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    Entries in salt rules! (2)

    Wednesday
    Feb012017

    It's Authors Kitchen's Birthday!!

    That’s right, Authors Kitchen is 6 years old today! And no, that’s not a picture of a cake. I know cakes are traditional fare for birthdays, but you know how I feel about traditions. Besides, my own birthday is on the 12th, so I’m sure I’ll be making something cake like between now and then. Also, as an added bonus, these pretzel bites are the perfect snack for your Super Bowl party this weekend.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 2 ½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 packet instant yeast (1 scant Tablespoon)
    • 1 cup warm water 

     For Later:

    • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ cup hot water
    • Pretzel salt (or other coarse salt)
    • Melted butter 

    Into a mixing bowl go the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.

    Stir those together and then pour in the water. You want the water to be bath water warm.

    I like to stir those together with a spoon just until it comes together into a shaggy mess.

    Then the stand mixer will take care of the rest. Give it a good 5 minutes with the dough hook. I like to use the third speed setting on my KitchenAid for that. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can always knead by hand. Just dump it onto the counter and go to town for probably 10 minutes, or until your arms give out. Whichever comes first. When it’s ready, the dough should be soft and smooth, but not really sticky anymore.

    Butter a medium sized bowl.

    Place your dough ball upside down in the bowl and turn it to coat the top side with butter.

    Then flip it over and turn it again so that the whole ball has a light coating of butter. This will keep it from drying out while it’s rising.

    Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set it aside to do its thing.

    While that’s rising, you can make the alkaline mixture. This is the secret ingredient. It’s what makes pretzels chewy on the outside. Measure about ½ cup hot water, then add 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda. Stir until the baking soda is completely dissolved. If it won’t completely dissolve, just add a little more hot water.

    After about thirty minutes or so, the dough has probably risen enough for what we’re making. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 400°

    Punch the dough down and pat it out on an unfloured surface. Yes, I know there is flour in my picture, but it wasn’t necessary, and I ended up having to scrape it out of the way for the next step.

    Cut the dough into four pieces and roll each one into a rope. My favorite place for these is Wetzel’s Pretzels, so I was trying to copy theirs for size. Mine were probably about an inch in diameter, which was good.  

    Cut each rope into segments. Mine were probably about 1 ½ inches. Can you use this same recipe to make whole pretzels? Sure! Just roll the ropes thinner and shape them into a pretzel shape and then continue with the rest just the same.

    Dip each segment into the soda water solution and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. I dipped mine into the salt, which made for overly salty pretzels. I recommend sprinkling it over the top, instead. If you want to make sweet ones or if you just don’t like salt, you can also leave them bare at this point. Just make sure they all get a dip in the soda water.

    Into the 400° oven for about 10 minutes. When they’re done, they’ll be nicely browned.

    Melt a couple tablespoons of butter and brush it over each one. (If you do want to make sweet ones, you would just dip each one in butter and then roll them in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.)

    And that’s it! Did you know it was so easy to make your own pretzels? And aren’t they beautiful? You can serve them with whatever you like for dipping. Personally, I like good ol’ French’s yellow mustard.  

    What are you going to be eating during the Super Bowl this year?

     

    Friday
    Apr272012

    Strawberry Mockaritas

    No, that isn’t the Boston accent wearing off on me.  I’m calling these mock-aritas because I didn’t put any alcohol in them.  You’re welcome, of course, to add any kind of booze you like.  I just don’t partake of the spirits.  That being said, I’m in Virginia looking for a house right now (that’s right, it looks like we’re headed for May-hem!!! again this year) so I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    2 cups chopped strawberries
    ¼ cup lime juice (probably 2 limes)
    ½ cup simple syrup
    (½ cup sugar + ⅓ cup water)
    1 cup ice

    To make the simple syrup, combine ½ cup sugar and ⅓ cup water.  Stir them over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture comes to a full boil. 

    Turn off the heat, and with a vegetable peeler, cut a strip of peel from one of your limes.

    Then drop it into the hot syrup. 

    Allow that to cool, and then refrigerate it so that it’s nice and cold.  When you’re ready to make the drinks, hull your strawberries.  Chopping really isn’t necessary, but I wanted to get a measurement, and you can’t do that if they’re whole.  It was about a half pound of strawberries.

    Throw the strawberries into the blender along with the lime juice, simple syrup, and ice.

    And let ‘er rip!

    Now for the rim.  Run a lime wedge around the top of the glass.  (Yes, this is a cheap plastic one.  It’s all I could find on short notice so I had to make due)

    I know most restaurants serve strawberry margaritas with sugar on the rim, but trust me, salt is WAY better.  If you haven’t tried it, you must, and if you still insist on using sugar, you can follow the same steps.  Just don’t tell me about it.  So, make yourself a nice ring of salt on a plate then turn the glass over and place the rim into the salt. 

    See?  Perfect rim job. 

    Pour the strawberry mixture into the glass. 

    Garnish with a slice of lime, and enjoy.  Sweet, salty, fruity, tangy, these strawberry mockaritas are seriously fabulous. 

    So, what’s your favorite drink?