Dizzy Swallows

Soft Pretzels and Welsh Rarebit

July 7th, 2010 5 Comments

There is a particularly splendid gastropub called Quinn’s tucked up on Capitol Hill in Seattle. More often than not, my girlfriends and I concluded a good night out clustered around one of their intimate tables. Quinn’s has an array of excellent cocktails, sporting luscious palates of sage or elderflower. But when it comes to nibbles, however, I always ordered the same thing: German pretzel and Welsh rarebit. Swoon. Traditionally, of course, rarebit (sometimes bewilderingly called “rabbit” – allegedly as the poor man’s meat is cheese) is eaten broiled on toast. While I’m rarely one to forgo toasted cheese, the fondue-like, mustardy sauce nestles right onto the soft, chewy pretzels like they’re a match made in heaven. Cheese heaven.

A few days ago, Quinn’s came stomping through my head and memories of those delicious bits would not be banished. Always game for a challenge, I decided to recreate both pretzel and … Continue reading

Pâte Brisée

June 30th, 2010

This simple flaky crust is essential to the répertoire of any chef, cook or homemaker. It comes together in a breeze and is absolutely divine. I use it for sweet or savory pies, stuffed pastries, tarts, galettes, etc.

For a single 9″-10” round crust
  • 1 heaping cup all-purpose flour (or about 5 oz)
  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar (less if your filling is very sweet)
  • 3 Tbsp. chilled water

There are two ways to make this pâte brisée: with a food processor or by hand. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it as the dough will come together in under 2 minutes and the results will be a flakier, truer pâte brisée. The less you handle the dough the better, as the heat from your hands will melt all those delightful little pockets of butter that create the

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World Cup Banana Bread

June 24th, 2010

I apologize for this brief rant if you are not a soccer fan. Feel free to skip to the second paragraph. I absolutely adore World Cup season: the national pride, the camaraderie, the excuse to go to a bar before 9am. I have shared memorable hours of agony, elation and suspense with friends, family and total strangers. This season, however, has been shaping up rather differently. Each game is fraught with more crap officiating than I have previously had the displeasure to witness. And that include the Seahawks v. Steelers 2006 Super Bowl game. Penalties are called when no intended aggression is seen, while what would at other times draw a card goes on unchecked. But quite clearly the worst of it is the disallowed goals. The USA squeaked by with ours, but today Italy was not so fortunate (case in point: ball comes off Slovakian defender from inside the … Continue reading