Baked Soft Pretzels

Baked Soft Pretzels | The Kitten Kitchen

Dip them in yellow mustard. Make the easy dip recipe (provided below) and bathe them in the melted, cheddar-y mess. Slice them, and stack some corned beef and sauerkraut in the center.

What’s “them,” exactly?

Soft pretzels!

I was pining for the ballpark and warm weather the other day. I was also craving mustard. So I decided to try my hand at making these delicious treats, not expecting much because baking scares me a little. They turned out perfectly. The batch made eight, and by the end of the day there were only two left—and those were saved for photography purposes.

I’m not quite sure why I thought making these would be hard. Like I said, sometimes baking intimidates me, since it involves science and all that jazz. I also remember once watching a show that featured soft pretzels, and there was extensive information about the lye solution that professional pretzel makers use to make the pretzels—that maybe scared me off a little. Basically, they dip the dough in a sodium hydroxide solution before baking, and that’s what makes the pretzels brown and chewy. Well, lye is pretty harsh stuff that requires gloves and safety goggles, none of which I have in my kitchen, so I found that most recipes opt for baking soda. It works, but it’s pretty weak. I did some research, and Cooks Illustrated, of course being the sly cooking ninjas they are, came up with a more scientific solution. Bake the baking soda in the oven for two hours to dehydrate it. That brings its pH from a mere eight to 11. Lye’s pH is typically 14.

If you don’t have two-plus hours to spend on these soft pretzels, don’t fret. They will taste just as good if you dip them in regular baking soda and water (instructions included). They’ll just be a little less brown, which honestly is not that big of a deal.

Bake your own soft pretzels after the jump!

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes | The Kitten Kitchen

I know what you might be thinking. Cauliflower? Pancakes? Together in one recipe title?

Put away the syrup and butter, my friends. There’s a new pancake in town. And it’s made of cauliflower. And cheese.

Still dubious?

Cauliflower pancakes are cheesy, soft, creamy and slightly crispy around the edges. They’re similar to potato pancakes except they have less carbs and are easier to make, in my opinion. And I’m willing to bet that even if you’re not too enthusiastic about cauliflower, you might still like these golden, savory patties. Serve them as a main course with a side salad, or as a side dish with eggs and bacon. I had a lot of leftovers, so I refrigerated them and reheated them in the microwave. They were just as delicious the next day.

You’re still reading? You should be in your kitchen compiling everything you need to make these, stat!

Smash some cauliflower after the jump

I Met Alton Brown!

Alton Brown's Edible Inevitable Tour | The Kitten Kitchen

Chris and I had an exciting weekend! Last night, we attended the Alton Brown Edible Inevitable Tour at the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati. We’ve been big fans of his for years now, so this opportunity was a no-brainer. Also a no-brainer? Paying a little extra to meet him before the show.

We arrived about an hour and a half before the show, checked in, got the cool keepsake badge above (that he signed later!) and waited patiently in line holding the cover from one of my favorite Alton Brown books, “Good Eats: Volume 1, The Early Years” so he could sign it. We also had another little plan up our sleeve.

When we got to the front of the line, I got kind of nervous, but he was really nice, introduced himself, signed our items (including Chris’s T-shirt) and agreed to pose for a photo holding a sign that we made earlier in the day.

See what the sign said after the jump

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds | The Kitten Kitchen

Are you carving a pumpkin right now? If so, you’re pretty talented because you’re surfing the Internet and reading a blog at the same time you’re wielding a dangerous carving knife.

PUT THE KNIFE DOWN AND CONCENTRATE. AND LOOK AT THE PUMPKINS WE CARVED.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds | The Kitten Kitchen

Okay, back to business. So, you know the icky pulp inside that round, orange cavern? Within that pulp there are little gems called pumpkin seeds. Put the trashcan away, and resist all urges to throw them away. RIGHT NOW!

Shoo-wee! Glad I caught you before you made a catastrophic mistake. You’re going to want to rinse those seeds, toss them with a few seasonings, then roast them in the oven. Once cooled, you’ll have yourself a nice little fall snack that probably won’t last 10 minutes.

Roast your punkin seeds after the jump

Chili Seasoning Recipe

Chili Seasoning Recipe | The Kitten Kitchen

Reasons I Love Fall

  • Pretty colors outside
  • Sweatshirts
  • No more sweating
  • Pumpkin-flavored everything
  • New seasons of my favorite television shows
  • Open windows with a cool breeze
  • Autumn-scented candles
  • It’s almost Christmas
  • Reading books while Chris watches football
  • Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters
  • Soup
  • Chili

That last one brings us to the purpose of this post. CHILI! Chili is freakin’ good. I like making chili on lazy Sundays because it’s easy, and it’s a classic comfort food that really can’t be messed up. When I made it last Sunday, I realized that I didn’t have any of the McCormick chili packets I normally use, so I scoured the Internet to get some ideas for basic chili seasoning ingredients so I could whip up my own batch. The result was pretty dang amazing, and a huge plus because making your own chili seasoning is cheaper and has way less sodium and other junk than the packets.

Save money on store-bought chili seasoning after the jump

Homemade Fruit Leather

Fruit Leather | The Kitten Kitchen

The first time I heard the words, “fruit leather,” the images that appeared in my mind weren’t all that appetizing. When I found out that fruit leather is essentially the non-trademarked term for Fruit Roll-Ups, the bad images were replaced with good images, and I was happy because I love dried, sweet fruit that is rolled onto plastic. Especially when it’s strawberry or raspberry-flavored.

Side Note: Did you ever wrap the entire Fruit Roll-Up around your finger and suck on it like a sucker? Is that gross? If so, sorry, but pretty sure that’s what I did in elementary school. And remember the kind that had the planet shapes that you could pull out of the roll? Awesome!

As you can tell, I kind of like Fruit Roll-Ups. If you do too, then guess what? You can make them at home! If you have a dehydrator, that’s the easiest solution because that bad boy machine is made for jobs like this, but an oven will work—it just takes longer.

Puree some fruit and turn it into fruit leather after the jump

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