Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homemade Pretzels!

Making homemade pretzels has always been something I wanted to try, so when I came upon this super easy recipe I decided it was about time. Jackson was equally excited about the task.

After the dough is made you will separate into 8 golf ball sized balls .
just make sure you don't let the dough separate from each other after they are in balls, they DO Not come back together.
Roll as long of a snake as you can- trust me the longer the better.
Right after that start shaping because the line will start shrinking
after the U twist the sides and push them down in a pretzel shape
then boil for 30 seconds

Some of mine look a little deformed- you will definitely get the hang of it the more you do.
They were really good but I gotta say they tasted a lot like the kind from the freezer.
The don't last very long either so eat em up quick.
I may still look around for another recipe one that really blows my socks off. So if anyone out there has one let me know.

Homemade Soft Pretzels- Alton Brown


  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt


Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Salmon Cakes

I have loved the Food Network for years now, ever since I started watching Rachel Ray on 30 min. meals 7 yrs. ago. For the last couple of seasons I have been watching the Next Food Network Star. Always amazed at what they can do- always certain that having to make up meals on the fly would be WAY to much for me.
Last years winner was Melissa D'Arabian- a Home Cook. From the very beginning I loved her view and her food. I was so glad she won because I wanted to watch a show she did.
Her show is $ 10 Dollar Dinner, where she prepares a meal that is balanced, interesting and cheap. Definitely my style.
Here is one of my favorites I pulled off her show. I have adapted it slightly- adding sweet potato instead of regular potato. Also using a pouched salmon which takes out about 20 min. of the time that you would have to debone the one from the can.

We also came up with a little sauce on top that is superbly good.

Salmon Cakes


  • 2 strips bacon, cooked until crispy, crumbled, bacon fat reserved
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 4 pouches of pink salmon (2.6 oz each)
  • 1 baked or boiled sweet potato, peeled, and fluffed with a fork
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Cool the onions for a bit.

Mix the bacon, onion, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the salmon and potato, mixing gently after each addition. Form the mixture into 12 small patties. In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper, to taste. Coat the patties in the bread crumb topping. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, and cook the salmon cakes in batches until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add more oil, as necessary. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.

Mix together
2 Tbsp. Mayo
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. el pato
1 tsp lemon juice

Sloppy Joes

I have never been a huge fan of the "Sloppy Joe" sandwich. Which is actually a little weird since Ground beef and Onions are one of my favorite combos!
I recently learned this is one of my husbands favorite meals. I have no idea why it took him 8 yrs. to tell me this, but I have decided to try and find the best recipe for it.

I looked all around for one that struck my fancy, I then came upon this little number from Pioneer Woman. I was sure it would not disappoint and I was right.
Other than using Red Bell pepper in place of the Green ( which I find a little bitter) I followed the recipe to a T. Folks it was a winner. and the toasting of the bun is ESSENTIAL!
  • Sloppy Joes
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2-½ pounds Ground Beef
  • ½ whole Large Onion, Diced
  • 1 whole Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced--(Or other colored Bell Pepper)-cc
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1-½ cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • ½ teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
  • Worcestershire Sauce To Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (optional)
  • Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
  • Salt To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Kaiser Rolls
  • Butter

Preparation Instructions

Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.

Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.

Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls, topping with a slice of cheese if it makes your skirt fly up. Serve hot with kettle cooked chips!

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