Saturday, August 24, 2013

Laugenbrezel-German Style Soft Pretzels with Honey Mustard Dip

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 photo PretzelsStackedDip_zps7b595001.jpg

Because I have had too many packets of crispy pretzels tossed on my tray while flying, I chose the  alternate  Laugenbrezel-German style soft pretzels. These are my first foray into making pretzels and I was pleasantly surprised that they were not difficult at all. I used my bread machine processing the dough, removed it from the pan, placed it in the oil coated bowl, and refrigerated it covered the day before I made the pretzels. Most doughs can be refrigerated and prepared several hours or even a day or so later.  If I have time, I always refrigerate my cinnamon roll dough a day ahead and there's a noticeable difference in the texture and flavor of the cinnamon rolls.

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I won't go into the history of how pretzels came to be know, but you can read about it Today I Found Out or on Aparna's post on Crunchy Hard Pretzels. Suffice to say that hard pretzels are an American creation and soft ones are German.
Laugenbrezel (German Style Soft Pretzels) with Sesame Seeds


2-1/4 teaspoon dried active yeast
1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm milk
3 cups + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornmeal or semolina
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons each white and black sesame seeds

Bread Machine Method

In a bread machine pan, combine yeast, sugar, warm milk, flour and salt. Process on the dough cycle according to manufacturer's instructions for your bread machine. When cycle has finished, remove dough from pan to a oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size.Alternatively, place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. 

When doubled, deflate dough, cover and let rise 5 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Work with one portion at a time and cover remaining dough to prevent it from drying. Roll each portion into an 18-inch long rope with tapered ends. Cross one end of rope over the other  to form a circle leaving about 4 inches at the end of each rope. Twist the rope at the base of the circle. Fold the ends over the circle and into a traditional pretzel shape, pinching gently to seal. Place pretzels on a light greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise 10 minutes (pretzels will rise only slightly).

Put the 6 cups of water and baking soda in a non-aluminum pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer. Gently lower a pretzel into the simmering water. Cook on each side for about 15 seconds. The pretzel will swell/puff up a bit. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a greased wire rack. Important step as this will prevent the pretzel from sticking to the rack. Repeat with remaining pretzels.

Place the pretzels on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or semolina. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 220C (425F) for 12 minutes or until pretzels are deep golden brown.. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve warm with a dip of your choice or just plain. They are best eaten fresh and on the same day. Makes 12 pretzels.

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Horseradish mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3-1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekend Herb Blogging #397-The Roundup

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Reds and greens are the dominant colors in today's roundup of  Weekend Herb Blogging #397. Ripe red strawberries bursting with flavor, plump meaty red tomatoes from a CSA box, green radicchio with brilliant red splotches, and juicy red watermelon-all fashioned into tantalizing dishes to incorporate into any meal.


Remembering her summers as child helping her mother preserve tremendous amounts of tomatoes, Simona has no warm feelings about the food mill, but as an adult has managed to turn this once dreaded task into a joy.
"I took a long break from those days and when I decided I wanted to preserve tomatoes for off-season use, I developed my own way. I process a relatively small amount of tomatoes at a time, so the task never feels like a crushing burden. And I first roast the tomatoes, which come to my kitchen thanks to my summer CSA share. Plump, meaty and bursting with flavor, they are of a variety called Trinity."

 Haalo uses a cast iron pan to grill these wedges of radicchio, but says a BBQ grill can be used.  Not the traditional red radicchio, this beauty is nearly white dotted with ruby red splotches lovely green edged leaves.
"If you think of radicchio you're probably going to picture it as a red vegetable - whether it is the round Chioggia or the elongated Treviso - so when I saw this at the market I knew I had to buy it. It is classed as a white radicchio, its leaves speckled with "radicchio red". A winter only crop it originates from Castelfranco in Veneto."

Sugarless Strawberry Jam-Second Experiment

A true recipe developer, Cinzia makes yet another delicious sugarless strawberry jam! Her family must be constantly delighted!
"The first strawberry jam experiment was very positive, but I used some pectin in it and read afterwards it contained a very very small amount of sugar anyway.
So I did try again without any sugar contamination, and it was a very positive try indeed!
Pretty fast too,  in half an hour you will be able to fill three jars of nicely perfumed and consistent red berries jam,  flavored with a hint of dried elder flowers."

Think it's tuna or beef, look again! Removing much of the water from these slices of watermelon transforms them into perfect slices to wrap around other melon wedges.
"Growing up in the South, sprinkling salt on our watermelon was a rite of passage. You learned it from your grandma who learned it from her grandma and so on----By curing these thin quarters of watermelon between the two salt blocks, much of the water is extracted leaving a consistency much like prosciutto."

Thanks guys! If I've erred in any way, please let me know and I will fix it!

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Watermelon Prosciutto and Melon-Weekend Herb Blogging #397

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I have two salt blocks that I have only used once-  for Salmon Gravlax which was amazing! I pulled the blocks out just the other day determined that I would make use of them again. Our watermelons and cantaloupes are good this year so while perusing Mark Bitterman's book, Salt Block Cooking, I found just the recipe to make use of the salt blocks and the juicy ripe melons.

Growing up in the South, sprinkling salt on our watermelon was a rite of passage. You learned it from your grandma who learned it from her grandma and so on! There is a scientific explanation for this. Mr Bitterman says that watermelon is naturally low in sodium, one cup having 2 grams whereas the same amount of cantaloupe has 26 grams. The higher salt content in the cantaloupe tames the sugars and also enhances its flavors. So in essence, a little salt sprinkled on that watermelon bumps up the salt content     and propels its flavors to the sublime. By curing these thin quarters of watermelon between the two salt blocks, much of the water is extracted leaving a consistency much like prosciutto.  Source-Page 75.

Watermelon Prosciutto and Melon

2 (4x8x2-inch) salt blocks ( I bought mine locally)
8  thin slices watermelon quarters (1/4-inch), rinds removed
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black or green peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 wedges cantaloupe, rinds removed, chilled (photo shows 6)

Place one of the salt blocks on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking pan. This will catch the copious amounts of water that will flow from the watermelon. As the photo above shows, in stacks of two, evenly space the watermelon slices. Gently place the other block square on top so it balances evenly on the melon slices. Set aside for about 2 hours until the watermelon slices are compressed by nearly half. As the slices "cure", they will lose about 50% of its water content, thus concentrating the flavor.

Remove the watermelon slices from between the salt blocks. The texture feels like raw tuna. Blot on paper towels and sprinkle both sides with the black or green peppercorn.  To serve, wrap each wedge of cantaloupe with a piece of watermelon prosciutto. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until ready for use.

Even though Alex was horrified at the thought of putting salt on a watermelon (city boy), he loved this dish!

This is my contribution to WHB #397, hosted by yours truly!

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Herb Blogging #397 Announcement

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Weekend Herb Blogging #397 will be hosted here on Cafe Lynnylu for the week of August 12-18, 2013 with the roundup on Monday, August 19. If you would like to join in and I hope you will, please write about any plant-based ingredient during that week span. Your posts can be informative, spotlighting one plant item and/or featuring a recipe with that item included as one of the primary ingredients. For more information, please visit Cook(Almost) Anything Once.

Please send your posts to me by Sunday, August 18th by the appropriate deadlines listed below-

  • 3pm Sunday Utah Time
  • 10pm Sunday London Time
  • 11pm Sunday Rome Time
  • 7am Monday Melbourne Time
Send your posts to lynnylu AT with WHB #397 in the subject line and include-

  • Your Name
  • Your Blog Name/URL
  • Your Post URL
  • An Attached Image no Larger than 400px Wide

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Southwestern Corn Muffins With Candied Jalapeños and Tomato Jam

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At my local farmers market in downtown Savannah, I bought some of the hottest jalapeño peppers that I have ever eaten. Most of the supermarket ones are just mildly hot, if even that! After some research, I found that the TAM Mild Jalapeño, a heat resistant, bug resistant, glossy green pepper is more than likely what I have been buying in the supermarket. Since my peppers were so-o hot, I imagined they would make perfect candied jalapeños. Originally, I had them earmarked for a garnish on a cocktail using jalapeño infused simple syrup, but it's time for another Secret Recipe Club post. This month, I was assigned Suzanne's blog, Thru the Bugs on My Windshield. Although Suzanne has many interesting and delicious recipes, I detect a strong Southwestern theme running through her collection.   Having lived in Texas myself, I understand her love of the Southwestern cuisine.

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With my candied jalapeños made, I began scouring Suzanne's blog for recipes in which to use them. I came across her recipes for Tomato Jam and Southwestern Cornbread Muffins. Now I have to say my end result was loosely based on both these recipes, but I felt the Southwestern theme was still pure! The fiery candied jalapeños were tamed somewhat in the muffins and the tomato jam was a perfect spicy sweet foil for the dense double corn muffins. Suzanne, my apologies for deviating from your delicious recipes, but I can't help messing with my food!

The candied jalapeños and tomato jam can be made several days ahead and in fact, improve after a few days as the flavors meld. Try the jam on your morning toast, as a spread for a sandwich, as a substitute for tomato paste, or slathered on a grilled steak, as Suzanne suggests in her recipe.  Try the candied jalapeño on your favorite burger, on a cracker spread with cream cheese and topped with several slices of candied jalapeños or as a garnish for cocktails.

Southwestern Corn Muffins

1-1/2 cups stone ground cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3 tablespoons chopped candied jalapeño 
1/2 cup frozen corn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 12 muffin mold. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine egg, buttermilk and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients. Fold in corn and candied jalapeños. Top with a candied jalapeño slice, if desired. Bake about 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a thin knife inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
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Saturday, August 03, 2013

England Calls and a Recipe for Blackberry Syllabub

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"Tells me England calls, whatever she's done wrong
Always calls, this is where you belong
I'm lonesome for a place I know
Yes, I'm lonesome for a place I know"

~Everything But the Girl~

Of all the countries I've traveled to, England is the one place that I always come back to time and again. Most of my time is spent in Dorset, a maritime county which fronts the English Channel and offers breathtaking views of chalk cliffs nearly 1000 feet high. My camera is with me at all times and there's never a lull in snapping images. Beautiful sandy beaches beckon to the sun-loving English who have the picnic down to a fine art. Each time we visit, we nearly always walk one of the many coastal or woodland paths, sometimes stopping at a local pub for lunch.

Famous for its food, Dorset farms not only produce many fine meat products, but superior cheeses such as the Dorset Blue Vinny,  the only cheese in Dorset to be awarded the Geographical Protected Status, a wealth of fish and shellfish, creamy luscious ice cream (Purbeck Ice Cream), baked goods (Dorset Apple cake) and even chilies. The Dorset Naga Chilli, one of the hottest chiles in the world are in season from August to November and celebrates the harvest with a food festival. Food festivals abound in Dorset showcasing all the delicious food produced in the area.

I have vivid memories of picking wild juicy blackberries abundant on the hedgerows lining the narrow roads leading to picturesque villages. While living in England, we would take our bike, a bucket hanging on handlebars, and pick blackberries to freeze for the winter hoping we would not eat our bounty before we got home. In the winter,  these frozen blackberries make a mouth-watering Hedgerow and Orchard Crumble, a recipe from my dear English friend, Jacqui. But for this post on England celebrating the European Community Culinary ABC,  I chose an easy blackberry syllabub, a perfect summer dessert.  Food4Thought is host for our continuing journey with the classic jacket potatoes.

Blackberry Syllabub
Recipe From Flavours of Dorset

300g/10 oz blackberries
75g/3 oz superfine sugar
300ml/10 fluid oz heavy cream
Finely grated zest and juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons dry white wine, optional

Wash and pick over blackberries. Reserve 6 best for decoration, then using a potato masher, crush the remaining berries with the lemon zest and 50g/2oz of the sugar, until completely mashed. In a separate bowl, whip together the cream, the lemon juice and the remaining sugar, gradually adding in the wine, if using. Continuing whipping until the mixture begins to thicken and soft peaks form. The mixture should be thick and light, but not stiff. Gently fold the mixture into the mashed blackberries, using a spoon to create a rippled effect. 

Divide the syllabub among 6 glass dessert dishes and top each with a reserved blackberry. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Best enjoyed the same day made. Serves 6.

England called me a few weeks ago for a short five days, but now I'm back home, she continues her pull. Looking forward to next time! I hope you have enjoyed my tour of Dorset and the photos from my trips. 

European Community Culinary ABC was created by Trattoria MuVara.

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