There’s a red sky over Ute Lake this morning – red sky at morning, sailors take warning, I’m thinking. With good reason, I guess, since the forecast for tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, is that it will be coldest day of the year so far. That’s fine with me – my plan is to have my house warm and cozy, with a fire in the fireplace and turkey in the oven and about seven different dishes in progress, waiting to join the other dishes that my extended family will bring for lunch.
I have a lot to be thankful for this year and I plan to celebrate. One of the things I’m most grateful for is this forum, where I get to tell you what’s important to me. It’s not poetry or rocket science, but it’s fun and it makes me happy, and in the process, maybe you get something you can take away from time to time. Like today – I’m going to give you an amazing recipe for your holiday appetizer table.
Dave found it in Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook (great southwestern recipes – buy it for someone for Christmas, preferably someone who lives with you and will cook everything in it like Dave has. . .) and then modified it ever so slightly to be a New Mexican version. I’m guaranteeing this one – if you take the time to make it, there will be raves from the crowd. When we show up for a meal at my mom’s, the nieces and nephews immediately start asking if Dave made green chile pretzels. So of course it will be on my table tomorrow when the guests arrive.
Mesa Grill Pretzels
Ingredients: Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 oz fresh yeast
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 head roasted garlic, peeled and pureed
Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
4 or 5 roasted green chiles, finely diced (or 1/2 cup if you’re using canned) (Flay’s recipe calls for 3 poblano chiles, but we think green chile makes it more New Mexican, and better!)
Jalepeno chile pepper (optional – we use green chile powder instead, and very sparingly)
Line 2 baking sheets with foil that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle an even layer of the cornmeal over each.
Combine the water and yeast in a large bowl and mix together with your fingertips until the yeast has dissolved. Whisk in the sugar, egg and garlic until combined. Add 2 teaspoons salt, the black pepper, 3 cups of flour (add more if necessary to form a smooth dough) and green chile and mix until combined.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth. Place the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half. On a floured work surface, roll each half out into a 12 X 12 inch square about 1 inch thick. Cut each square into 10 even strips. Hold the dough by the ends; stretch it to the length of one of the baking sheets, keeping the shape as uniform as possible. Place the pretzels on the baking sheets, keeping the shape as uniform as possible. Place the pretzels on the baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place for 30 minutes. Season the tops with a combination of the Kosher/Sea salt and green chile powder (use sparingly – our green chiles have already added considerable spice). Bake until crisp and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to baking racks and let cool.
If you want a new sweet potato recipe for your Thanksgiving table, check out the blog I wrote for Grandmother’s Buttons yesterday at www.grandmothersbuttonsblog.com. I’m dying to try to praline topped sweet potatoes.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I love writing this blog. Thanks for taking the time to read it!