Thursday, April 30, 2009

strawberry-vanilla swirled frozen pops

several years ago i came across a recipe for sangria popsicles. they sounded too good and i just had to make them. i went on a search for the perfect popsicle molds and decided on these cute star shaped ones. and then? never made the sangria popsicles. not only that, i never made any popsicles at all. these babies have been tucked away, moved from apartment to apartment and never once filled with a delicious frozen treat. until now!

i saw this strawberry-vanilla pop recipe in the latest gourmet and.....i had to make it! strawberries have been perfectly sweet lately and when paired with the creamy vanilla? oh my goodness these are delicious. the only problem? my popsicles are stuck in the molds. the stick comes out but the popsicle? not a budge. maybe the molds are getting revenge for neglecting them for so long. luckily there was quite a bit left over after filling the molds so we have been enjoying this in a bowl, regular ol' ice cream style. it might not be as fun, but it's tasty nonetheless!

strawberry-vanilla swirled frozen popsicles
(from gourmet, may 2009)
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 cup sugar*
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 pints premium vanilla ice cream**

Equipment: 12 (1/3-cup) ice pop molds or 12 paper cups and 12 wooden sticks***

mash strawberries in a large bowl with a potato masher or a fork. transfer to a 12-inch nonstick skillet along with sugar and lemon juice and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. transfer to a bowl, then freeze, uncovered, until cold, about 10 minutes.

transfer ice cream to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 30 percent power in 10-second intervals, stirring, until softened, about 50 seconds total. spread evenly in a 13-by 9-inch baking dish and freeze while strawberry mixture chills. if making your own ice cream, you can place it in the baking dish straight from the ice cream maker and freeze for a few minutes.

dollop tablespoons of strawberry mixture all over ice cream, then swirl it gently through ice cream with a spoon. spoon into molds (or into cups) and add sticks. freeze until firm, about 1 1/4 hours (and up to 4 days, covered).

*i only put in about 1/4 cup of sugar (cause i ran out) but i think that was a good thing because the strawberries on their own are so flavorful and sweet they don't really need sugar to help them out.
**i whipped up my own batch of vanilla soy ice cream but...ya know...whatever works for you
***or six popsicle molds and a tupperware for leftovers in case your pops get held hostage


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

for the love of grilled cheese

According to Chowhound, April is Grilled Cheese Month. While my West Coast compatriot is not a huge fan of cheese - in fairness, it doesn't love her either :) - I am fairly certain that, should I find myself stranded on a desert island, one of my five proverbial things would be some kind of cheese. So I'll take any excuse to experiment with melty cheese and bread products. It almost makes me want to have a grilled cheese party, but that would mean sharing.

The thing that is really great about grilled cheese is that it is so easy AND so versatile. The key, I think, to great grilled cheese is great bread. I prefer a crusty loaf with a soft yet chewy interior. Sourdoughs and rustic country loaves are always nice. And my favorite olive bread from Acme Bread in San Francisco also makes delicious pressed sandwiches.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

Extra sharp cheddar or brie with thinly sliced tart apples, grainy mustard on the side for spreading

Taleggio and arugula on country bread

The caprese (fresh mozarella, basil, tomato) though sometimes I like to mix it up and use pesto in place of basil leaves

And really any other soft, squishy, melty cheese, sandwiched by nice bread, thrown in a panini press/grill pan and cooked until it acheives melty, toasty goodness. Gimme.

- e

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

scallion biscuits with cracked coriander

it seems that every time i see a biscuit recipe i am compelled to make it. this time, i set out to bake the ramp and buttermilk biscuits from the april issue of bon appetit but ramps were nowhere to be found so i used scallions instead. i also made some slight changes to make them vegan. these didn't rise as much as some biscuits i've made but they still had a delightful buttery flake in the layers. the cracked coriander on top also added a nice little crunch...and a nice little flavor.

scallion "buttermilk" biscuits with cracked coriander(adapted from ramp and buttermilk biscuits with cracked coriander, bon appetit, april 2009)
3/4 cup chilled soymilk
3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted margarine, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, cracked*
olive oil (for brushing)

preheat oven to 425°F. mix soymilk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle (about 5 minutes).

mix curdled soymilk and scallions in small bowl.

in a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. add chilled margarine and cut into flour mixture until fine meal forms. add soymilk mixture; stir until dough forms.

turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and press out to 7-inch round, about 1/2 inch thick. using 2-inch-diameter biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out rounds. gather dough scraps; press out to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out additional rounds. transfer dough rounds to baking sheet. brush biscuit tops with a bit of olive oil. sprinkle with cracked coriander seeds.

bake biscuits until golden brown, about 20 minutes. cool on rack. serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

*according to bon appetit, the easiest way to crack the coriander seeds is to put them in a plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin.


Monday, April 27, 2009

lemon yogurt pound cake

A few weeks ago, for Easter, my brother and I made a decidedly non-traditional dinner. Neither of us really eats ham anymore (unless it's prosciutto, but that's a whole 'nother story) or any of the traditional Easter offerings. Instead, we opted for a light and refreshingly springy meal of homemade wild mushroom ravioli with an asparagus and gremolata sauce.

And to finish the meal, I made the Barefoot Contessa's lemon yogurt cake. It was perfectly delicious, and was even better the next day! The recipe calls for both a simple syrup that sinks into the cake, infusing it with extra lemon-i-ness and a bit of moisture, and a lemon/confectioner's sugar glaze. I decided not to make the glaze, and the cake was delightfully without it! I imagine you could also make this with orange zest, or a mix of orange and lemon for something a bit different. OH, and did I mention the best part about this cake? No mixer needed!!! You whip the whole thing up by hand.

Lemon Yogurt Cake
The Barefoot Contessa at Home

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For glaze
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment (this will insure the cake does not stick). Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it is all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester places in the center of ther loaf comes out clean (*here's a general baking tip - always under-estimate baking times. You can always bake something longer, but you can never un-bake a burnt cake. So, if a recipe recommends a 50 minute bake time, check your baked good at 40 minutes!)

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow to soak in. Cool. (*I will admit, I had a bit of trouble with the "soaking-in" bit, and used a pastry brush to disperse the simple syrup over the loaf).

For the glaze, combine the confectioner's sugar and lemon juice, and pour over the cooled cake.

Enjoy! - e

Saturday, April 25, 2009

sesame soba noodles

After a long, cold winter, Boston is finally experiencing a bit of a warm spell. So while I am certain it will be freezing again by the end of the week (I don't trust those weather people!) I am taking advantage of the restorative properties of the sunshine and making some cool, refreshing salads. While the farmers markets have yet to start up in New England - only a few more weeks!! - the grocery has perfectly respectable fresh veggies. They may not be local, but right now, I'm alright with that. This is a nice, and very versatile, noodle salad. You could really throw just about any vegetable in there, but this combination works really well! I ended up using normal, not baby, bok choy, as my store was out that day. Instead of using it raw, I blanched the bok choy, and it worked just fine.

Sesame Soba Noodles
Bon Appetit, June 2008

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper, divided
1/3 cup canola oil
8 ounces soba noodles
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3 cups (loosely packed) mixed baby greens
2 heads of baby bok choy, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
1 English hothouse cucumber, sliced
3 green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Salted roasted peanuts

Puree first 9 ingredients and 1 teaspoon red pepper in blender until smooth. With machine running, gradually add canola oil through opening in lid. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook soba noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Using kitchen shears, cut noodles crosswise in 2 to 3 places. Drizzle noodles in strainer with sesame oil and toss to coat.

Place greens, bok choy, cucumber, green onions, chopped cilantro, and mint in large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon red pepper, dressing, and noodles; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and peanuts and serve.

- e

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ricotta pasta...summer style

well here we are back in san francisco after a fabulous weekend in boston! i heard it was in the 90s (!) here while we were gone, but summer has decided to stick around for us a little longer as it is still hothothot today. kris and i had a hankering for the cashew ricotta from veganomicon but this weather just doesn't scream baked ziti (our usual ricotta pasta). instead we went for something quicker, lighter and much more summery. light on the pasta with lots of bright green blanched broccoli and a sauce of barely cooked tomatoes and garlic topped with refreshing dollops of ricotta. this made four large servings so you could even cut down on the pasta a bit more.

summer ricotta pasta
1/2 pound pasta
1 large head of broccoli, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil
dollops of ricotta (recipe below)

while pasta is cooking, chop broccoli, leaving florets fairly large. add to the pasta pot for the last couple minutes of cooking to blanch. drain with the noodles.

heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. add garlic and cook a few minutes until fragrant. add tomato chunks and cook until heated through and just beginning to break down. season with a bit of salt and pepper. remove from heat and stir in the basil.

add tomato mixture to the noodles/broccoli and toss to combine. serve with several dollops of ricotta.

cashew ricotta
(from veganomicon)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil*

combine first 4 ingredients in food processor. puree to thick paste.
add tofu and blend until smooth.
blend in salt and basil

*erin gave me a gigantic bag of herbs de provence (and the amount she passed on to me does not even compare to the enormous quantity hiding out in her cabinet...and i hear i was not even the first to receive some. seriously. she has a ton of herbs de provence), which i was very excited to use. we used it in place of the dried basil (and then added a little more basil for an herbier ricotta). experiment with your own herb combinations!


Monday, April 13, 2009

super herby pasta

since kris gets home from work before me, i often come home to him concocting in the kitchen. i love it! we had a fridge full of fresh herbs leftover from various things and decided to make a pasta dish bursting with fresh herby flavors. kris's take was a whole wheat pasta tossed with a lemon dill sauce and topped with parsley and rosemary-broiled zucchini slices. we had some oil-braised garlic leftover from something as well that went into the sauce and added a wonderful soft buttery garlic note (if you don't have any on hand, you could just sautee some minced garlic in stead). here's a loose recipe to follow:

herby pasta
1/2 pound pasta of your choice
juice of 1 lemon
white wine vinegar
handful fresh dill, chopped
handful fresh parsley, chopped
several cloves oil braised garlic, chopped (recipe below)
1 zucchini
fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

cook pasta according to instructions.

slice zucchini and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet with a few fresh rosemary leaves. broil or bake until tender.

meanwhile, in a small saucepan add chopped garlic and sautee a few seconds to heat through. add lemon juice, a splash of vinegar, dill and a small amount of margarine. continue to add margarine in small quantities and cook until melted. adjust the flavor with salt and pepper and more vinegar/margarine. continue to cook over medium heat. you should end up with a nice sort of thick sauce.*

toss pasta and zucchini with sauce and parsley, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed, and enjoy!

oil-braised garlic
2 large bulbs garlic, whole cloves peeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs

preheat the oven to 350. place the garlic, oil and rosemary in a baking dish. cover with foil and bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until the garlic cloves are very soft and just starting to brown. (can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 weeks).

on a side note, kris and i leave for boston tonight! we're so excited to see old friends, new babies and eat some bagels already!!! erin and i will once again be reunited and should have another delicious foodie post coming soon.

*is that vague enough? sorry.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

po' boys and ceviche

our dinner menu on friday could have been straight out of iron chef. and the secret ingredient was....mushrooms!!!

kris had the day off and picked out two deliciously mushroom-centric dishes from, again, the artful vegan. mixed mushroom ceviche and oyster mushroom po' boys. both were amazing. i can't say that i've ever had traditional ceviche but this version with shitake, white and oyster mushrooms was perfectly tangy with a little creaminess thanks to the diced avocado. it was a nice, fresh side dish to accompany the po' boys. now that i think of it, i don't believe i have ever had a po' boy either, but i can't imagine that the real thing is any better than what we made. i picked up a couple of deli rolls from acme and we toasted them before topping them with prefectly crispy breaded and fried oyster mushrooms, a vegan remoulade (that was awesome!) and some shredded romaine lettuce with red onion and thin tomato slices.


Friday, April 10, 2009

nori salad rolls

another delight from the artful vegan. this is probably one of the simpler recipes we made because you're really just taking salad and rolling it in nori, and it's quicker and easier than sushi because you don't have to deal with any rice. just a little chopping, shredding and rolling and you're good to go. the kumquat lime dressing that went with these is delicious as well.

nori salad roll
(the artful vegan)
6 sheets toasted nori
1 1/2 cups shredded chinese cabbage
1 1/2 cups watercress (i forgot to buy this for ours but i bet it's delicious)
1 1/2 cups bean sprouts
1 heaping cup shredded peeled carrot
1 mango, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red grapefruit, peeled and segmented
2/3 cup chopped toasted peanuts
1/3 cup mint chiffonade
1/3 cup cilantro leaves

spicy, sweet, and sour kumquat-lime dressing
6 tablespoons unrefined sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more as needed
6 kumquats thinly sliced
1 teaspoon peeled and minced or grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon guar gum*

to make the dressing:
place a saucepan over medium heat and add the sugar and water. cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved. remove from heat. add the pepper flakes, kumquat, ginger, lime juice, salt and guar gum. whisk thoroughly to dissolve the guar gum. let cool to room temperature, or chill, before serving. (store refrigerated for up to 1 week).

to make the rolls:
lay a nori sheet flat on a plate (i used a sushi rolling mat). spread 1/4 cup each of the cabbage, watercress and bean sprouts over the nori. follow with 1/6th of the carrot, mango, grapefruit, mint and cilantro, and 2 teaspoons of the peanuts. drizzle 1 tablespoon of the dressing over the salad ingredients, dampen the edge of the sheet and roll tightly to seal. repeat with remaining 5 rolls.**

to serve:
slice each roll ito thirds, and place vertically in the center of a plate. spoon dressing around the plate. sprinkle peanuts around the plate. place a sprig of watercress or mint in the center of each roll (if you're really feeling fancy)

*i couldn't find guar gum at the store and the dressing was fine without it. i think if you add it, it'll just make your dressing a little bit thicker but it's not necessary.
**or, ya know, just eyeball all those measurements.


citrus tart

Nothing reminds me more of the fresh possibilities off spring than a nice, simple citrus tart. Which is odd, as lemons and oranges are a winter crop. Nonetheless, when New England is reluctant, as always, to loosen its wintry grasp, I dream of fresh peas, skinny local asparagus and citrus. Lemons and oranges are just so bright and sunny, sitting in a bowl, awaiting their culinary fate. In this case, their destiny was this deceptively easy tart my mom and I made together for my uncle John's birthday. I know, I know. Tarts do not exactly scream birthday. But sometimes it's nice to steer away from tradition and try something new. This would make a lovely addition to any spring table, and would fit right in with your Easter meal (given the dairy, I'm not sure it is Passover-appropriate).

Oh - and for dinner we made this - so while prepping, you can zest all of your citrus at once!

Citrus Tart

from Not Afraid of Flavor: Recipes from the Magnolia Grill by Ben and Karen Barker

For tart shell

1 large egg, separated
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For filling

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated (with a rasp) fresh orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated (with a rasp) fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream

Make tart shell:
Lightly beat yolk with milk in a small bowl (reserve white for egg wash).

Pulse together flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Add yolk mixture and pulse just until dough begins to gather into a ball. Press dough into a ball, then flatten into a 6-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out, about 20 minutes.

Roll out dough between sheets of plastic wrap into a 12-inch round. Discard top sheet and invert dough into 9-inch round fluted tart pan (discard remaining plastic wrap). Fit dough into pan, pushing edge of dough to 1/8 inch above rim. Trim dough and save scraps to repair any cracks in partially baked shell.

Freeze shell until firm, about 10 minutes.

Line shell with parchment paper or foil and fill with pie weights.

Bake until edge is golden and bottom is set, about 20 minutes, then carefully remove pie weights and parchment (or foil; gently prick any bubbles with a fork to release air) and bake until bottom is pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Quickly repair any cracks in shell with scraps, then immediately brush hot pastry all over with some egg white. Leave oven on.

Make filling and bake tart:
Whisk together all filling ingredients until combined well. Put tart shell (in tart pan) on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Carefully pour filling into shell and put a pie shield or foil strips over rim of pastry to prevent burning.

Bake tart until filling is barely set but trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 45 minutes. (Filling will continue to set as it cools.)

* we served the tart with blackberries (not so seasonal, but still tasty!) and freshly whipped cream.

- e

Sunday, April 5, 2009

black sesame buns

one of my favorite restaurants not only in san francisco but anywhere ever is millennium. if you're not familiar, it's an upscale vegan restaurant with some of the most exciting and interesting dishes i have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. and now, thanks to kris's mom, we can create these masterpieces at home (or at least try our very best) with the artful vegan cookbook. the recipes are not simple. they have lots of different components going on but making them was a perfect sunday project. since we couldn't choose just one...or even two...dishes to make we took bits and pieces from four or five different dishes and put them together into one fantastic dinner.

if i remember correctly, these sesame buns were paired with a vegan caviar of sorts. we just did the buns on their own and they were deliciously onion-y and sesame-y. the texture was just like a nice, soft, lightly browned dinner roll. we think they would be a perfect bun for a korean barbecued tofu slider. but more on that another time....

black sesame buns
(from the artful vegan)
1 cup warm water
1/2 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

in a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and sugar. let sit 10 minutes, or until bubbly

whisk in the sesame oil, olive oil, scallions, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper. slowly whisk in the flour, switching to a wooden spoon when too thick for a whisk, until 1 3/4 cups of the flour has been used. reserve the remaining 1/2 cup flour to dust the work surface when kneading the dough.

turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. place in a large oiled bowl and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 450. punch the dough down, turn out onto a floured surface, and cut into 6 pieces. roll each piece into a long strip, about 8 inches long by 3 inches wide. brush the surface with sesame oil.* starting at one end, fold the dough over 1 inch and continue down, folding the dough into a tight coil. flatten and lengthen the dough with a rolling pin until about 4 inches long by 2 inches wide. place on the baking sheet. brush the top with sesame oil and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. repeat with the remaining dough to make 5 more buns. bake for 15 minutes, or until the buns are lightly browned and crisp on the bottom.

*oops, just realized i forgot to do this. they were still good.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

cran-apple oatmeal cookies

now that the muffins are gone, i thought it was time to put another apple to use. this time? in cookies! i love oatmeal cookies and how they lend themselves so well to playing around with different fruit/nut/spice combinations. this time i left out the nuts and went for finely chopped apples and dried cranberries with a hint of cinnamon and ginger.

cran-apple oatmeal cookies
3/4 cup margarine
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup soy milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup dried cranberries
3 cups oats

preheat oven to 350.

beat together margarine, sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. add soy milk and mix until well combined.

add flour, baking soda, salt spices and stir until well mixed. add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.

drop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. bake 12-15 minutes.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

moosewood focaccia

I made this delightfully easy bread to go with a nice, light Spring Minestrone, also from Moosewood. The result was two rounds of delightfully chewy focaccia. And the recipe could not have been easier - minimal kneading paired with relatively short rising and baking times. Definitely a recipe to turn to over and over again, and very adaptable to different toppings. Next time, I want to try making sandwiches with the leftovers.

from the Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special

makes 2 9-inch rounds, or one large flatbread

1 1/4 cups warm water
3 cups all-purpose white flour
scant 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil

1 to 2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
cherry tomatoes

Using a heavy-duty mixer or food processor (or a strong arm!) beat together all of the dough ingredients for about one minute. The dough will be very wet and sticky, but resist the urge to add more flour. When the dough has become elastic - you will notice a certain stringiness - scrape it into an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside in a draft-free area until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours depending on the temperature. The slower the rise, the more flavorful and chewy the focaccia will be.

When the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and make two rounds (or one large rectangle). To make the rounds, divide the dough into two equal parts. Flatten each piece of dough into an 8- to 9-inch round. Dip your fingers in flour and dimple the top of the dough. Brush on some good-quality olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt (and garlic or other herbs, if you like). Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and let rise for 10 to 15 minutes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned.

This is best eaten the day it is made, but day-old focaccia can be revived by warming it in a hot oven for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

- e