Introductions done, let's get down to it. It's a hot day here in Massachusetts and I am hiding in my air conditioning. There is something in my genetic makeup that hates hot weather. My favorite season is fall when the air is crisp but the sun is warm, you feel a need to cook hearty stews, and the leaves are changing color. Believe me, I will take heat over 20 degrees and snow (I went to college in northern Vermont, what was I thinking?) but still, something about the heat makes me grumpy and lethargic. Fortunately, we had a busy weekend visiting family in Vermont so the kids could use a couple of days with down time. Or at least, that is how I am justifying a couple of movies this morning.
I am trying to come up with something for dinner that the kids will eat and that can be done with little need to stand near a hot stove. My kids are hugely picky eaters and I can't tell if I have cultivated that by not exposing them to enough of a varied diet or if it is really out of my hands. Anyhoo, I am thinking about throwing together some focaccia - true, there is an oven involved but I don't have to be near it while it cooks. I found a focaccia recipe in a recent issue of Parenting magazine:
And the picture just looked so delectable, I had to try it. My first attempt, following the recipe verbatim, came out tough and crackery and not nearly as fluffy as in the picture. So I embarked on a campaign to perfect it, first trying it with all bread flour (less tough but not as bready-looking), then increasing the yeast to 2 packets - surprisingly, it did not blow up and take over the house. That was certainly a better result, but I am just not sure that two packets of yeast is the answer. Perhaps I overkneaded?
I also tried all the toppings suggested in the recipe and found the tomato-basil combination to be the best. I need to experiment with other ideas (fig jam, blue cheese, and prosciutto come to mind) but I am working with a "what we've got in the fridge/pantry" mentality since I do not have the inclination to head out to the grocery store. Once I get started with it this afternoon, I'll post some pictures and try and come up with a new and exciting topping! I find that those days leading up to a grocery store shopping trip can be the most interesting from a culinary perspective: I am not following recipes and am forced to use my own creativity.
In the focaccia/pizza category, my brother-in-law made a yummy dinner for us in Vermont - something called pizza frito, where he basically made a pizza dough then took sections of it and fried it in a pan with olive oil and then we would dip it into tomato sauce. it was delicious, but then again, frying, like bacon, makes everything taste better!
Well, the kids have found me and it is time for lunch. Until later...