Garlic Knots

We have pizza night once a week- usually on Sundays. We vary the type and toppings, of course. ūüôā During the initial lockdown, we started experimenting with many variations of garlic knots to eat with our special pizza. I now realize that pizzeria versions are¬†soaked in an incredible amount of oil. ¬†I opted for a drizzle before and after baking instead.

We made them with different doughs and determined that a 24-hour pizza dough (one of my favorites) resulted in our preferred garlic knots. We also attempted to make them with sourdough pizza dough (of course!) but they were too puffy. We experimented with different baking temperatures as well. I found that a higher oven temperature and shorter baking time resulted in more tender garlic knots.

This recipe makes two batches of eight knots; I froze half and thawed them in the refrigerator prior to baking with excellent results. Great.

Yield: about 16 garlic knots

For the Dough:

  • 153¬†grams (1 1/4 cups) 00 Flour
  • 153 grams (1 1/4 cups) King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
  • 8 grams (scant 2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 2 grams (scant 1/2 teaspoon) active dry yeast OR 4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) fresh yeast
  • 4 grams (scant 1 teaspoon) good olive oil
  • 202 grams (1 cup minus 1 T) lukewarm water

For the Topping: (make half if freezing half of the garlic knots)

  • 5 to 6 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 pinches coarse salt
  • dash of red pepper flakes, or more to taste, optional
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

To Serve:

  • marinara sauce, optional
  • minced parsley, for garnish, optional

To Make the Dough (24 to 48-hours in advance):

  1. In a bowl, thoroughly combine the flours and salt; make a well in the center.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the yeast, olive oil, and lukewarm water.
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the well in the dry mixture and begin mixing the two together with your hands, gradually incorporating the dry into the wet. This process will be more like mixing than kneading.
  4. After about 3 minutes, when the wet and dry are well combined, set the mixture aside and let it rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes. This allows time for the flour to absorb the moisture.
  5. Flour your hands and the work surface. Gently but firmly knead the mixture on the work surface for about 3 minutes. Reflour your hands and the surface as necessary. The dough will be nice and sticky, but after a few minutes of kneading it should come together into a smooth mass.
  6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, shape them gently into balls, and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
  7. Refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours before using. This process, called proofing, allows for the fermentation that gives the dough structure- which results in a chewy, pliable crust with great flavor.

To Shape the Dough:

  1. Roll each dough ball into an 8-inch log.
  2. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut each log into 8 pieces (approximately 1-inch each and equal in size).
  3. Roll each piece into and 8-inch long rope. (You will have 16 ropes.)(I did this by hand but my kids also used a rolling pin.)
  4. Tie each rope into a knot. (The ends can be tucked underneath or left out.)
  5. Arrange the knots on two aluminum foil-lined baking sheets. (I ultimately preferred aluminum foil over parchment paper because of the high oven temperature.)(At this point some of the garlic knots can be frozen- see note below.)
  6. Lightly cover and let them rest in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes, or up to 45 minutes. (I used a proofing oven.)
  7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (I used the baking stone setting with a stone placed in the lowest position.)
  8. When the rise time is nearly complete, prepare the topping.

To Prepare the Topping:

  1. Combine the olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes, if using, in a small skillet.
  2. Cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and reserve.

To Bake & Serve the Garlic Knots:

  1. When the rise time is complete, brush the top of the garlic knots with a little more than half of the garlic-olive oil topping.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Remove from oven and brush with remaining garlic-olive oil topping.
  4. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and/or parsley, as desired. Serve plain or with marinara sauce for dipping.

Note: Cover and store leftover garlic knots in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To Freeze Dough Prior to Baking:  Arrange the shaped knots on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet. Freeze, uncovered, for 1-2 hours. Remove from the freezer. Knots should be frozen and no longer sticky. Place into a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. Bring to room temperature, arrange on 2 foil-lined baking sheets, cover lightly, and allow to rest/rise in a warm spot for 1 hour before baking as above.

Herb-Scented Mashed Potatoes

These wonderful, creamy and fluffy mashed potatoes had a subtle flavor from cream steeped with rosemary, sage, and garlic. My son made them as part of our Thanksgiving feast this year. I loved the contrasting texture of the crispy top layer.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Justin Chapple. I modified the proportions and broiled the potatoes in a 9-inch cast iron skillet.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T whole milk
  • 4 ounces (8 T, one stick) unsalted butter, plus 1 T melted butter for brushing
  • one 4 to 6-inch rosemary sprig
  • 1 4 to 6-inch sage sprig
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (I used Maine Cold River Gold potatoes)
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk and one stick of butter with the rosemary, sage and garlic and bring just to a simmer.
  2. Remove from the heat and let steep for 15 minutes, then discard the rosemary, sage and garlic.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Drain well, then pass the potatoes through a ricer into the pot.
  5. Fold in the cream mixture and season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Light the broiler and position the rack 8 inches from the heat.
  7. Scrape the potatoes into a 9-inch round flameproof pan or baking dish (2 inches deep) and, using a spoon, decoratively swirl the top. (I used a cast iron skillet.)
  8. Gently brush with melted butter.
  9. Broil for about 8 minutes, until the top is browned in spots. Serve hot.

Note: If doubling the recipe, place the riced potatoes into a 12-inch round flameproof pan such as a cast iron skillet.

Summer Shrimp Scampi with Tomatoes & Corn

This summery version of shrimp scampi is an amazing upgrade of this classic dish. Best of all, it is prepared in one pan. ūüôā

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle; I modified the proportions. I served it over pasta, but it could also be served with crusty bread. Delicious.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 21 to 25 shrimp per pound)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 (or more) cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 4 to 5 ears)
  • 7¬†large¬†garlic cloves, minced (I used my special CSA hard neck garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus wedges for serving (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives, or torn basil leaves
  • 12 to 16 oz linguini fini, spaghetti¬†or bucatini, for serving, if desired
  • crusty bread, for serving, if desired
  1. If serving over pasta, prepare per the package directions while the rest of the dish is being prepared.
  2. Pat the shrimp very dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and lightly golden in spots, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until they start to blister in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the tomatoes burst and the corn is golden in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until you smell garlic, about 1 minute.
  7. Reduce heat to medium, and add the wine and lemon juice, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until nearly evaporated, then add the butter and stir until melted.
  8. Add the shrimp and its juices and stir until warmed through. (If the sauce breaks and looks greasy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water and stir until emulsified.)
  9. Remove from heat, add the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with extra lemon for squeezing over, if you like.
  10. Serve over pasta or with crusty bread, if desired.

Sweet & Garlicky Pork Chops

These Thai-style pork chops were very juicy and flavorful. I used very thick pork chops but this garlic-packed marinade would also be great with pork tenderloin.

The recipe was adapted from The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen. I modified the grilling method. We ate it with special Aahu Barah Basmati rice and Ritzy Summer-Squash Casserole– a great combination.

Yield: 4 to 8 servings

  • 4 thick (1 to 2-inch) or 8 thin (1/2-inch) pork chops or pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 head garlic, broken into cloves and peeled
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 5 T Asian fish sauce or soy sauce (or a combination)
  • 3 T honey
  • 3 T rice wine or sherry wine
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. If using thin pork chops, cut 1 or 2 cuts in the fat side of each pork chop to keep them from curling during grilling.
  2. Arrange the pork chops in a glass baking dish and set aside.
  3. Combine the garlic and sugar in the bowl of a mini food processor; process into a paste. (Alternatively, pound into a paste using a mortar and pestle.)
  4. Add the fish sauce, honey, rice wine, sesame oil, ginger, salt, and pepper; process to combine.
  5. Pour the mixture over the pork chops. Spread to coat both sides.
  6. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. (I flipped the meat over after the first hour.)
  7. Preheat the grill to high on one side and low on the other.
  8. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate.
  9. Arrange the pork chops on the low heat side and cook for 5 to 10 minutes per side for thick chops (possibly half the time for thin), or until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees.
  10. Move the pork chops to the high heat side and continue to cook until nicely browned on both sides, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  11. Transfer the chops to a platter and serve immediately.

Grilled Vegetable & Fresh Ricotta Sandwiches

One of our absolute favorite dinner sandwiches is filled with garlicky grilled eggplant and feta cheese. After seeing this recipe, I kept thinking about making this version on freshly baked sourdough bread. I loved the idea of slathering the bread with fresh ricotta cheese too. Yum!

The recipe was adapted from SaraMoulton.com. I used my favorite recipe for fresh ricotta and served the sandwiches on homemade sourdough bread. I added garlic and grilled the vegetables instead of roasting them as well. We ate them with creamy cucumber-avocado salad on the side. It was an amazing vegetarian meal.

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 small to medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 2 medium to large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 6 to 8 Campari tomatoes or 6 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 3 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • fresh ricotta cheese (see Note)
  • 8 slices of no-knead sourdough bread, crusty bread, or whole grain bread
  1. The evening before serving the meal, start the homemade sourdough bread process, if using. Bake the bread the day of the meal. (Alternatively, use another crusty bread or whole grain bread.)
  2. Place the vegetable slices in a single layer on a cutting board or rimmed baking sheet; season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Crush the garlic cloves with a garlic press and spread the garlic over the top of the eggplant slices. Let rest a minimum of 30 minutes (the longer the better).
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the fresh ricotta cheese. I made it according to the recipe but simmered the mixture for approximately 5 minutes, until it was visibly curdling. I strained it for about 15 minutes and omitted the addition of lemon zest. (The longer it is strained, the thicker the consistency.) Set aside.
  4. Brush both sides of the eggplant and tomato slices with olive oil. Toss the zucchini slices with olive oil.
  5. Grill the vegetables separately until slightly charred and tender; grill the eggplant directly on the grates and grill the zucchini and tomato slices using a grill basket. (Alternatively, the vegetables can be roasted on parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheets in a 425 degree oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.)
  6. Divide the warm ricotta among 4 slices of bread and top with the hot vegetables and remaining 4 slices of bread. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve.

Note: Making fresh ricotta can have varied results- sometimes it has large curds, sometimes it has small curds and occasionally it has no curds. If this should happen to you, don’t panic, just add another tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and the curds will appear.

Broccoli & Egg Fried Rice

I am taking a break from bombarding everyone with sourdough recipes. I still have quite a few tasty ones to share! ūüėČ

This vegetarian fried rice dish was fast, easy, crowd-pleasing comfort food. Making it in a large cast iron skillet was the perfect vessel to create just the right amount of crispy rice and caramelized vegetables. According to the original recipe, another secret to getting color on the rice was the inclusion of sugar.

The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Kat Boytsova. I modified the proportions and substituted Basmati rice for sushi rice. It is a wonderful base recipe to incorporate any vegetables and/or protein with leftover rice in the fridge.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • 5 cups of broccoli florets and stems (pieces should be of similar size)
  • 1 large bunch scallions (I used 7)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 T granulated sugar
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 6-7 T vegetable oil, divided
  • 4-5 cups cooked, day-old sushi rice (I used leftover brown and white Basmati rice)
  • 4 T toasted sesame oil
  • 3 T unseasoned rice vinegar

This fried rice comes together really quickly, so it’s important that all of your ingredients are prepped and ready to go before you start cooking.

To Prep:

  1. Place broccoli to a medium bowl.
  2. Trim scallions on both ends, then cut crosswise into 1″ pieces. Transfer to bowl with broccoli.
  3. Whisk eggs in another medium bowl to combine and season with 3/4 teaspoons of salt.
  4. Whisk sugar, soy sauce, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a small bowl.
  5. Grate the ginger and garlic cloves into the bowl of sauce and give it another whisk.

To Cook:

  1. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet (or non-stick if you don’t have one)over medium-high until just beginning to smoke. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
  2. Add broccoli and scallions, season with a good pinch of salt, and toss with a spatula to coat in oil. Cook, undisturbed, until well charred on one side, about 5 minutes. When we say “undisturbed,” we mean it! You need consistent, direct contact with the hot pan in order to get color on the veggies, so resist the urge to constantly fuss with them.
  3. Mix with spatula and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until broccoli is crisp-tender and scallions are wilted, about 2 more minutes. Transfer veggies back to the bowl they came from.
  4. Heat remaining 5 tablespoons vegetable oil in skillet over medium-low.
  5. Add eggs and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until large curds begin to form, about 30 seconds. The eggs will cook very quickly, so try to err on the side of runny and less-cooked because they can become spongy if overcooked.
  6. Add the rice and soy sauce mixture to eggs. Toss well to combine, then press down evenly into skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until rice is slightly crisped on one side, about 5 minutes. (Remember: undisturbed!)
  7. Return veggies to skillet and toss well to combine.
  8. Remove from heat, add sesame oil and rice vinegar, and toss once more. Serve.

Cheesy Hasselback Potato Gratin

This dish was part of our Thanksgiving feast as a second potato dish to compliment my son’s mashed potatoes. (He almost exclusively eats potatoes on Thanksgiving Day!)

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by J. Kenji L√≥pez-Alt, from his book titled “The Food Lab.” I substituted unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes for the peeled russet potatoes and added extra garlic and cheese. ūüėČ I actually added the cheese at the wrong time (oops!) and was thankfully still quite pleased with the results.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Time: about 2 hours

  • 3+ ounces finely grated Gruy√®re or Comt√© cheese
  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 to 5 pounds unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandoline
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine cheeses in a large bowl.
  3. Transfer 1/3 of the cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.
  4. Add cream, garlic, and thyme to cheese mixture.
  5. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.
  7. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish dish with butter.
  8. Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat stack, and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically.
  9. Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working until all of the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. (If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to casserole.)
  10. Pour the excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over the potatoes until the mixture comes halfway up the sides of the casserole. (You may not need all of the excess!)
  11. Cover the dish tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer.
  13. Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to the oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.

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