The Ultimate Focaccia Bread

August 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

For quite a while now, I’ve been on the hunt for the ultimate focaccia bread and I may have just found it.  The Food Network’s, Anne Burrell made this recipe on her show and it looked so yummy I had to give it a try.  She uses a lot of olive oil but I think that is what makes it so good.  I followed her recipe exactly and (in my opinion) it came out perfect.  It is crunchy and crusty on the outside, moist on the inside, and oh so greasy.  Now doesn’t that sound like a recipe for something good?  I’m posting her recipe as written.  I have absolutely NO EDITS to this recipe.  I hope you enjoy it.  We certainly did.

The Ultimate Focaccia Bread (I named it that, not Anne) 

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Directions

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low-speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. (Chef’s Note: This may seem excessive, but focaccia is an oily crusted bread. This is why it is soooooooooo delicious!).

Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. (Chef’s Note: Yes, this is strange. But when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy looking focaccia. If you do not make the actual holes in the dough, the finished product will be very smooth.)

Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.

Oh baby!

Easy Crockpot Carnitas

August 21, 2011 § 3 Comments

This certainly is not a traditional carnitas recipe.  Typically, carnitas meat is cooked in lard.  Not this recipe.  This one is slow cooked in the crockpot.  It comes out so juicy and tender with a ton of flavor.

My family really likes the carnitas at Chipotle, so I modeled my recipe after what I thought was in their recipe.  In my opinion, this recipe is better than Chipotle.   So now you’ll have to get your crockpot out to see, right?  

The meat works well in a taco, burrito, tostada or even over nachos.  It is also great for a “taco bar” party.  It is pictured above on a flour tortilla with avocado and my homemade corn salsa.  Believe me, it tastes as good as it looks. 🙂

Crockpot Carnitas

  • 3 lb. pork roast
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup apple juice

Mix together the salt, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper together.  Rub all of the seasoning onto pork the night before you plan to cook it.  Let set over night.  The next day, place pork into crockpot.  Pour the apple juice and chicken stock around the pork.  Set to cook on low for 8 hours.  Half way through (at around 3-4 hours) turn pork over.  At the 7 hour mark, remove meat from pot.  Shred it up with 2 forks.  Pour off the liquid in the crockpot into a container.  Place meat back into the pot.  Pour about 1/2 cup – 1 cup of liquid back over the top the meat to keep moist.  Cook another hour.   Serve straight from the crockpot.

Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Gorgonzola

August 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Gorgonzola

If you are like me, I’m always looking for new ways to prepare old, boring ingredients.  This is a perfect, jazzed up recipe for plain roasted potatoes. 

It truly doesn’t get much better than these potatoes.  The crispness of the potatoes and bacon with the creaminess of the gorgonzola cheese…Oh man!  TRUE HEAVEN!  Best of all, so simple.

I fed this to my group of picky eaters and they all went for seconds of this one.  It was loved by all except the 6-year-old.  I don’t take his judgement personally though.  His palate will develop and once it does, he’ll be glad I have this one in my recipe box. 

One thing I’d like to point out: If by some off-chance you actually have any leftovers of this dish, it goes great on a salad.  Yes, sounds weird I know but believe me, it is so good.

  • 3 lbs. small red, purple and gold potatoes, washed and quartered
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped and uncooked
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Pour canola oil onto large cookie sheet.  Place washed and quartered potatoes onto the prepared cookie sheet.   Season with salt and pepper and toss on sheet.  Place into oven and let cook for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, toss potatoes and add the chopped bacon.  Cook another 15 minutes.  Remove and let stand for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a serving dish.  Sprinkle green onion, parsley and gorgonzola over the top and serve.

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