Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Focaccia

When it comes to baking breads, rolls, and other baked goods with yeast...I don't do much of that. I've been spoiled, growing up as a child with all the amazing homemade breads and and sweet pastries made by my mother, grandmother, and aunts. When my children were little, we still had my sweet Hungarian (aunt) Mariska néni who made all the wonderful treats for us, not just for the holidays, but every week something different. She is no longer with us but we still have the fond memories of all the yeasted treats she baked with so much 'pride and joy'...but seriously, we are the ones that was given so much joy and happiness. That's what home baking does; honest!
 
This is my favorite topping; paper thin sliced zucchini, and sweet-crunchy caramelized sliced onions. Focaccia and pizza dough is so easy to make, just pop the ingredients in the standing mixer with the dough hook and the machine does all the work for you. The only dry yeast I trust is RED STAR. It is fail-proof rapid-rising dry yeast...never have to worry about the dough not rising.
 
 
To make a single focaccia, you need at least 3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour. I highly recommend bread flour. Some recipes do not use olive oil in the dough, but I prefer to add olive oil in the dough, and brush some on the top...as well!
 
Zucchini and Caramelized Onion Focaccia
recipe by; Elisabeth
 
3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup of warm water
2 teaspoon RED STAR or your favorite rapid
rising yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
corn meal for dusting
 
Topping:
 
2 medium zucchini, sliced thin with mandolin slicer
1 medium onion, sliced into thin circles
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
 
In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, proof the yeast by combining it with the warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve. Let stand for 3 minutes until foam appears. Turn the mixer on low, and slowly add the flour to the bowl. Dissolve the salt in 2 tablespoons of water and add it to the mixture. Pour in the 1/4 cup olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine from time-to-time to scrape dough off the hook. Mix the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. (I added another 1/2 cup more.)
 
Turn the dough onto a work surface and form into a round. Place in a large oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let rise on a draft-free place, until doubled in size, for about 45 minutes.
 
You could coat a baking sheet pan with olive oil, or just use a large parchment paper, and directly coat the parchment paper with corn meal. When dough is doubled in size, punch down the dough and turn directly onto the cornmeal lined parchment paper. Pat the dough into an oblong shape but do not force dough to make it thin. Cover with a tea towel and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes so you can stretch it and shape it again. (In the meantime you could make the topping)
 
With your thumb, make indentations in the dough and brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and pre-bake for about 10 minutes without the topping. Spoon topping over the pre-baked focaccia; don't worry about having neat slices if zucchini is paper thin. Finish baking for an additional 10 more minutes, until focaccia is light brown, and vegetables are caramelized.
 
For the topping: Use remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and in a large skillet sauté onion and garlic first... adding salt, pepper, and brown sugar. When onion mixture gets nice and caramelized add the thin zucchini slices and just mix all together...no need to cook zucchini; it will finish cooking in the last baking process. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

First Day of Autumn...

photo...courtesy of  Pinterest

...I see
the turning of a leaf
dancing in an autumn sun,
and brilliant shades of crimson
glowing when a day is done...


 ~Hazelmarie "Mattie" Elliott, "A Breath of Heaven"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fresh Peach and Apple Crisp

Buying the most beautiful and perfect peaches deserves a photo 'prop'...don't you agree?
The reason that I'm featuring these gorgeous peaches is...we are in the midst of being able to get Georgia peaches here, in S. Florida and they are quite affordable at this time of the year, and also...organic as well.

Fruit crisps, are the easiest things are to make when you just want a quick dessert to serve with a scoop of ice cream, or just by itself...even, cold!
It looks like a 'ray of sunshine' all around the dish, made in my vintage pink Pyrex that used to belong to my mother from the sixties. I also have the matching bowl with it. Taking photos of it in the natural light with a 'ray of sunshine' also helps to feature this easy and yummy quick homemade dessert! The recipe is so very simple and easy, you just have to remember the basic equivalent measurement of everything ...except the butter.

I served this right out of the oven and the aroma with the apple, peach, cinnamon and brown sugar was totally incredible and intoxicating. Actually you have to wait at least 15 minutes for the fruit crisp to settle and the juices thicken as it cools, otherwise it gets so juicy...which is not a bad thing as long as the topping stays crunchy!

Topping it with your favorite ice cream really is scrumptious and heavenly!

After a few minutes, the ice cream starts to melt over the warm crisp and you'll also need a spoon with your for...better yet, just scoop up all the yummy goodness with your spoon!

Fresh Peach and Apple Crisp
recipe by; Elisabeth

1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1/3 cup butter
zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 medium peaches peeled and sliced
3 medium apples peeled and sliced thin



In mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar (leave 1 Tbsp. sugar for mixing into the fruit.) Cut the butter into small pieces and crumble them into the flour and oats mixture. Set aside

In a large bowl, add the peeled, sliced peaches, the peeled slice apples, the grated lemon zest, the juice of the 1 lemon, and the 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Place fruit in a 10x6x2 inch baking dish, Sprinkle the flour mixture over the fruit, Bake in a 375 degree F. oven for about 45 minutes or until fruit liquid starts to bubble.
Serve warm over ice cream.

Here are some photos to share with you from this past weekend...

Linking to:Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherine's Corner

sail boat on the beach...
view from our private beach...
view of the moon in the background...
at sunset, across the street on the Intracoastal water...
just down the street from me...
well manicured public lawn, and well kept trees...Palm Beach
Gabby taking photos...as well!
 
 
 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Silent Sunday


Sunset in Palm Beach, Florida. (granddaughter Gabby, serious photographer; age 12)...actual divine colors on the Intracoastal Water; Saturday, 9-14-2013
Have a beautiful Sunday! xo

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nutella-Banana Bread

 
Glancing at this photo of my Nutella-Banana Bread makes you think...it's either the sloppiest presentation you've ever seen, or you might think that it is actually creative; well, I might add that it could be a 'mad artist...off their 'rocker'! Well, not that...either!
 
 Linking to: Thursday Favorite Things @Katherines Corner

                    Full Plate Thursday @Miz Helen's Country Cottage


 
Also, you will notice that this is the 4th inspired recipe from a magazine, or newspaper article of the local food section. I don't have to take the time to type out the recipe...you can actually just click on it. I changed the title of the Chocolate-Hazelnut Banana Bread, to Nutella-Banana  Bread...simply for the reason that I did omit the hazelnuts...I added 1 extra bananas, and another 1/2 cup of flour...other than that, it does deserve the name...NUTELLA-BANANA BREAD!
 

Click on the above link for the recipe. I used chocolate chips to melt down to drizzle on my bread...just got a little carried away, but let me assure you, that one bite of this Nutella-Banana Bread makes you feel like you're in 'Nutella Heaven'! My 7yr. old grandson loves it just spooning it on Ritz crackers...it really is so good for you with genuine hazelnuts added in with the skim milk and cocoa to make this incredible spread.
 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Toasted Parmesan Tomato Bread

Labor Day came...and went, yesterday; a huge 'downpour' of rain in the early afternoon here, in S. Florida in Palm Beach County. As for the Ft. Lauderdale and Miami area...no rain, whatsoever!
I had lunch with my family, and came back home early hoping to spend the day relaxing on the beach...no such thing happened. Its as if the rain came out of nowhere...once the downpour starts, there's no 'ending' or 'letup', so you're either stuck in a store, or in your car because the minute you step outside you are drenched from head to toe...even with an umbrella, which by the way will turn 'inside-out' from the strong wind!

I enjoyed my evening with the super comforting, crunchy, fresh tomato toast with the Parmesan topping and even better, a slice of provolone cheese to melt and give me the ooey-gooey cheese effect. You start out making this toast as a garlic toast but totally 'kicking it up a notch' as chef Emeril Lagasse would say.

With all the great cook books, magazines, every now-and-then I like to try some recipes from my local newspaper in the weekly recipe section of the Palm Beach Post!

TOASTED PARMESAN TOMATO BREAD
adapted from the Palm Beach Post Times

4 cloves of garlic minced
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
ground black pepper
4 large thick slices sourdough bread
4 large tomatoes
3 ounces Parmesan Cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small sturdy bowl, combine the garlic, oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Mix well, then use the back of the spoon to mash the garlic and rosemary together to form a paste.

This method can also be use in a mortar and pestle, or a min food processor. The rosemary will not mash well, but it is fine. Spread quarter of the mixture over each slice of bread.

Note: the original recipe calls for 4 slices of bread and 4 tomatoes, I used 2 slices of bread and 2 tomatoes to cut 2 middle slices from each tomato for the bread.
Also, the original recipe calls for broiling the slices of the bread...I baked it first for about 5 to 10 mines and then added to cheese, and the provolone cheese slices which recipe does not call for.
Also, for the garlic...as you can see on the photo, I purchased the peeled fresh garlic in this plastic jar, and chopped it in the mini food processor. As for the fresh rosemary, it is easier to chop with knife and add to the garlic, and fill the jar up with canola oil (not olive oil)

What I did, was get a small bowl, take a spoonful of the garlic rosemary mixture with the canola oil, and add extra virgin olive oil to the garlic mixture and add the salt and pepper into the bowl and spread some of that mixture on the bread. I topped both slices with the large slices of tomatoes and get it ready to put into the toaster oven. Better to save time and electricity if you only make to slices...use your toaster oven.

Be sure to reserve the tops and bottoms of your tomato slices for another use...don't discard them.

Shave some of the Parmesan cheese over the tomatoes with a carrot peeler, which makes it easier to peel.




Set the assembled bread on a baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven.

(follow this method if you are using 4 slices of bread; I used 2 slices of bread and put mine in a toaster oven...no baking sheet needed because you want the bottom to get toasted, as well.)

Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, and add one or 2 slices of provolone chees on each slice of bread. You can also use mozzarella instead of the provolone. You can broil bread slices now, and get the cheese nice and brownish, which takes about 3 minutes.

You are ready to serve, and enjoy!
 










I added an extra slice of cheese to broil to make it more bubbly, and ooey-gooey cheesy sensation! A perfect little meal by itself, or a hefty 'snack'!










The grey scene on the ocean from my beach photographed from my balcony, on the second floor
another scene later, from the other side on the intracoastal waters...pinkish sky at dusk means windy day the next day!
 
Thanks for all your sweet comments and support of friendship! Those of you that celebrated Labor Day...hope you had a nice and sunny day! xo