This week, I fulfilled by new guidelines for my twenty time project. I made two (technically three) things and learned about their origin and culture of that place. First, I made puff puffs. They are little semi-sweet doughnut balls from Nigeria. In big cities in Nigeria, women sell these doughnuts at their booths on the street. They make them fresh for each customer and drop them into the oil in a specific way:
The dough is made out of yeast, flour, water, sugar, and salt. I let it rise for an hour, but when I came back to check on it, it had not changed much. I heated up a small pot full of oil and then out a small amount of dough in to test the temperature. Here comes the interesting part. I used a spoon to drop the dough into the oil put it would almost always stretch out and turn into a log shape rather than a sphere. Then I realized why the street vendors made them the way they did. If you don’t drop them into the pot while they are already in perfect circles, they will change shape. I did not attempt to do it the traditional way because it makes a bigger splash, and I did not want to risk it. Instead I focused hard on trying to push the dough off of the spoon in different ways to find the desired result. The larger ones were lighter on the outside but too doughy and undercooked on the inside and the small ones were too dark and still too doughy on the inside. I will change the batter recipe next time and use less flour so I get lighter puff puffs.
Later in the week I made pizza. It turned out okay but none of my pizza doughs since the first one have risen as high as that one. After I ate some pizza, I wondered what I was going to do with the other half of the dough. I did not want to make another pizza, my parents are going vegan so they wouldn’t eat it, and I didn’t know any recipes that included pizza dough. Or did I…? A lightbulb went off and I realized that garlic knots are probably made out of pizza dough. I google a recipe and used the one from Emeril Lagasse. First, I sautéed minced garlic in butter until the garlic browned and the butter completely melted. I set it aside and kept it warm. I preheated the oven to 375 degrees on the bread setting. I then rolled out the leftover pizza dough, brushed it with oil, and cut them into 1 and a half inch wide strips. I tied them into knots and sprinkled them with salt. I placed them 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put them in the oven for 20 minutes. While those were baking, I chopped up about 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley. I put the shaved romano and parmesan cheese, parsley, and warm garlic butter into a large bowl. When the knots finished, I tossed them in the sauce, making sure they were all evenly coated. I tried one and I had to have a moment of silence for how good it was. The butter, romano and parmesan cheese, parsley, and garlic were dancing in my mouth like some Italian wedding party. A perfect food marriage. I will be eating a lot of bread in the future.