Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sometimes...

...you just need to eat hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. And the cooking binge continues...

Pretzel 03

Last Thursday we had a really gray day here in Iowa. Very gray. Damp, cold, foggy, and rainy. As I sat at work, I had an unexplained craving for mac & cheese. And then while perusing Slashfood, I saw this post about pretzel dogs. And it was over. I could think of nothing else. While I could have gone to the mall and had one, I knew that wouldn't do. So I found some recipes online, created a grocery list and knew what I would be cooking during the weekend. And I did.

Mac & Cheese*
(adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 T salt
5 T unsalted butter
6 T flour
1 1/2 t dry mustard
1/2 t cayenne pepper
Creole Seasoning
5 cups milk
Tabasco
2 cups monterey jack cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1 t salt
Buttered Bread Crumbs

Heat broiler. Cook macaronis; drain; set aside.

In a dutch oven, heat butter. Add flower, mustard, cayenne pepper, and Creole Seasoning; whisk well to combine. Continue whisking to make a blonde roux. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring mixture to a full boil, whisking constantly. Readuce heat to medium, whisking occasionally, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream. Off heat, whisk in cheeses, salt, and Tabasco until cheese are fully melted. (You can add more seasoning here too, if you would like.) Stir in pasta and cook over med-low heat until mixture is steaming and heated through.

Transfer to a boiler safe, greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3- 5 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes.

*In the future, if I'm making this for just the two of us, I will definitely half the recipe and cook in an 8" square pan or small casserole. This made a TON.

Pretzel Dog 01
Pretzel Dogs

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 - 115 degrees)
2 T brown sugar
2 t salt
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten with 1 T water
Pretzel Salt

Combine water, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, and then sprinkle yeast on top. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins foaming. Add flour. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until combined. Switch to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with oil.

Bring 10 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add baking soda (water will foam).

Turn dough onto a slightly oiled surface and divide into 8 pieces. Roll into 24 inch ropes and wrap around hot dog (or form into a pretzel shape). Place on prepared pan. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Place dogs into boiling water, one at a time, for 60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to baking sheet. Repeat. Brush each with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake until dark, golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Serve with honey mustard. (Or brush hot pretzels (no dogs) with melted butter).

These were good. I would still like to perfect the dough, as it was a bit difficult to handle and required some kneading by hand. A little extra oil doesn't hurt if it looks dry. But they had a great flavor and texture.

Next, I would love to try Pretzel Rolls, found via Smitten Kitchen.

*Um... no picture of the Mac & Cheese, because like all things that go under my broiler, it got a wee bit charred. Luckily it was just a very thin layer that had no impact on taste. But it did not make for a pretty picture.

2 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Susie said...

You put me to shame and make me so proud at one time. Keep up the good work. Mom

Knittripps said...

Yum!

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