Last October, I helped Prompt Ambulance Service and Elder Communities along with a hosting group of other local businesses who sponsored Lake County Taste of Care 2013.
This week, I'm back again to help with the Porter County version of this great way to give back to important causes. I've been asked once again to judge local chefs competing in a culinary competition that will allow guests to also taste the wonderful results and vote for a "People's Choice Award."
Best of all, this wonderful charity event is a fundraiser for Honor Flight Chicago, that terrific organization dedicated to flying our World War II Veterans to Washington D.C. for a day of honors to visit the memorials that stand in their honor. It also benefits Porter County Triad, a senior citizen advocacy group working in conjunction with the Porter County Sheriff's Department.
Thursday's event is from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Porter County Expo Center, 215 E. Division Road in Valparaiso. Tickets are purchased at the door for just $10 and there's also a senior discount available for $5 tickets.
Honor Flight Chicago is a 501c3 organization founded in 2008. Their goal is simple, to honor all WWII veterans with an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for a day of remembrance and thanks from a grateful nation.
Go to honorflightchicago.org to learn more about this wonderful organization.
My fellow "celeb judges" on Thursday will be LaVeta Stephens, owner/chef of Parkside Urban Bistro, Sous Chef Jonathan Iked of Strongbow Inn, Aco Sikoski, campus president of Ivy Tech Community College and Chris Marolf of Old World Market.
For more details, visit tasteofcare.net.
Taste of Care was founded by Prompt Ambulance in 2009. The event serves as a showcase of outstanding culinary skills for the region's medical communities. Each year, more than 45 medical and non-profit organizations participate across Northern Indiana, with a combined attendance surpassing 3,000 guests, with more than $30,000 raised in 2013. Anyone interested in making a donation for Thursday's event cause can contact Ron Donahue of Prompt Ambulance at RonDonahue@promptambulance.com or call (219) 545-1796.
For this week's featured recipe, I'm having my friends at Colman's Mustard, the most iconic English mustard, help me with a great summer recipe for delicious pretzel bites with a zippy Coleman's Mustard dipping sauce.
Colman's Mustard remains a favorite for many, including myself, since it ranks as fat-free, cholesterol-free, kosher and contains no dyes, chemicals, or preservatives. Colman's provides dishes with a pure, fiery compliment, and they tell me their research has even shown spicy foods boost your metabolism.
I also love the kitchen pantry history associated with Coleman's.
Did you know Colman's Mustard is just 38 years younger than the United States of America? The iconic mustard brand will celebrate its 200th birthday this July. In fact, mustard seeds have grown since Roman times, and mustard's origin has been traced back to 460 BC to the pioneering Greek physician Hippocrates.
And also of notoriety, Colman's is a Royal favorite in the United Kingdom. In 1866 Queen Victoria, bestowed Colman's with the ultimate seal of approval: the Royal Warrant. Since then, it has always been stocked in the Royal kitchen at Buckingham Palace.
Stuffed Pretzel Bites and Coleman's Homemade Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon Colman's dry mustard
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
7/8 cup warm water
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Colman's dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Pinch cayenne pepper
DIRECTIONS: Using a countertop mixer with the dough hook attached, combined all of the dough ingredients (flour, salt, brown sugar, Colman’s dry mustard, yeast, and water) and mix on medium speed for 6 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and place in a warm (at least 85 degrees) location for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the soaking solution by combining the boiling water with the baking soda. Mix until baking soda has fully dissolved, and set aside to cool. After 30 minutes, divide the dough into 8 pieces of equal weight. Allow dough to rest uncovered for 5 minutes, then roll each piece of dough into a rope about 18-inches long. Cut each rope into 4 pieces of equal length. Roll each piece flat with a rolling pin, fill with with 1/2 tablespoon of shredded cheese, and then fold the edges over and pinch together to create the bite. Place pretzel bites in the soaking solution mixture for 2 minutes. (If the mixture does not cover the top of the bites, then just spoon some of the mixture over the top of each bite.) Transfer the pretzels to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt, and allow the pretzels to rest for 10 minutes uncovered. Bake at 475 degrees for 9-10 minutes, or until pretzels are golden brown in color. Remove pretzels from oven and brush with melted butter. To make the Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, combine all of the ingredients (mayonnaise, Colman's dry mustard, honey, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and cayenne pepper) in a small bowl. Stir vigorously until mixture is smooth. Makes 32 Pretzel Bites and 1 cup dipping sauce.