Focaccia

Yoo-hoo? Anyone out there?

Soooo… I totally disappeared. I’m sorry 😦

I don’t really have an explanation for what happened. I returned from California, have tried to get back into my old routine, and for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been feeling mentally and physically groggy.

Not to worry though 🙂 I’ve been feeling a bit better and I plan on getting back on track very soon.

 

Focaccia has been on my Baking Wishlist for quite some time now, and I’ve finally stumbled upon a recipe that is, in my opinion, perfect. You see, I have a history with Focaccia. When my husband and I were newly married, we used to frequent this restaurant in Detroit, and they would always serve a slice focaccia with a side of house-made marinara dipping sauce before the main course or appetizers.

I’ve used an Anne Burrell recipe and the only thing I’ve tweaked is that I’ve added minced garlic and rosemary inside and on top of the bread, you know, so it’s just like our favorite little restaurant 🙂 (oh, and I also like to serve it with my favorite marinara sauce!)

 

FocacciaPic

Focaccia

Yield: 8 – 10 Servings

Ingredients:

For Bread:

  • 1 ¾ cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For Topping:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Directions:

Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and set aside until frothy, about 15 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add all-purpose flour, oil, salt, rosemary, and minced garlic. Knead on low speed until the dough comes together, then increase speed to medium and knead until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. If dough seems sticky, add a sprinkling of flour.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand a few times. Lightly oil the bowl used for kneading, and transfer the dough back to it. Turn the dough to coat with oil, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside until the dough has doubled in volume, at least one hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the olive oil reserved for topping. Punch down the dough and transfer it to the prepared pan. Using fingers, stretch dough out to fit the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side. Top with remaining minced garlic and rosemary. Continue to stretch the dough out so that it fills the pan. Set pan aside and allow the dough to rise until doubled, about one hour.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Bake the focaccia until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool before slicing and serving.

Lemon and Garlic Spaghetti with Spinach

I’m always on the lookout for side dishes that would go well with a main meal of some kind of protein (chicken, fish, etc.).  I stumbled upon this recipe decided to give it a shot, alongside some baked chicken.  Boy, did this hit the spot!  Not only is this recipe super easy to throw together and versatile (I used multigrain pasta), but also very simple and light.  My 2½-year-old son even enjoyed it!  Now I get requests from him for “spaggy” (translation:  spaghetti) every day for lunch 🙂

 

LemonandGarlicSpaghettiWithSpinachPic

 

 

Lemon and Garlic Spaghetti

With Spinach

Yield:  4-6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat oil over medium low heat.  Add garlic and cook gently, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, spinach, and pasta.  Mix well and cover.  Cook for 10 minutes, thus allowing the flavors to infuse.

Garlic Knots

In anyone watching The American Baking Competition on CBS?  I am obsessed!  I love that there is finally a baking competition based on home bakers!  I love the contestants, I love the judges, and I think Jeff Foxworthy makes an amazing host.

A few weeks ago on The American Baking Competition, the theme was bread.  The contestants cranked out all types of bread, and I was inspired to get kneading myself!  I decided to finally try making garlic knots, which have been on my wishlist for what seems like an eternity.  The end result was phenomenal!  Deliciously soft buns brushed with an amazing garlicky glaze.  I only wish I hadn’t waited so long!

Oh, and I need your opinion- I’ve been toying with the idea of baking along with the contestants of The American Baking Competition.  For example, we make pie if it’s pie week, or, we make napoleans for French pastry week.  Next week is the finale, so maybe we can get this started next season.  What do you think?

GarlicKnotsPic

 

Garlic Knots

Yield:  1 Dozen Buns

Ingredients:

For Dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water, lukewarm

For Garlic Glaze:

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Make Dough:

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. While stirring, add oil, milk, and water and stir until a cohesive dough is formed.  Knead by hand until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down.  Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 12 pieces.  Form knots by rolling each piece of dough into a 10-inch rope, tying a knot in the center, and pinching the ends together underneath.

Place each roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lightly cover, and allow the rolls to rise for approximately 45 minutes.

Make Glaze:

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.  Brush the prepared glaze over the rolls.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool slightly before serving.