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Soft Pretzels with Grainy Mustard

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If you really want to impress your friends, bake a batch of these guys — perfect for wrapping up this year’s Oktoberfest! Be sure you eat them the same day you make them, preferably while they’re still warm, as they won’t keep well. But that shouldn’t be a problem. Bring out the beer and mustard!

 

Soft Pretzels with Grainy Mustard

Note: The baking soda added to the boiling water makes a massive difference in these pretzels. It’s what helps them turn gorgeous and brown, so don’t skip it.

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) warm water (110 degrees F/43 degrees C)

1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast

1 Tbs. sugar

3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more if needed

3 1/4 cups (16 1/2 oz./515 g.) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) baking soda

Coarse salt for sprinkling

Grainy mustard for serving

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, the flour, and kosher salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 1 hour.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the parchment with oil. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, then cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope about 18 inches (45 cm.) long. With each rope positioned horizontally, bring the 2 ends up and toward the center as if forming an oval, cross one end over the other, and press each end into the bottom of the oval to create a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared pan, spacing them evenly.

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Recipe Roundup: Cheese

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Have you seen our Guide to Cheese? Check it out for a primer on all the many different kinds of cheese, from fresh ricotta to soft Brie, pungent blue and sharp, nutty Parmesan. Then put your knowledge to good use with some of our favorite cheesy recipes.

 

Gorgonzola Dip with CruditésGorgonzola Dip with Crudités
Gorgonzola dolce, the creamiest variety, is a good choice for this flavorful dip. Serve with a selection of colorful seasonal vegetables, such as radishes and asparagus in spring or zucchini and sugar snap peas in summer.
Grilled Figs with Dry Jack and ProsciuttoGrilled Figs with Dry Jack and Prosciutto
Grilling or roasting fresh figs gives them a caramelized, sweet flavor that enhances this classic Italian-style pairing of a salty cheese, cured meat and ripe fruit. Serve the figs hot off the grill as a starter, or combine them with a simple arugula salad for a light meal.
Homemade Ricotta CheeseHomemade Ricotta Cheese
Fluffy, rich clouds of freshly made ricotta are so good you’ll want to sit there with a spoon and eat it like ice cream. Use it in any recipe that calls for ricotta to take the whole dish to the next level.
Rustic Tomato & Mozzarella TartRustic Tomato & Mozzarella Tart
Use vine-ripened tomatoes at their peak to create these simple tarts, showcasing the classic combination of tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Using prepared puff pastry makes them quick and easy to assemble and bake.
Nectarines with Arugula and Burrata CheeseNectarines with Arugula and Burrata Cheese
Creamy burrata cheese meets sweet nectarines in this summer-fresh starter that takes just minutes to assemble. Let guests help themselves, layering the ingredients on crusty bread.
Grilled Halloumi and Little Gem Salad with Preserved-Lemon DressingGrilled Halloumi and Little Gem Salad with Preserved-Lemon Dressing
Halloumi is a firm cheese that originated in Cypress but is increasingly made domestically. Its claim to fame is that it holds its shape when grilled or fried, as in this flavorful salad.
Herb and Brie OmeletHerb and Brie Omelet
With a few deft twists of the wrist, it is easy to transform a few eggs into a light-as-air morning main course. This recipe yields a large, fluffy omelet packed with melting cheese and fresh herbs—ideal for sharing.
Warm Beer and Cheddar DipWarm Beer and Cheddar Dip
Made with beer and lots of cheddar cheese, this warm, hearty dip is just the thing for casual get-togethers. Be sure to add the cheese slowly, allowing each batch to melt before adding more, to ensure smooth results.
Waldorf Salad with Blue CheeseWaldorf Salad with Blue CheeseFor this salad, a modern riff on a classic, try a blue cheese that is dry and crumbly, such as Cabrales or Valdeón, but a creamy Gorgonzola would also work well.
Bacon and Cheese SconesBacon and Cheese Scones
While most people think of scones as sweet treats, they can also be filled with savory ingredients, like these irresistible rounds of meat-and-cheese goodness, for a delicious change of pace.
Fried Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini BlossomsFried Ricotta-Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms
In Italy, zucchini blossoms are often stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies and fried in a crisp coating. Here, herbed ricotta is tucked into the blossoms with delicious results.
Shaved Zucchini Salad with Almonds and AsiagoShaved Zucchini Salad with Almonds and Asiago
Shaving raw zucchini for this pretty salad is a great way to use up a bounty of vegetables. Shaved dry cheese and crunchy nuts top it off.
Savory Leek & Gruyère SouffléSavory Leek & Gruyère Soufflé
Delicate, tender leeks and melted Gruyere cheese combine in this savory souffle, a beautiful brunch entree or dinner party side dish.
Agnolini with Goat Cheese, Fresh Ricotta, Peas and HerbsAgnolini with Goat Cheese, Fresh Ricotta, Peas and Herbs
These half-moons, made by cutting the pasta into rounds and then folding them in half, are a perfect pocket for cheese. Ricotta is the traditional filling, but goat cheese adds a tang and complements spring peas and herbs.
Potato, Egg and Cheese Breakfast TacosPotato, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Tacos
When you want something especially hearty for breakfast, try this egg and tortilla dish, which includes panfried potatoes and shredded cheese. The fresh salsa is essential.
Creamy Mascarpone PolentaCreamy Mascarpone Polenta
What’s the secret to making polenta with a rich, creamy texture? Stir in a dollop of mascarpone cheese. It’s the perfect side dish for roasted meats or poultry.
Golden Beet and Blue Cheese RisottoGolden Beet and Blue Cheese Risotto
When root vegetables start to pile high at the farmers’ market, seek out golden or pink beets, which lend a pretty color to this risotto. Blue cheese complements the earthiness of the dish.
Spanish Pizza with Chorizo and ManchegoSpanish Pizza with Chorizo and Manchego
Traditional Spanish ingredients inspired this pizza: cured (not fresh) chorizo, dry Manchego cheese, and toppings of peppers and olives.
Ham and Cheese Quiche with Crème Fraîche and ChivesHam and Cheese Quiche with Crème Fraîche and Chives
Smoked ham and Gruyère cheese are classic ingredients in this celebrated French dish. This version adds a touch of crème fraîche for flavor and richness and a sprinkle of chives for freshness.
Penne with Ricotta Cheese and GreensPenne with Ricotta Cheese and Greens
Here, Tuscan kale (also know as black kale) adds deep, earthy flavor to pasta. Fresh ricotta makes a satisfyingly easy sauce.
Grown-Up Grilled Cheese SandwichesGrown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Not your ordinary grilled cheese, this one is filled with Gruyère, sweet caramelized onions and peppery arugula. Pair it with a bowl of soup for a satisfying, easy meal.
Herbed Pork Involtini with PecorinoHerbed Pork Involtini with Pecorino
Involtini
, thin slices of meat filled, rolled and tied before cooking, are an Italian favorite. Fillings can vary from a simple bread-and-herb mix like this one, including pecorino cheese, to more exotic flavors.
Smoky Cheese EnchiladasSmoky Cheese Enchiladas
Crushed chipotle chili adds an enticing smoky flavor and gentle layer of heat to these enchiladas, which are enriched with two kinds of cheeses.
Potato and Celery Root Gratin with GruyèrePotato and Celery Root Gratin with Gruyère
Potato and nutty celery root pair in this rich, creamy, cheesy gratin, perfect for a special dinner or even a holiday feast.
Rolled Eggplant with Sausage & MozzarellaRolled Eggplant with Sausage & Mozzarella
Here’s a creative alternative to pasta: long, thin strips of eggplant, rolled around gooey mozzarella cheese and savory sausage, with plenty of bright tomato sauce for extra flavor.

Orzo with Feta, Basil and ShrimpOrzo with Feta, Basil and Shrimp
In Mediterranean cuisine, feta cheese is often paired with shrimp, the creamy, salty flavors marrying lusciously. Here, crumbled feta is added at the end of the cooking so it soaks up the warm juices from the sautéed shrimp.
Macaroni with Farmhouse Cheddar and BaconMacaroni with Farmhouse Cheddar and Bacon
Here’s a seriously grown-up version of a kid’s classic. Thanks to their different ages, the two cheddars give this hearty baked pasta a richness that’s balanced by the addition of salty, smoky bacon.
Filets Mignons with Parmesan ButterFilets Mignons with Parmesan Butter
Here, filet mignon, one of the most lauded cuts of beef, is cooked first on the stovetop, then finished in the oven. The Parmesan butter melts over the warm meat, complementing its richness and adding an appealing nuttiness.
Goat Cheese Toasts with Walnuts, Honey and ThymeGoat Cheese Toasts with Walnuts, Honey and Thyme
Dripping with honey and sprinkled with fresh thyme, cracked pepper and sea salt, these warm, crunchy toasts make a delicious breakfast, after-school treat or lunch when matched with a handful of salad greens.
Cheese BlintzesCheese Blintzes
These crepelike wrappers can be stuffed with a variety of fillings—from mushrooms to meat—but this cheese version, served with fruit compote and sour cream, is a popular morning choice.
Ricotta with Blood Orange, Pistachio and HoneyRicotta with Blood Orange, Pistachio and Honey
Prepare this dessert in the winter, when blood oranges are at their peak. During other times of the year, vary the fruit with the season — almost any kind will complement the creamy ricotta and honey.
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30 Days, 30 Ways: Find New Flavors

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All throughout January we’re bringing you 30 Days, 30 Ways to Good Health, a series of easy strategies for overall wellness (and because we love food, it’s focuses on the foods and cooking techniques to add into your life instead of what to take away.) Read on for our latest eat well strategy: find new flavors.

 

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. Perk up your palate and beat your meal routine by experimenting with international dishes featuring vibrant spices and new ingredients. A few of our favorite recipes are below.

 

img33lAsian-Style Chicken Soup
Here, chicken, vegetables and rice noodles are cooked in a clear, spice-infused broth. An abundance of bright green garnishes liven up this one-dish meal. The more green you add, the healthier and more flavorful this soup becomes.
img56lThai-Style Beef and Broccoli Curry
In only a few minutes, tender meat is cooked in a creamy-spicy sauce. Fresh herbs and lime juice are added just before serving to bring the flavors to life. Tenderloin is as tender as the name implies, and only a small amount is used here.
img79lSteamed Tofu with Greens and Peanut Sauce
This is a virtuous vegetarian supper, with nutrients from the cabbage and spinach and protein from the tofu. The steaming technique is quick and lean, limiting the fat content to the healthy fats from coconut milk and peanut butter in the rich sauce.
img91lRoasted Root Vegetables with Indian Curry and Cilantro
Toasting curry powder and then mixing it with oil intensifies its multilayered taste. It contrasts nicely with earthy root vegetables, which are roasted in a hot oven to coax out their natural sweetness. A sprinkle of bright-tasting cilantro lends a refreshing component to the dish.
img91l-1Stir-Fried Lamb with Broccoli
Like other members of the crucifer family, broccoli is a nutritious powerhouse, loaded with vitamin C and vitamin A, calcium and beta-carotene. Here, it’s paired with lean lamb and immune-boosting mushrooms to create a nourishing dish for a cold night.
img4lQuick Kabob Pita Sandwiches
Food on a stick is great fun for kids, and the entire family can help prepare this simple kabob recipe. Children can skewer the meat, which cooks in minutes on an indoor grill. Then everyone assembles their own pita sandwiches, adding whatever garnishes they please.
img47lSoy-Glazed Black Cod
A mild fish, black cod lends itself well to the assertive flavors of ginger, garlic and soy sauce. It is also easy to prepare in a steam oven, gently cooking through in less than 10 minutes. Serve the fish with bok choy, crispy shiitake mushrooms and rice for a simple yet satisfying meal.
img96lGrilled Halloumi and Little Gem Salad with Preserved Lemon Dressing
Halloumi is a firm cheese that originated in Cypress but is increasingly made domestically. Its claim to fame is that it holds its shape when grilled or fried.
img75lVegetable Spring Rolls
These refreshing rolls make perfect finger food for a spring or summer get-together; serve them with good-quality prepared chili and peanut dipping sauces (read the nutrition labels carefully before buying). Feel free to change up the filling ingredients as you please.
Braised Chickpeas and Carrots with Yogurt ToppingBraised Chickpeas and Carrots with Yogurt Topping
Here, tender beans and sweet carrots are infused with enticing spices and get a dollop of an Indian-inspired yogurt topping. Serve on a bed of protein-rich quinoa to round it out.
img8l-2Warm Lamb and Farro Salad with Pomegranate
Tender lamb mixes with earthy farro, sweet pomegranate seeds, aromatic mint and crunchy fennel in this main-course salad, which is a wonderful dish to serve at the first sign of spring.
img24lSquash with Chile Yogurt Cilantro Sauce
This recipe is perhaps the simplest in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty More, yet the combination of spicy sriracha sauce, Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro gives it a great depth of flavor.
img70lRoot-Vegetable Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Cream
Root vegetables make this vegetarian main dish hearty and original. Adjust the amount of chili powder based on how much heat you want. In the summer months, substitute grilled seasonal vegetables that have marinated in the spice mixture for the root vegetables. Serve with a pot of beans on the side and ice-cold Mexican beer.