Football Party Hosts?

Dave and I live in Green Bay, a city that can boast two things: great cheese and the Green Bay Packers. Dave and I are not really sports fans, which makes us heathens even more than our lack of religion does. I don’t have a problem with football, other than the fact that they fuel my belief for a salary cap, and I sometimes even enjoy it in a party situation. Which is why, instead of trying to burrow through crowds of screaming people at a bar last night, we ended up hosting a small impromptu Packer playoff game at our apartment.

We don’t even have television in our apartment, so our friend John helped us find a website that streamed live football games, and Dave and I set to work at doing what we do best: not rooting for the Packers, but making food. Dave made some truly amazing braised ribs and vegetable tempura (green beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes).

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I made cheese fondue and homemade pretzel bites.

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Pretzel Bites

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (1 packet)
  • 22 oz all purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 2 oz butter, melted
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • sea salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2-3 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, several at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from: Food Network

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Now I don’t have to sneak candy canes and goldfish into the movie theatre anymore…I can bring my own pretzel bites! I haven’t worked out the hot cheese situation yet. I’ll let you know when I figure something out.

In other news: the Packers lost the playoff game, so they won’t be going to the Super Bowl this year. Green Bay will be in mourning until the Super Bowl has passed. At least we can comfort them with pretzel bites and cheese.

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