Four Star Focaccia

I would give it 5 stars, but I am well known for being humble ….

hot focaccia with fresh rosemary, carmelized red onions, garlic slices - topped with maldon sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

hot focaccia with fresh rosemary, carmelized red onions, garlic slices – topped with maldon sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

2 tsp rapid rising dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tbsp sugar

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tbsp coarse salt

1/4 cup olive oil

This recipe is designed for a standing mixer – but you can easily adapt it to do by hand.

Warm the bowl of your standing mixer by letting it sit filled with warm water for a few minutes.  Drain, put in the 1 cup warm water, add 2 tbsp sugar, stir well and add in the yeast.  Give a light stir and let sit for at least 3 minutes, until you see the yeast starting to foam.  Turn on the stand mixer – low setting, and dissolve the salt in a cup with 2 tbsp hot water – when dissolved add to yeast mixture with the olive oil.  Gradually – in a steady but slow stream – add the flour.  Start with 3 1/2 cups of flour, and add a wee bit more if it is too sticky.  Once the dough is holding together, turn the mixer up to medium and allow it to knead for 10 minutes.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and hand knead it a few times, until you have a smooth, soft, pliable dough.  Grease a bowl lightly, turn the dough to coat and allow to rise in a warm place – covered with a damp tea towel or saran.  When it has doubled in size (aprox 45 minutes) turn onto a clean surface and stretch it lightly to be about 1/2 in thick and an oblong shape.  Allow to rest for a few minutes, and then put that on to an oiled baking sheet (I like clay).  Cover with saran and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Give the dough a gentle massage with good quality olive oil, and with your fingertips gently press indentations in the surface, then cover with seasonings to complement the rest of your meal:

fresh rosemary

sliced garlicP1100268

carmelized red onions

fresh herbs

parmesan cheese

Then sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and large flake salt.

 

For this batch I doubled the recipe, and stretched it to be about 3/4-1 inch high before allowing it to rest. 

Bake at 400 for around 15-20 minutes.

This makes the best focaccia I have ever had – the dough is a fantastic texture, and gets so nice and crispy on the outside with the olive oil coating.  Use your imagination with toppings, and it will soon be a hit in your house too.  So easy to make!

Roasted Mustard Potato Salad

Preheat oven to 400

1/4 cup good quality olive oil                    

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

generous handful of chopped herbs – thyme, rosemary

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup grainy mustard

Toss all ingredients in large bowl until well mixed, and add

3 pound fresh baby potatoes – red or white (I like a combination of both)

If the potatoes are on the large size, cut them up.

Mix well with mustard sauce, then turn onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, trying to not get any extra sauce on the baking sheet.  Do not overcrowd them – having some space means they will get nice and crispy. Reserve the mustard mixture in the bowl.

ready for the oven – no overcrowding allowed

Roast until they are nice and crispy on the outside, and a fork goes into them easily.

When they are out of the oven and have cooled down slightly enough to handle, it is time to turn it into a salad.

In bowl with reserved mustard mixture, add more fresh herbs – adding basil right now is a great idea, along with some freshly chopped rosemary (so fragrant!).

Mix into bowl:

1/4 cup chopped shallots (or green scallions if you prefer)

2 tbsp white vine vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

Mix well and taste – add salt and pepper to your taste.  Don’t be afraid with the salt and pepper, sometimes just a little bit more makes a great dish taste awesome.

Right before serving I squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon over top, and toss gently again.

Serve at room temperature.  This is a great dish to make early on a hot day, and just leave it sit – covered – on the counter until you are ready to eat.

Chicken Meatballs

Do you ever wonder what you can do to help when someone has a baby?  Has surgery?  Just can’t get out of the house?  Needs assistance of any kind?  Make a freezer full of ready to go meal ideas, that’s what.  This is our favourite way of helping anybody.  Just make sure you find out first what kind of food they like to eat – after all, it is about what their household needs, not what you like to eat!!  These chicken meatballs are one of the best and easiest to do – they can be frozen individually and then tossed into a large ziplock bag so that when dinner comes around they can either go on the bbq and be served with tzatsiki dip, go into a tomato sauce and become spaghetti, or just served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.  The possiblities are limited only by your imagination …

Meghan and I had a great time creating food that Hayley and Mike could have ready to go after their adorable little baby girl Sloan arrived!

2 pounds ground lean chicken meat – please use a butcher and good quality meat

1 small onion, grated

lots of fresh herbs, minced very fine – I like basil, oregano, rosemary and parsley

2 cloves garlic (don’t overdo the garlic in case you are preparing these for a nursing mother or other sensitive eater)

1/2 cup finely ground bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients and blend well (your hands are the best possible tool), then roll into balls.  Toss lightly in flour and set on baking sheet.  Allow to freeze individually and then put all of them in a freezer container or ziplock bag – label it!

Flank Steak

This has been a family favorite for years!  While it is pretty good with any cut of steak, flank is definitely the best.  Also – if you can’t access a grill …..

you can use the broiler, but – well it just won’t be as fantastic!

  • 1 flank steak
  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (I usually stay with 1/4 cup)
  • 4 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 6 cloves garlic – minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary (and only fresh will do)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Prepare marinade and put in ziplock bag along with the steak.  Seal for a minimum of 2 hours, but really …. overnight is best.  I have also put it in the freezer at this point, and then you alway have one ready!

Grill for 7 min per side for medium rare, and then slice thinly on the diagonal.

Garnish with slivered green onions