Saturday, December 10, 2005 Fo.cacc.ia

Technological sophomore that I am, remains a mystery to me even after I checked it out. Yahoo bought today. I gather they are some sort of Web 2.0 search engine. But is it a search engine, or a "social bookmarking service"? (Which is what, pray tell?) Content drives web traffic, so my ignorance puts me in a bind. Still . . . while I may not know much about, I do know plenty about food. Fo.cacc.ia, to be exact.
Dead Easy, Delicious Focaccia
You have no excuse not to make this for dinner tomorrow
While the ingredients are simple enough, there are a few toys which make this recipe sing: a good mixer, a rubber spatula for scraping down the sides of the mixer, an open-ended cookie sheet, a pizza stone, and parchment paper. Of these, the last three are indispensable. 2 cups all purpose flour 1 cup room temperature water 1/2 to 1 packet of yeast 1 tsp salt 1 tablespoon olive oil More olive oil to brush the focaccia A variety of goodies to sprinkle on your focaccia (details below) Sprinkle the yeast on the water; stir to dissolve. Combine flour, salt, and olive oil. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add water/yeast mixture in a stream. Use the spatula to scrape down the sides. Keep stirring until the dry and wet ingredients are combined, and the gluten has begun to develop (about five minutes max). Coat a bowl or 1 Quart measuring cup with olive oil. Turn the dough out into the cup and cover with plastic wrap. At room temperature, the dough will take 1 to 2 hours to rise*. At least 30 minutes prior to the end of this rise, turn your oven on as hot as it will go (450 to 500). You'll have a VERY wet dough, so don't even think of kneading this baby. Using the spatula, scoop the dough out onto a big square of parchment paper (about 14 inches by 14 inches). The parchment paper needs to be on the open-ended cookie sheet (or use a pizza peel, if you're a real pro). Using your fingers, spread the dough out as thinly as you can. It doesn't need to look pretty -- focaccia is supposed to be rustic, okay? I shoot for 13 inches by 13 inches. Paint the top with olive oil. Now it's time to add goodies. I like to top my focaccia with freshly ground black pepper, coarse salt (the stuff you would use on a pretzel or salt bagel), and onion. To keep the onion from burning, I chop it finely and mix it with some olive oil. Fresh herbs are great on focaccia. Rosemary, thyme, garlic are all great additions. Once again, mix these additions with a bit of olive oil to discourage burning. Using your cookie sheet (or pizza peel), slide the focaccia onto the hot stone. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, but keep a close eye on it. It should turn a nice golden brown. If you cut the cooking time short by about 5 minutes, you can use this as a killer base for a pizza. Easy! D. *Depends on how much yeast you use, how warm your kitchen is, how active your yeast is, etc. The original recipe called for only 1 teaspoon of yeast, but that sometimes ended in disaster (cold day or old yeast = flabby dough). That's why I increased the yeast to a full packet. If your dough goes crazy and is ready before you are, no problem. Punch it down with an oiled spoon and let it rise again.


Blogger crystal said...

Hi Doug. I added your poem - thanks for letting me post it. Sadly, no one will read it, because no on ever visits my blog :-)

Here's the url - link

12/11/2005 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger Darla said...

Oh, yum, focaccia. I haven't made this in a little while. Thanks for the reminder. It goes really, really well with homemade Tuscan bean soup.

Okay, now I'm drooling. If we weren't going to see Serenity this evening (we live deprived lives over here on this side of the pond--this is the first time it's shown up here), we'd be having that for dinner tonight.

Question: don't you make little dents all over the top of the dough after the first rise? That's my son's favorite part. :)

12/11/2005 03:54:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Hi Crystal. I'll go check it out -- thanks ;o)

Darla -- I leave out the dents. IMO, it doesn't seem to make a heck of a lot of difference.

How about posting your Tuscan bean soup recipe?

12/11/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Darla said...

Well, it's not really a recipe as such... but sure, why not.

~ 1.5 pounds (3 cups) of assorted dried beans/legumes
~1/2 head garlic
some sliced celery
some grated carrots
a cup or two of chicken broth
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
salt, pepper, sage, & oregano

Rinse all the beans & put in soup pot with water to cover ~2 inches, except for lentils or split peas if you're using them. Bring to boil & boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, & let stand for an hour.
Bring to boil again, add rinsed lentils &/or split peas, garlic, celery carrots, broth, & some salt. Reduce heat.
Simmer 4 hours, or until all beans are tender. Taste occasionally, & add salt a little at a time to avoid oversalting.
Before serving, stir in olive oil, pepper, sage, & oregano--fresh is better, if you have it.

I suppose if you use canned beans, you can cut out all that soaking and a lot of the simmering time, but where's the fun in that? :)

Let me know if you make it, & if you do, if you like it.

12/12/2005 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Sounds great, Darla, and oh, so beany. I'd throw in a big fat ham hock and a bay leaf, but that's just me ;o)

12/12/2005 07:55:00 AM  

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