Monday, January 17, 2011

Focaccia? Gotcha!

It’s a cold winter day, a little too chilly to spend much time outdoors. I’m in the mood for a simple kitchen project – maybe a new variety of bread to expand my repertoire.

I browse the cookbook collection and settle on focaccia. What could be simpler? It’s actually pizza dough – water, yeast, olive oil, flour and salt. All I need to do is prep the dough, and sprinkle it with parmesan cheese, rosemary and coarse salt. I can even use dried rosemary. I have everything in the pantry. I won’t even need to leave the house.

I search high and low for the dried rosemary. It’s gone. When did I use it all up? Come to think of it, the flour canister looks pretty low. I bundle up and head out to the supermarket. Standing in the seasoning aisle, I am bewildered. I can’t find dried rosemary. Head slap. As long as I’m already out, I might as well buy fresh rosemary.

Back home at the hearth, the bread baking project comes together nicely. I get in some good, vigorous kneading and the dough rises nicely. I make those cute little dimples in the bread, and the house is fragrant with the aromas of yeast, olive oil and rosemary.

The recipe requires two risings – about three hours in total, not counting the prep and baking time (and the supermarket run). I’m also now looking at a stack of bowls and utensils in the sink.
The focaccia loaves are magnificent – a perfect accompaniment to dinner. But, on second thought, such a magnificent, rustic loaf would be ideal to make a rustic country sandwich. But, all I have in the pantry is peanut butter.

So, I’m out to the market again. This time, I buy fresh basil, marinated roasted red peppers, provolone and prosciutto. The price tag is 15 bucks.
Of course, a glorious rustic country sandwich needs to be consumed with a hearty glass of red wine.

Fortunately, I’ve got plenty of red wine in stock.
Sometimes the simplicity of bread baking can get a bit complicated.
©2011 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved

15 comments:

Jenny said...

What lovely foccacia! Your sandwich is perfection, too, especially with the fresh rosemary. I've had this bread on my list to try for quite some time. Luckily, I have a big pot of rosemary in a sunny window. Very easy to grow if you don't forget to water.

~amusette~* said...

hahahaa... very amusing tale and very true ! It certainly looks like the efforts and expense were well worth it though. Looking forward to another new year of your culinary tales ! Happy New Year

My Carolina Kitchen said...

As I was reading your story I was saying please don't use dried rosemary, please don't use dried rosemary. Boy was I relieved when you purchased fresh. I can't live without my fresh rosemary bush.

Your focaccia sandwich turned out beautifully. It's a perfect weekend meal with a glass of wine.
Sam

Kathy said...

Your foccacia looks amazing. Love fresh breads!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

When I moved to the country, with the nearest market miles away, I had to mend my ways about runs to the store for ingredients. I've learned (a) to keep a well-stocked pantry, and (b) to tame my cooking urges so I don't have to run out for something. It's not a perfect system, though -- and when a true craving hits me, I'm in the car and off to the store. Love your foccacia -- probably delicious even with peanut butter.

lostpastremembered said...

You made me laugh... how often does that happen? A simple urge becomes an epic adventure. But look what you got from it. Absolutely perfect focaccia and a heck of a sandwich. We must be on the same wavelength... I made pizza dough yesterday for pizza today... just that bread kneading kind of day!

Barbara said...

So funny...it happens to me all the time. Worse, sometimes I just get back from the market and have forgotten one ingredient. I thought it was age...guess not. :)
Great looking focaccia! I love to make panini with it.

Mary said...

All's well that ends well. The bread is fantastic and the sandwich divine. A perfect out of hand feast for a winter day. Take care T.W. Blessings...Mary

Matthew said...

That looks great! You'll have to stock pile herbs from the farm and dry them to last you through the winter months to avoid having to leave your house.

Julia said...

So funny! That happens to me too, thinking I have everything in the house for a culinary project and then having to run to the store....

Your fococcia does look perfect! As does your sandwich. Nice way to hunker down on a cold winter day.

veron said...

Ha! Looks like we have the same issue about leaving the house to get groceries for a kitchen project specially in the cold of winter. Great looking focaccia!

~~louise~~ said...

I'm with Lydia on this one. Ever since I moved to PA, and their isn't a deli or 7-11 on every corner, I have learned to keep a few more things in the pantry besides a few too many bottles of wine.

Rather than drying herbs from the farm next year T.W. may I suggest you put just one or two on a sunny window sill. Rosemary has so many wonderful virtues, just a brushing releases a calming aroma as you're watering. It really is an easy plant to take care of as long as you water it or keep it in a room that get moisture (ie bath)

"Good, vigorous kneading" sounds like the perfect way to spend a wintry day off from work.

Not only does your Focaccia look tantalizing, your sandwich is stunning! We sure could use a deli up here! Any takers, lol...

Love the tale and the chuckle:)

Stay warm there's more on the way!!!

tasteofbeirut said...

Well you are lucky that a trip to the supermarket will get you anything your little heart desires; we take these creature comforts for granted. The (fresh) rosemary focaccia with the prosciutto and the glass of wine makes for a first-rate meal.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I made a rosemary grape foccacia that I never posted (I didn't like the way the photos turned out). It never occurred to me that I could use round pans. I loooooooove this sandwich. If there's one thing I have year-round, it's a rosemary bush that grows so fast that my husband is always trimming it down. This recipe is bookmarked, for sure.

Velva said...

As soon as I saw the focaccia, I thought to myself, a glass of wine would be wonderful. Funny, I should read it, right at the end of your post.

Beautiful, beautiful and beautiful again.

Velva