Homemade Pretzel Buns

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Can you believe it’s almost Labor Day? That means that the (unofficial) end of summer is upon us. Well… most of us, anyways. Here in Arizona I don’t think we actually cool off until sometime in October. So, we still have a bit a summer weather to keep us happy for a while. 

If you plan on grilling up some burgers this weekend, don’t settle for store bought buns, make your own pretzel buns. If you’ve made bread before, it’s not much different. You just add a step of boiling the dough in a baking soda and water bath. Don’t be scared, it’s really quite easy and you’ll thank me once the buns are done. I ate a few right out of the oven with some mustard, I did’t even need a burger patty. They are THAT good. 

If you do make these “hot buns” be sure to tag @foodbully in your post. I would love to see how they turned out. :)

Dough:
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 - 1/4t yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, or more as
needed

Boiling Solution:
2 quarts water
1/4 cup baking soda
 
Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

Heat milk and butter until warm (no more than 110 degrees F); the butter will not completely melt. 

Place yeast and brown sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, and add the milk and butter mixture. 

Allow the mixture to foam, about 15 minutes. If your yeast is not foaming, you may want to start over. Your milk might have been too warm and killed the yeast, or the yeast you are using is probably old and dead. If dead, you should purchase new yeast when you try the recipe again. 

Stir in salt and 2 cups flour, beat for 3 minutes with the dough hook attachment. 

Gradually add remaining flour to make a soft dough. 

Continue knead the dough in your stand mixer with the dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Spray a clean bowl with oil, and place the dough in the bowl, cover, and allow to rise for at least an hour.  The dough will double in size. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine boiling solution and bring to a boil. Punch dough down and divide 4 ounce loaves. Make sure the loaves are tightly rolled, otherwise it will split apart at the seam. Boil each loaf in the solution for 2 minutes, turning after 1 minute. 

Remove loaves from pot using a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet.

Brush with egg wash and cut a cross in the top. 

Bake for 15 minutes at the 400 degree temperature. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes until the loaves are evenly browned. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

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Aloo Masala

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I absolutely LOVE indian potatoes. I could seriously eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and be perfectly content with my day. The potatoes although a side dish, for me can be a meal all on its own. Tone down the spice on the potatoes and the kids love them as well. I sure do love a dish that both the adults and kids love to eat. It makes my day so much easier when I only have to make one dinner for the family, because who am I kidding, most of the time I end up making a kids meal every night. :(

2Lbs potatoes

1/4C canola oil

1tsp mustard seeds

1/2t fenugreek seeds

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 serrano chile

1 large onion, roughly chopped

1/2C frozen peas

1 1/2T ground coriander

1t turmeric

1- 2” piece of ginger, peeled and grated

salt to taste

1/3C cilantro, chopped. For garnish

Cook potatoes in boiling water until just tender, 25 min.

Drain, peel, and cut into 2” pieces.

Heat oil in 6-qt sauce pan over medium high heat. Cook mustard seeds until they pop, about 2 minutes. Add Fenugreek seeds and cook an additional minute. Add garlic, chiles, and onion. Cook until golden, about 8 minutes.

Add potatoes, peas, coriander, turmeric, ginger, salt, and 1-1/2C of water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook, covered until potatoes are tender, about 8 min. Uncover and stir, mashing lightly. Cook until the potatoes are slightly dry. Garnish with cilantro and serve. 

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Shami Kebab Recipe

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I don’t make Indian food often. I know this because my husband nags me about it. It’s not his fault, he grew up eating indian food on a daily basis at his parent’s home. To him, this is comfort food. But to the Mexican girl he married, comfort food means something completely different. It’s not that I don’t like Indian food, I love it actually. The smell of the spices, the spiciness of the dishes, and creaminess and tanginess of the yogurt sauces. It’s like taking a trip to India without actually packing up and taking the 24hr flight to get there. 

So in honor of my husbands lack of homemade Indian food, this Mexican girl is cooking indian recipes this week. Starting with Shami Kebabs, ground beef (or lamb) patties that use a lentil stew binder made with fragrant spices. And No, these are not burger patties, they are so much better. But if you wrap them up in naan bread they would make an excellent sandwich. 

3T canola oil
1t cumin seeds
1 large red onion,
1⁄3 minced, 1⁄3 thinly sliced
1⁄2C chana dal (yellow lentils), rinsed, soaked 30 minutes, and drained
1⁄3C  roughly chopped mint
1⁄2t ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
1 serrano, minced
1 (2”) piece ginger, peeled,
1⁄2 mashed into a paste, 1⁄2 minced
Kosher salt, to taste
2 lb. ground beef or ground lamb
1⁄2C minced cilantro
1T garam masala

1t red chile powder, such as cayenne
1⁄3C canola oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium high heat. Cook cumin seeds and half the minced onion until golden, about 6–8 minutes. Add lentils, mint, turmeric, garlic, chiles, ginger paste, salt, and 1-1⁄2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low heat; cook until lentils are mushy and mixture is slightly dry, about 1 hour. Let cool and transfer to a food processor. Add beef, half the cilantro, the garam masala, chile powder, and salt; purée into a thick paste.

Stir in remaining minced onion and cilantro with minced ginger in a bowl. Using wet hands, divide beef mixture into 1-1⁄2 oz. balls.  Roll into a ball; flatten into a patty. Add 1⁄3C of oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, cook patties, flipping once, until cooked through and crisp, 4–6 minutes; serve with sliced onion.

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Agua Fresca de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

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Agua fresca de jamaica is tea made from dry hibiscus flowers. Starbucks sells this tea with a blend of passion fruit, mango, and lemongrass.  I like to stay true to the flavors used in agua fresca, by using cinnamon sticks and a squeeze of lime. You’re probably asking yourself, where do I get dry hibiscus flowers? Well, head on over to the Mexican food market. There you can find loose hibiscus flowers, but you’ll have to ask for it as “jamaica”, and no, you don’t say it how you pronounce that beautiful island, its more like “ham-I-kah.”  

Once you bring home your dry leaves, brew up a big batch for the price of one tall cup from Starbucks tea, keep remaining tea cool in the fridge and just keep pouring as needed. No return trip to Starbucks needed. :)

4C of water
3/4C of sugar (you can add more if you like your tea sweeter)
1C dried hibiscus flowers
1/2 cinnamon stick (optional)
4C of ice water
2T Lime juice (optional)
lime slices for garnish


Put 4 cups of the water, cinnamon, and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. 
Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers.
Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. 
Strain into a pitcher and discard the hibiscus flowers and cinnamon stick.

Add remaining 4 cups of ice water to the concentrate, and chill.  Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor.
Serve over ice with a slice of lime.

For a fizzy treat, use soda water instead of the 4 cups of ice water.

Chicken Satay with a Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe

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Who needs take out when you can make this dish quickly, and for a fraction of the cost at home. The flavors hold true to Thai chicken satay and the peanut sauce is a creamy and sweet addition to the dish that takes it to another level. Your weekday chicken dinner has just been taken up a notch. 

You’re welcome. ;)

Chicken Satay-

1/2C coconut milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1t curry powder
1 1/2t brown sugar
1/2t salt
1/2t ground black pepper
1lb skinless, boneless chicken tenders
Stir together 1/2 cup coconut milk, garlic, 1 teaspoon curry powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper until the sugar has dissolved. Add chicken to the mixture, cover, and marinate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat grill at medium-high heat.
Skewer the marinated chicken, grill for 4 - 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
Serve with warm peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce- 

1C- coconut milk
1T curry powder
1/2C creamy peanut butter
3/4C chicken stock
1/4C brown sugar
2T lime or lemon juice
1t soy sauce
Salt to taste

Bring 1 cup coconut milk, curry powder, peanut butter, chicken stock, and cup brown sugar to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and soy sauce; season to taste with salt.

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Frozen Gin and Tonic Recipe

This is what happens when a Southern California girl experiences her first summer in Phoenix. She makes cocktails in a slushy form. The recipe is easy enough, it’s a traditional gin and tonic with some added sugar for sweetness. You will need an ice cream maker to get the sorbet to the right consistency, but if you have one handy. You’ll be all set. 
2t of lime zest
2T of lime juice
1/2C  sugar
1/3C  gin 
30 ounces of tonic water 
Place the zest and sugar in a small bowl and using a wooden spoon crush them together. Allow the zest to infuse with the sugar for 30 minutes.
Transfer the sugar/zest mixture to a deep pitcher. Stir in the gin and  lime juice.
Slowly pour in the tonic water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Refrigerate, covered, until chilled. 
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze until the mixture is turned into a loose sorbet. Transfer to a plastic container, cover and freeze for 30 minutes so the sorbet can set. 

Serve with a garnish of lime and enjoy. 

Turkey Larb Recipe

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Commonly made with pork or duck, i’ve taken a classic Thai dish and added a healthy spin by making it out of turkey. It eliminates some of the fat, but keeps all the flavor. Traditionally a meat salad served over lettuce leaves, serving it with rice makes it a complete meal for my carb-oholics I have at home. They love it and although they don’t like the smell of fish sauce in the house, they love the tanginess and sweetness in the dish. 

Turkey Larb Recipe: 

1/2 lb. ground turkey 
1/4C onion, diced
2 T fish sauce for frying chicken
juice of 1 lime 
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 fresh minced green chili
1/2 t dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 green onions, sliced 
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
oil for stir fry

Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok over high heat. Add the diced onions, and ground turkey. As you stir-fry, add the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, cayenne, green chili, and pepper flakes. 
If the wok becomes dry, add a bit of water. 
Stir-fry until turkey is cooked, about 8 minutes.
Toss in bell peppers, garlic, and green onions (reserve some green onions for garnish), sauté for an additional 2 minutes to warm the veggies. 

Garnish with green onions and serve with white rice.

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Cake Batter Ice Cream Recipe

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I love cake batter ice cream. I mean, what’s not to love. Its ice cream that tastes just like cake! But what exactly makes ice cream taste like cake? Just like adding vanilla beans, or chocolate, or strawberries, one adds cake mix to get cake batter ice cream. Yes!! It really is that simple. No more trips to the local premium ice cream shop. Now you can make your favorite ice cream at home. Well, almost… You still need an ice cream maker and a bit a patcience since ice cream needs a good amount of time to set after being made. It’s worth the wait because this ice cream is creamy and full of cake flavor. I like to add sprinkles to dress up the ice cream, because everything is better with sprinkles. 

Ice Cream Recipe

1C- milk

1/2C- white sugar

2- egg yolks, slightly beaten

2C- heavy cream

2t- vanilla extract

3/4C- white cake mix, sifted

2T sprinkles, not the nonpareils (they bleed)

In a sauce pan set to medium heat, add the milk, sugar, egg yolks, heavy cream, vanilla, and cake mix.  Whisk the mixture while on the heat until well combined. You shouldn’t have any visible clumps. Continue to whisk to avoid burning the mixture. Heat until the milk reaches a temperature of 160 degrees. The milk will now be thick like a custard. Remove from heat, and transfer to another bowl. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and cool completely in the fridge. Once cooled, transfer the custard to your ice cream maker and churn at low speed until the custard is the consistency of soft serve. Transfer the soft serve to lidded plastic container, cover with plastic wrap and cover the container with the lid. Allow the ice cream to completely set in the freezer for at least 3 hours. 

While I wait for the ice cream to set, I like to make fun sugar cones for the kids. The ones below are store bought Keebler cones that have been rimmed with white chocolate and nonpareils sprinkles. 

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Pretzel Dog Recipe

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Sometimes I crave a blast from the past, a childhood favorite. Today I wanted to transport myself back to the days I would wander around the local mall with no agenda. Just walk around with a few friends grab a bite, and have a good time. Many times that bite would consist of a pretzel dog. Those buttery, soft, and slightly salty pretzels, who could resist? I know I couldn’t.  
Instead of heading to the mall and grabbing some pretzel dogs, I like to make my own. Not much healthier than the mall, but at least I know what’s in them. I like to use Hebrew National dogs, because not only do they taste better, they use premium beef (they are kosher dogs). And who doesn’t like a home that smells like freshly baked bread. They should package that scent in a plug-in and sell it! I would be the #1 customer. :)
These take a little time, but like they say, “All good things are worth waiting for.” These are no exception. 

Pretzel Dogs- 


1 1/2C- warm milk
2T- brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2t- kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5C- all-purpose flour
12 Hebrew National Hot Dogs 
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3T baking soda
1 egg, beaten with 1T of cold water
Pretzel Salt, or coarse sea salt



Line half sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with vegetable spray.

Combine the milk, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until bubbly.

Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough does not pull away from the sides of the bowl, it is too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it starts to pull away from the sides. Continue to knead the dough for 4 more minutes until soft. 

Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface, and roll into a 10x20-inch rectangle.
Cut the dough into 18 1-inch wide strips, then wrap each strip tightly around a hot dog in a spiral, pinching the edges to seal, and leaving the ends open. Dip 2 or 3 dough-wrapped hot dogs into the boiling water for 30 seconds.
Arrange the boiled hot dogs on the prepared baking sheets. Brush each pretzel dog with the egg yolk mixture, and sprinkle with pretzel salt.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and enjoy.

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Agua de Sandia- Watermelon Water

This is our first summer in AZ, and boy is it HOT! Some days we reach 113 degrees, and the nights don’t cool down much, as we stay in the 80’s (SIGH)
Here, let me give you an example,  It’s been so hot out here since the start of the summer that the water in our pool registers 93 degrees! 93!!! That’s just not right. :( So, much for jumping in the pool. Right now it doesn’t help much. So, we stay indoors and I make agua fresca for the family. A refreshing fruit beverage that can be made with cantaloupe, tamarind, and even watermelon. The sweetness of the fresh fruit served over ice is refreshing and is just what this girl needs to keep cool in this Phoenix heat. 

Agua Fresca de Sandia-


3C- seedless watermelon, diced 
4C- cold water for blending 
1/4C- sugar, or as needed.
6C- cold water
Lime wedges


Puree the diced watermelon with 4 cups cold water in blender. Blend until smooth, and then pour into a pitcher. Add the final 6 cups cold water and add sugar. Sweeten to taste. Taste for sweetness as you go, since you also have to take into account the sweetness of the watermelon. 
Serve, and garnish with lime wedges.