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Archive for October 26, 2012

FOOD HOLIDAY & RECIPE: National Soft Pretzel Day

Bake big, soft pretzels and invite friends to
bring the beer.


Whether or not it’s actually National Champagne Day (see previous post), we know that it’s National Soft Pretzel Day.

Hard pretzels are ubiquitous, but soft pretzels have become so popular that they’re no longer a ballpark or theme park snack. You can now find them in your grocer’s freezer case (look for SuperPretzel and other brands).

Or, bake this soft pretzel recipe from scratch.

Here are some garnishing tips from SuperPretzel. Be sure the pretzels are cool enough to eat; then garnish:

  • MUSTARD. Dip them your favorite mustard (we use a knife to spread the mustard, rather than double-dipping).
  • OTHER DIPS. Before baking or reheating, lightly apply butter and garlic powder to the top. Serve with ranch dressing, salsa or queso dip.
  • BAGEL STYLE. Top with a light spread of butter, jam, peanut butter, cream cheese, or a combination.
  • CHEESE. Before baking or microwaving, cover the pretzel with shredded cheese and a dash of oregano or chili flakes. Let cool an extra couple of seconds.
  • GOURMET. Brush with garlic butter or other compound butter(recipes) and sprinkle with sesame seeds or dill (or both).
  • PIZZA STYLE. Sprinkle with a shredded mozzarella, then bake or reheat. When sufficiently cooled, top with warm marinara sauce and oregano.
  • SANDWICH STYLE: Monte Cristo. Make a Monte Cristo sandwich using the pretzel as bread. Carefully slice the pretzel horizontally. Beat an egg with 3 tablespoons of milk. Over medium heat, melt some butter in a sauté pan until foaming stops. Dunk the bottom half (outside only) of the pretzel into the batter and place in the pan. Place layers of ham, turkey, and Swiss cheese on top of the pretzel half. Dunk the top half (outside only) of the pretzel into the egg mixture, and place on top of the sandwich. When the bottom is golden brown, flip sandwich and brown the top. Remove from pan when cheese is melted and sandwich is golden brown and heated through.
  • SANDWICH STYLE: Open Face Crab. Place a slice of pepper jack cheese onto a room-temperature pretzel. Top with a scoop of crabmeat. Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning and add more pepper jack cheese. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until the cheese is melted. (You might need a knife and fork.)
  • SOUTHERN FRIED. Make dip by mixing ¼ cup of mustard with 2 tablespoons dried onion soup mix. Let sit a few minutes to blend. Deep fry room temperature pretzels in 350°F oil, top side down, for 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels, let cool a bit, and enjoy with the onion mustard dip. For an optional twist, sprinkle with garlic powder right out of the fryer.
  • SUNDAE-STYLE. Add chocolate sauce, a dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
    Do you have a favorite way to eat soft pretzels? Let us know.
    Check out the history of pretzels.

    Take our pretzel trivia quiz.


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    FOOD HOLIDAY & PRODUCT: Giovanni’s Lobster Pâté & Champagne Day

    This smooth lobster spread is a bit of
    heaven. Photo courtesy Giovanni’s.


    We don’t know who gave us this little tin of Giovanni’s Lobster Pâté with Cognac. We were browsing through a box of unopened food samples and the little blue can with the big red lobster popped out at us. It may have arrived in a holiday basket last year.

    But whoever you are: Thank you! Thank you!

    We didn’t have high expectations, but boy were we surprised. And for $2.49 per 2.75-ounce tin, it’s a bargain. (Small size, huge taste).

    Very smooth and creamy, with forward flavors of fine lobster and Cognac, it was so delicious that we tracked it down on and ordered 12 cans. And that’s just for us.

    For the holidays, we’ll return for the 48-pack: $149.00. Stocking stuffers don’t get better than this!We’ll be back to order a supply for holiday gifts.


    Now about Champagne Day: There is some confusion over the date. Some sources say it’s October 26th; others give December 31st and even August 4th.

    The difference is Champagne Day (October 26th) versus National Champagne Day (December 31st). The former was declared by the Champagne Bureau, the U.S. representative of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the trade association that represents the grape growers and houses of the Champagne region of France.

    We love a reason to open a bottle, so we’re happy to celebrate National Champagne Day several times a year. We’ll pop the cork tonight and serve the Champagne with Giovanni’s Lobster Pâté.

    We enjoy it spread on warm toast quarters (brioche or white bread); but you can use crackers or eat it straight from the can. It’s that irresistible.

    Check out our overview of Champagne and sparkling wine.


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