• 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • 1-3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 cups unbleached bread flour
  • Olde Thompson Mediterranean Sea Salt finishing touch

Our family had a wonderful time preparing for the North Carolina Farm Bureau magazine interview/photo shoot yesterday . Cooking with Elise: The Well Fed Family will hopefully be an on-going feature in the NC Farm Bureau’s bimonthly magazine sent out to 500,000 members in our great state! Suspecting the interviewer would ask questions about my passion for food and people, I decided to make one of my favorite recipes taught to me as a child by my grandmother. Her Spaghetti and Meatballs would be the main dish this evening and the first recipe shared with the magazine. My son Nathaniel and I also made these Garlic Knots to enjoy with or meal. My Best Biscotti filled with cranberry, orange and white chocolate ended our family meal on a sweet note.

When speaking about my grandmother’s influence on my life, I made mention of the fact that, because of our five senses, Nick, the writer, and John, the photographer, were experiencing the same joy that I had experienced as a child. The smell of my grandmother’s homemade meatballs and sauce simmering away on the stove always greeted me and brought me great joy! Whenever I make and enjoy a recipe made by my grandmother or parents, I am instantly brought back to pleasant and comforting memories of my childhood. That’s the power of food! When asked about my secret ingredient in winning competitions, my answer was easy – love! Love is the secret ingredient!

Spending the morning making bread with my oldest son, Nathaniel, just like my grandmother had done with me so many times as a child, was so much fun! I hope to leave a legacy for my children just as my grandmother did. She’s never too far away. Always in my heart and mind, the sights, sounds and smells of her food are always around us. That’s when I know I’m doing something right!

In a large bowl combine warm water, yeasts, sugar and oil. Let proof for about five minutes until the mixture is nice and foamy.

Begin adding flour, one cup at a time, and the salt. Stir just a bit after each addition of flour. When all of the flour has been added, turn onto board or counter using a little bench flour. Begin kneading the dough and add only a little extra flour when needed. (Only add extra flour when the dough gets too sticky to handle).

Wash out your bowl with warm water, dry and place dough inside.

Cover with a dishtowel and set in a dry draft-free place.

Allow the dough to double in size which could take between one and two hours.

When your dough has doubled in size, lightly grease two baking stones or sheets and have them ready for use.

Cut it in half to make it easier to work with. Place a little flour on the counter and roll out the dough to a rextacnglar shape approximately 10 x 6-inches. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 1-inch x 6-inch strips. You should have about 10 bread sticks at this point.

Working one piece at a time, roll the dough back and forth until you have a piece of rope. Pick up the rope and make a knot by turning one side over the other and then placing one end through the hole. Some folks like to tuck the ends underneath, but Nathaniel and I liked the rustic look of the knot and simply left them.

Place each knot on your greased baking stones or sheets and bake in a 400 degree oven for 13 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

While baking, make your garlic butter:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley

Place all ingredient in a saucepan over medium high heat and cook for a five minutes.

As soon as your knots come out of the oven, brush them with your delicious garlic butter,

grind a bit of Olde Thompson Sea Salt found at BJ’s Wholesale Club over top and and enjoy!