Friday, April 29, 2011

Caramel-Whiskey Banana Bread

I was going to make pate a choux last night, but on my way to the pantry to grab flour, I was stopped in my tracks by the scent of fermented fruit. Again? I just finished those frickin' strawberries! Have they come back to haunt me?

Further investigation led to the discovery of two very ripe bananas on top of the fridge. Crap. I had bought a huge bunch of them last week to eat for breakfast, ate a couple, skipped breakfast a few days in a row, and then completely forgot about the stragglers. And now they were reasserting their presence in a big way. 

I didn't want the sad bananas to go to waste, so I scrapped my plans for pate a choux and whipped up a batch of banana bread. To keep things interesting, I substituted  in 1/2 a cup of caramel sauce for brown sugar, and then added a healthy pour of whiskey. I tell you, that batter smelled good

Truthfully, this banana bread could have been improved with just one extra mashed banana, but was very tasty on the whole. Incredibly moist, with a light sweetness made richer by caramel, and rounded out by a pleasing whiff of whiskey. I asked Dan this morning if he wanted to take some to work to share with his co-workers, but he said he'd rather eat it all himself. 

Caramel-Whiskey Banana Bread (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Jacked Up Banana Bread recipe)

- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1/2 a stick butter/margarine, melted
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional -- I like my banana bread to be on the sweet side)
- 1-1/2 cups flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp whiskey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 dash of nutmeg
- 1 dash of cloves

(1) Preheat oven to 350.
(2) Mix melted butter into the mashed bananas.
(3) Gradually incorporate the caramel, whiskey, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and spices. Mix well.
(4) Add flour and stir until well combined.
(5) Pour batter into a greased bread pan.
(6) Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes before serving.

One year ago: Spinach and Mushroom Fettucine Alfredo

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Strawberry Margaritas

It's the weekend, the weather is 82 degrees and sunny, and I've just been treated to a delicious sushi buffet for lunch. Could my birthday get any better? Yes, but only if you throw in a pitcher of freshly blended strawberry margaritas (and a nap)!

Tequila and I never used to be friends. But, that's probably because my first experience with it was at a frat party where some guy poured lime juice into a solo cup full of Jose and said "here, have a margarita." I took one sip and immediately spat it back into the cup. Yuck.  Never again.

But, because I never wanted to drink tequila after that, I never got violently sick from it -- Jose and I never "broke up," so to speak. Vodka? That's another story...but I digress.  Anyway, the upshot is that when I decided to give tequila another chance years later, I could face it without having a visceral reaction (like my friend Brad). I still can't drink it straight, of course...I prefer my Jose to be mixed with sugar and fruit, and frozen if possible. Luckily, there's a big jug of The Cuervo on top of my fridge right now, as well as a fresh carton of strawberries waiting to be eaten/blended, so when I got a craving for a fruity beverage I knew just what to do. Strawberry margaritas!!! So delicious and refreshing on a hot day like today. If only I had furniture on my balcony...

Strawberry Margaritas

- 5 oz tequila (5 shots)
- 2 ice-trays' worth of ice
- 1/2 a carton of strawberries, cut into halves
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice

(1) Throw all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until icy and frothy.
(2) Serve immediately, preferably with something salty, like chips and guacamole.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mini Lemon Curd Tarts

Remember when you were a kid and after you got a shot the doctor would give you a lollipop for being brave? The lollipops were always red, purple, or yellow, and were cherry, grape, or lemon flavored. I always picked the red lollipop, because red was my favorite color, and cherry tasted the best. Yellow-lemon? The worst! I mean, who wants to eat candy that makes your mouth pucker and your tongue recoil? Yuck.

I was pretty intensely anti-lemon until I started dating Dan, the lemon fiend. He actually enjoyed yellow Starbursts and lemon drop candies; he loved lemon meringue pie; and he could lay waste to a plate of lemon bars. Watching him eat, I was both repulsed and fascinated. After a while I became curious enough to try some of the lemony foods I had previously avoided, and I was shocked to discover that I actually liked them. A lot.

These days lemon curd is my dessert kryptonite. The cafeteria at work sells these amazing, gooey lemon tarts, and I can't let myself look at them. If I look, an intense internal battle immediately ensues:

    Good Tina: "You cannot eat one of those. There is so much fat in there!"
    Bad Tina: "Who cares, just go for a run tonight."
    GT: "If you eat one today, you're going to want one tomorrow. It's a slippery slope."
    BT: "Mo' tarts, mo' happiness."
    GT: "You are on a budget."
    BT: "You're getting paid on Friday. Budgets are for wimps."

More times than not, I'll cave and buy one, telling myself that it'll be fine if I just eat half and save the rest for the next day. But, once I get back to my desk and start eating, I don't stop until the whole thing is gone, and I'm left with nothing but a sticky sweet taste in my mouth, a slight stomach-ache and intense eater's guilt. This is why I have to pretend those things don't exist.

Baking with lemon curd would normally be a no-no as well, but it's my birthday this weekend, and I'm treating myself. Plus, these are miniature tarts with just a spoonful or two of lemon curd each, bad could they be? 

Recipe for the sugar cookie tart crust can be found here, courtesy of the Baking Bites Blog.
** Since I was making mini tarts in a muffin pan, I only baked the crusts for 10 minutes.
Recipe for the lemon curd filling can be found here, courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Strawberry Rum Pound Cake

The problem with strawberries is that (1) my grocery store never has the the really fresh-looking ones, and (2) they go bad so quickly. I bought a big carton of promising-looking berries last weekend, and three days later they were dark in patches, simultaneously shriveled and mushy, and giving off faintly alcoholic fumes. Mmm, over-ripe strawberries.

I've been valiantly trying to eat my way through the entire carton of ripe berries all week, but it's pretty much a losing battle; I think the strawberries are actually multiplying in the fridge. As far as I'm concerned, the only way for me to avoid wasting the rest of the fruit is to chop it up and bake it into something delicious. 

A lot of the food bloggers I follow have been making pound cake lately, so I was kind of thinking I should hop on the bandwagon. The only reason I haven't made one yet is because I know how much delicious butter and fat is in pound cake, and if I make it I'm going to want to eat all of it by myself in one sitting, and then I'm going to suffer intense inner turmoil as my greed inevitably overcomes my good sense and health consciousness. 

But, you never know what will happen before you try, so...I threw caution to the wind and decided to go with a Paula Deen recipe. Two sticks of butter, 5 eggs, 2 cups of sugar, and sour cream. I couldn't bring myself to make her sweet glaze for drizzling, but the cake was incredibly delicious even without it. Sweet and buttery, with a pleasant tang from the pieces of strawberry studded throughout, and so moist. Yum. Let me tell you, I am in big trouble. I can only hope Dan eats the rest of the cake before it seriously derails my diet...

Recipe can be found here, courtesy of Paula Deen.
** Her recipe just uses strawberries -- I threw in a tbsp of rum-flavored extract because I thought the flavor would compliment the strawberry pretty well. In the end the rum flavor wasn't as strong as I would have time I think I'll use actual rum.

One year ago: Pad Thai

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Egg Salad Sandwich

When I was a kid, my grandmother made me eat a hard boiled egg for breakfast every morning. Every. Single. Morning. She'd get up, boil the egg, get me ready for school, and then feed it to me as we walked to the local day care center. The egg was never seasoned in any way -- no salt, no pepper, just a plain ol' boiled egg; slimy and smooth on the outside, dry and powdery on the inside. Needless to say, I was not happy with my breakfast, brain food notwithstanding, and constantly tried to avoid eating it. Some days I'd whine, other days I'd beg, but mainly I would obediently take big bites of the boiled egg, chew, and then spit it out on the side of the road when my grandmother's back was turned. Wasteful? Yes. Ungrateful? Yes. But, I was three years old, so cut me some slack here.

These days, I love eggs in every permutation. I still think boiled egg whites are slimy and off-putting sometimes, but a little seasoning goes a long way. And, if you throw some mayo and mustard into the mix, you get delicious deviled eggs, or even better, egg salad sandwiches! Not so great for the cholesterol, but oh so tasty.

Egg Salad Sandwich

- 4 eggs, boiled
- 2 slices bread of choice
- 1 tbsp mayo
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 dash paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp green onions, chopped
- Salt/pepper to taste

(1) Chop boiled eggs into small pieces.
(2) Throw eggs into a bowl with mayo, mustard, and seasonings. Mix well.
(3) Stir in green onions.
(4) Salt/pepper to taste.
(5) Spoon heaping spoonfuls of egg salad onto a slice of bread. Layer lettuce or spinach on top. Cover with other slice of bread.
(6) Cut in half and eat immediately.

One year ago: Pad Thai

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Aaron's Chicken with Rice and Beans

I know April showers bring May flowers,'s been raining all freaking day. Yuck. On days like these, the only thing I want to do is stay home and be lazy. And, maybe eat something simple and tasty. My friend Aaron's chicken and rice/beans dish is just that: no frills, super tasty. He made it for his housewarming party a few weeks back, and it's been on my mind ever since. I don't even like beans, but I was loving them in his chicken and rice! After some wheedling and cajoling, I finally convinced him to give me the recipe. And, because I am a great person, I am sharing it here with you, with some minor adjustments. Enjoy!

Aaron's Chicken with Rice and Beans

- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 can of tomato sauce (Not pasta sauce. Tomato sauce...from a can.)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup red onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup Adobo spice
- 1 cup red beans, uncooked

(1) Soak beans in water, 1 hour. Set aside.
(2) Throw chicken breasts, garlic cloves, onions, and Adobo spice into a pot. Cover with chicken broth and tomato sauce. Simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
(3) About 30 minutes into simmering, add red beans to the pot. Continue simmering.
(4) While the chicken is cooking, start cooking some rice. (I just use my rice cooker...I don't even begin to know how to cook rice on a pot.)
(5) The chicken is done when you can easily pull the meat apart. The chicken/tomato sauce should have also cooked down into a thick paste. Pull the chicken out of the sauce and shred the meat.
(6) Dump cooked rice into the pot with the saucy chicken, and mix well. Eat while hot.

One year ago: Simple Artisanal Bread

Friday, April 15, 2011

Grilled Cheese with Kale and Caramelized Onions

Happy Emancipation Day, everyone! Hope you're all enjoying your day off as much as I'm enjoying mine! Wait...Emancipation Day isn't a federal holiday? Only DC government employees get the day off? And I'm the only one of my friends who gets to stay home today? Oh man. That sucks, guys. (I love you all, don't kill me!)

Anyway, being at home all day isn't as great you'd think. Dan had to go to work, so it's just me and the cats. The furry little bastards woke me up at 8:30am and wrecked my plans to sleep in, and now that I'm awake and bored, they have mysteriously disappeared. So now I'm tired, bored, and grouchy. Ugh. 

Well, if I can't be well rested, I can at least be well fed. One perk of being at home all day is that I get to cook myself something delicious for lunch instead of buying a cold sandwich or salad at the cafeteria. My lunch decision today is inspired by this website, which my friend Smriti sent me yesterday. Forty unique grilled cheese sandwiches? Drool. And considering that about half the sandwiches featured on the website came from Kevin of Closet Cooking, and I had already previously bookmarked a bunch of his grilled cheese recipes to try...well, it's pretty obvious that I was going to have to make a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.

I haven't eaten a grilled cheese sandwich in years. Probably not since high school. What was I thinking? These things are delicious! Toasted bread and melted cheese are delicious in every instance, but when you throw some onions and kale into the mix (because you're feeling guilty about eating cheese sandwiched between buttered bread)...kaboom. Flavor and texture explosion! 

Grilled Cheese with Kale and Caramelized Onions

- 2 slices of bread (I like whole wheat, but any other kind should work)
- 3 slices Colby Jack cheese (Obviously, you can use whatever cheese you want)
- 3 slices Butterkase cheese
- 1 large fistful of kale
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- As much chopped onion as you feel  like eating

(1) In a large pan, cook onions until caramelized. Then, throw your kale into the pan with the onions and cook until just wilted. Set aside.
(2) Slather each side of both slices of bread with mayo. (Yup, mayo. Weird, but delicious. I got this idea from a article)
(3) Toast both slices of bread on one side until lightly brown. Then, flip each slice over and layer cheese on the freshly toasted side. Colby Jack cheese on one slice, Butterkase on the other. 
(4) Spoon kale/onion mixture on top of the cheese on one slice of bread, then place the other slice, cheese-side down, on top. Press the whole thing down with a spatula, then flip the sandwich over.
(5) Finish toasting the other side of the sandwich, then pull off the pan. Cut in half and eat while hot and gooey.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Dan and I have a friend visiting from Hawaii this week, and he came over for dinner today. Originally, we were supposed to go out to eat but, (1) the weather stinks, (2) we've spent way too much money on restaurants lately, and (3) I stumbled across this recipe in my Gmail recipe archive and I just had to make it. 

Yeah, you read that title right. It's not a typo. There are FORTY cloves of garlic in this chicken dish. Forty! Forty deliciously fragrant cloves of garlic, slow-cooked until they melt in your mouth. Mmm. So. Good. Just don't make any romantic post-dinner plans. 

Kissing jokes aside, this dish is actually not overpoweringly garlicky. The cloves infuse the chicken and cooking broth with lots of flavor, but garlic is really not the main focus of the dish -- it's the chicken and the yummy broth. Seriously, this is a really great recipe. Even though I used a pack of drumsticks instead of butchering a whole chicken into several pieces, the meat turned out to be incredibly juicy and tender. And the broth...oh man. It was packed with flavor. Great for bread dipping. Or, you know, drinking through a straw. As for the garlic...well, who doesn't love roasted garlic? I think I ate about twenty cloves in a row, plain, before I realized that certain male individuals in my life may not appreciate the aftermath. Oops. Pucker up, sweetie!

Recipe can be found here, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dan thinks I'm crazy because, sometimes, I get overwhelmed by an intense desire to bake cookies at 10:30pm on a Sunday. "You didn't feel like cooking dinner just a few hours ago," he says in puzzlement, "So why the hell are you suddenly in the mood to bake cookies? We're going to bed in an hour." He just doesn't understand that  the inspiration to bake strikes at random, and it strikes without mercy. It must be obeyed. 

Tonight, I was inspired by an email from my friend Emily, telling me that she had had a very productive day in the kitchen -- she baked bread and chocolate chip scones. I, on the other hand, had been pretty lazy all day. Dan and I slept in, went out for brunch, and then when dinner rolled around I chose to order Chinese rather than make something myself. It was one of those "there's a ton of stuff in my fridge, but I have no idea what to do with it, and I don't have the brain power to figure it out" kind of days. But, as soon as I saw the words "chocolate chip" in Emily's email, I knew I had to haul my butt into the kitchen and whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Because, (1) I can't remember the last time I made chocolate chip cookies, (2) I felt guilty about being so lazy all day, (3) baking would give me a break from the nerdy RPG that had already consumed all of my time/attention this weekend, and (4) I love chocolate chip cookies.

Is there anything more seductive than the smell of cookies baking in the oven? No, there is not. Someone should bottle that scent and sell it for boatloads of money. Wait, it's already been done? And it's for women? Sign me up! Just kidding, I don't want random people sniffing at or around me. I get plenty of that already  riding the Metro to and from work. Ugh. There are way too many people in DC.


I didn't have my own stand-by chocolate chip cookie recipe, so I borrowed one from The Smitten Kitchen. Her recipe is for crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies, but my cookies turned out to be more chewy than crispy -- I even left them in the oven longer than the recipe said to in an effort to crisp them up a little, but to no avail. Not sure what happened. Fortunately, I prefer my cookies to be soft and gooey, so it was no problem for me. Mmm, chocolate...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kale and Lemon-Pepper Chicken Pizza

(I got a new camera! Can you tell?)

Both the Pioneer Woman and the Crumbly Cookie assured me that their favorite pizza dough is at its best the longer it's kept in the fridge, so I took their advice and let the second half of my dough chill for a few days. I didn't have the patience to wait 3-4 days, but I figured that two days was plenty, so I pulled the dough out of the fridge today for another round of pizzas.

Now that I know what kale is, I'm eager to work it into my vegetable rotation. I bought a big bag of it at BJs the other day, but have been kind of at a loss as to what to do with it. I mean, I ate it bunch when I was younger, but I'm pretty sure my parents just sauteed it and served it with rice. Sauteed kale is delicious, of course, but there's gotta be more you can do with it, right? Toss it onto a pizza with chunks of tangy, savory lemon-pepper chicken, for instance?

Man, when I tell you this pizza was really need to take my word for it. The dough, which had become even more malleable with a few extra days in the fridge, was perfectly tender and chewy, and had a smoother and more uniform consistency/texture than my last batch. The saltiness of the sauteed kale complemented the tangy-peppery-ness of the chicken, and in the absence of sauce, the gooey melted mozzarella was the deliciously fatty glue that held it all together. Nom nom nom!

Kale and Lemon-Pepper Chicken Pizza 

Ingredients: (makes 3 personal pizzas)
- 1/2 of the pizza dough from the Pioneer Woman's recipe
- 3 tsp olive oil + more for greasing baking pans
- 2 cups kale, chopped
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 chicken breast
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Salt/pepper to taste

(1) Preheat oven to 500.
(2) Grease two baking pans with olive oil, making sure entire surface is coated in oil.
(3) In a pan, cook kale on medium-high heat with a dash of salt until leaves are just wilted. Set aside.
(4) Cut chicken breast into strips, and season each side with salt and lots of pepper. Soak chicken strips in the lemon juice for about 10 minutes. Cut into bite size pieces, then set aside and start prepping the pizza dough.
(5) Cut dough into 3 pieces. Take one piece of dough, lightly flour both sides, and then stretch and smooth into the desired shape/thinness. Do this with all three pieces. Please stretched dough into baking pans. (I used a 13x9 cake pan + 9x9 square pan)
(6) Spread 1 tsp on the surface of each pizza.
(7) Divide 1 cup mozzarella between 3 pizzas.
(8) Divide cooked kale and chicken bits between 3 pizzas, spreading them evenly on top of the mozzarella.
(9) Sprinkle remaining cup of mozzarella between 3 pizzas, on top of the chicken/kale mixture.
(10) Bake for 8 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

One year ago: Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza

Mmm, pizza. Pizza pizza pizza. Is there anyone in the world who doesn't love pizza? Show me a person who says they don't like pizza, and I'll show you a liar. I mean, what's not to love about it? Tender (or crispy, or chewy) crust...tangy or creamy sauce...gooey melted cheese...and any yummy topping you could possibly want or think of...Is it any wonder that "Pizza Day" is basically every single kid's favorite day in the lunchroom?

Dan and I are very loyal Domino's customers (Pizza Hut has better wings, though), but I've been dying to make my own pizza for a while now. The Crumbly Cookie blog had a few tasty-looking posts about homemade pizza last year, and they've been sitting in my queue of bookmarked "must try" recipes since. But, with my repeated failed attempts at handling yeast, I had no confidence in my ability to make pizza dough, so I put off doing it, rationalizing that I couldn't make pizza properly anyway since, hey, no pizza stone. Then, this past weekend my stunning success making focaccia gave me a huge boost of confidence, and I figured, hell, let's try pizza!

(Yuck, this pizza did NOT photograph well...tasty though!)

I've been  really into the Pioneer Woman lately, so I actually went with her pizza recipe instead of Crumbly Cookie's, although as far as I could tell, their recipes were substantially similar if not identical. Yeast, flour, and salt mixed together, followed by a slow, cold rise in the fridge over night. My luck with yeast held, and the dough was wonderful. After many hours in the fridge it was more stretchy than sticky, despite not having as much flour as you'd expect, and it was easy to pull and stretch it into the shape and thinness I wanted. Awesome!

For the sauce, I cheated and went with store-bought Ragu. What can I say, I was feeling lazy, I didn't have crushed tomatoes or tomato paste, and Ragu is perfectly good pizza sauce in a pinch! Anyway. After saucing the dough, I loaded it down with shredded mozzarella, colby jack, parmesan, and pepperoni slices. 10 minutes at 500 degrees later, Dan and I were sitting down to a very delicious, cheesy, tender-crusted homemade pepperoni pizza. A very satisfying dinner, with plenty leftover for Dan's lunch. I still have enough dough for another pizza, so...keep your eyes peeled for another pizza post soon,  probably with white sauce and lots of vegetables.

Recipe can be found here, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Homemade Pasta with Mushroom Cream Sauce

I've been on kind of a cook/bake/serve-ware binge lately. In the last 3 weeks I've purchased a set of 12 stemless wine glasses, a matching 90oz pitcher, a crust cutter, a cupcake corer (you know, for all those cupcakes that need stuffing), and a pasta machine. The wine glasses/pitcher haven't arrived yet, the pasta machine spent most of last week acting as a dead weight to smooth out my new rug, and I haven't gotten any use out of either the crust cutter or cupcake corer, since I've vowed to make fewer desserts. Before you start to think that all my purchases were a big waste of money though (they're not, honey), let me just say that I finally broke in the pasta machine last night, and it was great.  

(My friend Amy has long, slim arms that deserve to be photographed.)

So yesterday, Dan and I took some friends to a local vineyard for a wine tasting. We sampled eight delicious wines, then purchased a nice bottle of white (a 2009 Sommet Blanc) to help wash down the obscene amount of cheese we had brought with us.  When we finally made it home, stuffed to the gills, we realized that there were still two large pitchers of sangria to be addressed, as well as a freshly baked loaf of focaccia. The most logical thing to do, of course, was to drink all the sangria, eat all the bread, and make a huge batch of fresh pasta to round out the meal. Enter: Tina's new pasta machine.

As it turns out, pasta dough is just eggs + flour. Did you know that? I didn't. I thought for sure it was going to involve a lot more fancy wheeling and dealing, and possibly lots of butter. The whole process was very straightforward, though, and the only issue we had was getting the dough to the right consistency and remembering to let it to rest before rolling it out. Our first batch, which was under-floured, looked fine but turned out to be kind sticky, and stuck stubbornly to the cogs of the pasta machine. The second batch, which we kneaded with a lot more flour and allowed to rest for a bit before rolling, turned out much better -- the texture was smoother, and the strands came apart cleanly. 

When it came time to cook the pasta, there was a bit of confusion about cooking time. We knew homemade pasta was supposed to cook a lot faster than the dried commercial stuff, but cooked pasta doesn't look a whole lot different than its raw form, so there was a lot of guesswork involved. We ended up just boiling each batch for about 3 minutes, and the noodles came out kind of al dente. Personally, I prefer my pasta to be softer, but everyone else seemed to be fine with the texture and consistency, and I'm told Italians like their pasta al dente, so what do I know?

So, the verdict -- homemade pasta is delicious, but really labor intensive. Far too labor intensive to be a regular feature in my kitchen. I mean, it took me longer to mix/knead/roll/cut/boil one batch of pasta than it did to bake a loaf of focaccia, even taking into account the 60+ minutes of dead time to proof the yeast and allow the bread dough to rise. I'm not made of time, you know. Still, fresh pasta is admittedly very tasty, and I could see myself making it every now and then as a treat. Plus, I gotta get my money's worth out of that damned machine.

For a straightforward pasta recipe, check here, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


OK, can we all take a moment to reflect on the fact that I successfully handled yeast today with 100% success? For the first time in almost a year full of botched bread-making attempts, everything that was supposed to happen, happened. The yeast foamed; the dough came together and then rose beautifully; and the bread baked into a fragrant, golden loaf of awesomeness that filled the kitchen with its delectable, onion-y, garlicky, rosemary-y scent. At the risk of being repetitive...awesome.

For once, I have no back story to explain my motives for making this recipe. I just love focaccia. I mean, I've never met a loaf of bread I didn't like, but focaccia is my absolute favorite. It's so chewy and flavorful, and perfect before or during any meal. It's wonderful when eaten plain, smeared with roasted garlic, dipped in olive oil, or made into a sandwich. And, it can be made with any toppings you like. No bread has ever been so versatile, or so delicious.

For a wonderful recipe, check this one out, courtesy of Tyler Florence and the Food Network.
** Recipe note: The recipe calls for 3.5 to 4 cups flour, but I only used around 2.5. For whatever reason, that was all it took for my dough to come together. I would suggest that as soon as your dough becomes smooth, pliable and non-sticky, stop adding flour, no matter what the recipe says.

One year ago: Hot Cross Buns