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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Soft Pretzels

Yes, it a recipe!!! I know, I know. I have posted a recipe in seems like ages.I blame it on work. But I was determined on this particular day to bake up a little something. I had been craving pretzels for quite a while. I love pretzels. Especially those soft thick ones you find in the mall. I'd always buy either a lightly salted or a cinnamon sugar. Those were my two picks. But since I'm on a tight budget right now, I couldn't really go out and buy few of them from my local mall. The county fairs are a bit far from me, so that was out of the question.

So I searched the interweb to various recipes. What I found is that it's very similar to making bread. Which in reality it is bread, just with a little extra steps and toppings. So I mixed and matched and formulated something into my own and still reminded me of the ones found at the local malls. The result is what you see here. Slightly crunchy crust with a delicious chewy inside. I like to baste the pretzels with melted butter a second time after baking to make it mice and butter. Yum!!! Though, I need to work on my pretzel twisting skills though. I tried to do it the lift and twirl in the air move to no avail. but I did manage to make them look decent after a couple tries.

ps. Don't forget to check out my photography website and become come a fan on facebook :)

Makes 8 pretzels

Soft Pretzels

1 packet active dry yeast
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 c warm water 110˚F
3 c All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

2 c water (110˚F)
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
Coarse Kosher Salt

 before baking

In a bowl dissolve the yeast in in the 1 cup warm water and add the 1 Tbsp sugar. Stir lightly to activate yeast. Then add the 1 tsp salt and slowly mix in the flour.

Once the mixture has combine in to a dough ball, liberally flour a flat surface and knead the dough for roughly 8 minutes.

In another clean bowl add the olive oil and coat bowl and the dough ball. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it in a quiet slightly dimmed area to let the dough rise. Roughly 1 hour.

After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece into a 1/2-inch thick, 18-inch rope and form it into the pretzel shape. and place them into a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let the pretzels rise a second time for roughly 15- minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450˚F

In a wide enough dish combine the 2 cups water with baking soda. Mix to dissolve. Once the pretzels have risen a second time, dip each pretzel in the baking soda solution for a few seconds and place it back on the baking sheet.

Baste each pretzel with the melted butter and sprinkle some of the coarse kosker salt on top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

To make cinnamon pretzels: do not add salt before baking. After baking baste the pretzels once more with melted butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Hey B + B readers...check out my new little photography site. It's my latest endeavor into the creative world. I've pretty much been an amateur photographer for many years and more recently it's becoming more of a side job. :) As some of you who have been an avid follower of this here little blog of mine, may know that I love to do photography as well as film. You can see a tiny sampling of the photos I've taken in the little slideshow below. Portraits, events, animals, etc... Some of them you may have seen some, especially the food photos, and a ton more are never before shown to the public with various being recent. I've got tons more in my portfolio on my website, too: Jennifer Razon Photography

Take a look around view the different categories in the portfolio. Become a fan on the FaceBook page as well. (Pretty please with sugar on top.) I'll be posting some new photos on there soon and every-so-often as well from various photos shoots I'll be doing. Please stop by and check it out. Tomorrow, I've got a fun recipe to share with you all. It's a classic as well. Gasp! Yes...a recipe!!!! So come back tomorrow, too, eh?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Birds Eye, too

So I ate up that last sample I had received from Birds Eye (which I had gotten as being a part of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program). The samples are from the Birds Eye Chef's Favorites selection, which will be hitting store freezer sections soon. You can read my last post on the other three items I received from them as well. (here)

The last sample I ate up was the Roasted Red Potato & Green Beans. Heated it up the microwave way. Which saved me time from having to take out an pans to cook with. It was lightly sauced, which had a nice slightly creamy consistency to it. To make this a nice meal for two, I added this to some orzo pasta. The orzo mixed in really well taking on the flavor of the sauce. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese and you've got yourself a nice little dinner for two. Jazz it up a bit and make into something semi-homemade.

Definitely gives these chef's favorites a try. I think I'd get me a couple more of those risotto. I enjoyed those quite a bit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Birds Eye Chef's Favorites

It's been a crazy, odd, slightly fulfilling few weeks for me. I'm just barely starting to simmer down and reflect back on everything. Anyway, it's always cool to try out new products. Being a part of Foodbuzz'z Tastemaker Program I'm lucky to be able to receive item to try before they are released to the general public. This time around it's thanks to Birds Eye and their line of Chef's Favorites. You may know them by their frozen vegetables in the steamer bag packages. 

I've already been a fan of Birds Eye for a while. A frequent purchaser of the frozen veggies, those steam bags they come in really help cut the cooking time in half especially when in a rush to get some veggies out onto the table. So when I received the notification to opt-in to try something new from them, I jump on the chance.

They simple ready meals. In the box, were four samples.

Mushroom & Green Bean Risotto
Creamed Spinach
Primevera Vegetable Risotto
Roasted Red Potato & Green Beans

I cooked two of them the night I received it. Saved me from having to think of what to cook up.

Mushroom and Green Bean Risotto. I cooked it in the microwave. Yes, these also come in those fresh steamer bags, which I find really cool. The texture of the risotto is of the slightly thick creamy consistency. Not sure if it's supposed to be that way. Maybe it's the way I heated it up. But it was actually pretty good. The new way to do TV dinners? I love that there nice pieces of mushroom and green bean in it.

I also cooked up the creamed spinach. It is what is described in the package. It is tasty and lightly sauced, so it's not dry. I also cooked this one in the microwave.

If you don't like using the microwave, you can also heat it up on the stove. I'd only suggest the microwave only if you're in a rush to eat and don't want a lot of clean up, which this is great for.

I mixed the two side by side. This was sort-of attempt of making it look like the "yin-yang" effect. Sadly, it didn't work out to my benefit. I find that one package can feed one, but if you heat up two of the items you can share them with another person.

The next day, I had myself the Primevera Vegetable Risotto. I had spent the day writing the latest draft of a screenplay I had been working on with a colleague and I nearly forgot to eat. Yes, it can happen. One forgets to put scrumptious delicious in one's belly, if one has been pre-occupied with other activities. Of course, you'll get your stomach growling and saying "feed me" 

I mixed in a little shredded parmesan. Yes, I do love my cheese. Again, it was lightly creamy. Subtle flavors and filled me just right. My pictures don't really do this product justice, but give it a try when they come out in a grocery near you. It's particularly good for those who are in a hurry to get a meal.
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