Salty Focaccia

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together 1 3/4 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. Let sit approximately 15 minutes, or until frothy. Attach the dough hook, then mix in 5 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 cup olive oil. Knead approximately 5 minutes or until the dough appears smooth.

Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Clean out any additional dough from the mixer, then wipe the bowl with olive oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with wrap (I use beeswax cloths) and let sit in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Coat a full size cookie sheet with with 1/4 cup olive oil. Use a cookie sheet with walls. Put the dough ball into the pan and begin pressing to fit the pan. Brush an additional 1/4 cup olive oil over the top. Continue pressing the dough into the pan. Use your fingers to make dimples in the bread- flat focaccia is boring. Press it to the corners a couple more times over 30 minutes to get the dough to remain stretched. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup room temperature water and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. This is your brine. Pour brine over the dimpled dough and allow to rise for approximately 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450. While the oven is preheating, place another cookie sheet, upside down, on the rack. This will get nice and hot and work in lieu of a baking stone.

Just before putting the bread in the oven, sprinkle large grain salt over the top lightly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes with your dough-filled cookie sheet atop your inverted sheet. Check the bottom after 25 minutes and see if golden brown.

Remove from oven, brush with olive oil and let sit for about five minutes. The oil should absorb into those dimples.

Remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve warm.

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Farro Salad

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Bring two cups of chicken stock to a boil, add one cup of rinsed farro. Reduce to simmer, cover. Cook 25 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat. Let cool.

Once cool, add 1/4 cup feta, 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, four diced green onions, 1/2 an English cucumber, diced, 4 pepperoncini, diced, 3 tablespoons finely cut mint, and one tablespoon olive oil. Stir to combine.

You can add diced chicken if you feel so inclined.

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Roasted Garlic and Chipotle Sauce

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Roast four heads of garlic (instructions available here). When cooled, remove roasted cloves. In a food processor, combine roasted garlic, 1 can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, zest of two limes, juice of one lime, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. Pulse to combine.

This recipe is incredibly easy but the flavor payoff is equally incredible. Because the canned chipotles are pretty mild, this isn’t spicy- just flavorful! I like to use it on the roast chicken, but it tastes amazing on eggs and most savory foods. I’m drizzling the leftover sauce over nachos tonight!

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Gooey Greens and Two Kinds of Cheese

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Very lightly butter or brush olive oil on two slices of sourdough. I used seeded sourdough, but this tastes great on plain sourdough, too. This will be the outside of your sandwich. If you use butter, you should try lightly dusting finely grated parmesan on the butter.

Spread a thin layer of basil pesto on the inside of each slice of sourdough. If you’ve got a tree nut allergy, blend together two tablespoons of olive oil, a packed handful of fresh basil, 1-2 cloves of garlic and two pinches of salt to use instead. Pile a slice with crumbled goat cheese, spinach, arugula, avocado and sliced swiss cheese. I like to add a secret sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes. Cook both sides over medium heat. I like to use a cast iron pan to get a nice crisp on the bread. You don’t want it too hot or you’ll scorch the bread before the cheeses have an opportunity to melt. Serve hot.

 

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Orzo Pasta Salad

DSC_0056I spent the first 10 years of my life steadfastly avoiding beans because of that stupid rhyme from when we were all kids. I spent the next 15 avoiding beans because I genuinely couldn’t handle the texture. But I’ve learned that if I disguise it in enough other textures, I’m on board.

Dice 1/2 of a red onion and marinate in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. While that’s marinating, cook 1 cup of orzo according to package directions. Rinse. Add to red onion mixture. Drain and rinse two cans of pinto beans, then add to mixture. Add 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 peeled, seeded and diced English cucumber, 1/2 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes, the zest of one small lemon, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, and 1/2 cup of kalamata olives (optional). Mix all this together. Finally, fold in one cup of crumbled feta.

Serve over spinach and/or arugula if you need more green in this dish. Serve with shredded chicken if you don’t partake in Meatless Mondays!

 

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Crabby Fries

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Slice up two clean potatoes and toss lightly in a teaspoon of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Begin to air fry at 400 until crisp. This will depend in part on your frier. Move the fries about in the basket every so often to keep the air circulating around the fries and crisping them. If you don’t have an air frier, lay the oiled potato slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and cumin. Bake at 400 for approximately 35 minutes. Check on them often as cooking time will vary.

In a blender, combine 1 room temperature egg with 1 tablespoon minced garlic. With the motor running, stream in 1 1/2 cups fruit olive oil then 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Once thoroughly combined, add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 ground pepper and pulse for about ten seconds. Listen, we never registered for a blender because we already have a food processor and it seemed silly to have a large counter top appliance that does what our food processor does. I use our immersion blender to make this aoili and it works just as well.

In a small bowl, combine a drained can of crab meat with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few pinches Old Bay seasoning.

When your fries are cooked, squeeze garlic aoili over them, then scoop crab mixture over them. Top with finely chopped green onions. Eat hot.

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