{twd} little snackie things

I’ve gone diving with sharks, traveled alone to other countries, and presented at major scientific conferences–yet I was scared of deep-frying. I even considered baking this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection, Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben, to avoid heating gobs of oil to dangerously high temperatures.

I bit the bullet and jumped into the frying pan(ha!) because of doughnuts. Yes, doughnuts. I’ve been wanting to make traditional, yeasted doughnuts for awhile now but because of the frying-thing put them off. In the screwy logic base that is my head, I figured these scherben things are small and would be good practice for doughnuts which are big (it’s all relative).

Scherben means shards in German and it’s what the mother (Mrs. Vogel) of one of Dorie Greenspan’s friends called them. They are dough rolled paper-thin, cut into strips, fried, and then covered with cinnamon-sugar. I call them little snackie things. Because that’s way more understandable to the co-workers. :P

Whatever you call them, they’re delicious (0r so I’ve been told. I’m eating vegan this week). Who doesn’t like fried dough covered in sugar?

Thank you so much to Teanna of Spork or Foon? for hosting this week’s selection. She is an awesome blogger, storyteller, and a very creative baker. Because of her I am now ready to tackle doughnuts! If you would like the recipe for the Sherben, visit her blog or buy the book.

Dinner Party!

I hosted my first dinner party last week. It was small, just me and three guests. I worried about the menu because one of the guests is a picky eater. I only cook vegetarian and he doesn’t like/won’t eat vegetables. I also wanted to make something that would go with French Bread so I could get the next bread on my list from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge done–nixing pizza or cheese enchiladas (as suggested by picky eater).

The Menu:

Edamame

Rosemary Roasted Almonds (From September 2009 issue of Cooking Light)

Olives (From Whole Foods olive bar)

French Bread (From The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, made into 2 oz rolls)

Toasted Goat Cheese Ravioli with Red Pepper Dip (from September/October 2009 issue of Clean Eating magazine)

Creamy Rigatoni with Gruyère and Brie (from September 2009 issue of Cooking Light)

Slow-roasted Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Ground Coriander (from Orangette)

Dessert was the Chocolate Caramel Crunch Tart for next week’s Tuesdays with Dorie…more on that on Tuesday. As for wine, I threw myself on the mercy of the wine guy at the 3rd/Fairfax Whole Foods in Los Angeles. He asked me questions on my menu and walked me around the entire wine section. For a starter wine, he suggested the 2008 Marquis de Goulaine Rosé d’Anjou.  For dinner he suggested the 2007 Protos Verdejo, a Spanish white wine. The wine choices were excellent and reasonably priced. I’m definitely going back to him.

The dinner was a big success and loved every minute of it. I prepped most of the day, but was relaxed and carefree for the party. The guests enjoyed everything and we’re all looking forward to doing it again.

Maple-Nut Granola with Dried Strawberries and Blueberries

Please excuse this post interruption for an important message:

Cherries are here! Cherries are here!

I’m so excited! First I found fresh corn at the store this week and now, I found cherries at the farmers’ market. Summer is coming. Yay! I love summer, can you tell?

cherries

Now, back to the regularly scheduled post.

granola

Dried strawberries! Have you tried them? They’re wonderful. I’ve recently discovered them. They are now my new favorite dried fruit. I used them, along with dried blueberries, in this week’s granola recipe which comes from Eating Well magazine. This particular recipe is from their November/December 2008 issue (yes, I’m still going through my piles of magazine recipes) and is meant to be a homemade gift. But I’m keeping it all to myself, it’s so good.

You can find the recipe HERE. The only changes I made was to use the dried strawberries and blueberries instead of  dried cranberries and raisins.

{SMS} Granola Breakfast Cookies

Granola Breakfast Cookie

When I first read the title for these cookies, I imagined them to be like the locally-made bars wrapped in plastic with homemade stickers I buy from a little basket near the register at my health-food store. They are thick and yummy and full of healthy sounding ingredients.

I was a little disappointed when I discovered that this week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe selection–the Granola Breakfast Cookies– were drop cookies  not bars. But that’s where the disappointment ended. These cookies are made with whole-wheat flour and Cherry-Almond Granola (which I blogged about on Friday) and are absolutely delicious. And I made them as bar cookies to be more like my health food store bard. So everything is right in the world.

Thank you to Jessica of A Singleton in the Kitchen for selecting these cookies. They were a big hit at work. Everyone gobbled them up.  Please visit her blog, not only for the recipe, but because it truly is a great blog.

Granola Breakfast Cookies

Mini Whole-Wheat Parmesan Pretzels

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A Daring Baker’s rewind! Way back in November 2006, the two founders of The Daring Bakers decided to make pretzels and post their results: Cream Puffs in Venice and La Mia Cucina. Now there are over 1000 members from all over the world.

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The pretzel recipe they used came from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. I’ve changed the recipe a bit, substituting some whole-wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour and adding some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. I also made the pretzels smaller and decreased the butter used in the topping.

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If you have never made pretzels before, I encourage you to make these. They are so soft and tasty and easy to make.

Mini Whole-Wheat Parmesan Pretzels

Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Note: The original recipe is called Hot-Buttered Pretzels

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons regular instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


Topping

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • coarse, kosher or pretzel salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Place all of the dough ingredients into a bowl, and beat till well-combined. Knead the dough, by hand or machine, for about 5 minutes, till it’s soft, smooth, and quite slack. Dust the dough with flour to prevent sticking and place the dough in a plastic bag. Close the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500°F. Prepare two baking sheets by  lining them with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into sixteen equal pieces (about 1 1/4 ounces, each). Allow the pieces to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, combine the 1/2 cup warm water and the sugar, and place it in a shallow bowl.

Roll each piece of dough into a long, thin rope (about 14 inches long), and twist each rope into a pretzel. Dip each pretzel in the sugar wash and place them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with salt. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Bake the pretzels for 8 to 9 minutes, or until they’re golden brown, reversing the baking sheets halfway through.

Remove the pretzels from the oven, and brush them thoroughly with the melted butter. Keep brushing the butter on until you’ve used it all up; it may seem like a lot, but that’s what gives these pretzels their ethereal taste. Eat the pretzels warm, or reheat them in an oven or microwave. Yield: 16 mini-pretzels.

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