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by Caitlin Saniga

Heat up the marinara sauce while the wontons are frying. That way everything is warm when you take your first bite of crispy, ooey-gooey awesomeness.

  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup roasted red and/or orange peppers (from a jar or from scratch), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 scallion, green part chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • canola oil
  • water
  • 1 cup marinara sauce

It's OK if one or two spoons of this stuff make their way to your mouth instead of the wonton.

In a small bowl, toss together the cheese, pepper, scallion, parsley and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread out the wonton wrappers on a dry surface, such as a table or counter top. Scoop about a heaping teaspoonful of cheese mixture onto each wonton wrapper.

There's a fine line between too little filling and too much filling. You'll just have to find out what it is on your own!

Fill a small bowl with water. Wet a brush or your finger and use it to moisten the edges of one of the wonton wrappers. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle, and press the edges to seal it. Repeat until each wonton is sealed.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with about 3 layers of paper towels, and place the baking sheet in the oven.

Just... wow. Enjoy this moment when it comes.

(You’ll transfer your finished wontons to the sheet to keep them warm while you fry the rest.)

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. (Put on an apron and use a large lid as a shield if need be. The oil gets hot and tends to splatter when you add the moistened wontons.) To test whether the oil is ready for frying, dash a couple of drops of water over the oil. If the oil crackles, it is ready. Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to place wontons into the hot oil. (I cooked the wontons 4 at time.) Cook them until the underside is golden, about 1 minute. Flip and cook until the other side turns golden, about another minute. Transfer the finished wontons to the baking sheet in the oven.

Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

Makes 20.

P.S. Who thinks I should start doing my own instructional videos for simple preparation (like how to roast a red pepper)?

*Throughout December, “Merry and Bites” will feature finger foods with seasonal flair. All of them can be found here. Happy holidays!

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by Sarah Steimer

Happy New Year! I'll be eating these while I watch the Winter Classic (let's go Pens!).

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt, for topping

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Make a well in the center and add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth,

Go buy a Chinese strainer with your Christmas money.

about seven to eight minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (By the way, ever notice how recipes always say to cover with plastic wrap? Forget it, towels all the way. Your great-great grandma never used plastic wrap for her breads I bet.)

In a medium sauce pan, heat water on low and add the baking soda. This does not need to come to a boil or simmer, just so long as the water is hot.

When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet — this is when a Chinese strainer comes in extremely handy. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake in at 450 degrees for 8 minutes or until browned. Makes 12 pretzels. Serve with mustard or other dipping sauces.

So why pretzels for New Years? It’s a German tradition for children to wear pretzels around their necks for good luck. I don’t understand it, either… and will probably stick to just eating mine!

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes

Photos: Sarah Steimer

 

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