New York Bagels

I recently took a trip to New York City with my mom and sisters for my mamma’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. Ever since I can remember, she’s always wanted to visit the city, but has never gotten around to it. Between you and I, I think she has always wanted to go because one of her favorite movies is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Anyhow, so my sisters and I wanted to surprise her with a destination trip for her big day. We didn’t tell her exactly where we were going but rather told here what to pack and how long we’d be gone. Once we got to the airport and printed our boarding passes, we told her she could read her pass and then we yelled out, “Surprise!!!” She practically cried and then people stared at us like we were crazy. It was awesome and grand and everything she never knew she wanted. And just in case you didn’t read all about it already or see all of my instagram posts during the trip, you can check it out here

My sisters had never been to New York either so I wanted to make sure we did as much as possible and visit all of the places they wanted to see. The great thing about visiting a city with people who haven’t before, is that you get to experience it for the first time all over again. We did most of the tourist things that I didn’t even do the times I’d gone before. So that was nice. Aside from all of the incredible sights we saw and museums we visited and walking we did, the best thing about New York is the food. There are literally a million places to eat. Everywhere you turn there’s something else. So of course that makes it a bit hard to settle on something. We did have some incredible food while on our trip though. Almost too much food. Almost. I say that with a grain of salt because there isn’t such a thing as too much food. Well…maybe on Thanksgiving, but even then I’m not sure. 

One of my favorite meals was in the East Village at a small restaurant called Caracas Arepa Bar. It’s a little spot with barely any space for sitting, let alone walking, but oh man was it good. I ate all of the arepas and a micheladas. The place had to close down for the day after that because I ate them all (not really, I wish). I did eat delicious Lobster Bolognese at City Crab and Seafood Company for my mom’s b-day dinner celebration, though,  along with a few (okay more than a few) Moscow mules. One late night I convinced my mom and sisters to eat hot dogs and tater tots with me from Crif Dogs. Any place with tater tots is an ace in my book. The best thing I ate during the entire trip was a bagel at Tompkins Square Bagels that I washed down with a fresh watermelon juice with a hint of lime. Winning combination. It was an everything bagel with the works. We loved them so much we went back the next morning and did it all over again (on my sister’s persistence). The second morning I had a breakfast sandwich with an everything bagel and it was even better than the first time. So here I am now, back home wishing I was still in New York and dreaming about those bagels. Except now I’ve made my own at home and came to the conclusion that I need a New York style bagel every morning for the rest of my life. 

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Chunky Monkey Sticky Buns

I’d never tried Ben and Jerry’s ice cream until I met Julian a couple years ago. It’s his favorite ice cream of all time. I don’t know how I went through my entire 26 years of existence without trying this deliciously irresistible treat. I guess you can say I was missing out on something incredible, on both aspects of my life. Needless to say, when I took that first bite of Ben and Jerry’s, I became hooked, instantly. Obsessed isn’t really an appropriate word to throw around. I feel like that doesn’t adequately describe my feelings for this icy cold dessert, so I won’t call it an obsession. I change my mind. Instead, let’s refer to this newfound love affair of mine as an admiration. I think that sounds better, don’t you? I still remember that first flavor I tried, Cinnamon roll. I picked it out of the crowd because cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite desserts, so I thought to myself, “Why not try a cinnamon roll flavored ice cream, Jonathan?! That sounds like the greatest thing ever invented.” So I picked it up and never looked back. After eating the entire tub in less than five minutes, I remember thinking I found my new favorite ice cream flavor, and nothing could change my mind. Nothing. As far as I was concerned, I’d only ever have eyes for that cinnamon swirl and no other ice cream could make me think otherwise. Then one day I needed to get my fix so I took a trip to the grocery store and the most horrible thing happened. All of the cinnamon roll Ben and Jerry’s was gone. GONE. Nowhere to be found. I almost cried. Okay, I cried. After I gathered myself together, I picked up chunky monkey instead (thinking ugh, what a subpar choice) and I instantly forgot about the other one. What was it again? I can’t even name it anymore. It isn’t worth it. Chunky monkey is life.

Confession time: This is actually the first time in my life that I’ve ever made sticky buns before. I know I know, I’m over here going on and on about sticky buns as if I’m some sort of sticky bun expert or something. Is it possible to become an expert after only making something once? Yeah I think so. Maybe I’m just saying this because I wan’t to be referred to as an expert of some sort. It’s been a life goal of mine and I think with this post I’ve earned it. (Humble brag). I’ve been wanting to attempt a sticky bun recipe for a very long time now, but something kept me from it. I think it’s the whole making of the caramel and inverting of the buns that really scared me. I still get nightmares every now and then. Plus I kept reading all these scary reviews online of people and their horror stories involving dry buns. That’s tragic. I remember thinking, how can sticky buns be dry? I didn’t have the strength or the courage to overcome that fear so I just kept putting it off. Until the other day when I was trying to figure out what to make and photograph for my post, to share with you guys. I started brainstorming all sorts of different ideas and this one crazy idea just wouldn’t go away. All of a sudden I was envisioning some sort of chunky monkey dessert. Mainly because I was really craving a pint of chunky monkey, but also because I love the flavor profiles, which deserve to be showed off all day every day.

Too many sticks of butter, a couple pints of heavy cream and a lot of brown sugar later, I came upon the ultimate sticky bun recipe and still wasn’t sure if it would go over well. I shared a few photos on instagram and it’s almost like you guys read my mind because you reassured me that everything was going to be alright. Y’all went nuts over a vision I got in passing and it made me realize that I should really listen to my instincts more often. It’s like my mamma always says, “You should always go with your first choice.” And so from now on that’s what I’m going to do, although sometimes my first instinct is to deep fry everything and somehow that doesn’t seem right…or healthy. So maybe I’ll practice this new rule in moderation. One thing that I won’t censor and moderate are these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls because I’m now convinced that this would be my last meal on earth. An entire pan right out of the oven because there’s nothing better than this in the entire world. Nothing. 

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Mini Challah Rolls

I have to confess something to you. I actually made these mini challah rolls, not only because they’re cute—because they are pret-ty darn adorable—but also because I had an ulterior motive when making them. I didn’t bake these buns so that I can serve them as dinner rolls, no not at all. Although, that would’ve been a delicious idea all the same. In reality, I made them as a bun for a delicious slider recipe that is coming to the blog really soon. Like coming next week soon. A new slider to the site?! Get excited, it’s kind of a big deal. I didn’t want to just bring you some sliders without giving you a bun recipe to go with it, first. So here we are. 

If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you’ll know just how much I happen to love sliders, like these BLT Biscuit Sliders or these Pot Roast Sliders. I’m sort of obsessed, and not in a good way. I’m looking into support groups. I’m especially obsessed with the different types of bread you can use in each, or the different delicious sauces to pair them with. This is one of the reasons why I haven’t just used the same bun recipe over and over again. That sounds boring. I want to give you guys something new and exciting. The great thing, though, is that you can totally swap out the bread and sauces between each slider recipe on the site. It’s all about options, friends. Slider options. 

I decided to break this slider post into two parts. Part I being these awesome buns, and Part II being the actual slider recipe itself. I did it to brutally torture you, of course. To drag this delicious recipe on and on. And to keep you guys in suspense. (Insert evil laugh here). I won’t tell you what the sliders will be, because it’s a surprise, and I want you to be surprised, but I will give you a hint, because I’m nice like that. It involves grilled shrimp and green tomatoes and that’s all I’m saying. Let’s make some buns, yeah? 

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Garlic Knots with Beer Cheddar Sauce

I always have food on my mind. It seems like it’s the only thing I can ever really think about. Even after I’ve just eaten, I start to brainstorm about what I’m going to eat next. And what I’ll eat after that. And after that. And after that. All that deep thinking makes me hungry. It’s just an endless cycle. One that I can’t seem to shake myself out of—not that I’m complaining because thinking about food twenty four hours a day isn’t so bad when you really think about it. What shall I have for dinner tomorrow? How long until breakfast? And would it be okay if I ate two lunches today because I’m really hungry? The answer to which is always yes, two lunches is definitely okay. In fact I highly recommend it because…um hello, two lunches. What’s there to complain about? Let’s get on this two lunches thing as soon as possible, people. Let’s make it happen. I want to live in a society where it’s perfectly acceptable to have two lunches without judgement or fear of being talked about. I’m not sure but I think I just invented two lunches. 

I’m constantly on the lookout for any possible situation that would allow me to eat bread, and lots of it too. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to bread, but let’s just say I can’t get enough of it and I’d be dead if bread had never been invented. Dead, I tell you. Okay, so maybe in some parts of the world this is considered to be an addiction. I like to refer to it as a healthy appreciation for the really good things in life. Nothing wrong with that. Fresh baked bread right out of the oven is like a lethal weapon. Stand back. Homemade bread that you’ve taken a lot of time and effort to make is the best treat on earth. Soft pillows of bread drenched in a flavorful garlic butter sauce with fresh parsley, well that’s just sinful. 

I just recently got back from a trip to Asheville, NC, getting some work done with a friend. I remember the first night I got in, we went out to eat pizza and have some beer because I was starving and because I happen to love pizza and beer. We sat down and ordered our extra-large pizza (pepperoni with pineapple, it’s a thing, get used to it) and we got a pitcher of beer because we were thirsty. We were both super hungry so we thought about it for a split second, that’s all it really took to convince us, and decided upon ordering pretzels as well because we didn’t think there’d be enough bread in the pizza itself. SO we told the waitress we wanted the pretzels as well and she offered us a beer cheese sauce (magic) to go along with it. We didn’t even have to think about it twice. Well if I’m being honest, I actually said no but my friend said yes. Ultimately the cheese sauce and pretzels arrived at the table and I ended up eating ALL of the beer cheese sauce myself. I don’t even remember saying no to it, thank you very much. I always wanted it. I realized then and there in North Carolina that bread should always be dipped into a beer cheese sauce. So I got back home and knew that I needed to make a bread of some sort for the blog but only because I needed an excuse to make a beer cheese sauce for dipping. That’s when these garlic knots came into the picture. I regret nothing. As it turns out, garlic knots and beer cheddar cheese sauce are meant to be together. Like two lost souls, finally reunited. Let’s hear it for bread and cheese and garlic and butter and beer!

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Loaded Baked Potato Scones

I don’t think I have to explain my undying love of potatoes to you. I think you just get it. If I were to say to you that potatoes are the best vegetable/starch ever, like in all the worlds, well you would know I wasn’t lying. You’d most likely agree with me, because umm hello, potatoes. I have this obsession with potatoes. That’s where Potato Tacos and Potato Balls come into the picture. Not like a “they’re so good I’m obsessed can’t get enough of them” kind of obsession. While yes that’s true, it’s more like a “I need to eat potato everything and anything because they’re that good,” kind of obsession. I think it’s a healthy addiction. Nothing to worry about. It’s quite common if you really think about it. Don’t look at me like that!

I know that at some point I’ll be asked if these are scones or biscuits, and to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure myself. I have no idea. Let’s be frank, they look exactly the same. All I know is that they’re flaky and delicious and I want to eat them all. I guess we can call them biscuit scones. Biscones. Or sconsuits. Hey look at us, we’re inventing new things. Aren’t we clever? The answer is yes. Always, yes. In all honesty, jokes aside, scones and biscuits, they’re pretty much the same thing, right? I mean, I can’t really tell the difference. Some sources claim to know the answer. The answer being that scones have eggs in the dough. Um no. I know plenty of scones that don’t have eggs in them so therefore, are they biscuits? Others claim that scones are scones if they are triangular and biscuits are biscuits if they are circular. This might be the case but at the same time, I’ve seen circular scones so I don’t think there’s a right answer here. I think the people who invented each of them got together and decided to play a trick on all of us. They wanted to mess with our heads. 

The bottom line is I made these potato scones/biscuits with bacon and cheese and I can’t think of anything more delicious at the moment. They’re something out of this world, especially right out of the oven all warm and flaky and delicious looking. Am I convincing you yet? These biscuits/scones are sort of like the ultimate snack, perfect for on-the-go. It’s potatoes, cheese and bacon and bread in a small package that you can eat with one hand while you (safely) drive to work or school or where ever else you drive. How about now? Are you convinced? These scones/biscuits are all like, “Hey look at us, we’re loaded with potatoes and crispy bacon and delicious cheese. You need to eat us!” They’re calling out to you because they know you can’t resist. Don’t fight it anymore, go on and make these biscuits/scones for yourself. 

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(Everything) Slider Buns

Bread has a bad reputation of being too difficult to make at home. There are some pretty nasty and vicious rumors going around that it takes way too long and requires a lot of effort (and lots of elbow grease) to make homemade bread. I’ve had just about enough of it. Those are all dirty lies. Don’t believe a word of it. It only takes a minimal amount of elbow grease. What’s more, if you have one of those fancy stand mixers or bread machines then you’re solid. You’re good to go. You’re all set. You don’t even have to break a sweat. No need to get dirty. The odds are in your favor, you should be making bread more often, what’s wrong with you?! Do you have any idea how delicious homemade bread is? Do you know what you’re missing out on? You haven’t been living if you haven’t tried warm bread fresh out of the oven, at least once in your life. But don’t worry about it. That’s all about to change. You’re about to become addicted, and I’m happy to help.

I try to make my own bread, whether it be rolls, loaves or buns, as much as I possibly can. Whenever I have the chance. Now I’m no magician, I’ll be honest with you, most often I don’t have the time to make my own bread. What with all the rising and the resting and the baking and the cooling times, I don’t think it’s always possible. I’m realistic, but when I do have the time, I make sure to bake my own bread. It’s unbelievably delicious. I can’t even begin to describe the experience to you. It’s like an out of body phenomenon. You literally get out of your own body. Okay, I might be exaggerating. Just a little bit. Don’t take my word for it though. You need to try it out for yourself, if you haven’t already. And if you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Most homemade bread is actually really easy to make. Sure the kneading can be a bit tedious but it’s nothing you can’t handle, and again, these machines all the crazy kids are using these days can do all the work for you. This recipe here that we’re about to dive into is super easy. So much so that I wanted to prove it to you by making it by hand. I know I know, I’ve lost my mind. No machines allowed. Adios amigos. I’m up for the challenge.

Everything bagels are my favorite bagels. They’re the only bagels that matter, if you ask me. Of course, aside from cinnamon raisin bagels on a cold and gloomy day. Or a warm asiago cheese bagel on those days when you simply want cheese and bread and more cheese for breakfast. Okay so come to think of it, I love all bagels, but why am I harping on and on about bagels? This isn’t a bagel post (but this is). No, this is just your everyday, run of the mill, homemade burger/slider buns post. It’s not just any ol’  buns post either. This is an out of this world, blow your mind, I can’t believe Jonathan just did this, kind of post. Nothing makes sense right now, but somehow everything makes sense. Everything Slider Buns that is.

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