Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Food Holidays

I just could not decide on a subject for April. There are so many things to try and taste. So, I finally decided to make it a weekend celebration - April 24 thru 26 is packed with food holidays.

April 24th is National Pigs in a Blanket Day

April 25th is National Zucchini Bread

April 26th is National Pretzel Day

I will develop and test recipes for the above holidays in the days ahead. I will post them soon.

Fast forward a few days. . . Here they are. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Pigs in a Blanket

I have to admit, I have never made Pigs in a Blanket. Of course, I have heard of them and even tasted them, but never made, until now. They are fairly simple, just make sure you allow ample room between each hot dog, and you will have perfectly cooked pigs in a blanket. Other popular variations of meat wrapped in dough are devils on horsebacks, wiener winks and kilted sausages.

1 refrigerated crescent dough
2 tablespoons mustard
4 slices of American cheese
1 package of 8 hot dogs

Preheat oven to 350. Open and roll out 8 crescent dough pieces. Flatten and stretch a little. Spread mustard on each piece of dough. Cut each slice of cheese in half diagonally and place over mustard. Place each hot dog on the bottom part of each dough and roll tightly. Press to seal. Place on cookie sheet. Leave at least 2 inches between each hot dog to insure proper cooking.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 8

Zucchini Bread

What can I say about zucchini bread, love it or leave it, it is always moist, plentiful during the summer and, if you add enough extras, delicious.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 (8oz.) crushed pineapple
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour through salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Mix zucchini through walnuts in a medium bowl and stir until combine. Carefully add wet ingredients to dry. Stir until smooth. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.

Yield: 1 loaf

Soft Pretzels

Most people associate pretzels with Germany but Italy may be the birthplace of the endearing pretzel. According to Bryan Bunch and Alexander Hellemans book The History of Science and Technology, in 610 A.D. an Italian monk baked strips of dough, which were folded to resemble arms crossing, as a reward to children who learn their prayers. They were called pretiola, in means little rewards in Italian.

1 (1/4 oz) package of dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup warm water
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 475. Put yeast, sugar, salt, butter and water in a medium mixing bowl. Stir until smooth. Let set for 5 minutes. Add flour. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Place in a clean bowl and cover and let rise for 1 hour. After dough has risen, punch down and knead for 1 or 2 minutes. Divide into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into 12 inch long rolls and shape into pretzel. Place each pretzel onto cookie sheet. Dab a little water over each pretzel and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 12 pretzels

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