Jason and I did something really bad...we had donuts for dinner tonight. Yesterday we had a bunch of friends over for a pumpkin carving party, and ate tons of homemade pizza and salad with blue cheese dressing and yummy bread and cookies and at the end of the evening, toasted pumpkin seeds. So today we kept things laid-back, took my parents, who were visiting this weekend, to a neighborhood taqueria for lunch, and snacked on leftovers in the afternoon.
But there was a lot of leftover pizza dough in the fridge...and we also happened to have some frying oil which had one more good fry in it (you can re-use the same oil a few times, at least if you're frying neutral-flavored things, like fries). So we did the right thing, and made donuts. Noni's pizza dough makes really good donuts! We rolled ours in cinnamon sugar after frying.
It's pretty easy to make donuts with your favorite yeast dough; we heated a couple of inches of vegetable oil in a tall pot to about 375 degrees. A little lower is ok, but don't let it go higher. Cut or pinch off the dough into roughly walnut-sized pieces. I managed to fry up a batch of about ten little donuts at a time in my pot, but in a large stock pot you could do more at once. Just don't overcrowd; you want all the balls of dough to be able to sit floating on top of the oil. Fry until the dough is browned and cooked through, flipping and rolling the donuts over as necessary to promote even coloring -- use the first batch as a test batch to see what shade of brown you need to get in order for your donuts to be fully cooked on the inside. Let the donuts drain briefly on paper towels before sprinkling on the cinnamon sugar. Powdered sugar would be good too.
(Warning, camera geekery ahead!) I've been trying to experiment more with my camera lately, too -- last night I took a bunch of photos of the pumpkins when they were lit and glowing after the sun had set. I turned the ISO on my camera down to 800 (from 1600) because I hoped that it would keep the photos from being too grainy, then I set up my camera on my little tabletop tripod (a stack of books would work too, but the tabletop tripod has flexible adjustable legs) to keep the camera really stable. I was using my 50mm lens, opened up the aperture all the way and let the camera automatically set the shutter speed, then used the remote to take the photos to make sure I didn't move the camera at all. I'm really happy with how they came out.
Even though the donut photo isn't particularly special, I'm happy that I managed to exert a lot more control over the photo than I've been able to do in the past. I tried taking a few shots with the kitchen light on, which sucked (big surprise) and then I tried using the flash, which sucked too (just in a different way). Then I thought a little bit, and tried something different. I grabbed a piece of white paper towel, and held it in front of the flash as a diffuser. It took a few tries, but with the camera on the tripod, I was able to use the remote and hold the paper towel in front of the flash, which kept it from being overwhelmingly bright and washing everything out. At first it was still a little too bright, but then I tried folding the paper towel in half first, and voila! I had something that looked a lot closer to natural light.