Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

 

Remember that bread-baking kick I was on a few weeks ago?

Yup……still on it.

Told you I needed an intervention. :)

But in my defense, I think Focaccia could be considered almost “pizza-like”.

 

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Sundried Tomato & Rosemary

 

I stumbled upon this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck awhile back and was happy to give it a spin. Dara’s site is fabulous and chock-full of delish recipes! And this focaccia is no exception.

It came together quite easy and the flavors were well balanced.  I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes on hand and decided to substitute them with sundried tomatoes—a tasty alternative! Just be sure to allow the focaccia to bake for 2/3 of the cooking time before adding the sundried tomatoes—or else they’ll burn! And that is definitely No Bueno.

As for my bread-baking obsession, I assure you that it’s currently under control.

Well….temporarily at least. I am ALL out of yeasts. :)

 

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Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Tomato & Rosemary
From Cookin’ Canuck

Ingredients:

1 Package Dry Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Teaspoon Honey
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, divided
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
1/2 Cup Sundried Tomatoes, sliced
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, needles removed from stem
1/3 Cup (packed) Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

In a medium bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and honey. Let rest until yeast blooms and bubbles form on top, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove dough from bowl and press it into a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking sheet until it touches the edges. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough. Drizzle the dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let rest until the dough becomes puffy, about 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion slices, cover and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Top the dough with caramelized onions, rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and salt. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes and add sundried tomatoes. Return to the oven and continue baking until the focaccia is golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack. Cut into pieces and serve.

Whole Wheat Garlic Naan…..Where it all started.

Whole Wheat Garlic Naan

 

I blame it ALL on this Garlic Naan.

I had seen a photo of it on Tasty Kitchen awhile back and I’ve been obsessed with it every since. And when I finally got the chance to try it, I went nuts–I was out of control! I went from making just one dish to creating a full blown Indian dinner! I guess I figured if I was going to take the effort to make Naan, I better go the extra mile to make some dishes to enjoy with it. :)

But perhaps now would be a good time to mention the fact that I’ve never really cooked Indian food before—so it was going to be quite a FoodVenture! The next few posts will be recounting the dishes I created and how it all came together.

But let’s turn our focus back to the Naan.

 

Whole Wheat Garlic Naan

 

Jessica from How Sweet It Is did a really great job covering Homemade Naan from Indian Simmer. The only thing I did different was that I used a stove top grill to cook the first side of the Naan before cooking the other side on an open flame. I would have definitely preferred to use a cast iron skillet per the instructions but have yet to replace my skillet that had rusted—-REALLY rusted. Eeew. And if you’re wondering, using an enamel-coated cast iron skillet won’t work either. Yup, I tried it.

But when everything was finished, I had really mixed feelings about the Naan. They did puff up pretty well when cooked over the open flame and were ok when I tasted them right away. But once they cooled, I found that the dough became really tough and loss some flavor. I’m not sure if it was due to my use of Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or if I overworked the dough prior to cooking it. When we warmed them up later on, they became pretty hard and crunchy—-in fact, it was more cracker-like than puffy Naan.

Still, I’m glad I gave it a go. I will DEFINITELY try this recipe again when I finally get my hands on a cast iron skillet because I think it would definitely improve the texture. I’ll also try it with AP Flour in hopes of getting a lighter product.

So even though this Garlic Naan didn’t work out so well for me this time, it did give me the motivation to create an entire Indian feast!

**Next Post:  Chicken Tikka Masala!

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Whole Wheat Garlic Naan
From Indian Simmer

Ingredients:

2 cups Wheat Flour (or AP Flour)
¾ teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ cups Warm Milk
½ cups Yogurt
½ Tablespoons Oil, As Needed
Additional Optional Herbs And Seasonings To Flavor The Naan (See Note Below)

Note: The ingredient list includes the ingredients for the dough. You can flavor your naan with all kinds of herbs. I made cumin naan, garlic naan, butter naan, and some topped with cilantro.

Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well of flour.

Mix milk and yogurt together and pour half of it into the well and slowly combine it together.

I don’t think there’s an exact amount of liquid that should be added to the exact amount of flour to make a perfect dough. So what I do is continue adding liquid slowly and combining it all together slowly until a soft dough is made. The dough should be soft enough for you to be able to dig your finger into it without applying any pressure. If dough sticks to your hand too much, then use little bit of oil on your hands and then punch into the dough.

Cover with a damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

After a few hours, dust your working board, take out the dough and knead it for about 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into smaller balls (in this case you should get about 8 balls to make naans).

Dust the board again and flatten the balls to make bread that is a little thick and elongated.

Now sprinkle one side of the bread with your desired flavor. I made cumin, minced garlic, chopped cilantro and some simple butter naans.

Brush the other side with water.

Heat a thick-bottomed skillet or a wok or any heavy-bottomed pan with a lid. Once it is nicely hot, place the naan wet side down (it will stick) and cover it with a lid.

Let it cook for about 30 seconds or until you see bubbles on it. Now cook the other side of the naan over a direct flame on the burner with the help of tongs. When you see some charred brown spots then you know that the naan is done.

Smother a good amount of butter on your naans and when you taste them, you’ll know what a peaceful life means!

“Bloomin’ Herb Bread” and a Bread Baking Binge Confession

Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread

 

I’ve really been trying to keep up with my goal of baking more bread.

But I may have gone a little over board last week. Over the course of 7 days, I had made the Simple Bread, Focaccia, Pizza Dough, Garlic Naan, and this Bloomin’ Herb Bread. I was on a Bread Baking Binge! Yeah, say that three times fast.

 

Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread

 

But the moment I saw this Bloomin’ Herb Bread on The Pioneer Woman’s site, I just HAD to make it. It looked so gorgeous with it’s golden bloom–I couldn’t resist!

 

Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread

 

And when I finally cut into it and took a bite—-it was H-E-A-V-E-N! I can’t even justly describe the flavor and texture of it. Crunchy, buttery-like crust with a soft but structured interior. SOOOOO GOOOD! I chose rosemary to flavor this bread but I think thyme or chives would be lovely as well!

I had intended to have it alongside with the Corn Chowder but the next thing I knew it, I had pulled out the Balsamic Vinegar and Premium EVOO and inhaled a good portion of it! I couldn’t stop myself! I’m a sick….sick, bread-lovin’ woman.

But in my gluttonous defense, I did share with Bella. That puggle loves bread as much as her Mama does.

 

Bella Loves Bread

 

I did, however, enjoy some the next day with the Corn Chowder and later on that week, grilled the last pieces to make a delicious Chicken Sandwich.

I’m not ashamed to say it….it was a DARN GOOD Sammy!

 

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

 

If I keep on going on like this, I may need a Bread Baking Intervention…

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Pastor Ryan’s Bloomin’ Herb Bread
From The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

20 ounces, weight Bread Flour (all Purpose Is Okay, Too) – About 4 Cups
8 ounces, fluid Water
4 ounces, fluid Melted Butter With Chopped Herbs Of Choice. We Like Chives, Rosemary Or Thyme.
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Active Or Instant Yeast (if Active, It Would Be Best To Sprinkle Yeast Over The Water To Let It Start To Work Before Mixing It In)

Combine all ingredients together in the KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook (it can be done by hand…it just takes longer).

I mixed them together for about 10 minutes or so until I could successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough. This is where you can pull off a small chunk of the dough you’re kneading and stretch it gently to see if it is somewhat translucent. If you can do this without it tearing, it’s ready. Once this elasticity has been achieved, the dough can sit out with plastic wrap over it for 1-4 hours to double in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

After the dough starts rising, it should be kneaded for a minute or two so that the yeast can redistribute. Form it into a dome and place in a covered cast iron pan after coating it with olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Cut a large ‘X’ into the surface of the bread dough so it can bloom!

Bake on the center rack of your over for 30 minutes with the lid on, them remove the lid to finish it off for another 15 to 30 minutes.

Simple Gal….Simple Bread

Simple Bread

 

I love the smell of the Ocean, Clean Laundry, and Garlic cooking. I love the scent of Gardenias and Jasmines in bloom.

And I absolutely love the smell of Cookies and Fresh Bread baking.

I am a Simple Gal really.

That’s why this recipe stopped me in my tracks with only two words…..SIMPLE BREAD.



Simple Bread

 

And it truly is. There are only a few ingredients, has a short “proofing time”, and is not the least bit complicated. Just for a little special touch, I added some fresh thyme to the dough and a little sprinkle of sea salt before placing it in the oven. Delicious.



Simple Bread

 

Crusty, Warm Bread + No Fuss = Simply Happy Gal


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Simple Bread
Slightly adapted from Marcia Passos Duffy

Ingredients:

5-6 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme (optional)
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
Sea Salt (optional)
2 Cups Hot Water (120-130 degrees F.)
A cake pan of hot water

Mix 3 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, thyme and salt.  Pour in the hot water and beat 100 strokes (or 3 minutes with a mixer).

Stir in the remaining flour until the dough loses its stickiness.  Turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 8 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth.  Let rise for 15 minutes in a warm spot (away from drafts).

Punch down and divide the dough into two pieces.  Shape into round loaves and place on a greased baking sheet.  Cut an “X” one-half inch deep in each of the loaves with a wet sharp knife. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt.

Place baking sheet with loaves in the middle of a COLD oven.   Place a pan of hot water on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza–a Super Bowl Party Must!

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

It’s Super Bowl Weekend. And if you’re like many Americans, your local pizza joint will be making some deliveries to your house this Sunday.

Sure, it’s convenient and some are quite tasty. But why not make your own??

This Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza is super easy to make and ridiculously delicious. I’ve made my own pizza dough (courtesy of my tried and true Epicurious recipe) but if you’re short on time, you can definitely pick up some pre-made dough from your local pizzeria or grocery store. Trader Joe’s has a great one for under $2.

 

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

 

If you have a pizza stone, this is definitely the time to use it. The stone will add a crispier texture to your crust. But I found that I had pretty nice results using a baking sheet—just be sure to use corn meal on the bottom.

And if you’re a garlic lover, you will be smitten with the SUPER GARLICKY flavor from the roasted garlic. But let’s not forget how deliciously cheesy this pizza is–three types of cheeses will do that for you :)

This will definitely be a WIN for your Super Bowl Party.

 

Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

 

I, myself, am boycotting the Super Bowl. As a lifelong Vikings fan, I just cannot watch the Packers!

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Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
Serves 4

Pizza Dough (Adapted From Epicurious):
1½ Teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Warm Water
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Toppings:
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ Cup Roasted Garlic
1 Tablespoon Yellow Cornmeal
1 Cup Cooked Chicken Breast, diced
1 Cup Roma Tomatoes, diced
¼ Cup Sundried Tomatoes
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
¼ Cup Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ Cup Scallions, diced
¼ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley, finely diced
Kosher Salt and Pepper
Serve with additional Parmesan Cheese and Red Chili Flakes

Prepare Dough. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water. Let stand 2-3 minute, or until the yeast is creamy. Stir until the yeast dissolves. In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups flour and the salt. Add the yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Flatten the dough with your fist. Cut the dough into 2 pieces and shape the pieces into balls. Flatten the dough slightly. Dust the tops with flour. Place the balls of dough on a floured surface and cover each with plastic wrap, allowing room for the dough to expand. Let rise 60 minutes, or until doubled.

Place pizza stone or large baking sheet in the middle rack and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly dust your surface area with flour. Roll/toss/stretch the dough into your desired shape. Once the oven reaches its temperature, pull the baking stone/baking sheet out of the oven, and sprinkle cornmeal on the surface. Carefully slide the dough on top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until the dough is lightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and brush with olive oil over top. Spread the roasted garlic all over the crust and add chicken, sundried tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the entire pizza with the cheeses and scallions. Return the pizza back to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until all the cheese has melted and pizza is golden brown. Sprinkle the pizza with Italian parsley and serve with additional parmesan cheese and red chili flakes.

*Loosely inspired by Cooking Light


Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza

They’ll Fry Anything in Texas….

Bánh Bao Chiên Giòn

 

I think many folks are familiar with the steamed buns originating from Northern China. Depending on where you’re from, they are known as Baozi, Xiaolongbao, Mantou, Manapua—or Bánh Bao if you’re Vietnamese.

Growing up, I have very vivid memories of my mom making Bánh Bao. In fact, she had each of my siblings in an assembly line for her own little Bánh Bao Factory—each of us being responsible for a certain component of the Bánh Bao. Cutting up the boiled eggs, creating little meatballs of the pork mixture, slicing the Lap Xuong (Chinese sausage), rolling out the Bánh Bao dough, and my very tough job—cutting little squares of paper to place the Bánh Bao on. Hey, without me, the Bánh Bao would stick to the steamer! :)

Needless to say, I am quite familiar with Bánh Bao. That is, until a recent trip to Houston, Texas.

While hanging out with family in Bellaire (Houston’s version of Little Saigon), my cousin Bi wanted to pick up some Bánh Bao from T.P. Banh Bao in the Hong Kong City Mall. But not only did he want the traditional steamed buns, he wanted to try out T.P. Banh Bao’s specialty buns— Bánh Bao Chiên Giòn. Translation: Deep Fried Bánh Bao

EXCUSE ME?! Deep Fried Bánh Bao?! I was both grossed out and intrigued at the same time—and I love all things fried!

That was it, we needed to try them—despite being utterly stuffed from the Dim Sum we just inhaled.

 

Photo from Flavor Boulevard

 

Bi placed his order and a few minutes later, we had our little hands on a box of Bánh Bao Chiên Giòn that were fresh out of the fryer. After a few minutes of obligatory cooling down time, we cracked open a Bánh Bao and took a bite.

 

Bánh Bao Chiên Giòn

 

And you know what? They were really tasty! I was concerned that the dough would soak up all of the oil but it appeared that they used a different type of Bao dough that was both thinner and less dense. The dough had a nice crunch and was slightly sweet—like traditional Bao dough. The filling was quite flavorful and there was a lot of it.

I’m a convert now. Sure, this isn’t something you can eat all of the time but its uniqueness and taste is definitely worth eating again! And at $11 for a box of 9, it’s not too steep for a quick treat.

Those Texans…..What won’t they fry? :)

T.P. Banh Bao
11209 Bellaire Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77072
(281) 988-7667


Why Hello, Sopapillas….

Sopapillas with Honey

Hello Dear Friends! My sincere apologies with being MIA but I was out of town for several days. A part of my adventures included a quick road trip with my big brother from Houston to Orange County—that’s 1,600+ driving miles we clocked in! And although the drive was done in 2 quick days, we did stop for some great eats on the road back to California.

One such memorable pit stop occurred in Las Cruces, Mexico. Nopalito Restaurant is a family owned establishment that features New Mexican cuisine at its greatest. I, of course, inhaled my delicious lunch that included a cheese enchilada, crispy taco, and a flauta—all smothered with their yummy chile verde. It was DARN GOOD! But as tasty as our entrees were, it was our dessert that had me.

My brother had insisted that wherever we ate for lunch while in New Mexico, we needed to order Sopapillas. I had never heard of Sopapillas, let alone try them before. But when he said it was a flat bread that was fried, I was ALL over it. Our awesome server brought over a basket of our freshly fried Sopapillas with a bottle of honey. It was SOOOOO good! The bread was crispy but not greasy and the dough was slightly sweet and further enhanced by the floral notes of the honey. And I’m not the least bit embarrassed to admit that I had polished off my entire Sopapilla before my brother even had his second bite. Heheheh…. it was good.

Headed to Las Cruces anytime soon? You must stop by Nopalito Restaurant. Delicious food, friendly service, great prices…and of course, Sopapillas.

Nopalito Restaurant
310 South Mesquite Street
Las Cruces, New Mexico 88001
(505) 524-0003