edges with fork to seal. Pierce the top of the dough with fork to allow air to escape. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 400 for about 12-15 min. Done.

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Pastrami Pizza

More like a Reuben, I used a hint of sauerkraut despite hubby’s protest. When I think NY pastrami, I envision a sandwich from Katz’s. It’s an $18 sandwich, bigger than a football, enough to feed the offensive line. I grew up in NY, so I needed to remain true to my roots in this dish. I went really light on the kraut, though.

pastrami pizzaWhat you need:

  • Your favorite pizza crust
  • Russian dressing (see below)
  • 1/4 lb old-fashioned pastrami
  • 1 tbs sauerkraut
  • 2 c shredded Boggy Meadow Farms Swiss cheese
  • Freshly grated sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

  • Heat oven as directed by your pizza crust directions.
  • Roll out pizza dough and place on pizza stone.
  • Spread a layer of Russian dressing.
  • Top with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and shredded pastrami.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook as directed by your pizza crust directions.

Russian dressing

What you need:

  •  1/2 c olive oil mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs ketchup
  • 3 tbs relish (I used Debbie D’s Spicy Cucumber Relish)
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp steak sauce sauce
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

What you do:

  • In mixing bowl whisk all ingredients.

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Garbanzo Bites

Between yelling “Defense!”, “Let’s go, Clippers!”, and “Arms up girls!” at one of my daughter’s basketball games there is always talks of food. We’re great at multitasking and not skipping a beat. “Talk to each other girls! So, yeah, it’s simple. You just take a can of chick peas…”

I wasn’t convinced that the beans would turn out crunchy or that it really is that simple. It really is that simple! They remind me of dried wasabi edamame.

roasted garbanzo bitesWhat you need:

  • 1 15.50oz can of garbanzo beans
  • 2-3 tbs Devo Olive Oil Harissa EVOO (sub with EVOO)
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

What you do:

  • Heat oven to 400˚
  • Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drain, rinse and pat dry garbanzo beans.
  • In med bowl add garbanzo beans and EVOO.
  • Toss to combine.
  • Sprinkle with cayenne, garlic and onion powders.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour beans onto baking sheet in single layer.
  • Bake for 30-40 mins turning occasionally.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Squares with Salted Caramel Sauce

What else do you think of when you think of NY and dessert? Cheesecake is the first thing that pops in my head. NY-style Cheesecake is creamy, tangy and a party-in-your-mouth feeling. I completely forgot to buy apples but used chunky applesauce and some apple-infused jam from the farmers market. Traditionally you’ll find sour cream or heavy cream in the mixture. I used a little of both.

apple cheesecake squaresWhat you need:

  • 3 c Brookford Farm’s Pastry Flour (or sub with all-purpose flour), divided
  • 1/2 c firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1 c applesauce
  • 2 tbs Debbie D’s Cran-Apple Walnut Jam (not necessary; add a bit more applesauce, if desired)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c caramel au beurre sale (see below)

What you do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • In a medium sized bowl combine 2 c flour and brown sugar.
  • Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
  • Press into the bottom of your 9×13 pan.
  • Bake for 15 min or until lightly browned.
  • In mixing bowl beat cream cheese and 1/2 c sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Add sour cream and heavy cream and whisk until combined.
  • Add applesauce, jam, vanilla and cinnamon.
  • Add eggs and mix until combined.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Pour over warm crust.
  • In lg bowl combine remaining flour, brown sugar and oats.
  • Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
  • Sprinkle oat topping over cream cheese mixture.
  • Bake for 30 min until filling is set.
  • Allow to cool and drizzle with caramel au beurre sale.
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