This past May, I spent an evening with my friends, Bill and Lauren; they too share my enthusiasm for all things local, organic, and of course, homegrown! Because I am a passionate advocate for healthy food, low-impact living, and organic gardening, it only seems natural that I end up being the go-to person for related questions and advice.
My friends were very interested in starting an organic garden, as well as purchasing their transplants from me. We had decided to make a night of it. I’d bring their plants, my hot artichoke dip, and a fresh-baked apple pie (they were in charge of the main course) and we would share an evening of delicious food and great conversation! And that is exactly what we did.
For 4 hours I talked (pretty much non-stop) about food, the food system, and organic gardening. Lauren had a pen and paper at the ready, while her hubby, Bill, absorbed every word I spoke. I’m friends with a lot of like-minded individuals and in our shared idealistic world, we would all be homesteading, off-grid, in our own little community! Ahhhh… the dream!
For that evening’s dinner, Lauren grilled California-style veggie sandwiches, which were served on warm-from-the-oven focaccia, paired with a tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad. Everything was delicious!
With the back-to-back-to-back, oppressive heat waves that have been taking place, I’ve been relying on my grill for dinner. Two weekends ago I baked a double batch of focaccia to be paired with my evening meal of fresh-from-the-garden veggie sandwiches.
Rosemary Focaccia – adapted from the Pioneer Woman (I’m still trying to get Lauren’s recipe!)
1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1-1/2 cup warm water
4 cups King Arthur all-purpose organic flour
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
large sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
course alaea salt, for sprinkling
olive oil for drizzling
Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.
Whisk flour and salt, then drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until the dough comes together in a sticky mass. Form the dough into a ball and lightly coat with olive oil. Place the dough into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap, set it aside for 1-2 hours. If you do not plan on using the dough right away it can stay in the fridge for several days.
Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half and roll out into a rectangle. I reserved the second portion to be baked later that week. If you are baking both sections, place each one on a separate cookie sheets and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Cover each one with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove the plastic wrap (dough will be puffy) and use your fingertips to gently press dimples into the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with rosemary and coarse salt. I baked each one separately, so 20 minutes was just the right amount of time to yield a golden brown surface. If you are baking both, 30-40 minutes is recommended.
Cut into pieces with a pizza wheel. Serve immediately.
Since I reserved some of the bread for the next day’s meal, it needed a bit of freshening up. I placed two pieces on the top-level of the grill for 3 minutes and it worked like a charm!