Pretzel Dogs!

August 6, 2015

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I’mmmmmmmmm back! Good Lord above, I can not believe that I haven’t written one tiny little thing on this blog since April 3rd!  And that post was written after I had taken a sizeable break after my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. Yup…back then I said I’d be getting right back into the kitchen. I don’t know what got into me. Wellll….I kinda do. You see I’ve been busy planning a big bathroom renovation. I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not, but about 1 1/2 years ago we had a bathroom fire that was started by a faulty bathroom exhaust fan. (Here’s a tip for all you readers out there…Do NOT leave your exhaust fan running over night. The motor in our’s heated up and because our bathroom had last been renovated sometime in the 70’s, the fan did not have a thermal fuse, so it just kept getting hotter and hotter until it caught the insulation in the ceiling on fire. We were very lucky that the bathroom was all that burned up.) So yeah, you did read that right…the fire happened all that time ago and we are just now getting around to doing something about it. How pathetic is that? Seriously, we just sealed that bathroom off with plywood, moved to the guest bathroom down the hall and have been doing our best to ignore it. But I’m happy to report that we’ve finally got our act together and have hired a contractor and have nearly finished the design. Construction is nigh I tell you!

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Big gaping hole which we unbelievably ignored for over 1 year!!!

And then we just purchased a condo down in Richmond Virginia. Yes….I did say “down”. That is because Richmond is even further south in Virginia than we currently are now. I’m sure you all know how I loathe summer weather in Virginia and what did we do? Went further south! Must be stone cold crazeeee! So that has taken a bit of doing. The good news is as it turns out, Richmond is quite the hidden foodie destination. So I’m looking forward to telling you about some of our future dining exploits. But here is a sneak preview pic:

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Green Eggs & Lamb & Non-Huevos Rancheros with Griddled Jalapeno Grits, Black Bean Chili & Carnitas at Black Sheep brunch! #RVA#BlackSheepRVA

And last but not least, we just returned from a completely fantastic holiday in Iceland. Yup, we’ve been there before, three times now counting this visit and I am completely smitten! I’ve got a post coming up about a delicious Icelandic doughnut I sampled there.

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Icelandic Doughnut or ástarpungar from the Geirabakarí in Borgarnes…stay tuned for the recipe!

So anyhoo…..I should probably make you some sort of assurances that I’ll settle down again and blog faithfully, but I’m not sure it would be prudent to make such pledges. I do have good intentions….but I am the person that walked around with a boarded up bathroom for almost two years. So there you have it. I can be a bit negligent. But I beg your forgiveness and will try to be better. I’m going to start out fresh today with a great recipe for Pretzel Dogs!

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At this point, I don’t know if I even need to say one other word, their name says it all. Who doesn’t love those big soft chewy salty pretzels? And hot dogs? We loooove hot dogs in this house. I’ve posted quite a few hot dog blogs in the past, like how ’bout those Bacon Wrapped Dogs,

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or those tasty little Mini Corn Dogs?

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Yup, we’re big fans. I just told you we were recently off visiting Iceland. Well, as it turns out Icelanders love hot dogs too. There is this famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, in downtown Reykjavik and the husband and I made it a point to stop there every single day for one of their hot dogs with everything (“eina með öllu.” – they have a whole bunch of delicious toppings like mustard, raw onions, crispy onions and some sort of special hot dog remoulade).

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Day one….

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Day two….

And I can truly say the husband and I have never met a pretzel we didn’t like. Usually we nibble on the hard and crunchy store-bought variety, but certainly do love the big soft and chewy ones. So when I came across a recipe for  Pretzel Dogs, I knew without a doubt I would be giving it a whirl. Basically you just make up a yeast dough, similar to what you would do for bread. The thing that magically transforms it into a pretzel is the alkaline bath that it is dipped into prior to baking. That magical soak is crucial for both the texture as well as the color of pretzels. Once that yeast dough is introduced to this bath, the outside of the dough is gelatinized which prevents the usual “springing” of the dough which occurs during baking, giving you the chewy texture, distinct pretzel-y flavour and lovely brown colour. Once upon a time, pretzels were a noticeably darker brown color. This was achieved with a dip in a lye bath – albeit a food grade lye ( sodium hydroxide) bath. Now that stuff, “food grade” or not, is actually quite the hazardous chemical. I’m serious….you can still use it but you’re going to have to go all “Breakin Bad” and wear big rubber gloves and safety goggles when you’re doing your cooking. Personally, I don’t think I need to be that authentic. I’m happy to go with the old tried and true baking soda as a substitute. Everyone has a box of that lingering on their shelves at home. It will definitely give you that lovely soft and chewy brown pretzel crust that you’re longing for without any hazardous chemical concerns.

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And now that we’ve covered the pretzel bit, lets not forget that oh so important dog that it is wrapped around. So everyone has their favourite brand, and far be it from me to tell you what you should buy. However I will say, I like a dog that has a bit of flavour and a little snap when you bite into it. Usually we buy Hebrew Nationals, Nathan’s or Boar’s Head brands, but I’ll leave that choice up to you. As far as I’m concerned, you really can’t go wrong with these. Straightforward and easy to make….not to mention so delish! Comfort food extraordinaire! With a little side dish of good ole yellow mustard for dipping, you’re totally set. Don’t even get me started thinking about the spicy nacho cheese dip possibilities. So don’t be a proscrastinator – like yours truly – jump right on this and make up a batch of these comfort food gems today!

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Pretzel Dogs

  • Servings: 8 pretzel dogs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Bake with Christina

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups warm (110 to 115° F) water
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pans
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 8 hot dogs (we love Hebrew National, Nathans and Boars Head)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

Combine the water, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to foam. In the meantime, lightly oil a large bowl and set aside.

Using a dough hook, add the flour and melted butter to the yeast mixture on low-speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl (about 4 to 5 minutes).

Place the dough in the lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Pour 10 cups of water in an 8 quart pot which has deep sides. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Carefully add the baking soda. The mixture will foam up quite a bit, hence the deep sided pot recommendation. Stir until the soda has dissolved and then lower the heat to medium and keep the solution simmering.

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 rope that’s about 24-inches long. Starting at one end, wrap the dough around the hot dog, pinching each end together so that it’s sealed and stays in place. Take care to make sure you have a good seal or your pretzel dogs will begin to unravel in the baking soda bath. Place onto the baking sheets and repeat with the remaining dough and hot dogs.

Lower the pretzel dogs into the boiling water two at a time and boil for 30 seconds. Using a large flat slotted spatula, remove them from the water and place on the baking sheets. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with the coarse kosher salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Pretzel Dogs brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 

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Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

July 18, 2014

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Summer grilling weather is happening as we speak. Temperatures have certainly soared to a level at which the thought of turning on the stove top, or heaven forbid the oven is ludicrous. Yup…I say don’t do a thing that would encourage that mercury to climb one fraction of an inch higher inside your house. Come supper time, send the husband out into the wilds of the backyard to grill up some meat. A favourite summer grilled entree around here is the humble yet very tasty hot dog. No fuss, no muss! And how in the world could a hot dog get any better? Well there is that bit where you can add some chili and cheese to arrive at the Chili Cheese Dog. Those are pretty special, but I think I’ve found something to add that might even surpass them. Are you ready for it? Wrap them in Bacon!

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Everything is better with bacon and hot dogs are no exception to that rule. I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner, but I am so glad that I finally got around to it. The addition of a little strip of bacon makes those dogs seem so much fancier.

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And when you throw in some home-baked Buttery Hot Dog Buns (so much for keeping the oven off 🙂 ) and a delicious condiment like this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema, the simple grilled dog has gone completely over the top…soaring to – dare I say it – gourmet heights! Now I knew that bacon wrapped hot dogs would be fantastic. And I must say, these Buttery Buns are perfection – rich, tender and soft, yet tough enough to stand up to not only a bacon wrapped dog but also all of the toppings you can heap on as well.

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But the big surprize was this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema. I am completely head over heels in love with it. It hits your taste buds with a wonderfully fresh and spicy zing which is quickly followed with a smooth, cooling creaminess. I’m a bit out of control, putting it on everything. I just can’t get enough. I’ve probably whipped up my 4th batch at this point. Now I will warn you, it is spicy! So for those of you with tender tongues, go easy. You have been warned. But for those of you out there like the husband and myself, get ready for a new addiction. So what are you waiting for? Get that grill fired up and make some of these Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema today.

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Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

  • Servings: 5-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

sources: Jalapeno/CilantroCrema sauce inspired by: Milk & Honey , Buttery Hot Dog Buns from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 10 hot dogs (your choice – but I love Hebrew Nationals or Nathans)
  • 10 strips of bacon (not thick cut)
  • 10 Homemade Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe below-or just use store-bought ones if your oven is entirely off-limits!)
  • Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe below)
  • Additional toppings such as: cheese, chopped white onion, mustard, ketchup, coleslaw

Directions:

Bake Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe will follow) and set aside to cool.

Prepare Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe will follow). Pour into squeeze bottle and place in fridge to cool.

Wrap each hot dog with a strip of bacon. You can secure each bacon end into the hot dog with a toothpick if you wish, but I didn’t and the bacon stayed put!  Cook each hot dog on a grill over a medium to low heat. Do not try to turn your dog too soon or the bacon will be more likely to stick to the grill. Gently rotate each bacon wrapped hot dog as they cook so that all sides can be cooked evenly. Remove from the grill when the bacon becomes crispy. 

To get those nice grill marks on your hot dog buns: Brush each side of hot dog rolls with melted butter and place on the grill for 15 -20 seconds before flipping to other side. Set aside and keep warm.

When ready to eat, grab a warm home-made bun, place a bacon wrapped dog in it, squeeze some of that delicious Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema over it and add whatever other toppings you desire!

For the Buttery Hot Dog Buns:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (361 grams) King Arthur Unbleached Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons (35 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup (46 grams) potato flour or 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (227 grams) lukewarm water

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients, mixing then kneading to make a smooth dough. Let the dough rise, covered, until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a New England-style hotdog bun pan. (if you don’t have a hot dog pan – see below)

Gently deflate the dough, and stretch it until it’s about 15″ long and 6″ wide. Place the dough into the pan, stretching it to the edges.

Let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until it comes to within 1/2″ of the top of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease a baking sheet, and place it on top of the risen buns.

Put the covered buns into the oven, weighing the baking sheet down with something heavy and oven-safe; a cast-iron skillet works well.

Bake the buns for 18 minutes, remove the weighted baking sheet, and bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer, if necessary, to brown the buns.

Remove the pan from the oven, and cool the buns in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn them out onto a rack, rounded side up, to cool completely.

Slice each bun down the middle vertically, without cutting through the bottom; then cut between the buns to separate them.

No Hot Dog Pan Option: To make regular (not New England-style) hotdog buns without a pan, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and form each piece into a cylinder 6″ in length. Transfer buns to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the buns slightly (dough rises more in the center, so this will give them gently rounded tops), then allow to rise for 90 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

For the Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup store-bought pickled sliced jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno brine
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 of a small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons sour cream
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 


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