Savory Homemade Foccacia and Meal

Earlier this year, I was present while fresh foccacia was baked and eaten. Simply, the bread was heavenly. Crisp top, fluffy center, oozing olive oil and rosemary, I couldn’t eat enough of this bread. However, since we were selling it at the Slow Food Cafe, I had to control myself. Our friends from the Underground Food Collective made the bread, and explicitly recall the care and attention the bread was baked with.

This past Saturday, I tried my own take on focacia using whole wheat flour and my favorite Zoe Olive Oil. I found a simple recipe at epicurious.com . Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (105°F; to 115°F;)
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups (about) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 black or green brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata or Greek),pitted, halved
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

Bread Making Time

Place 2 cups warm water in large bowl. Sprinkle dry yeast over; stir with fork. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.

Add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture and stir to blend well (dough will be sticky). Knead dough on floured surface until smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is sticky, about 10 minutes. Form dough into ball. Oil large bowl; add dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough; knead into ball and return to same bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 45 minutes or less

Coat 15×10-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil. Punch down dough. Transfer to prepared sheet. Using fingertips, press out dough to 13×10-inch rectangle. Let dough rest 10 minutes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over dough. Sprinkle olives and chopped rosemary evenly over. Let dough rise uncovered in warm area until puffy, about 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475°F. Press fingertips all over dough, forming indentations. Bake bread until brown and crusty, about 20 minutes. Serve bread warm or at room temperature.

Here was the complete meal: Grilled Lamb Ribs, Grilled Asparagus, Freshly Baked Foccacia and Stewed Greens with Tomatoes and Mint.

The Stewed Greens were excellent, and I used Swiss Chard fresh from the Farmers Market in New Hope, MN, and the Asparagus and Mint from the Madison Farmer’s Market. The Lamb was sourced from the Boeckman Farm in Central Wisconsin and was excellent as usual.

Here’s the recipe I used for the Stewed Greens, but I changed a couple things here and there and reduced the recipe by half, and still had a good amount of leftovers!

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds Swiss chard or kale, stemmed and washed, or a 1-pound bag of stemmed, washed Southern greens

Salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional if desired for drizzling

1 large onion, chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

2 pounds fresh tomatoes, seeded and grated, or peeled, seeded and chopped, or a 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup chopped fresh fennel or dill

2 tablespoons tomato paste, diluted in 1/2 cup water

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the greens. Blanch chard for 1 minute, Southern greens or kale for 2 minutes. Transfer to the ice water, then drain and squeeze out water. Coarsely chop and set aside. Alternatively, steam the greens in a large steamer – 2 minutes for chard, 3 to 4 minutes for kale. Rinse and squeeze dry.

2. In a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is tender and beginning to color, 5 to 8 minutes, and add the garlic, paprika and cayenne. Cook, stirring, for about a minute, until fragrant, and add the tomatoes and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the greens, herbs and diluted tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the greens are very tender, about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice, bulgur or just some good, crusty bread.

Musical Inclinations:

Katie Gray

The Temptations

Ben Howard

Robert Glasper & Erykah Badu

Plus about 50 other artists during this session…

Foccacia Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Focaccia-with-Olives-and-Rosemary-322

Stewed Greens: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/health/nutrition/21recipehealth.html?_r=1&ref=chard

I know this is a long post, because it has two recipes in it (although it could have four!). But I hope you enjoy the food and try your own hand on it. Please comment if you have any questions or anything to say or if you just like the food! Also if you use the recipe, let me know how it works for you!

Next up, Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with farm fresh ingredients!!

-Ray

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