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Cuisine

Garlic knots perfect way to start meal

8/14/14 | By Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

On the road with family this week for our mini-vacation, we stopped to get some lunch.  Seeing a sign for New York Style Pizza, we knew we had to go.  It was just the respite that we needed, and starting off with the garlic knots was the perfect way to bring everyone back from the hunger-fueled fighting that so often happens with kids in cramped quarters.

Family vacations are still some of the greatest memories from my youth.  I still remember the feeling of headed up to the Skyline Drive for our four-week summer hiatus in the back seat of the Polara station wagon; as the youngest three of eight children, we weren’t given the option and only when someone vomited from the backwards motion were they granted passage to the middle seat or, god forbid, to the middle of the front seat between Mom and Dad.

Oh, the memories.  When Dad would get upset at our rambunctious behavior, we would be instructed to place our hands on the back of his seat.  For hours.  We would fall asleep, our shoulders burning, whining all the while.  If our hand slipped off we would be reminded promptly.

But, as soon as the corporal punishment phase of our trip was over and tempers would subside (this usually happened after a rousing bit of Stay on the Sunny Side of Life or Little Bunny Foo Foo), we would wait.  Oh, we would wait; like lions in the Serengeti.

Eventually one of us would be unfortunate enough to fall asleep, and the other two (three kids per row) would cock their middle fingers back, making sure to spring-load them with as much tension as possible.  And then we would rain down with massive flicks of the fingers on the victim’s ear or nose.  If it was the ear, it was annoying.  The nose?  Downright infuriating.

On one such occasion, my brother Fred and I were the fortunate ones who thwarted the Sandman as we watched Danny slowly slip into the abyss of slumber.  Now, we Suplees have some noses, but my brother Danny had ‘the nose’ he was sometimes referred to as ‘Brother Nose’.  Yes, he had a beak, and it was one that could not be spared.

Fred and I waited for another two or three minutes and then looked at each other to confirm our plan of attack, wry and wicked smirks spreading across our faces.  No words were necessary.

We cocked our fingers back getting ready for the assault.  I think I heard the Battle Hymn of the Republic in my mind as the battle was soon to commence while my brother Fred was feeling like Flavius Aetius before releasing the hounds.

It was as though time stopped.  Our fingers flew in unison, making impact at precisely the same time with an audible “Pock!” which sent Danny’s nose swaying like a flag in the wind, and I can still see this happening in slow motion.  The nose swung to the left; and then back to the right.  And then it righted itself.  

And then the fists were flying.

And then we had our hands on the back of Dad’s seat.  For hours.  

And we wonder why our kids fight as though we never did.

Garlic Knots

For the dough

3-4 c. bread flour

2 tsp. salt

1 packet yeast (about a teaspoon)

2 tsp. sugar

2 tbsp. white truffle oil

Water, enough to make dough, around 108 degrees

Add dry ingredients together in a stand mixer and combine with the dough hook.

Add oil and then add water to form a dough.  The dough will be a bit sticky; you do not want it so firm that you can’t add any more water to it.  Remember, it’s easy to add more flour to a loose dough, but almost impossible to add water to a brick.

When your dough is sticky but somewhat firm, cover bowl with a towel and let it rest for at least one hour at 75 degrees or higher.

Remove from bowl and place on a counter that you have covered with more flour.

Knead the dough until you have a highly elastic pizza dough.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Cut dough into 1/2 ounce pieces, roll into small tubes and then tie in nice tight knots (they will resemble balls).

Allow to rise until approximately double in size and then coat liberally in butter/garlic mixture

Bake for 5-8 minutes (every oven is different) until knots are cooked through.  Your house will smell like a garlic factory and that is perfect.

Serve with fresh marinara or any dipping sauce that you like.  Ranch dressing is a no-brainer here.

Garlic butter

2 c. softened butter

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 full head fresh garlic, peeled and crushed

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp. fresh thyme

1 tsp. fresh oregano

3 tp. fresh Italian parsley, minced

salt and pepper as needed

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

Mix on medium until thoroughly combined and whipped, which will increase the volume and make it easier to scoop straight out of the refrigerator.

Set aside, refrigerated, until ready to use.

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