pretzel challah bagel dogs 🥨 🌭

I pretended to be Lindsey Vonn this weekend at the ski hill in Bemidji! And by that I mean, we went skiing. Finally! Because it was a tropical 34º. And then any time I was scared going down the black diamond, I just said “Lindsey Vonn” out loud and that helped me be courageous.

(Should we try that with other things? Should we just shout “Ina Garten” any time we’re getting a bundt cake out of the pan?)

Now that we’ve graduated from the tiny cute Bemidji hill, we are in the market for a slightly taller more aggressive Midwest ski hill so that we can try and work our way up to Whistler. We hear Lutsen is good, but I really just want any place that will force me to earn an après ski hot tub/cheese fry combo.  

On Sunday night we made guacamole and quesadillas and went across the street to the Eggparents’ and watched three quarters of the Vikings… not… doing… so….

Uhhh…

I think that it is too soon to mention football in the state of Minnesota…

But if, say, we decided we were due for a party to watch a Justin Timberlake concert that’s sandwiched between two halves of a big sports event, then these pretzel challah bagel dogs would certainly be on the menu, no? Pigs in blankets have been on the menu of every halftime concert viewing party throughout history, from packed bashes in Harlem with the Juilliard double bass section, to percussion basement parties in Short Hills at Sam’s house, to the few parties that we’ve thrown here on the farm. They’re a must. The reason for the season.

Remember when I went through my pretzeling phase? That was fun in kind of a dangerous way, I still have the bottle of lye in my cabinet, but in the past few years now I’ve opted to go the baked baking soda route when I make pretzels. You bake a bunch of baking soda at a low temp for like an hour and that increases its intensity, and then you put that into a bath for your pretzels. It’s more intense than just using regular baking soda (which equals more pretzel flavor) but less intense than lye (which equals less risk of burning off your esophagus). And I find it makes pretzeling things way more accessible, so accessible that when Kristin came to visit for a weekend with her Packers fan fiancé a few months ago and we decided we wanted to make pretzel dogs for the game, we didn’t feel the need to *not* stay out until 2am in order to be alert enough in the morning to handle risky chemicals. 

(More reading on baked baking soda here)

These doggos are in a sweet eggy challah blanket that stays so nice and soft and takes beautifully to its pretzel shell, and then they’re sprinkled with everything bagel topping because if you don’t have a huge jar of it on hand by now, are we even bffs?????? (I used to measure this out but now I just buy a bunch of minced dried onion, minced dried garlic, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds and dump them into a deli container with a few really good pinches of kosher salt, that’s it. Caraway seeds are optional.) These things combine three of the best carbs, the only thing that could possibly make them better would be to add my fourth favorite carb, the potsticker. Or maybe pretzel challah bagel potsticker dogs sound like too *much*.

Unpopular opinion: I’ve been preferring full-sized hot dogs for pigs in blankets over lil smokies. Two reasons: 1. It’s easier to find full-sized hot dogs/sausages that don’t contain unpronounceable ingredients, 2. It’s easier to get a good bread : wiener ratio. Lil smokies are too skinny and make it too easy to have too much breadiness. You can always cut big hot dogs down into party-sized slices, but the thickness of a full-sized wiener really helps us with what we’re trying to achieve here.

*Keeps a straight face*


pretzel challah bagel dogs

makes 16

ingredients

challah:

2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast 

3/4 c (178g) warm water, 105-110ºf 

1 tsp plus 1⁄4 c (50g) sugar

3 1/2 c (448g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 tsp kosher salt 

2 large eggs 

1/3 c (66g) flavorless oil

 

Baking soda bath:

1 c (230g) baking soda

 2 c (472g) water

 

16 precooked hot dogs/sausages/veggie dogs

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

everything bagel topping (see above)

ketchup and mustard, for serving

clues

in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine remaining sugar, flour, and salt. in a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and oil.

add the yeast mixture and then the egg mixture to the flour and stir to combine. Knead either in the stand mixer or by hand on a floured surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, for 7 to 10 minutes, until smooth and just slightly sticky.

Grease the inside of a large clean bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover again with the towel and let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size.

While the dough is rising, bake your baking soda. Preheat the oven to 250ºf, spread the baking soda out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Let it cool and set it aside until after you've shaped your dogs. (Even though the baked baking soda isn't as strong as lye, it could potentially irritate your skin, so avoid touching it once it's out of the oven.)

Increase the oven to 375ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

split the dough into 16 equal portions and keep it covered when you're not working with it. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out a long skinny snake and wrap it firmly and evenly around a hot dog. Roll it back and forth on your work surface a couple of times so that the coils of the dough stick together, and then place it on a baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough and hot dogs, placing them 1 1/2" apart on the baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 20 more minutes.

Make the baking soda bath: place the baked baking soda in a large bowl or casserole dish and add the 2 cups of water. Stir it to dissolve the baking soda (I've never been able to get all of it to dissolve, so a few baking soda chunks are totally ok as long as they don't stick to the dough). Using gloved hands or tongs and working in batches, immerse the dogs into the mixture for about 2 minutes on both sides. Pat them dry with a paper towel and place them back on the baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with everything bagel topping, and bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Let cool slightly, serve with ketchup and mustard and enjoy! 

 


-yeh!

harissa pimento cheese + the aperol spritz

this is a post about orange foods. 

or, orange and white foods.

because for a very long time, back in the day, i didn't eat anything else. 

cheese,

bread,

spaghetti,

butter,

the orange starbursts.

they were all the best and i didn't need anything else because i wasn't old enough to read articles that told me i wouldn't live to be a hundred if i didn't eat an abundance of leafy greens.

(damn those articles.)

mum eventually picked up on my preference for orange foods and started requiring that i ate carrots if i was going to have dessert. that's when things went downhill, or uphill, depending on how you look at it. 

orange foods are still my favorite (even though i've kind of developed a hate for the color orange) and i recently discovered two new orange foods* that i really really love. ones that i can't believe i went so long without. ones that i can trust will please pretty much any party guest, no matter how little i know them, unless they come out of the gates with something silly like, "i just don't like cheese." 

*that's a lie, one of them is a drink 

1. pimento cheese. at its core, it is cheese and mayonnaise and sweet peppers. a cheese spread that is perfect on anything, even your fingers, even a stale unidentified corn chip. having never spent much time in the south, i guess i understand why i didn't eat it growing up, but what i don't understand is how anyone outside of the south can taste it once and then not go around spreading the good word of pimento cheese. i first really learned about it from hannah, who has some great rules which i have followed and also broken. i've made it so many times now and each time i make it, no matter how offensive my interpretation is, it gets gobbled up with a smattering of oohs and ahhs, and i feel like i've tricked my party guests because it is just that easy. here, i've added harissa powder because i love a smoky spiciness. 

2. the aperol spritz. i am in an aperol spritz phase of my life, which is best described by the circumstances under which i popped my aperol spritz cherry: three months ago, over a walnut cream pizza in midtown with a newly pink-haired marian as she filled me in on her recent solo trip to disney world, which sounded like truly the most bizarre and enchanting experience that a person can have. which is to say that i intend the aperol spritz phase of my life to be 30 times more colorful and weird than the college-y gin gimlet phase and, oh god, the skim white russian phase. because an aperol spritz tastes like a grown-up fizzy orange capri sun and it is extremely fun and i love it and i want you to have one too. 

where does that leave us?

have an orange party and be summery about it. 

it's easy, i'll show you.


harissa pimento cheese

mix these together:

4 oz shredded sharp cheddar

2 oz cream cheese

1/4 c mayo

1/4 small onion, minced

4 oz pimentos, chopped

1/2 tsp harissa powder

salt + pepper to taste

serve with bread or crackers


the aperol spritz

fill a glass with ice and add:

3 parts prosecco

2 parts aperol

1 part sparkling water

garnish with an orange wedge

tweet about your #spritzbreak???


-yeh!


thank you so much to aperol for sponsoring this post!! all opinions are mine. all claims to being in an aperol spritz phase are mine. all stories are mine. go have a #spritzbreak! 

mac + cheese party!!!!

this weekend we took our imaginary little delorean back to the 90s for some fruit by the foot, neon accessories, a synchronized skating competition at the town ice rink (what!), and a party in celebration of the only food that i would eat for a bulk of the 90s: macaroni and cheese. even though i totally forgot to wear light-up sneakers and make lisa frank goodie bags, it was fantastic.

i set up a little bar with two kinds of pasta, cheesy roux, mix-ins, and toppings, and had my friends fill up cute mini cocottes before we stuck them in the oven to bake. those who wanted to fully relive the 90s in the form of hot dog mac and cheese with extra cheese and ketchup could (that would be me), and those who scoffed at the hot dog idea and wanted the healthier option of whole wheat pasta, vegetables, a teensy bit of cheese, and a sprinkling of za'atar could (oh hey, eggboy). 

while the mac and cheese baked, we had wine and salads and discussed the pros and cons of putting ranch dressing in our mac. have you ever done that?? i'm a new convert, it's so creamy and tangy! however, we did conclude that you can put pretty much anything in a pot of cheese and pasta and you won't really screw it up. except sprinkles. sprinkle mac and cheese might get weird. 


here was our menu:

for noshing // a simple mixed greens salad, so we could at least try to be healthy with all of this mac and cheese.

main course // basic cheddar mac and cheese (recipe here)

toppings // cut up hot dogs, broccoli florets, peas, chopped red bell peppers, everything bagel spice, za'atar, gomasio, crushed red pepper, sriracha, ketchup, ranch, breadcrumbs, black pepper, and parmesan.

dessert // fruit by the foot, gushers, fruit roll ups, rice krispie treats :)

to sip // kendall-jackson avant red blend


here are some tips for throwing your own mac + cheese party:

1. go completely crazy with mix-ins. i think next time i'd like to add chopped apples, crushed walnuts for a topping instead of breadcrumbs, bacon, pesto, tater tots... the possibilities have no end!

2. toss your pasta in olive oil so that it doesn't stick together while it's sitting out. this isn't totally necessary if you cook your pasta right before guests arrive, but if you'd like to cook it earlier in the day, toss it in a tablespoon or two of olive oil, let it cool, and then keep it covered and in the fridge until party time.

3. you can prepare your cheese sauce an hour or so in advance. keep it on the stove on low, and stir it often so that a film doesn't form on top. ideally, it's best to keep it on the stove on low even as guests are dishing up, but if you're going to use it immediately and want to have everything set up on one table, you can put it out on a trivet.

5. pre-heat your oven to 375 in time for when guests arrive. i found that baking our little cocottes for 15-20 minutes did the trick. you can certainly turn the broiler on to get some more color on the tops, but i didn't because i am terrified of the broiler. 

6. if you don't have mini cocottes or other little oven safe dishes, you can nix the baking step all together. for this route, cook the pasta right before it's time to dish up, and whereas for a baked mac you'd want your pasta pretty al dente, cook your pasta fully so that it's ready to eat.

7. have snacks and drinks ready for while the mac is baking. and keep them on the lighter/healthier side since mac and cheese is so darn filling. (same goes for dessert! save the rich chocolate cake for a salad party.)

-yeh!

thanks so much to kendall-jackson for sponsoring this post!!!! all opinions are my own!!


jerusalem bagels, harissa honey labne, and a middle eastern wine & cheese party ( + a giveaway)

you know what i love about being a grownup, other than being married and being able to buy nice overalls without fearing i'll get too tall for them? getting away with a 4pm wine and cheese party. like, really partying, getting to sleep by 9, and then waking up early enough to make sweet potato gnocchi and accomplish one bread rising cycle before the sunday morning political shows even begin. i love it. i love being old. i love having wine glasses from our wedding registry and i love putting out olives with my cheese even though i don't eat them. 

(remember the 10pm party from college? how did we do that?) 

my 4pm wine and cheese party was my first ever wine and cheese party and i can't believe it's taken me this long to have one. it was so fun and grownup. we played records as the sun set, and talked about baby showers and bachelorettes. in brooklyn, my idea of a fancy cheese plate would have consisted of an oozy epoisses and some delicious old chatham... maybe a hunk of bleu des causes and a ramekin of salvatore ricotta... but here, with no cheesemonger in site, if we want to get fancy we're forced to be way more creative than going to the store and buying a wheel of cheese (not that there's anything wrong with that): marinate all the feta, strain all the yogurt, drizzle on the date honey! before long i had myself a middle eastern cheese party menu and it tickled me so. i did have to google middle eastern cheese and in a perfect world i wouldn't have driven all the way across town in a failed search for halloumi, but i'm v happy with how it turned out. v v happy. here was our menu:

harissa honey labne // it's sweet, hot, and refreshing all at the same time. i was afraid its pepto bismol-ish color would scare my friends away, and maybe i was hoping that would happen so i could have all of the leftovers to myself, but alas (or luckily) they loved it. recipe below.

marinated feta, inspired by eva // because feta is just so much classier when it's in a brick and all prettied up with herbs, no?

dates stuffed with cream cheese, sprinkled with smoked maldon salt, and drizzled with date honey // dates drizzled with date honey... is that what meta is?? major hugs to chanie for the israeli date honey hookup.

dukkah crackers // mmmm these are so good and made with chickpea flour, so they're gluten free. you can make them with za'atar or dukkah or both.

jerusalem bagels // jerusalem bagels are fluffier and way bigger than new york bagels. they're best shared with a bunch of friends on the streets of jerusalem with a little baggie of za'atar for dipping. and it turns out they're also best shared with a bunch of friends on a farm a million miles from jerusalem. recipe below.

olives, olive oil, za'atar, roasted chickpeas, grapes, nuts, and honey // noshies and condiments, noshies and condiments.

a trio of halva for dessert // classic, cinnamon, and coffee flavor, straight from the machane yehuda market in jerusalem, also c/o chanie because that girl knows the way to my heart <3 <3.

pinot noir // ok, this isn't middle eastern, but we had a ton leftover from our wedding :)


harissa honey labne

ingredients

1 qt plain full-fat yogurt

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 1/2 tsp harissa powder

4 tsp honey

olive oil

clues

line a strainer with cheese cloth and set the strainer over a large bowl. mix the yogurt with the salt and then pour it into the cheese cloth. let it strain in the refrigerator for 24 hours, checking once or twice to pour out the liquids from the bowl. 

place the strained yogurt in a large bowl and mix it with harissa and honey, spread it on a serving plate and drizzle with olive oil. serve with crackers or bread.


jerusalem bagels

makes 6 large bagels

ingredients

4 c bread flour

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tb sugar

1 c warm water

1/2 c warm milk

1/4 c olive oil

1 egg, slightly beaten

sesame seeds and salt, for sprinkling

clues

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. add the water, milk, and oil, and mix for about 10 minutes, until you have a nice smooth dough. transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

on a work surface, divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll them out into long pieces, about 1 1/2 feet long, and shape into ovals. place them a few inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment, brush them with the egg, and sprinkle all over with sesame seeds and a few pinches of salt.

let rise for 30 more minutes. preheat oven to 350, and then bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned.

serve warm, with za'atar for dipping.


-yeh!

this post was done in collaboration with le creuset in celebration of their new wine and cheese line!! the goodies i used for this post are their round platter with cutting boardlarge carafecompact lever (which is some serious magic), and foil cutter. it's a beautiful line that could maybe even make a night of velveeta and two buck chuck feel classy (hehe). oh oh! and do you want to win a round platter, a compact lever, and some other fun le creuset goodies??? leave a comment here with your favorite cheese!!!!!! open to u.s. residents. update: this giveaway is now closed.


p.s. (!!!) in march, i will be taking my first ever trip to north carolina for a weekend of eating, food styling, and fly fishing on cold mountain with eva and carey! it'll be the tastiest slumber party in all the land. care to join us??? right this way.