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Making Bagels

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So, I’ve made bagels once before, but it’s been awhile. For some reason, I just felt like making a batch. Who knew that today (February 9th) is National Bagel Day?! Was there something subliminal going on there? These won’t be baked until the following day, though…but I made the dough and shaped them on National Bagel Day. That still counts, right? Right.

To give credit, where credit is due, I am using a recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by way of a website: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/. The recipe makes 12 bagels. It begins with a “sponge”, which is similar to a sourdough starter, except all the ingredients are fresh. About half of the flour is used with all of the water and half of the yeast. After a couple of hours, the sponge is combined with the rest of the ingredients to make the dough. After the dough is made, kneaded, and portioned, it is allowed to rise. Once formed, the bagels relax briefly and then are refrigerated overnight. The process is finished in the morning.

BAGELS

Sponge:

1 t. Instant yeast

4 c. Bread flour

2-1/2 c. Water

Dough:

1 t. Instant yeast (original recipe calls for 1/2 t., but mine has been in the fridge for awhile, so….)

3-3/4 c. Bread flour

2-3/4 t. salt (why not 3? I don’t know, but I followed directions here.)

2 t. malt powder (not malted milk powder) You could substitute a tablespoon of malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar, according to the recipe. (I used a tablespoon of molasses.)

1 T. baking soda (to add to boiling water for cooking)

Corn meal for dusting the baking sheet

Toppings, if desired. Poppy seeds, dehydrated chopped onion or garlic, salt, sesame seeds, etc. (I don’t do sesame, due to an allergy in the family.) I made my own mixture for Everything Bagels.*

Day or Evening Before

Make the sponge. Combine the ingredients and mix to combine. It will be wet and sticky. Cover and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Sponge for making bagels

Sponge for making bagels

The sponge has risen!

The sponge has risen!

Make the dough. After rising, add 3 cups flour, yeast, salt, and malt powder (or substitute) to the dough and mix as well as you can.

Turn out on a clean, floured surface and begin kneading, using the last 3/4 c. flour to keep from sticking, incorporating it as you go. Knead for 10 minutes.

Kneading the dough.

Kneading the dough.

Immediately after kneading, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4-1/2 oz). My scale is broken, so I had to eyeball it. Line a sheet pan with parchment and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Shape the portions into balls and put them on the cooking sheet. Cover the dough balls with a damp towel or damp paper towels and let rest for twenty minutes.

Divide the dough and shape into balls.

Divide the dough and shape into balls.

After resting, use your thumb to punch a hole in the center of each dough ball, and rotate the dough around to widen the hole. Try to maintain even thickness all the way around the bagel.

Shaping the dough.

Shaping the dough.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You are done until tomorrow morning!

Ready for the refrigerator, overnight.

Ready for the refrigerator, overnight.

The Next Morning

Preheat the oven to 500F. Prepare a baking sheet with a sprinkle of corn meal. Bring a large, preferably wide, pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. This helps the dough brown properly, when baked. The original recipes from many, many years ago, called for lye. For some reason, that is frowned upon these days. (Seriously, don’t do it.) While the water is boiling, drop bagels in, one at a time, until the surface is covered. Boil for one minute, flip over carefully, boil for another minute.

Boiling the bagels.

Boiling the bagels.

Place the boiled bagels on the baking sheet and, if using toppings, apply them at this point, while bagels are still moist. Continue until all bagels have been boiled and topped.

I did half "Everything" and half plain.

I did half “Everything” and half plain.

Place the bagels in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 450F, rotate the pan, and cook for another 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool…until you can’t stand it any more! Note: my bagels took about 18 minutes, actually.

Done! How long can I wait? Not long!

Done! How long can I wait? Not long!

My “Everything Bagel Topping” without sesame seeds: I used about two tablespoons each of Roasted, salted sunflower seeds, minced dehydrated garlic, chopped dehydrated onions, and then about a tablespoon of poppy seeds. I used a mortar and pestle to break up the big stuff a little before adding the poppy seeds.

My "Everything Bagel Topping", no sesame seeds.

My “Everything Bagel Topping”, no sesame seeds.

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Spicy Pecan Pineapple Party Ball

Wrapped and ready for action!

Wrapped and ready for action!

This cheese ball (or is that cheeseball?) was created for a North Carolina Pecan Growers contest at the NC State Fair. Prior to the contest, I made a 1/2 recipe “test ball” and took it to a family dinner. The consensus was resoundingly thumbs up! The test batch was all thrown into the food processor and wrapped, chilled overnight, rolled in chopped raw pecans and wrapped again for travel. It was a good size for our group of 7 adults. (There were 2 kids there that didn’t want to try it.) I would say there was about 1/3 of the ball leftover that was re-wrapped and placed in the fridge. It should last several days.

Full batch party ball with hand-cut ingredients. More appealing than processor batch, but more time-consuming.

Full batch party ball with hand-cut ingredients. More appealing than processor batch, but more time-consuming.

For the “competition ball”, I made a few minor changes. I hand-cut the fruit and veggie ingredients for a little more texture and I mixed them with the cream cheese in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

I also hand-chopped the pecans instead of pulsing in the food processor for a coarser result.

Toasted and coarsely chopped pecans

Toasted and coarsely chopped pecans

Then I toasted the pecans for more flavor and tossed in some granulated garlic after removing the pecans from the heat. I know it’s good. Now I have to find out if it is “award winning”! I’ll let you know how it turns out. ***Update: Unfortunately, I did not place in this competition. I wound up in 5th place. The judges said the flavor and texture were good, but they were looking for more creativity on the use of the pecans. I can live with that…they enjoyed it! I did win two 2nd place ribbons in the Food Preservation category of the non-sponsored competition, though. One for homemade ketchup and the other for wild muscadine grape jelly.

Homemade Ketchup

Homemade Ketchup

Wild Muscadine Grape Jelly

Wild Muscadine Grape Jelly

My First Cooking Competition

My First Cooking Competition

Now for the most important part: Is it “pa-KAHN” (yes, it IS!), “PEE-can” (No, it is not! Eeww, gross!) or “PEE-KAHN” (No, it is not, but at least it isn’t gross!)? Aaaanyway, I hope you’ll give the party ball a try and let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Spicy Pecan Pineapple Party Ball

Ingredients:

16 oz Cream Cheese, (2-8oz blocks)

2 tablespoons Fresh Jalapeno Chili, seeds and membranes removed, minced

2 tablespoons Green Onions, white and green parts, minced

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 cup Pineapple fresh or canned, chopped fine, drained well

2 cups Pecans, chopped, toasted

¼ t. Granulated Garlic

This is the half batch I made in the food processor. Good option for smaller scale party!

This is the half batch I made in the food processor. Good option for smaller scale party!

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients, except the pecans and garlic, and mix well. Shape into a ball in a round container, lined with plastic wrap. Twist top and tie with kitchen twine or twist tie to hold shape while chilling.

Wrap and use a rounded container to help hold the shape while refrigerating.

Wrap and use a rounded container to help hold the shape while refrigerating.

Refrigerate until chilled through. Lightly toast the pecans over medium heat in a dry skillet, tossing or stirring often. Remove pecans from heat and add granulated garlic. Stir or toss to combine.

Chilled cheese ball, ready to roll!

Chilled cheese ball, ready to roll!

Unwrap the cheese ball. Place chopped pecans in a mixing bowl. Roll the cheese ball in pecans until evenly and well-coated. Serve with crackers. Enjoy!

Wrapped and ready for action!

Wrapped and ready for action!

Rolled in Pecans and wrapped.

Rolled in Pecans and wrapped.

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Anaheim Rangoon

(Originally published July 24, 2013 MMM Foodies)

Anaheim Rangoon

Did Crab Rangoon ever really include any crab? I guess there are a few upscale Chinese restaurants that might put some crab in the recipe or maybe some of that fake “crab stix” stuff, but most don’t even bother, as far as I can tell. So, this is my “Anaheim Rangoon” made with Anaheim chilies, garlic and cream cheese. Since we have an allergy in the family that includes crab, I really didn’t want to include any in my recipe anyway. There is also a sesame allergy in the family and, with so much sesame oil in every Chinese restaurant, one of us rarely gets rangoon and used to really love them. So, I decided to make them at home. It’s really easier than I thought. The assembly takes a little time, but it isn’t really difficult.

After I made my test batch, I made some for dinner, as an appetizer. My resident rangoon fan gave them a solid thumbs up! I did the dinner batch in the wok with a little deeper oil than the test batch. The oil was also hotter and the rangoon cooked very quickly…maybe 20 to 30 seconds per side. They were a little darker, but quite delish! I would love to hear about your experience and see photos of your rangoon! Have fun and enjoy!

Ingredients:

Rangoon Ingredients

Dumpling Wrappers, about 3-3/4” diameter, round (I found these at my local Asian food store)

1 block Cream Cheese, 8oz

2 cloves Garlic, run through garlic press or minced fine

1 Anaheim Chili, chopped fine, most seeds removed (substitute jalapeno for a hotter rangoon!)

Water, for sealing

Vegetable Oil for frying

Directions:

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, if available, mix the cream cheese until softened. Add garlic and chilies and mix until well blended, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a storage container or small bowl. Line a tray with parchment or wax paper. Take a dumpling wrapper and put about a teaspoon of the filling in the center of it. Wet a finger and run across half of the outer edge to wet. Fold over the wrapper to form a half-moon shape. Press out any air and press down on the edge to seal. Wet the outer edge and pleat and press the edges to seal.

         

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. (If you have a deep fryer, set at 350F.) Fry until golden brown on both sides, about a minute and a half to two minutes per side. Handle with care…cheese may start coming out! (Wondering if an eggroll wrapper might hold up a little better because they are thicker?)

         

Remove from frying pan to paper towel lined plate or tray to drain. Serve warm with salsa on the side. Enjoy!

Anaheim Rangoon with Peach Salsa

Optional: add a teaspoon of finely minced ginger to the cream cheese mixture and serve with Duck Sauce.

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