Cooking & Eating

Pepper, Olive, and Swiss Bagels

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I’ve been trying to come up with some savory and festive recipes–I love to bake but there’s only so much sugar one can take, you know?–and I thought I’d make some bagels that looked like wreaths. Easy, right? I mean, they’ve already got the shape. The rest is a matter of flavor and decoration.

So… what’s green? Sage, I thought. Herbs. Make an herbed bagel. We had those at the bagel shop where I worked as a teenager and they were delicious. But they weren’t exactly green. Then I thought–green olives. As a topping. And to compliment the flavor, some paprika and chili powder in the dough. Red and green.

Sort of.

So I made the dough for a New York Style bagel recipe (already proven to be fabulous) but I added one teaspoon of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika, and 1 teaspoon of red chili flakes in with the flours before mixing it up. I kneaded, rose, shaped, rested, and boiled the bagels as per the recipe, then I threw a few things into my blender: 4 ounces of swiss cheese, 1/2 cup manzanilla olives (with pimentos), plus a little olive juice and a little water just to help it blend. When it looked like confetti, I topped each bagel with a super-heaping tablespoon of the olive mixture, then popped them into my 425 degree oven for the specified 20 minutes.

Oh my goodness, these bagels are good. And the bits of olive cheese that baked onto the tray? Next time I might just make a batch of topping, spread it on a Silpat, and bake it into crisps. The trouble is that, though I feel like I nailed the flavor, they do not look like wreaths. Nor do they look very appetizing. Okay, they kind of looked like Santa puked on them. Or, as per this photograph, one of his reindeer:

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Sure, I don’t have any professional lighting equipment (yet) (hint, hint, Santa), but I have to say, even in the best light they ain’t winning any pageants. I’ve got a few ideas that might make them a little lovelier, but I’m not holding my breath. (If you have any suggestions, please do tell.) In the meantime, I’m looking forward to breakfast tomorrow. Maybe even dinner tonight. And, you know, with your eyes rolled back in your head, they don’t look very bad at all.

 

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