Check out my foodie adventures at Foodspotting and Foodgawker

Saturday, February 23, 2008

When It Rains, Make Focaccia!

It's supposed to rain all weekend, so I had planned to hole up in my apartment and do two things: cook comforting food and my taxes. I bet you can't guess which I opted to do first.

I was staring out the window watching the rain slam against the glass (the last time it rained this hard, my bedroom flooded because the building is old and the windows are poorly designed) and I started to day dream about my sunny summer days in a little Italian paradise called Cinque Terre...5 tiny little fishing villages filled with the most welcoming people who offer you a sample of their homemade Limoncello, crazy amounts of seafood restaurants, and the best damned pistachio gelato I have *ever* had in my entire life. Cinque Terra also happened to be *filled* with focaccia stands--more kinds of focaccia than you can imagine. And that's good because I would expect nothing less from Italy.

There were entire shops dedicated to focaccia--the perfect comforting salty carb to munch on-the-go...

I practically ate my way through Italy, as any sane person would do visiting that gorgeouslovelyamazingwonderful country...(here, I'm eating artichoke focaccia, which was *divine*):

So, today, since I had to be indoors anyway due to the oppressive rain, why not make some focaccia?! Yesssss...I have been one of the lucky few who got to try ACME's ridiculously delicious Etruscan focaccia that is made with grapes, so maybe I could try that variation another time. There are countless variations of focaccia toppings and recipes (as my time in Italy proved to me), but I decided on a classic Olive and Basil Focaccia. This recipe is relatively easy to make if you have a bread machine and it was really, really yummy...


* 3/4 cup warm water
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 2 cups bread flour
* 1 Tbsp. sugar
* 1/2 tsp. salt (I used French Grey sea salt)
* 1.5 tsp. yeast


* Place all ingredients in the order listed above in a bread machine on "dough only" setting and let it do its work! Once the dough is ready, you can take it out and put it on a cookie sheet, cover and let it rise more if you want, but this is not necessary and it is perfectly fine to just add the following ingredients:


* large handful of kalamata olives, cut in halves
* 5 or 6 large basil leaves, cut into strips
* 1/2 Tbsp. rock salt, kosher salt or any other flake salt
* olive oil for brushing the top


* lay dough out on a pizza round (circular tray with holes in it so the crust gets crisp!) or a cookie sheet.
* press dough out in desired shape.
* use your fingers to push indentations in the dough (but not enough to poke through the dough!).
* brush the top with olive oil (which should pool in some of the holes you made with your fingers!).
* scatter olives, basil and salt.
* push the olives into the dough again with your fingers (just enough so they get wedged into the dough because we dont want these precious flavor gems to roll off!).
* bake in oven at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

Serving Suggestion: Eat plain or serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce!

No comments: