Rosemary Focaccia Bread

 

Rosemary Focaccia 2

Crackly crust, soft and delicate inside, this focaccia is amazing, but even more so considering how quickly it comes together.

I love my own focaccia bread recipe …. but it takes a few hours to complete.  Tonight I was planning on making a sun dried tomato pasta with chicken and spinach, and had the brilliant idea of making a focaccia to go with it …. so I typed in quick focaccia, and this came up.  What a stroke of luck for us!  Thanks go directly to “flavour the moments” for this recipe.  Head’s up … it makes a very small loaf – just enough for two people.  Of course I looked at that, and thought it wasn’t enough for 2, so I did another one.  That’s just the way I roll.  So, now we have leftovers.  That’s perfect.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir — it should be just lukewarm)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons yeast (1/4 ounce package such as Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise)
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, divided (plus more for sprinkling the dough)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, divided
  • flaky sea salt for topping, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place the warm water and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can use an electric handheld mixer as well). Stir well to combine.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir just a bit. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the mixer on low speed, and add 1 cup of the flour and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and mix just until combined.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon of the fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried and mix until combined.
  5. With the mixer on low, gradually add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, then add just enough of the remaining 1/4 cup until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl (you may not need it all).
  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease a cast iron skillet or 8 – 9″ cake pan with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  7. Lightly flour a surface with flour. Remove the dough and place onto the floured surface and sprinkle the top lightly with flour as well.  Gently shape the dough into a flat disk and place in the prepared skillet.
  8. Gently press the dough evenly in the bottom of the skillet and 1″ up the sides, then cover with a clean towel.
  9. TURN OFF THE OVEN and place the skillet in the oven for 20 minutes to rise.
  10. Remove the skillet from the oven and remove the towel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  11. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, garlic, and remaining rosemary.
  12. Brush the olive oil mixture over the focaccia bread dough, then make indents over the top of the dough with your thumb.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven, and brush with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired.
  14. Cool slightly on a wire rack and serve!
Rosemary focaccia 1

Naturally I looked at the dough, once it came together …. and thought it wasn’t enough.  So I quickly put another loaf together … of course the first one would have been enough so now we have leftovers, which is just perfect.

Soft Dinner Buns

Buns 9

Admit it, you wish your house smelled this good right now!

 

April 1 is tomorrow, and that’s our Auntie Elsie’s birthday, or it would have been if she was still with us.  We miss her every day, and while I was busy thinking of her I felt that need to make some soft white dinner buns, the kind she used to bring to every family dinner as a treat.  This dough is soft and tasty, and the texture is perfect.  Pretty sure she would have been proud of this effort!

Buns 7

Step 1:

  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 6 tsp. honey
  • 6 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and cool.

Step 2:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (not too warm, you’ll kill the yeast)
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fast rising yeast

Dissolve the water and sugar in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit.

Step 3:

  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 6-7 cups unbleached white flour
Buns 1

Just waiting for this yeast to bloom a little more and I’ll be ready to start combining everything.

  • Mix the eggs into the first (Step 1) mixture once it has cooled to room temperature.
  • Add 1 cup of flour to this mixture and stir well.
  • Add the yeast mixture (Step 2) to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
  • Gradually add the remaining flour, cup by cup, until the dough gets too difficult to stir in the bowl.  At this point, on a floured surface (your counter), empty the dough and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  You will need to keep the surface floured to prevent it from sticking.
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and place in a draft-free warm area to rise.
buns 2

This dough is so soft, I can taste it already….

Buns 3

It’s true.  I’m that dork that has a re-usable cover for raising yeast dough.

  • Let the dough rise until doubled (about 40 minutes) and punch it down.  Repeat this process once.
Buns 4

Yes, the yeast and time has done it’s job.

Buns 5

Time to release the dough and form buns.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease two  9x 13 baking trays (the ones with the small sides).  You can use any shape of pan you want in actual fact.  Cut off pieces of dough that are approximately 1/2 cup in size (doesn’t have to be exact!) and form into buns.  I keep my fingers slightly floured and tuck the dough under as I stretch the dough to make it smooth on top, but you can use whatever technique you like!
  • Place the buns about a 1/2 inch apart on the greased pan, cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Buns 6

  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Buns 8

Use this recipe for whatever you like!  Today I made mini pizza shells for the grandkids to make lunches with.  I call it the organic look when they aren’t all uniform in size and shape….

 

Buns 11

A tray of these is welcome at any dinner.

I thought I had Auntie Elsie’s original recipe, but couldn’t find it.  This recipe is from “Fraiche Nutrition” and if you haven’t been to her website, well – get on over there.  It is packed with delicious and nutritious recipes and tips.

Rosemary Cheddar Soda Bread

I’m only a 1/4 Irish, but I’m pretty sure my Irish Nana, Kathleen O’Doherty, would have been pretty happy with this Irish Soda Bread.  It takes about 5 minutes to put together, and your house will smell heavenly while it bakes.

Irish Soda Bread 4

Tender inside, crusty outside – it’s perfect.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 1 cups buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, use 2 tsp lemon juice and fill to 1 cup milk)
  • 1 whole large egg

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly flour a non stick baking tray or spray with a non stick spray.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, pepper, rosemary and cheese.

  3. Add the egg to the buttermilk and beat until mixed.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and lightly mix through until it becomes sticky and a ball forms.

  5. Dump the dough out onto a flour dusted work surface and roughly knead the dough into an ball shape. It may be on the wet side so have some extra flour on hand for dusting.

  6. Place the dough onto your prepared baking tray. Take a sharp serrated knife and cut an X on top of the soda bread.

  7. Season the top with some more salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes and the top is golden brown.

  8. Let cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving with butter.
Irish Soda Bread 1

Combine all the dry ingredients together, and lightly toss.

Irish Soda Bread 2

Once you’ve mixed the dry ingredients together, very lightly combine with the wet, don’t over mix or the dough will get a bit tough.  You want a lightly handled dough.

Irish Soda Bread 3

Gently form the dough into a ball, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Irish Soda Bread 5

Allow the dough to rest before slicing into it …. I know, it’s hard to resist!

Irish Soda Bread 6

Just waiting for some soft butter to spread ….

I reviewed a few recipes looking for the perfect bread to serve with my Irish Guinness stew for St. Patrick’s day, and this is a sure fire winner, it will be on repeat around here!

Check out “foodnessgracious” …. the food is fantastic.

Pork Chili Verde

or as Stella calls it, Mexican Green Chili!

Chili Verde 4

The most fun comes when you get to dress up your chili bowl just the way you like it.  Stella said it was so good she couldn’t stop eating.  Magic words for Nana’s ears!!

Serves 6

  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-2″ pieces
  • lard for browning the meat
  • flour for dredging
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 jars tomatillo salsa
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chopped sweet peppers
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 tin white kidney beans
  • 1 small tin diced green chilis (use mild or spicy depending on who’s coming for dinner!)

Preheat oven to 325.

Heat the lard in a large heavy bottom saucepan.  (Yes, you can use a neutral oil, but lard does add a certain level of flavour that you won’t get with neutral oil)

Season pork with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.

Fry the pork pieces a few at a time, until you have a golden crust.  If you overcrowd the pan they will steam rather than get a nice carmelized crust.

Chili Verde 1

Once all the pork has been browned, saute the onions and peppers, seasoning with salt and pepper while you do that, then deglaze the pan with the chicken stock.  Stir in the tomatillo salsa and then return all the pork to the saucepan.  Stir to combine, and then bake in the slow oven for about 3 hours, until the pork is tender and falling apart with just a touch.  Stir in the beans, green chilis and corn, allow to heat through.

Chili Verde 2

Bring the whole saucepan to the table and surround with toppings for everybody to help themselves.

Suggested toppings:

  • sliced radish
  • cubes of avocado
  • sliced jalapeno
  • grated cheese
  • crumbled taco chips
  • cilantro
  • green onions
  • Sour cream

 

  • Serve with a loaf of crusty bread ….. try my recipe, (No Knead bread) its quick and easy, and completes this meal perfectly.

Chili Verde 3

 

No Knead Bread, it’s a miracle!

I’ve been studying these recipes for no knead bread, mistrusting the whole concept.  After all, generally speaking I do things the long way …. you know that, right?  I think of my kitchen time as yoga, peaceful, calming and S L O W ….. Well, this hit all those boxes except for the slow part …. but it worked so well with a late night dinner. Tuesdays the grandkids have gymnastics, and I don’t get home from taking them until after 6.  So, beef stew leftovers just cried for something special like this to elevate dinner.  The night before I prepped the dough (took all of maybe 5 minutes) and forgot about it until after gymnastics.  Pop it into the oven and you won’t believe the results.

No Knead bread 5

Craggy and crusty on the outside, delicate and textured inside.  I’m hooked.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
  1. DOUGH PREP: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together until mixed. Stir in the water until a chunky, thick dough forms. If it needs a little more water, add a few more tablespoons, just enough to get it barely wet throughout. It’s gonna look scrappy and weird and you’re going to question me on whether or not this will work, but it will. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature. Overnight is ideal here, kids.
Miracle no Knead bread

That’s it folks!  Stir in the room temperature water to your dry ingredients, and let it sit.  Sure doesn’t look pretty here, but just wait …..

No knead bread 2

Look what happens after it sits overnight!  Soft dough, little bubbles all over and through it.

 

  1. PREP FOR BAKING: When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450. Stick a 6 quart enamel coated cast iron Lodge Dutch Oven (or similar) in the oven for about 30 minutes to heat. At this point, the dough should be big and puffy and pretty loose, with little bubbles in it. Gently scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface. (Remember: NO KNEAD.) Gently shape it into a ball with flour on the outside, set on a piece of parchment, and cover with plastic while your pan heats up.
No Knead bread 3

Prep …. ha ha …. today that consists of tossing a little flour onto a piece of parchment paper, and then gently turn out your dough onto the flour.  Roll it around just so that flour gets all over the surface, and under the dough.  Leave it on the parchment, and gently lift the whole package by the parchment and set it into the heated pan.

 

  1. BAKE: Remove the plastic from the dough. Lift the dough and parchment together into the pan so the parchment lines the bottom of the hot pan (be careful not to touch the pan since it’s very hot). Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake another 10-15 minutes to get the exterior nice and golden brown and crispy. Voila! Done. Miracle no-knead bread, you boss you.
No Knead bread 4

Just a little peek of it in the dutch oven ….. I was DYING until I could peek.

No Knead 7

Oh my …. the flavour and texture of this bread were out of this world – we loved it.

No Knead 8

Do yourself a favour, and make bread!  This really will make you feel like a boss, go for it!  I recently bought a loaf of bread from a specialty bakery.  It was $7.00 a loaf, and while we thought it was great, try this for pennies …. just as delicious!

 

 

 

 

I’ve reprinted this recipe from “Pinch of Yum” after studying these recipes for months!  Seems so strange to think of a bread that doesn’t require kneading, but this couldn’t be easier, and results in a great loaf of bread.  While the entire text portion is lifted from “Pinch of Yum” I’ve taken my own photos, and I’m hooked on the whole idea.  Thanks!