Tag party foods

Perfect Pretzel Bites and Tangy Honey Mustard Beer Sauce

Pretzel BitesEven just thinking of buttery, perfectly flaky croissants, my mouth waters. A great croissant dissolves on your tongue, not unlike cotton candy (but maybe not quite like it, either). In my book, however, the firm exterior, soft interior, and potentially crunchy accents of salted pretzels trump croissants. They’re the ultimate walking-the-street, exploring-the-city, hiking-up-that-really-big-hill food.

While browsing through my arsenal of San Francisco foodie websites, hoping to beat the Monday blues, I came across an innovative food idea: The Pretzel Croissant. Let me just say, YUM. This must be the perfect breakfast sandwich bread – why has it taken so long for someone to get it right?! Yes, they exist in New York, but rumor has it that Bill Corbett has created a masterpiece. Check them out for yourself at Arlequin in San Francisco.

Ahem, back to pretzels. Pretzels are even better when slathered in a sweet mustard sauce. And no pretzel experience is complete without slightly sweet, very tangy, and even mildly spicy flavors. Delicious! My German friends always had a particularly soft spot for pretzels when the beer came out. Putting beer IN the mustard sauce? Genius. PTC Executive Chef, Tanya, knew what she was doing when she came up with this recipe for pretzel bites with honey mustard and beer dipping sauce. It’s the perfect party food!

Pretzel Bites with Spicy House Made Honey Mustard and Beer Dipping Sauce
Similar recipes can be found in our Appetizer Recipe Library.

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup ground mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup dark beer
3 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Soft Pretzel Poppers:
Butter to grease sheet pans
1/2 cup baking soda
2 quarts cold water
2 Tablespoons warm water plus 1 1/3 cups
1 envelope active dry yeast (have extra on hand in case yeast dies)
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 cups AP flour plus more for bench flour
Kosher or pretzel salt

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Bloom Mustard: In a small saucepan, combine mustard and vinegar; let stand for at least 30 minutes up to an hour.

Make Sauce: To the mustard mixture, whisk in the sugar, egg yolks and beer until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture just begins to simmer and is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; whisk in the honey and salt. Let cool slightly and transfer sauce into a serving dish.

Prepare Pans: Lightly butter 2 or more sheet pans. Set aside. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and baking soda to a boil over high heat.

Dissolve Yeast: In a medium bowl, mix 2 tablespoons warm water with the yeast to dissolve it. Then stir in the remaining 1 1/3 cups warm water and brown sugar.

Mix Dough: Place the flour into a bowl of a large food processor. Pulse the flour to gently mix. Turn food processor on and gradually start pouring the yeast mixture into the flour. Continue mixing until it forms a ball. Turn it out onto a work surface and knead the dough to make it smooth. Use enough flour on your work surface so the dough is not sticky.

Form Pretzel Bites: Cut dough up into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into 1/2-inch thick ropes. Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces (about 10-12 pieces per rope). Working in batches, drop the pieces into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Using a spider, remove the poppers and place them onto the buttered sheet pans. Sprinkle with kosher or pretzel salt while still damp.

Bake Pretzel Bites: Place sheet pans into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve: Place pretzel poppers onto a serving plate with the mustard sauce.

Serves 24

Unwrap Parties That Cook’s Recipe of the Month: Tamales filled with Black Beans and Jack Cheese

TamalesTamales, Tamales, Tamales! This July, Parties That Cook is featuring delectable and delicious Tamales filled with Black Beans and Jack Cheese as our recipe of the month! Not only is this one of our favorite summer recipes, but these surprisingly mild bites can be found on menus at our San Francisco Cooking classes.

Honestly, the first time I saw a tamale, I thought I was supposed to eat the corn husk as well. Regrettably, this misconception kept me from the ranks of tamale lovers for a few years. Fast-forward to the present, where I know NOT to eat the husk, and I can’t get enough of these delicious masa creations.

Seriously, it’s like opening a little present every time you unwrap one. Who know’s what is inside that corn husk?! It could be piquant pork, savory chicken, or a tasty vegetarian variety. All are scrumptious. If they come with a thick red or green chile sauce (I’m not picky), even better! Though it does take some time to make this party fiesta food, the tasty results are worth every minute! If you have some time to create an exceptional dish, try your hand at this delicious tamale recipe and let us know how it worked for you!

Tamales filled with Black Beans and Jack Cheese
Similar recipes can be found in our Appetizer Recipe Library.

2 ounces corn husk (about 24)

3 ½ cups dried masa harina, mixed with 2 ¼ cups hot water
10 ounces solid vegetable shortening
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups vegetable stock

4 Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 cups black bean, cooked and drained
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, grated

Prepare Husks: Place husks into a bowl of very hot water and let soak for at least 20 minutes, or until the husk become somewhat translucent. Separate leaves and place back into the water until tender and pliable. Rinse each husk and check to remove any corn silk. Stand husks upright in colander to drain before applying the masa.

Make Masa: Mix dry harina masa with hot water until it forms a thick paste (like a dough ball). Put shortening, salt and baking powder in a food processor and pulse until fluffy. Add 1/3 of the masa mixture and pulse to combine. Repeat with the next two thirds, in two separate batches. Scrape down the sides then process. Add the vegetable stock, in a slow stream.

Make Filling: Roast the chilies over an open flame until blackened. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic to let steam for 3 minutes. Peel off the charred outer skin and remove the stem and seeds. Dice into small cubes. Combine beans and cumin, salt and pepper. Mash slightly. Grate the cheese.

Assemble Tamales: Spread each corn husk flat on a cutting board, with the pointed end away from you. With a small spoon, spread 1-2 Tablespoons of masa over the bottom 2/3 of the husk. Place 1 Tablespoon of the filling in the center and fold the sides over to cover the filling. Fold over the top half (pointed end) of the husk to seal. Use ribbon of the husk to tie up the tamale or just place the folded side down in a steamer. Repeat the process with remaining husks.

Steam Tamales: Steam tamales in steamer basket for 20 minutes, or until the masa easily pulls away from the husk.

Serve: Let cool for 5 minutes and arrange on a serving platter.

Makes 24 Tamales