Bagels

Its always the story behind the food — not just the bit that we hold in our hands or put in our mouths that makes it so much more than just something to eat.

The origin of the bagel is still an issue for debate. Most food historians have come to the conclusion that the bagel is of Jewish origin. Apparently originating in South Germany, migrating to Poland and then to North America. This boiled and baked roll with a hole, has endured through the centuries not only because of its heroic legend. It also had the advantage of lasting longer than freshly baked bread due to the boiling process giving it an outer sheen and crunchy protective crust.

In the early 1950’s, Family Circle included a recipe for bagels. The copy read: ‘Stumped for Hors d’oeuvers Ideas? Split these tender little triumphs in halves and then quarters. Spread with sweet butter and place a small slice of smoked salmon on each. For variations, spread with cream cheese, anchovies or red caviar.

The morning combination of bagel, cream cheese and lox (smoked salmon), rose in popularity thanks to the advertising efforts of Joseph Kraft for Philadelphia Cream Cheese. It soon became an alternative to Eggs Benedict or the other Sunday trilogy of bacon, eggs and toast.

I remember being in California in the late 70’s and tasting a bagel with cream cheese & lox for the first time. The bakery/cafes were very popular little boutique restaurants at that time and  it was there that I acquired the taste for this glorious combination. 

Bagelmania, replaced, to a certain extent, the doughnut shops of the earlier 20th century. Their popularity was largely because they didn’t taste ethnic. To the bread and sandwich loving population, the bagel was simply a craving for innovation, but not different enough to appear ethnic.

In the 1960’s, preservatives helped create bagels that stayed fresh for more than a few hours and engineers created mixers that didn’t tear themselves apart trying to work the dough.

For classic bagels you require two ingredients that most home bakers’ generally don’t have in their pantries. One is high-gluten flour and the other is malt syrup. Both should be obtainable at natural food markets. If you can’t find high-gluten flour, use bread flour, preferably unbleached. Regular all-purpose doesn’t contain enough gluten to make a proper bagel. As far as the barley malt syrup goes, honey or brown sugar are acceptable substitutes.

All that being said, if you are still up for making a few bagels here is a recipe from cdkitchen.com you might like.

 

Homemade Bagels
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Homemade Bagels
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Dough
Water for Boiling Bagels
'Everything' Topping
Servings:
Instructions
Dough
  1. In a large bowl, stir together water, yeast & sugar. Let rise for 5 minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in oil, malt & 1 cup of flour. Add salt then enough of remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, knead for 10-12 minutes. Cover with a floured dish towel & allow dough to rest on board for about 15 minutes. Divide dough into 8 sections & form each section into a ball. Push your thumb through the center, creating a hole, (this method prevents the dough ring from separating as there are no seams). Place on a lightly floured surface, cover & let rest 15-20 minutes, rising about halfway & becoming slightly puffy. In a small bowl, mix all topping ingredients together. Set aside.
Water for Boiling Bagels
  1. Fill a large cooking pot 3/4 full with water. Add the malt syrup & salt. Bring water to a boil. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. If desired, sprinkle with cornmeal. Set aside.
  2. Line 2 other baking sheets with a kitchen towel, set near stove. Reduce boiling water to a simmer & cook 2 bagels at a time (do not overcrowd pot). Simmer bagels for about 45 seconds on one side, then turn & cook other side for another 45 seconds. Drain bagels on the towel-lined baking sheet.
  3. Carefully place bagels on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle bagels with 'everything' topping, leave plain or use a topping of your choice. Place in the hot oven, immediately reduce heat to 425 F., bake about 17-25 minutes. When almost baked, turn bagels over with a pair of tongs. When golden brown remove from oven & cool on a wire rack.
Recipe Notes
  • For a few sweet versions try cinnamon with raisins or use some dried blueberries or cranberries. 
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Almond Poppy Seed ‘Sheet’ Cake

Sheet cakes are sometimes thought of by some as a lazy man’s cake. Yes, they are easy to bake and contain no fancy layers or have intricate decorations but ….

Traditionally a sheet cake refers to a cake baked in a large, shallow rectangular pan such as a jelly-roll pan. They are single layer and almost always frosted on both top and sides.

The famous ‘Texas Sheet Cake’ that is very popular in the US seems to be referenced as far back as 1936. I understand it started out as three layers and ultimately became a one layer, large sheet cake. By the 1970’s these recipes were using sour cream instead of buttermilk and alternative ingredients had evolved.

Today, if you are wanting to make a sheet cake you can find over 300 recipe choices on allrecipes.com alone. At this time of year with so many people hosting block parties, barbecues, family gatherings etc. I thought it would be nice to post a favorite recipe of mine. If you like poppy seed, you will absolutely love this cake. 

Almond Poppy 'Sheet' Cake
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Almond Poppy 'Sheet' Cake
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Ingredients
Cake
Topping
Servings:
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Beat egg whites until stiff, set aside in fridge. In a small bowl, combine flour, poppy seed, baking powder & salt. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks, gradually adding sugar, followed by oil, milk, flavorings & dry ingredients.
  2. Gently fold in egg whites. Pour into 2 unbuttered 9 x 13" pans or onto an unbuttered cookie sheet 18 x 15 x 1". Bake on middle rack for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool completely.
Icing & Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients & beat until smooth; spread on cake & cool completely. Melt chocolate & margarine in microwave. QUICKLY spread topping over cooled cake.
Recipe Notes
  • I was only needing a small amount today so I made a quarter of the recipe & baked it in an 8 x 8-inch pan. It cuts nicely into 9 or 18 pieces.
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Victoria Day – Canada’s Ode to Summer

Victoria Day is the distinctly Canadian holiday that officially wraps up winter. Even if the date marks the informal start of summer, you could be planning for a backyard barbecue or an impromptu indoor shut-in due to an array of snow, sleet, rain or hail.

Although we are well into the 21st century, in Canada we still celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday over 100 years after her passing. The only other country in the Commonwealth to observe this celebration is Scotland. This is our oldest statuary holiday in Canada and is celebrated annually on the Monday preceding May 25th. In the maritime provinces it is a non-statuary ‘general’ holiday and in Quebec, ‘National Patriots Day’ is observed instead.

While we might hang onto the British queen’s name for old times sake, the tradition of Victoria Day is truly Canadian and has everything to do with the end of the cold weather and short days, and a lot to do with some great food.

My choice of food for today’s blog should work well with your own ‘barbecue’ meal. It is APPLE-TURKEY SAUSAGE ROLLS  and STUFFED POTATO SKINS.

Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls / Stuffed Potato Skins
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Servings
8-12
Servings
8-12
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls / Stuffed Potato Skins
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Servings
8-12
Servings
8-12
Ingredients
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls
Servings:
Instructions
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute apple, onion, sage, thyme & allspice in olive oil for 5 minutes. Apples & onions should be soft but not browned. Remove from heat & set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooled apple mixture with ground turkey, salt & pepper. Using your hands, gently mix until everything is evenly combined, making sure not to overwork the mixture.
  4. Unroll the puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured work surface, cut crosswise to make three long, strips ((about 10 x 3.5" each) Brush a line of mustard down the middle of each strip. Divide filling into 3 equal portions. Roll into sausage shapes & place down the middle of each pastry rectangle. Brush edges firmly to seal.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange the rolls, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Brush with remaining beaten egg, & sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover with plastic wrap & place in the freezer to firm up, about 15 minutes.
  6. Using a very sharp knife, cut each roll into 8 bite-sized pieces & arrange 1" apart on baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown & sausage is cooked through.
Stuffed Potato Skins
  1. Microwave potatoes, uncovered, on high for 14-17 minutes or until tender but firm, turning once. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4" shell ( pulp can be used elsewhere).
  2. Combine oil & hot pepper sauce; brush over potato shells. Cut each potato shell in half lengthwise again. Place on baking sheets coated with baking spray. Sprinkle with the tomato, bacon, onion & cheese. Bake at 450 F. for 12-14 minutes or until heated through & cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.
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Stuffed Summer Vegetables with Herb / Cheese Bread Sticks

Anyone growing a vegetable garden will now be reaping the benefits of all your hard work. Have you ever stopped and thought about how many summer vegetables are fantastic for hollowing out and stuffing? Any vegetable with a fairly sturdy shape can become an edible vessel for dinner. All we need to do is scoop out the middle and fill the inside with a stuffing of our choice. A little time in the oven until everything is heated through and dinner is ready!

When my siblings and I were growing up, my mother had many unique ways of teaching us how to take responsibility. On one side of her huge farm vegetable garden, she designated a ‘strip’ each for the three of us older siblings. The strips were each about 4 feet (1.22 m) wide and the length of her garden. The deal was that we could grow whatever we choose to, but it was ours to weed and care for all summer. At the end of the season, it was fun to see who had the most success. One of my sisters absolutely loved to grow pumpkins as they grew fast and large. I can’t really remember my mother stuffing a lot of vegetables but the idea of stuffing ‘things’ always appeals to me. The blended flavors make for some pretty tasty meals.

I couldn’t resist making a few kinds even if I’m not a vegetable gardener. These blog recipes have been adapted from tasteofhome.com which just happens to be one of my favorite recipe companies.

Stuffed Onions, Tomatoes & Zucchini with Herb / Cheese Bread Sticks
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If your a vegetable lover, this meal is for you.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Stuffed Onions, Tomatoes & Zucchini with Herb / Cheese Bread Sticks
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If your a vegetable lover, this meal is for you.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Onion Filling
Tomato & Zucchini Filling
Servings:
Instructions
Stuffed Onions
  1. Cut a 1/2" thick slice from tops; discard. Trim just enough off bottom for onions to stand upright. Scoop out all but outer 2 or 3 layers from each onion. Chop scooped out onion reserving 2/3 of it for tomato/zucchini filling.
  2. Cook bacon until crisp; transfer to a paper towel, reserving fat in skillet. Add onion, celery, salt & pepper to skillet; saute, stirring until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic & saute, stirring about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a bowl & stir in spinach, bread crumbs, margarine, chicken broth & bacon; cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Arrange onion shells, open sides up, in a small baking pan. Add 1/2 cup water & cover tightly with foil. Roast onions until JUST tender. Do not over bake! Remove from oven. Lift carefully to work surface & fill with stuffing. Set aside until tomatoes & zucchini are prepared.
Stuffed Tomatoes & Zucchini
  1. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato; remove core, discard. Using a melon baller, scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/2" shell. Reserve pulp. Invert tomatoes onto paper towels to drain. Slice each zucchini into thirds. Using melon baller, scoop out centers, leaving one end of each piece in tact to hold filling.
  2. In nonstick skillet, cook turkey & reserved, chopped onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in basil, salt, pepper & reserved tomato & zucchini pulp; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 minutes. Stir in rice, cheese & pesto; heat through. Cool slightly; spoon into tomato & zucchini shells.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place any remaining filling in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Place stuffed onions, tomatoes & zucchini on top. Bake, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes. Do not over bake as it is best when vegetables still have a bit of crispness rather than being completely soft or mushy.
Herb / Cheese Bread Sticks
  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. In a small dish, beat egg & divide. In another dish, whisk yogurt with 1/2 beaten egg. Stir into dry ingredients until mixture forms a ball.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Divide into 12 pieces & roll each into an 8" length. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with remaining beaten egg & sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack.
Recipe Notes
  • Don't hesitate to add some tomato sauce to your tomato/zucchini filling if you think it needs a little more flavor.
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Strawberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Wine Sangria

 

This week we celebrate my husband Brion’s birthday, so it seems fitting to feature a             STRAWBERRY-LEMON POPPY SEED  ‘birthday cake’ with WHITE WINE SANGRIA.

BIRTHDAY WISHES FOR YOU BRION!

With your love and strong support many of my endeavors have become reality which may not have otherwise. You’re the best!

Strawberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Wine Sangria
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A tender bundt cake with a nice lemony filling tucked inside.
Servings
14
Servings
14
Strawberry-Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with White Wine Sangria
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A tender bundt cake with a nice lemony filling tucked inside.
Servings
14
Servings
14
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray & flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat margarine & sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest; mix well. Separate 1 egg, using the white in cake batter & yolk in lemon filling. Add the 2 whole eggs & 1 egg white to first mixture; beat well.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt & allspice. Gradually add to the margarine mixture alternately with yogurt, beating well after each addition. Transfer to Bundt pan & bake 30-35 minutes or until tests done. Cool in pan 5-10 minutes. Invert on cooling rack & let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare filling by combining remaining egg yolk with 1/4 cup cold water. Whisk in 1 3/4 cups of hot water. Cook until clear (do not add any butter). Chill with waxed paper touching top.
  5. Prepare dessert topping according to pkg directions. Place cake on serving plate. Cut 1/2-inch slice from top of cake. Set aside. Hollow out, making a tunnel with 3/4-inch sides & bottom. Fold whipped topping into lemon filling. Divide in HALF. Fold fruit into 1/2 of the filling. Spoon into tunnel. Place top slice back on cake. 'Ice' cake with the rest of the filling. Chill.
Sangria
  1. Combine sugar, lemonade, lime and orange juice. Stir well until sugar dissolves. Add white wine. Chill. Just before serving, add club soda & fresh fruit. YIELD: 7 LITERS or 30 CUPS
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