Sorry for another unexpected hiatus. Basically I got busy with work stuff over the last few weeks zeroing in on a deadline, and as it turned out I didn’t have much interesting to say for a bit. Then Bad Idea Mode struck the other night, and now I have a new obsession.
I don’t own a stand mixer. This vexes me, because one thing I greatly enjoy is Auntie Anne’s pretzels. Or Wetzel’s pretzels, which are similar. That doughy, buttery bite is a great guilty pleasure, but to enjoy it I have to make a mall run that takes around 30 to 45 minutes altogether. But you can make your own versions of these at home, and it works best if you have ample counter space and, because mixing yeast dough any other way sucks, a stand mixer.
So zero for two.
But regular soft pretzels, the more conventional variety, you can make by using pizza dough as a quick and dirty substitute; like the other kind you still need a hot baking soda solution to dip them in for a bit, followed by an egg wash, to give them that pretzely goodness. Even Chef John of Food Wishes endorses this, so I’m on board. I even have pretzel salt I ordered from Amazon ages ago. But do I really want to make just a batch of soft pretzels, that only I can eat because my wife is low-carb? No, I do not.
This led me down some very dark and dangerous roads. For instance, pretzel cheese bites; pretzel-wrapped hot dogs; and finally, I got to thinking that you could make a pretzel calzone. This is apparently not a new idea, but it’s new to me.
So my current bad idea is to buy some shredded mozzarella, some ricotta, and maybe a little Parmesan, and get a good filling mix, then use some ready-made pizza dough to make several small calzones. And then, I would dip them in an alkaline bath and do the egg wash thing, then make a tiny slit in the top of each for steam to escape, before cooking in a very hot oven. A little pretzel salt, but not a lot, is of course mandatory.
This idea is so stupidly simple, I have to try it.
Also in the cooking sphere, lately I’ve been cooking a lot more bacon in the oven. I just preheat to 325°, line a cookie sheet with two layers of foil (just regular foil, hence two layers), then grab about 9 slices of thick-cut bacon, cut those in half, and arrange the half slices on the sheet. That’s about 3/4 lb. After roughly 27-30 minutes the bacon is perfectly done to my liking, and the fat parts melt in your mouth. The leftover bacon grease is crazy easy to save, which makes for top-notch fried eggs and is also great for coating frozen French fries before cooking (as I mentioned recently).
It occurred to me the other day that I really ought to cook bacon a lot more often, like once every couple weeks at the least, because honestly bacon isn’t all that expensive for this purpose, and having a few slices in the fridge ready to go at a moment’s notice means I have a lot more reason to cook at home and way less to run out for pricey and worse-for-me fast food. Plus, a few slices of bacon covered in melty cheese makes an amazing late-night snack, and it’s way better than going for something carby.
And yes, I am pondering make-ahead breakfast pretzel calzones that can be saved in the freezer. Fall has come and I intend to rule it with an iron fork.