Showing posts with label savory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label savory. Show all posts

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pretzel Bagel Dog Hamentaschen

Let's just say, I arrived a bit early to this year's Purim party. ;)

It was January. Most of the stuff in my inbox and online was focused on the latest healthy snacks and tips for conquering New Year’s resolutions. The latest diet fad. Exercises to get back in shape and lose the holiday weight. Marie Kondo tidying. And then, out of the blue, I came across a recipe for Pretzel Bagel Dog Hamentaschen. Wait, isn't Purim in March? What was this recipe doing in my consciousness in January? I bookmarked it, intending to make it a little closer to the holiday. But the bookmark kept calling my name, haunting me in my sleep. I am a relentless softie for soft pretzels and uncompromising hot dog lover. I love these two foods, separate or together. And bagel dogs are their own category of heaven. You’d almost think I was cheating on chocolate and peanut butter.

Unable to wait until March, I went shopping for the ingredients and set out to make this savory, unconventional Purim treat. Two months early.

The dough was easy to mix together, and easy to roll out and shape into hamentaschen. Boiling the dough gave it that quintessential bagel chewiness. Boiling the dough in a baking soda bath gave it a perfect pretzel flavor. The hardest part of the whole project was squishing hot dog pieces into the center of each boiled, not-yet-baked hamentaschen. But you just have to have a little faith. The resulting treat is so delicious, so chewy like a bagel, pretzely like a soft pretzel, salty from the hot dog, and just plain fun to look at and eat!

Maybe Purim in January is the new Christmas in July.

Pretzel Bagel Dog Hamentaschen
Adapted from a recipe in The Nosher (a really fun Jewish food blog you should follow!)
Makes approximately 24-36 hamentaschen depending on how thin you roll out your dough

Hamentaschen Dough
1 ½ cups warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast (such as SAF brand)
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 ¾ - 4 cups all-purpose flour

Boiling Baking Soda Water Bath
9 cups water
1 cup baking soda

8 all-beef hot dogs (err on the side of smaller diameter hot dogs so you can squish a slice into the center of a hamentaschen (thicker hot dogs will be difficult to fit into the dough)
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
Everything Bagel seasoning (make your own using equal parts sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion; or buy the pre-mixed topping from Trader Joe’s or Costco)
Mustard for dipping

Prepare three baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the 1 ½ cups water with the yeast. Let sit for a few minutes. Add the salt, oil, and sugar and stir to combine. Now mix in 3 cups of the flour. Switch from the paddle attachment to the dough hook attachment and add up to one more cup of flour, a ¼ cup at a time, until the dough mostly comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Always err on the side of too sticky so you don’t add too much flour.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and forms a soft ball. If it’s sticky, dust with more flour.

Place the dough in a plastic bowl and cover with a tea towel. (If not using a plastic bowl, just be sure to grease the bowl first, then place the dough inside, and turn the dough over so it’s greased on both sides.) Allow the dough to rise in a warm (but not hot) area for 15 minutes. I like to place my bowl of dough in the oven where it’s free from drafts; just make sure the oven is not on!

While the dough is rising, start the water bath. In a large, wide soup pot, stir together 9 cups of water and the baking soda. Bring to a rolling boil.

When the dough has risen for 15 minutes, take the dough out of the bowl and cut it in half with a bench knife. With the first half, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thick on a floured work surface. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut as many circles as you can out of the rolled dough. Bring three corners of each round of dough up toward the center and pinch well together to form a hamentaschen shape. Press the dough scraps together and re-roll to cut out more rounds. Place the triangle-shaped dough rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, three per row. Continue with the other half of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Doing four at a time, drop the shaped hamentaschen into the boiling pot of water face down, watching the clock to make sure they are only boiling for 15 seconds. Use a mesh skimmer (bagel strainer tool) to quickly remove the hamentaschen from the pot, shaking out any excess water, and place them, face up, on the baking sheet. They should be spaced out enough so they don’t grow together while baking.

Slice the hot dogs into ¾-inch long pieces. Place one hot dog piece into the center of each hamentaschen. This might seem tough because the dough is pinched together at the center, but just push the dough open a little so the hot dog has room.

Brush the beaten egg on each hamentaschen and sprinkle the top with Everything Bagel seasoning. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and pretzel-colored.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of mustard.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Roll out the dough and cut into rounds...

Pinch three corners of each round together to form a hamentaschen shape...

Boil a few at a time, face down, for 15 seconds...

Use a bagel strainer to remove from the pot and space out evenly on a baking sheet face up...

Press a slice of hot dog in the center of each boiled hamentaschen...

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with Everything Bagel seasoning...

Bake at 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes...

Remove from the oven...

Transfer to a cooling rack, and serve warm or at room temperature with a side of mustard...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Zucchini and Onion (or Any-Vegetable-Combination-You-Want) Crescent Pie

Andrew and I have become suburban farmers. We planted some vegetables this summer hoping to turn our not-so-green thumbs around, and low and behold, we have zucchini and squash growing! We've already enjoyed a homegrown stir-fry dinner, so in an effort to find other creative ways to use up our bounty, I opted for this zucchini and onion crescent pie the other night. It had to be good; it won the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1980!

Crust me, you're going to like this. ;)

What’s especially fun about this recipe is how interchangeable it is. Short on zucchini, but you have mushrooms and eggplant? Or broccoli? Or bok choy? Go ahead and swap the veggies out, still cooking them before adding them to the filling. It’s a very forgiving recipe; it can handle it.

The herbs called for give this pie an Italian flavor, but you can also have fun varying the seasonings, adding in cumin and chili powder, or rosemary, perhaps. It’ll all be delicious! I bet taco seasoning would be good. And onion soup mix, too! Maybe even ground beef or sausage. Each time you make this and adjust the ingredients, it will become an entirely new creation and never get boring.

Before I leave you to your cooking, I just have to comment on an interesting step in the recipe that I hadn’t seen before. It asks you to spread yellow mustard on top of the crust before you fill it. When I first read this, I thought, “How odd!” Although I never questioned it or hesitated for a second. The result when you take your first bite is enhanced flavor and in particular, a next-level savoriness. And apparently not all spell checks think savoriness is a word, but I assure you it is; it must be. It’s exactly what I need to describe the use of mustard.

So head to Trader Joe’s to purchase a tube of crescent rolls, or visit any major grocery store for Pillsbury’s version of the dough. You’re well on your way to pie for dinner.

And wish us luck in our suburban farming endeavors. We’re currently attacking our cucumber leaf mildew problem with a vengeance. We must emerge victorious. I want homegrown cucumbers!

Zucchini and Onion or Any-Vegetable-Combination-You-Want Crescent Pie
Adapted from a recipe by Millicent Nathan of Boca Raton, Florida, on the Pillsbury Bake-Off website

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
4 cups zucchini, thinly sliced (or any other vegetable of your choice!)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 large eggs
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese (cheddar or muenster or jack or some combination would all work fine!)
1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls (Pillsbury brand or Trader Joe's)
2 teaspoons yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat the butter or oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the zucchini and onions, and any other veggies you've selected. Cook 15 minutes until the veggies are tender and starting to brown. Stir in the parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, and oregano. Remove from the heat and allow to cool briefly.

In a large bowl, add the eggs and beat well. Stir in the shredded cheese. Gently stir in the cooked vegetables, taking care not to break the vegetables. Set aside.

Now prepare your baking dish. Choose either a 9 or 10-inch glass pie plate, a 12x8-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish, or an 11-inch quiche pan. I recommend using a glass dish because it's easier to see when the crust is fully cooked. Open the tube of crescent rolls and separate the dough at the perforation marks into 8 triangles. Press these pieces into the baking dish so that the entire bottom and sides are covered. Seal the edges together so there are no holes for the filling to leak through. Using the back of a spoon, spread the yellow mustard all over the bottom and sides of the crust. Pour the egg-cheese-veggie mixture into the baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil to protect the crust, then return to the oven to continue baking for another 10-12 minutes. Insert a knife or cake tester into the center and if it comes out clean, the pie is done. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Saute the veggies and then add in the herbs. Set aside...

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then add in the cheese...

Add in the veggies, then set aside...

Press the dough into your pie dish, sealing all the seams...

Spread mustard over the bottom and sides of the crust...

Pour the filling over the crust and spread it around so it's evenly distributed...

Bake at 375 degrees F for 18 min uncovered, then cover and bake another 10 minutes...


Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Crunchiest, Brunchiest Hash Brown Casserole

I'm a brunch fanatic. I love everything about getting up on a Sunday and taking my time with an assortment of breakfast treats. A combination of hot and cold food items, some sweet, some savory, all delicious. This is the way to my heart. Turns out I have a dessert tube and a brunch tube in addition to the normal anatomy. And hey, I always justify pigging out a little extra at brunch because it's a combo meal, taking care of both breakfast and lunch all in one sitting. I won't eat again till dinner, save an afternoon snack, so I deserve to have streusel coffee cake alongside eggs and potatoes.

In my dream brunch scenario, there's an egg dish, a baked good of some sort, hot coffee (greasy spoon quality definitely suffices!), and crispy hash browns. Pancakes or French toast are also always welcome. As are a bowl of fresh fruit, a glass of orange juice, a bagel with lox and cream cheese, and waffles. I think this brunch is quickly turning into a smorgasbord!

To fill the hash brown requirement of my unicorn brunch, my mom makes a yummy casserole of frozen shredded potatoes, cheddar cheese, onion, cream of celery soup, and sour cream, plus a heavenly topping of French's fried onions for the ultimate salty, crispy factor. I love this casserole.

It takes just a few minutes to mix the ingredients together, and then it bakes in the oven for more than an hour while you prep the rest of the meal and set the table. When you bite into the casserole, it's cheesy and crunchy and oniony and perfect. And it makes a lot! One recipe fills a 9x13-inch glass baking dish to the brim and serves a village, or 8 happy campers easily.

Hash Brown Brunch Casserole
Recipe from my mom Joyce in our family cookbook

1 (2-lb.) package frozen hash brown potatoes, unthawed
1 (10 3/4-oz.) can cream of celery soup, undiluted
3 cups (approx. 12 oz.) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 (6-oz.) can French's fried onions (Trader Joe's sells their own version of this during the holiday season)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.

Combine the hash browns, cream of celery soup, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chopped onion in a large bowl. Stir to combine and break apart any large chunks of frozen potato. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and gently press across the top to spread the mixture to the corners and fill in any gaps.

Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the top is slightly golden. Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle the fried onions evenly over the top. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the fried onions are golden brown. Serve warm.

Note: I sauteed about a cup of sliced button mushrooms and stirred them into the mixture before baking. I'm sure you could also add bell pepper or another veggie! Or even sausage.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Stir the first five ingredients together in a large bowl...

Press the filling into a greased baking dish and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes...

Then sprinkle fried onions on top and bake another 5 minutes...

Serve warm...

So good!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Saag Paneer Lasagna: When Indian and Italian Foods Collide!

What do you get when you cross Indian food with Italian food? No, this is not the lead up to a joke's punchline. You get something utterly delicious that I've now made multiple times and can't live without! Really! I keep craving it. It's sooooo good and so easy to make! Saag Paneer Lasagna.

"Mamma mia masala!"

What I discovered through making this dish is that lasagna, at least to me, is more of a process, a template, than a very specific thing. You can easily replace the marinara sauce with another sauce, the veggies with other veggies, the protein with other protein, and so on. And that's basically what this recipe is. Trader Joe's sells a delicious Indian Masala Simmer Sauce that makes a perfect substitute for Italian lasagna's traditional marinara. And instead of ground beef, zucchini, onion, and other veggies you might find in Italian lasagna, go for spinach and peas that pair well with the Indian sauce. That's all there really is to it! Because the ingredients don't require much prep (Ha! You do have to open the jar of Masala Simmer Sauce....the horror!), the whole dish comes together in minutes. And it's fun to assemble the layers! Do it with your kids! Your spouse! Your cat! No, not your cat.

The epiphany that lasagna is no more than a template recently drove me to experiment with enchilada sauce. And it worked. Of course it worked! I will be sharing my cross between Italian food and Mexican food soon. Chicken Enchilada Lasagnas are a-comin'. But for now, go forth and make Saag Paneer Lasagna and see what all the hype (that I manufactured) is about.

Saag Paneer Lasagna
Adapted from a recipe by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati in the Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's Cookbook

1 (16-ounce) box dry "no boil" lasagna noodles
2 (15-ounce) jars Masala Simmer Sauce from Trader Joe's, or 30 ounces other tomato-based sauce with Indian spices
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped spinach
1 cup frozen peas, thawed, or canned peas, drained
1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese (fat free or low fat work just fine)
1 (16-ounce) bag shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degree. Spray or grease a 9x13" baking dish, preferably one with tall sides. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the Masala Simmer Sauce across the bottom of the dish with the back of a spoon. Place a single layer of the lasagna noodles on top (maybe 3 or 4 sheets). Set aside.

To make the filling sauce, start by thawing the spinach. Place the spinach in a fine mesh strainer (most pasta colanders seem to be problematic for me because their holes are too large and the spinach will fall through). Run cool water over the spinach and then squeeze dry. Get as much excess water out as possible so you don't make a watery sauce!

In a medium bowl, combine the thawed spinach, peas, and remaining Masala Simmer Sauce. Stir to break up the clumps of spinach and make sure everything is incorporated evenly.

To assemble the lasagna, start by layering 1/4 of the spinach sauce mixture over the pasta sheets in the baking dish. Then dollop 1/3 of the ricotta cheese over the sauce, using a spoon and an offset spatula to gently spread the ricotta around. Top with another single layer of pasta sheets. Press down against the sheets with your hands to push the layers together more tightly. Repeat the layering process two more times. Finally, spread the last 1/4 of the spinach sauce mixture on the pasta sheets and sprinkle the top with mozzarella.

Cover with foil, creating a bit of a tent or arch over the top so that as the cheese melts, it doesn't stick to the foil. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove the foil and return the dish to the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes longer, until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cheesy Cheddar Biscuits and an Unapologetically Cheesy Limerick

For as often as I bake, it's kind of surprising how rarely I make biscuits. But they are so easy and so delicious! It's highly likely that I'll have all the ingredients in my pantry ready to go, so I don't even have to make a stop at the grocery store. I should do this more often.

These are really yummy, almost like savory scones. If you want, experiment with different kinds of shredded cheese. I bet pepper jack or smoked gouda would be delicious, too! Just try not to eat the entire batch in one sitting. The biscuits would go great with a Mexican casserole or, for a lighter meal, a bowl of soup or salad of mixed greens.

So as things go around here, when I make a cheese-filled baked good, it pairs well with a cheesy limerick and I have no self-restraint. Sorry, I'm not sorry.

Cheesy Cheddar Biscuit Limerick
There once was a biscuit of cheddar
Promising to make dinner better
With just the right spice
The crumb was so nice
It justified this cheesy love letter.

Cheesy Cheddar Biscuits
Adapted from a recipe in a Penzeys spice catalog
Makes approximately 12 biscuits

2 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or smoked Spanish-style paprika, to taste (optional)
1 egg
1/2 -3/4 cup milk, divided
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

In a measuring glass or small bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the milk with the egg. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne/paprika. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. You can break apart any stubborn large pieces with your fingers. Add the grated cheese and most of the egg/milk mixture, reserving just 1 tablespoon of the egg/milk mixture to brush on top of the biscuits. Blend with a fork and then use your fingers to finish. Only mix until combined and not a moment longer. Overmixing results in dense, tough, hard-as-a-brick biscuits! If necessary, add the remaining milk a teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out to about 1 inch thick. You can also just pat it down if you don't have a rolling pin. Use a small biscuit cutter to cut out circles and place them on an ungreased baking sheet (or you can use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat). Push the scraps of dough back together, re-roll the dough, and cut out more circles until you've used up all of the dough.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with the reserved tablespoon of egg/milk mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes, until light brown and puffed up. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you are eating these as leftovers the next day, they taste amazing reheated in the toaster oven!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Corn Dog Muffins: Bringing the County Fair to Your Kitchen!

To all my fellow corn dogs, have I got a great recipe for you! Corn Dog Muffins! Who doesn't love corn dogs? They're so familiar, so homey, so nostalgic. And these days, you can buy vegetarian and even vegan corn dogs in mainstream grocery stores. They're a popular food item!

I was browsing Pinterest one afternoon and saw someone pin a recipe for Corn Dog Muffins. I couldn't believe my eyes. It combined a food I love (corn dogs!) with a shape I love (muffins!). And in particular, mini muffins.

If you ask my family, they'll all tell you that I make everything tiny. I prefer making my cookies bite-size, cutting my brownies and blondies into tiny morsels, shaping bread rolls into small rolls, and using a mini muffin pan for everything from mini muffins (duh) to mini quiches, mini appetizers, and mini cheesecakes. I don't know if it's that I like to be able to eat the whole thing in one bite, or if I think mini just looks cuter, or if I feel like I can justify eating the whole thing because it's a smaller portion size (which doesn't really work in the end because I end up eating more than one), but whatever the reason, I'm obsessed with mini treats. The idea of reshaping a corn dog into a mini muffin is, therefore, pure brilliance.

It just so happened that we had a bunch of leftover uncooked hot dogs in the fridge from a recent barbeque. We had purchased a gigantic package from Costco and figured we'd find a way to use up whatever wasn't eaten that day. Well, turned out we had so many leftover hot dogs after the barbeque that we would be eating hot dogs for a long time if we didn't find a recipe or two that involved them. So, we not only made corn dog muffins, but another hot dog-themed dish that I hope to blog about soon! And we even tossed leftover hot dog slices into some quinoa one night. Sounds weird, but made for a great dinner! Good thing I really like hot dogs.

If you don't feel like making the batter from scratch, I bet a corn bread or corn muffin mix would work just fine, and follow the instructions for placing a hot dog slice on each muffin cupful of batter. And if you are vegetarian, or you keep kosher, use fake meat hot dogs (since the corn bread batter calls for buttermilk). This recipe made a LOT of mini muffins...far too many to eat in one sitting without a tummy ache. So we enjoyed them for a few more days to go along with lunch or dinner. To serve warm and re-crisp them (which is definitely the way to go), simply place the muffins in the toaster oven on a foil-lined tray for a few minutes. Works like a charm!

This is for all you kids out there. And by kids, I mean everyone.

Corn Dog Muffins
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Makes 36-48 mini muffins or 12-18 standard muffins

1/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1 cup yellow or white cornmeal (I used white!)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (I used Saco Buttermilk Powder)
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature (I used nonfat milk powder and it worked great!)
1 egg
4-6 hot dogs, sliced (see note in recipe instructions below for size of slice)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. In a separate, medium size bowl, combine buttermilk, milk, and egg. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a whisk until incorporated. Add the melted shortening to the batter and stir until the batter is smooth. Be sure the shortening has cooled off first or it will clump up into solid bits from attempting to mix with colder ingredients.

Grease or spray muffin pans. If using mini muffin pans, you'll probably need two pans of 24 cups each. If using standard muffin pans, you'll probably only need 1 pan of 12 cups. I made mini-sized. Fill each muffin cup a little more than half full. Drop one piece of hot dog in the center of each muffin cup. (For mini muffins, cut up the hot dogs into about 1/4-1/2-inch rounds and you'll probably only need 4 or 5 hot dogs; if using standard muffin pans, cut hot dogs into 1-inch slices and you might need all 6 hot dogs ).

Bake the muffins until the cornbread looks done and slightly golden on top, about 11-15 minutes. You want that crispy outside edge so it resembles a corn dog! Remove from the pan and serve warm with ketchup and mustard!

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the egg...

Add the buttermilk and milk to the egg, then add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients, then stir in the melted shortening...

Fill each greased muffin cup a little more than half full...

Chop up the hot dogs...

Carefully place a hot dog piece into the center of each muffin cup. Bake at 425 degrees F for 11-15 minutes, until golden...

Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes...

Dunk the corn dog muffin in ketchup and enjoy!
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