German Soft Pretzel Sticks

Its the worldcup finals! Germany vs Argentina and you are going to need to have some snacks on hand. Today let me share with you my favorite ‘quick and easy’ pretzel stick recipe. These are great snacks to go with all the beer. The best part is that you can set out jars of different types of mustard to let the guests try.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 envelopes of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of baking soda
  • 1 large egg beaten with one tablespoon of water
  • course sea salt
  • water

In a large bowl stir the brown sugar into 2 cups of warm water, then sprinkle the yeast over this and let it sit about five minutes (till it gets nice and foamy). stir in the vegetable oil and 3 cups of flour. Knead in the rest of the flour. The dough should be slightly sticky. transfer the dough to a floured work surface and continue to knead it for about three minutes. Then transfer the it to a slightly oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp till it doubles in sizes, about 45 minutes.

pre heat the oven to 450. line three large cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray the paper with oil.

punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. knead the dough lightly and flatten it out. divide it about twenty four pieces. roll each piece into a stick about 9 inch long and half and inch thick. transfer the sticks to the cookie sheet leaving about 2 inches of room between each stick. let them hang out there until the puff (about twenty five minutes).

In a large, deep skillet, stir the baking soda into two quarts of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. then reduce the heat to moderate and using a slotted spoon, transfer 6 sticks at a time into the water. let them bathe about thirty seconds or so. Transfer them onto paper towels to drain, then return them to the cookie sheet.

Once all the sticks have been bathed and are on the cookie sheet. brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Then… bake them till they brown, about ten minutes or so. Serve them up hot with all the mustard you can muster… pour the beer, break out the German Flags and start watching the match!

german-soccer-500-24pretzel_sticks

 

 

 

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Sweet Glazed Sweet Potatos

A little maple syrup goes a long way. Especially since Best Yet market has a 37 cents a pound sweet potato sale! I think I feel a side dish coming on. Please Please Please, support ‘real’ agriculture and purchase only real maple syrup, not the chemical concoction called breakfast syrup…. One, because its healthier and more natural, and secondly, because the chemical one often turns too runny when cooking with it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2   pounds sweet potatoes (4 to 6 medium)
  • 1/3  cup pure maple syrup
  • 2  tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  cup cranberries

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into 1- to 1-1/2-inch chunks. In a large bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, salt, and pepper; add sweet potatoes and cranberries. Toss to coat. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish, spreading mixture evenly.

Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until potatoes are glazed and tender, stirring twice. Makes 8 servings.

As an added option, you can topped with chopped pecans.

sweet sweet potatos

Hasenpfeffer

Just in time for Easter… is a braised rabbit stew. I get my rabbits frozen over at H-mart, but occasionally there is fresh rabbit at the organic market @ Union Square. But whether you use fresh of frozen rabbit this hearty stew makes a nice alternative to the large ham or leg of lamb prepared for this holiday, especially if you are not cooking for a crowd. The recipe here uses three pounds of rabbit and serves about four people.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Stew

  • 3 pounds rabbit meat, cleaned and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose
  • 1/2 pound bacon,
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Duck Walk red
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary

For the Gravy

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Sprinkle the rabbit with salt and coat with 1/3 cup flour, shaking off excess. Now, here’s my little secret; brown the rabbit in the remaining bacon fat. Remove the meat from the skillet, along with all but 2 tablespoons of the fat, and reserve.

Saute shallots and garlic in skillet for about 4 minutes, until tender. Stir in wine, 1 cup water and bouillon. Then heat the liquid to boiling, then stir in the peppercorns, bay leaf, and rosemary. Return rabbit and bacon to skillet. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 1 1/2 hours or until rabbit is tender.

Remove bay leaf and discard. Place rabbit on a warm platter and keep warm while preparing gravy.

To Make Gravy: Stir lemon juice into skillet with cooking liquid. Combine 3 tablespoons water with 2 tablespoons flour and mix together; stir mixture into skillet over low heat. Finally, stir in thyme. Pour gravy over stew and serve, or pour into a gravy boat and serve on the side.

What goes well with rabbit stew? Why potatoes.. and carrots! And Duck Walk wines!

hassenpfeffer

Baked Easter Ham

Easter and large baked hams.. I really don’t know then these to things where paired up, but it seems every store out there is throwing hams at me. So there must be some reason why ham is so associated with Easter… maybe to ward off heathens. Well, here is a simple straightforward baked ham, the secret to getting it right is in the knife.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) uncooked smoked ham, bone-in
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Cognac

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap ham completely with parchment-lined foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Pop it into the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 hours.

Unwrap ham and toss out the parchment and foil. Now here’s the real secret to making those diamond shaped patterns in the fat. Use a utility knife, you know, like the sheetrock cutting knives, to score the fat in a diamond pattern, making the lines about 3/4 inch apart. The uniform depth of the blade makes uniform cuts in the fat. Transfer ham to a large roasting pan.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and Cognac. Brush ham evenly with 3/4 of the brown sugar mixture and return to oven. Continue cooking the ham for an hour more. Then, brush ham with remaining brown sugar mixture and continue cooking 30 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter until ready to carve.

easter ham

Braised Beef Ribs with Guinness

There is the saying that ‘fat adds flavor’ and the problem with flavorful braised beef ribs has been the fat. The problem with braised beef ribs is the fat that comes from using the bone-in ribs. This recipe uses boneless beef ribs. Now, since we are not using the bone, we loose a lot of the thickness in the broth that comes from all the gelatin in the bone’s connective tissue. To add this thickness back to the broth, I add a bit of unflavored gelatin. So, we’ll cut the fat, but not the flavor.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs, trimmed of excess fat (see note and step-by-step)
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced thin from pole to pole (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until smoking and brown the ribs. Work in batches to prevent over-crowding. When its browned transfer the meat to a bowl and hold on to it.

Reduce heat to medium, add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes  Add in the tomato paste and cook. Then add garlic and cook. Increase heat to medium-high and add Guinness, broth, carrots, thyme, and bay leaf. Add beef and any accumulated juices to pot; cover and bring to simmer. Transfer pot to oven and cook, using tongs to turn meat twice during cooking, until fork slips easily in and out of meat, 2 to 2½ hours.

Place water in small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top; let stand at least 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer meat and carrots to serving platter and tent with foil. Strain cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator or bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Allow liquid to settle about 5 minutes and strain off fat. Return cooking liquid to Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until reduced to 1 cup, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin mixture; season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over meat and serve. I like this over egg noodles.

boneless beef short ribs

Irish Mutton Pie with Guiness

Well St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, and today being Pi day… Well, let’s make a pie. A good old Irish pie, with mutton, and potatoes, and Guinness, hell a shot or two of Bushmills in the sauce couldn’t hurt.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Half a pound of cubed mutton
  • 1 pint Guinness
  • 3 onion
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 6 large potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • Puff pastry
  • salt and pepper

Add the meat and Guinness into a dutch oven and simmer for an hour. Add the potatoes and cook for a further 15 minutes. Slice the carrots, onion, and celery and add them to pot and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and cover with the puff pastry. Pop into a 350 oven for half an hour till ‘done’. Serve with a pint or two. Cheers!muttonpie

 

Abigail Adam’s Pumpkin Pie

I was going through a book of colonial recipes for the New York / New England region looking for something old / new for me to bring to the table. Well, I came across several dishes that look interesting to me. One of these, Abigail Adam’s pumpkin pie recipe, looks quite good to try. I’m sure its an adaptation, because it calls for a pre-made pie crust, but I think I’m going to like this one because of the quarter cup of dark rum, and I’ll use the Captain Morgans.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups of pumpkin
  • ¼ cup of dark brown sugar firmly packed
  • ½ tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of whole milk
  • ¼ cup of Captain Morgan dark rum
  • 3 medium eggs lightly beaten

Pie:

  • 1 ten inch pie crust
  • Pecans and whipped cream for topping

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix the filling ingredients in a large bowl, and then pour it into the pie shell. Give this a minute or two to settle. Then, pop this in the oven and bake at 425 for ten minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for about forty minutes. The pie is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. When done, take it out of the oven, let cool for a moment, and serve it with some real eggnog.

Abigail's pumpkin pie

Abigail’s pumpkin pie

This recipe is adapted from “the Thirteen Colonies Cookbook” – Donovan, Hatrak, Mills, Shull

Gingerbread Pancakes

I enjoy whipping up gingerbread pancakes on Christmas morning, or more often than not, Christmas brunch, but these pancakes are heart and hearth warming on any winter’s days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. light molasses
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, molasses, 2 Tbs. of the melted butter and the water. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just blended. There will probably be some small lumps it doesn’t need to be completely smoothed out. Why bother stressing over little things.

Now, on a hot griddle I ladle out the batter and let it cook for about three or four minutes (reducing the heat to just below ‘medium’), until it gets a good layer of bubbles on the surface. Flip the pancake and let it cook another minute or two. You can park these on a platter in a warm (200 degree) oven until you’ve gone through all the batter, the whip out the patter. Bring it to the tale and collect the accolades. Remember guests who do not give accolades get no seconds!

Gingerbread Pancakes

Gingerbread Pancakes

End of the World Mayan Chili

So, it’s the end of the world and what’s for dinner? How about we whip up something in the crock-pot so we can actually every the day and get to all those things on our bucket list. Then, if the end of the world doesn’t kill you, the heat from this chili will make you wish it had.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One ½ pound package chorizo sausage
  • Two poblano peppers diced
  • Two onions diced
  • One pound kidney beans
  • One 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • Two tsp chili powder

Toss everything into the crock pot and go and enjoy the day! BTW did anyone notice anything interesting in the ingredients list?

mayan-calendar

Turkey Left-over’s Left-overs

Turkey Hash, yeah, nothing says that the thanksgiving is over like a plate of eggs over easy, toast, and a helping of turkey hash. It’s a nice brunch item, and since it uses small sized pieces of turkey, you can make this from the left-over’s left-overs.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 rib of celery
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cups turkey
  • 1/2 cup turkey gravy
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Chop the vegetables and sauté them with a little butter in a skillet. When they are tender, add the turkey and the gravy. You can add a little water if the left over grave is a bit on the thick side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. I usually serve this on toast and top with an egg.

medium_turkey-hash