Friday, January 20, 2017

Garlic Knots | Voltron: Legendary Defender

"Well, there's only one planet with Veradero Beach, pizza shack looking over the water and the garlic knots and my mom's hugs...(sniffles) I'm sorry. I think this Nunvill is getting to me. I gotta go."
– Lance, S1 EP4, "Voltron: Legendary Defender"

          This mention of Varadero Beach was allusion to the fact that Lance is Cuban, but if anyone had any doubts, Jeremy Shada, Lance's voice actor, confirmed it in an interview (you can watch it here. 2:25 is when Cuba is talked about)! And it sounds like we'll learn more about Lance being Cuban in season 2. 


          So, because Lance is Cuban and mentioned garlic knots, I wanted to give these garlic knots a Cuban flair! There's a popular Cuban condiment called mojo de ajo, or simply mojo, which is hecka garlic-y, so I went that route, but I also thought adding cheese would be yummy, so I incorporated manchego, which is a distinct, oft-used cheese in Cuba. Also, he mentioned the pizza shack, so these knots are made from homemade pizza dough.

Note: Mojo is typically made with sour orange juice, so, if you can find it, use that in the recipe below (1/4 cup) instead of regular orange juice + lemon + lime. 


Lance's Garlic Knots

Ingredients:
Pizza Dough
1 Cup + 2 Tbsp. Very Warm Water
4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp. Cornmeal
2 tsp. Salt
1 pkt. Instant Yeast (equals ~2 1/4 tsp.)
Mojo de Ajo
2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp Garlic Paste (~1 head garlic, peeled, minced, & ground to paste)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
3 1/2 Tbsp. Orange Juice
1 tsp. Lime Juice
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp. Salt
Cheese Sauce (optional)
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Flour
1 Cup Whole Milk
1 Cup Fine Grated Manchego Cheese (if you can't get this, try Pecorino Romano as a substitute)
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground Peppercorn
1 Tbsp. Minced Fresh Oregano for garnish
Finely Shredded Manchebo Cheese (or Romano) for garnish

Directions:
1. Dough: If you have a bread machine, put the pizza dough ingredients in in the order listed (liquid, dry, yeast) & set it on the dough cycle. If you don't have a bread machine, simply combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl & mix with the dough hook attachment, & then knead the dough to make it smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, & let it rise for at least 60 mins or until it has puffed up in size.

2. Mojo: Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add in the garlic paste & cook for a few minutes, & then stir in the oil. Cook for a few minutes more, & then whisk in the orange, lemon, & lime juices. Add in the salt. Cook & whisk until creamy. Pour into a container & set aside until ready to use.

3. Oil an 8"x11" baking dish (you can use another size, but that's what worked best for me). Form the dough into a ball & cut it in half. Continue to seperate into halves until you have 24 segments of dough. Roll each segment 4-5" long & then form into a knot. Place the knots into the baking dish, & then cover with plastic & let rest while you preheat your oven to 425ºF.
Note: I wanted my knots to bake snug in a dish, so the mojo would stay on them better after I brushed it on), but you can bake them spaced out a little on a tray as well. The baking times will differ though (spaced out will require less) so keep you eye on them.

4. Brush the knots with some of the mojo & then slide them into the oven & bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are beginning to brown (if you're baking them on a tray, check them at 15 minutes).
Note: You don't have to brush on the mojo before you bake. You can brush some olive oil on the dough before baking, & then put the mojo on afterwards; it's totally up to your preferences! Doing only olive oil first may give you a crisper outside, especially if you space out the knots on a tray. You can also forego brushing any mojo & simply use the mojo as a bread dip!

5. Remove from the oven & brush with more mojo (optional), & then set the knots on a serving dish. Sprinkle with the oregano & manchego if you'd like.

6. Cheese Sauce (optional): In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter, & then whisk in 1 Tbsp. flour until smooth. Whisk in the whole milk until smooth & simmer until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the finely shredded cheese, salt, & cracked pepper, & then remove from the heat.

7. Spoon some of the cheese sauce into a plastic baggie & snip one corner. Squeeze the sauce out in a zig-zag over the knots, or simply serve the cheese sauce on the side to dip the bread in. And don't forget to hug your mother! There are some sweet boys in space that aren't able to (their own mothers, of course, not yours).

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