Monday, June 17, 2013
We are out for our morning walk. It's early morning and very quiet. The tide is gently lapping at the sides of the shore and the clouds are parting. The breeze is ever so slight. My favorite time of the day......
I had made vegetable broth over the week-end. So for today's lunch the plan was a swiss chard and vegetable soup. But something was needed, some kind of bread or rolls to complete our meal. So I went back and forth, checking cookbooks and different blogs online. I came up with this fast and easy rosemary focaccia with just a little bit of whole wheat flour. The whole wheat flour changed the consistency a bit for me, making the bread more dense. Still delicious but not your traditional bread. This recipe is from "theKitchn.com".
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 3/4 cup warm water
3 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
Several pinches of maldon or flaky sea salt
In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Wait about 10 minutes for yeast to foam up.
In a separate large bowl, mix the flours and salt. Add the yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix the dough with a wooden spoon until it is as smooth as possible. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Put the ball of dough and turn it so it is coated on all sides. Cover with a tea towel and place it in a warm place to double in bulk, about 2 hours.
Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of olive oil onto the baking sheet and rub it over the bottom and sides. Punch down the dough and then place the dough on the baking sheet. Using your fingertips, coax and stretch the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Don't worry if dough doesn't reach the edges. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rest, about 30 to 40 minutes.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450ºF with a rack in the middle of the oven. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stems. If the rosemary leaves are large, chop them with a knife. You should have roughly 2 tablespoons.
After the focaccia has puffed up, sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the surface. Using your fingertips, dimple the surface of the focaccia all over. Drizzle about 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the loaf, so the oil pools in the indentations here and there. Use a little more if needed. Sprinkle with 2 to 3 pinches of salt.
Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375ºF. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, checking after 15 minutes. Focaccia is ready when golden brown. Best served warm.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
For a couple of years now one of the first things I do when we get back in town is trim up my herbs, especially the rosemary. Usually it is overgrown and quite out of shape. After keeping some in vases around the house and giving a bit away I toss the rest. Always kicking myself for not making better use of it. Well this year I did it, my first wreath and I have to tell you it is quite easy.
Straw or metal wreath (any size)
Fresh rosemary sprigs (cut to 8 to 10 inches)
Bunch 5 sprigs of rosemary together and wrap them tightly with floral wire. (see below) Sprigs should be facing the same direction.
With floral wire wrap bunches one at a time around wreath base. Overlap pieces as this will cover the wired end of the bunch before it. Continue until entire wreath is covered with rosemary.
You can leave the wreath plain or for added color add flowers, berries, or herbs. As my wreath starts drying I will add other herbs to cover the base, like sage and thyme. This will keep the wreath looking full. I thought a burlap bow or ribbon to finish would look really nice. Keep out of the sun and away from moisture to help retain shape. Have fun!
Monday, June 10, 2013
The picture above is part of the rocky shore area of Strawberry Hill State Park. The morning we started out there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was a little after 6:00am and cool enough for a light weight jacket and gloves. From the parking lot we walked to a newly constructed pathway consisting of wood stairs and walkways. At the end of this walkway are the basalt rocks where you can go down to the cove, tide pools and rock cliffs.
Strawberry Hill is considered to be a rocky intertidal marine garden and now you can see why. We stayed for a few hours as the tide was pretty low and walked from one tide pool to another. After our early morning fun I returned home to start on this flat bread dough. This recipe comes from an old, May 2007 bon appétit magazine. and has been my go to pizza the last couple of years. When planning your meal allow for the time it takes for your dough to rise. To save time make a few extra batches and even freeze some if needed.
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 cups flour, plus more for kneading and rolling out
2 teaspoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Combine water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes or until dissolved. Whisk 3 cups of flour and salt together in large bowl. Add yeast mixture and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix until dough is sticky. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 6 minutes or until smooth and quite elastic, incorporating extra flour as needed.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil in large bowl and place dough in it, turning to coat. Cover with cling wrap and let sit in a warm spot until dough doubles in size about 1 to 2 hours or longer depending on the weather.
Punch down dough, divide into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Refrigerate and wrap each in cling wrap until ready to use. When ready, sit out on counter about 30 to 40 minutes. Roll out until quite thin on a floured surface.
At this point you can either grill or bake in oven. When baking I make more of a pizza (picture below), add a little mozzarella, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450°F for about 6 to 8 minutes.
To grill (picture below) prepare barbecue to medium-high heat. Then grill each flat bread until cooked through and golden, approx 2 to 4 minutes per side. I like mine slightly charred. As each flat bread comes off the grill brush generously with olive oil. Add salt, sesame seeds, za'atar, or whatever you want. I added leftover kale and potatoes with thyme from last night's dinner. Delicious!