Monday, August 5, 2013

Focaccia To Melt A Man In His Boots

As if he isn't busy enough. About a month and a half ago we had a little barbeque planned and the day of Tyson went to replace a rotten board underneath some porch windows... and found that all the boards it was nailed to were rotten. Welcome to the ongoing house project.

Every week I sit down to make the menu and ask him "Any meal requests?" He replies "Umm... Nah." Not very helpful. But last week he says "Focaccia!". So the night that he was finishing his porch project I had focaccia in the oven, filling the house with that herb/garlic smell. He walks through the kitchen with some tool or other, takes a deep breath and exclaims "MMM! That's enough to make a man melt in his boots!"
Well, that's almost enough to make me give up the cauliflower fritters with quinoa and make him meatloaf and chocolate pudding four nights a week if that's what he wants. I told him this. He screwed up his face and said. "Oh. That probably wouldn't be a good. But thanks for the thought!"

Dad's Helpers

Herb and Garlic Focaccia
Adapted from Staff Meals by David Waltuck
for the bread
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus some to oil the bowl
3/4 tsp course salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some extra for the counter
for the topping
1 tsp dried rosemary
6 fresh sage leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cloves peeled garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
Course salt to taste and fresh black pepper
mix up your dough four hours ahead
sprinkle yeast on water in a large bowl. stir in sugar and let sit for a couple minutes, until it's a little bubbly looking. stir in the oil and salt and 1 cup of flour. Gradually stir in the rest of the four cups. The dough will be soft but workable. Pour onto a floured counter and knead about ten minutes, or knead in the bowl.
Clean your bowl and rub inside with oil. put dough back in a cover with a clean towel. let sit 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
Punch it down and let it double again, about 1 1/4 hours.
(Rising time is not a precise science. If you need to stretch it out a bit to make it bit your dinner time, don't worry.)
prepare topping
mix herbs and garlic with oil and whir in a blender until sage and garlic are roughly chopped. let sit.
preheat oven to 425. generously oil a 15 x 12 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan.
press the dough into the pan, cover with a towel and let rise until you can poke it and it doesn't spring back, about 30 minutes.
using all your fingers, make dimples all over the surface of the dough. pour/spread your garlic/herb/oil mixture over the dough. sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
bake until the focaccia is golden brown and puffed, about 15 minutes. serve hot or room temp.
Watch them melt in their boots!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chippers

You can kind of see the deeper color of the butter...

Ready for the "setting up" in the fridge

Did I eat the whole other half...?! Oh, they're in the oven

Cookies, as far as the eye can see
Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Joy The Baker

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Brown the butter in a saucepan.
Place butter in a heavyish pan if you have you one, regular pan if you don't, and melt over medium heat. once it's lost it's shape it will start to sizzle and pop. This is the water cooking out of it and it will take a while with two stick, but be patient.
Once the sizzle has slowed down the bubbles will get smaller and it will start to smell nutty. Watch this very closely.
Start to swirl the butter a bit to see through the froth. The bottom will start to darken and when this has turned a deep amber color (and smells unbelievable! I mean, the only thing in here is butter, right?) immediately pour it into a glass measuring cup, scraping all the brown bits in.
Let it cool about 20 minutes.

Cream the sugar butter and eggs.
I use a wooden spoon for this because the butter is liquid. Beat the butter and sugar for about a minute until the sugar has started to dissolve. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, molasses and beat a bit more until it's smooth.

Mix dry ingredients together.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a different bowl and add all at once to your butter. Stir it in.
Stir in chocolate and nuts.

Spoon dough onto a piece of parchment paper and wrap. Let it set up in the fridge (remember, the butter was liquid) about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line your cookie pans with parchment paper.
Drop dough two tbsps. at a time onto your pans and bake for 12 minutes, being very carful to keep the bottoms from getting dark. Because the butter was already cooked once this seems to happen easily. Keep 'em soft!

(No explanation needed)