After my successful attempt with pumpkin garlic knots, I thought I should try making regular garlic knots.  I probably should have started out with regular garlic knots before attempting pumpkin ones, but I tend to do things backwards.

My garlic knots came out a little over baked. I was attempting to bake a few different things at once and got the baking time wrong on these knots. They still tasted good, but the crust was a little hard.

There have been many garlic knot recipes floating on food blogs lately. After reviewing a few, I chose one from My Kitchen Snippets, but made a few modifications.

The garlic knots were easy to make. They do take patience though,  like most yeast recipes.

Garlic knots (slightly adapted from My Kitchen Snippets, who adapted it from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup warm water (around 75 degrees)

Garlic coating
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley

Directions
1. For the dough: Pour the warm water (about 75 degrees) into a medium bowl and whisk in the yeast. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.  It should bubble.  Then whisk in  the olive oil, milk and water.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients..

3. Using a large spoon, mix the ingredients together. Then use your hands to knead the dough until it comes together.  The dough should be elastic but it should not stick to your fingers and hand. Add additional bread flour if needed until the dough no longer sticks.

4. Lightly oil another large bowl and put your dough ball inside it and flip over once to coat both sides lightly with oil.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise for about 1 hour; or until nearly doubled in size.
5. Tear off sections of the dough, and roll them into a ball. My dough balls were about the size of a small peach. Then roll out the balls into a long, thin rope, trying to make the rope even in width. Tie the rope into a knot. Take the ends of the knot, and tuck them into the middle. One should go on top and the other will go on the bottom. Set aside and continue with the rest of the dough.

6. Put the finished knots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set it aside to rise for about 30 minutes.
7. Baked in a pre-heated 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until a light golden brown.

8. While the knots are baking, cook the olive oil, chopped garlic and chopped parsley on the stove until garlic turns a light brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. When the knots are done, toss them in the olive oil mixture to coat. Serve warm.

As I discussed in my previous post, this weekend I attended the Second Annual Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco. After a night of street fare food and alcohol, the festival’s activities started bright and early on Saturday morning, with a couple of “breakout sessions.”

These sessions were educational sessions for food bloggers, and we got to register ahead of time to choose the classes we wanted to attend. After three breakout sessions, I was more than ready to eat. For the next three hours, we would be eating at the Taste Pavilion. Located in the City View of the Metreon, the City View room offers a gorgeous view of the city skyline.

Here, various sponsors of the Foodbuzz Festival were offering samples of their products. Many of the companies were local companies specializing in artisan foods.  A lot of the companies, especially the smaller ones, were using this event to boost their business as well, getting business cards from bloggers to include them in a mailing list about their products or send them free products to review and blog about.  I initially was a little wary of this process, but after talking to some of the companies and tasting the foods, there were many that I enjoyed and would have no problem recommending. And while the process was a bit commercialized, it is understandable, since Foodbuzz was hosting this event for free for about 350 bloggers.

While it seemed like the amount of food samples was endless, 3 hours was plenty of time to try everything, get seconds or thirds, and be completely “fooded out” way before the event ended.

As we stepped in, we were each given a wine glass, since many of the stations were wineries. As I mentioned in the street fare food post, wine was very prevalent at this event. The City Room is large and it takes a while to walk from one end to the other. There was only one station that served non-alcoholic drinks, and it was all the way at the beginning of the Pavilion.  I never thought it would be so hard to find water at a food event.

We started out with a group of other bloggers, but we soon spread out as people wanted to sample different things. I spent most of the time hanging out with The Catty Critic, and luckily we have a lot of similar tastes.

We started out sampling some wine by Jaqk Cellars.

Then, we sampled some different olive oils with bread from We Olive.

From Tulocay and Co.  we sampled a squash soup with a piece of shortbread.

The Mission Minis were again being filmed at this event by the Food Network, for an upcoming episode of Cupcake Wars.  A tower of mini cupcakes with various flavors greeted the bloggers. This stand was constantly being restocked, and with different flavors! I couldn’t get over how cute these minis were, and of course I had to try all the flavors they kept putting out. I have no self control when it comes to sweets. I have to admit, I stopped by this station quite a few times during my time in the Taste Pavilion. And I may have eaten quite a few of these things… I’m ashamed to admit how many.  Seeing these cute cupcakes have inspired me to make my own minis. They are the perfect bite sized treats.  Some of the flavors being offered included pumpkin, ginger, chocolate, red velvet, cinnamon horcetta, vanilla.

Ghiradelli offered some chocolate bars and some homemade smores. I haven’t had a proper smore in years, and this treat really took me back. The marshmallow was melted and gooey just as a Smore should be.

Inna jam offered a jalapeno jam and a raspberry jam.

Madecasse offered various chocolates with different percentages of cocoa.

Pop candy offered different flavors of brittle. I love brittle, so this was one of the highlights for me. Their brittle came in all sorts of flavors, even some spicy ones.

Annie the Baker offered a cookie that tastes like cookie dough. I’ve never been a cookie dough lover, so I found these morsels way too sweet, but I can see the appeal for cookie dough lovers out there.

One of the restaurants offered a mushroom soup that was delicious. I loved how they garnished the station with mushrooms. The soup was extremely rich with a light layer of froth. A perfect soup for mushroom lovers.

Another restaurant offered this shrimp cocktail appetizer.

We tasted sausages from one station, again I forgot the name.

Then I found myself at Saag’s, which I had recognized as one of the companies that provided us with some salami and sausages in the Foodbuzz bag of free swag.  At the Pavilion, they offered fresh bread from Nature’s Pride, turkey cold cuts, ham cold cuts, some various sausages and pastrami, and grilled chicken fennel sausages. I loved the cooked fennel sausages. I also really liked the turkey cold cuts. I’ve pretty much stopped eating packaged cold cuts as I often find them to be too salty. But these cold cuts were light with a great flavor. My turkey sandwich on a slice of fresh, soft. multigrain bread was very satisfying.

479 Popcorn offered a variety of unique popcorn flavors, including their very popular black truffle popcorn which was delicious. I was also a fan of their ginger sesame popcorn as I’ve really gotten into the taste of ginger flavored foods lately.

We also sampled organic ice cream from Three Twins. I didn’t think the ice cream was creamy enough.

From Kikkoman, they offered us coffee flavored soy drinks. They tasted just like ice coffee. I couldn’t even tell it was soy milk.

Frog’s Hollow Farm gave everyone a bag containing a very sweet, ripe pear, a bag of dried peaches, and a bag of homemade granola. I really enjoyed the dried peaches, because they were naturally sweet without the additional sugar added. They also had platters of cheese, figs, and pears.

Royal Hawaiian honey offered three types of raw honey.  You can buy their honey online, and it comes from Hawaii.  I love using raw honey because it is so versatile. You can spread it, melt it, bake with it, etc.  The first two honeys I tasted didn’t taste very special to me, but the third one I sampled, the flavors really popped and I enjoyed it tremendously. Now I just need to find out the name of the honey I liked so much…

Alexia was doing a tasting challenge on its various fries, and had us sample about six different ones. I thought they were all a bit soggy though and I forgot which ones were which.

The biggest draw at the Taste Pavilion were the fish tacos. Earlier in the day, Chef Sue Milliken, co-owner of a chain of the Bordergrill restaurants in LA, demonstrated making fish tacos .  At the pavilion, they had a whole fish taco bar set up where you build your own fish tacos. There were two kinds of tacos being offered: salmon and hallibut.

Despite all the toppings, I wasn’t really a fan of the fish tacos. The tortillas were really soggy and I kept remembering the breakout session where the tacos were demoed and Chef Milliken said that she always put a piece of lettuce in between the fish and the tortilla to soak up the juices so you don’t have a soggy tortilla. Where was our piece of lettuce? Both the salmon and cod tasted a little dry to me and lacked seasoning.

While waiting in line, we were able to sample some wine from Jacob’s Creek. After our fish tacos, we sampled some smoothie concoctions from Moovision. The award winning one was an avocado smoothie. I thought it was way too thick to be called a drink and had trouble getting it to flow out from the cup. I also sampled a pumpkin banana one which tasted only of banana.

By this time, we were pretty much fooded out, but there still remained over half an hour. I noticed that many people had left, but we stuck around, walking around and exploring some more.

We had initially had plans to do all sorts of exploring during the three hour break between the pavilion and dinner, but we were pretty exhausted by the time the Taste Pavilion ended.

I bought a lot of spiced cider when I made mini baked cider donuts. I was going to use it to make fried cider donuts, but the recipe I found ended up needing to take a lot more prep work than I anticipated. (I have a bad habit of not thoroughly reading a recipe until it’s time to make it.)

I didn’t have time to make the fried version, so I made some more baked ones. The previous baked ones were topped with a cinnamon sugar. I’m not a big fan of sugar topped donuts because I don’t like the crunch of the sugar crystals. So this time around, I dipped them in chocolate ganache. I love how baked donuts look in chocolate ganache.

While I like how the ganache looks, it did sort of overpower the donuts. I could barely taste the apple cider flavor when the donuts were topped with ganache. They are super cute though. I’ll have to attempt the fried version when I have a chance.

If you don’t have a mini donut pan, I bought this mini donut pan from amazon. It’s cheap and easy to use.  I’ve used mine so many times now.  I think these mini donuts may be featured on my Thanksgiving dessert menu this year.

Mini Baked Apple Cider Donuts (adapted from recipe found on The City Sisters)

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1/3 cup spiced apple cider
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini donut pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

3. In another bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, applesauce, agave nectar, cider, yogurt, and oil.

4, Add in dry ingredients and stir until combined.

5. Fill each mini donut halfway. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let donuts cool slightly for a few minutes. Use a plastic knife, gently pry around edges of the donut until donuts pop out.

6. Let donuts cool completely on wire rack.

Chocolate ganache coating

Ingredients
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

1. Heat heavy cream in a small pot. Once it begins to boil, remove from the stove.

2. Pour heavy cream into bowl of chopped chocolate. Stir and mix until chocolate is completely melted.

3. Let ganache cool for a few minutes before dipping the tops of the donuts in chocolate ganache