Oooof. Well, after my stay-cay love affair with Roanoke, things took a turn south this week (and not south to Georgia which, let me tell you, I would have loved). To put it plain, my tires were slashed Monday night. Thankfully, it wasn’t Atlanta and I wasn’t parked outside a bar and then mugged/raped/murdered/whatever, it was Roanoke and it was just some deranged neighborhood kid (at least that’s who I’m thinking it was–why else attack the oldest/crappiest car on a block filled with Volvos & Mercedes???) who has nothing better to do than to go around town and slash tires. So the whole ordeal was nothing more than a pain in the arse and expensive. But if they ever catch who’s responsible…I’m gonna bust his/her ass. Seriously. I’m a grad student–you think I had $300 lyin’ around to replace perfectly good tires?

So the tire-slashing-thing kept me from hiking yesterday which put me in a sour mood. The Peaks of Otter awaited! Instead I spent the morning talking to my insurance company, joining AAA, and sitting around at the local National Tire & Battery store. Luckily dealing with insurance companies and car mechanics makes one hungry, so the bagels I’d made the day before to take on my hike came in handy as a quick lunch option post-tire replacement.

I’d been wanting to try my hand at bagels for awhile, Celine’s kagels are definitely on my to-do list, but I knew I wanted something with a kick, something that excited my palate. Thus the fiesta bagel was born. I’m sure it’s not an original idea, I probably saw it on a blog elsewhere, but my thought process at the time was, “make bagels” and “add salsa to said bagels.” The end result? Some pretty darn good bagels. I wish I’d had more salsa on hand (I’d recommend using 1/2 cup salsa instead of 1/4 and adjusting the water down to 1/2 c), but overall I was pleased with the little heat and the orangey color. They make me smile, and that’s about all I need these days!

Fiesta Bagels

adapted from Celine

1/2 tbsp (6 g) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 c warm water
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c bread flour (plus extra for kneading)
1/4 c salsa
hot sauce to taste (I added 6 splashes)

Add the yeast and salt to the warm water. Allow to proof for 10 minutes or until foamy.

In a large bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer) combine the flours, salsa, and hot sauce. Add the yeasted water and mix until a ball forms.

If kneading by hand, turn out the ball of dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, adding flour as needed, until the dough is soft and pliable (but not overly sticky). If using a stand mixer, use the dough attachment and knead at medium-low speed for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary until a soft, pliable ball of dough forms.

After kneading, place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap, and leave in a warm (but not hot) place to rise for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough. Divide it into 4 equal pieces and shape balls by pulling at the dough from the sides onto the bottom, to cloak. If the dough retracts when you try to shape it, give it 5 minutes to rest until it cooperates.
Insert your thumb in the center of each dough ball, and twirl dough around it until the hole reaches about 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm) in size.

Let rest for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a couple of large baking sheets with parchment paper, a silicone baking mat, such a Silpat, or grease them with a little oil.

Once the bagels have rested, place 4 bagels at a time in the saucepan, and let boil for 1 minute in all, flipping them over after 30 seconds: try to avoid having them get too close to one another. Scoop out bagels with a slotted spoon. Place on prepared baking sheets. Repeat until all bagels have been boiled.

Bake for about 24 minutes, one sheet at a time, until the bagels are golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Let cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 4 bagels