Food Network fans are no stranger to Alton Brown. As the charismatic host of Good Eats, Iron Chef America, and Cutthroat Kitchen, it is easy to forget that Brown knows what he is doing with an apron on too. He attended the New England Culinary Institute and has published numerous cookbooks. These three recipes are sure to put a smile on the faces of your party guests.
No need to grab a pretzel off a street cart with this bangin’ recipe. Make your own pretzels and serve them with a nice, sharp mustard.
1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Start by combining the warm water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the yeast on top. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes until it begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed. Increase to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Remove the dough, clean the bowl and oil it well with vegetable oil. Add the dough back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper, lightly brush them with the vegetable oil and set aside for later. As the dough continues to rise, bring the 10 cups of water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a saucepan.
When the dough is ready, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll them into a long, rope-like shape. Fold the ropey dough into the classic pretzel shape. Once all the pretzels are wrapped, begin to drop them in the boiling water one at a time for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water and place them on the sheet pans, brushing each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with salt. Bake the pretzels until they are dark brown for about 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and you are ready to serve.
Middle Eastern Hummus
Take your guests on a culinary camel trip to the Middle East with this veggie-dipping staple. Whether as a spread or by the spoonful, this simple recipe will leave them craving more.
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas drained, liquid reserved
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup tahini, stirred well
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for service
Smoked paprika to taste, optional
In a food processor, add the chickpeas, garlic, salt, and cumin. Process for between 20 and 30 seconds. After scraping the sides of the bowl, add the tahini and process for 15 more seconds.
Think you’re done with the food processor? Think again. Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the bean liquid and process for 20 more seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and mix in the olive oil and process until smooth.
Before serving, transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle smoked paprika on the top.
Baked Buffalo Wings
This principal game day grub makes for great finger food for any occasion. Treat your guests to these crispy, yet fryer-less wings and be the MVP of the party.
12 whole chicken wings
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup hot sauce
The best wings generally require multiple rounds of cooking. Alton’s wings are no different. First, over high heat, place a 6-quart saucepan, with a steamer basket and 1 inch of water in the bottom, cover and bring to a boil. Separate the wings at the joint with a knife or shears. Place the wings in the steamer basket, cover, reduce the heat to medium and steam for 10 minutes. Carefully pat the wings dry after removing them from the basket. Drying them will produce a crispier skin. Lay out the wings on a cooling rack set in a half sheet pan lined with paper towels and place in the refrigerator to dry, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove the paper towels from the pan and replace them parchment paper. Roast on the middle rack of the oven. After 20 minutes, turn the wings over and continue cooking for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the skin is golden brown.
As the chicken roasts, melt the butter in a bowl with the garlic. Add the hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir. After the wings are removed from the oven, transfer them to the bowl and toss them generously in the sauce. Serve them to your guests warm and with a side of blue cheese or ranch if you’d like.