Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

I love a good bread.

And I especially love that bread when it has been made for me by someone else.

You want to know what I don’t love?

(I’m not going to mention any names)

When I get to a dinner party and discover that everything on that table was prepared by the hands of your local grocer; petite quiches, jalapeno poppers (at a dinner party?) and other finger foods from Sam’s… a cake from Sam’s bakery… and, the one thing that infuriates me the most… sliced bread… also bought at Sam’s.

Are you kidding me?

You just invited me to a dinner party that was catered by your local Sam’s. Why on Earth didn’t you just tell us to meet you at the cafe over at Sam’s instead?

Come on, at least make the bread!

Please allow me to show you how easy it is to make a really good bread that you can wow your guests with. It tastes oh so yummy good, it takes one hour flat to make it, and your guests will love it just because it sounds foreign. 🙂

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

You will need:

  • 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 package (.25 oz.) instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup of water, divided
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 475.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast, and garlic salt; stir well to combine.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup of water, mix, then stir in the rest of the water slowly, until all of the flour is absorbed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.
  • Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. I always put it on top of my warm stove and the rise is done within 20 minutes.
  • Grab the dough and knead it again, briefly, on a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 1/4 inch thick, and place it on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Dimple the bread with your index finger.

  • Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano and rosemary.
  • Bake the bread for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness.
  • With a sharp knife, slice the focaccia into wedges and serve it with garlic sauce, or cut it into squares and make little bite-sized sandwiches.

(recipe soon… it’s a darn good samwich!)

That’s it! How hard was that?

Please, if you’re going to have friends over for dinner, bake something, anything! The bread is probably the easiest thing you can attempt to make.

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Pistachio Vanilla Wafer Pudding – Slainte!

 

Dear early 20’s,

I MISS YOU!!!

When I think of St. Pat’s I think of my college days, not too far behind, but behind enough to make me feel a bit of nostalgia. Ahhh – I really miss those days of bar hopping! We would spend the entire week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day just hopping from one bar to the next. I behaved, I promise… 😉

Now, since we’re no longer in college, and because we must act like responsible adults in front of our children, I am not going to present to you the best St. Pat’s drink I ever had… no, I am not going to do that… Ana is celebrating with us.

Instead,  I made a St. Patty’s green pudding that people of all ages can enjoy! Yippee! (sigh) 😉

Pistachio Vanilla Wafer Pudding

  • Thanks to J.E.L.L.O., I used Pistachio flavored Instant Pudding.

You will need:

  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 oz.) Pistachio flavored Instant Pudding
  • 1/2 tub (6oz.) whipped topping, thawed
  • 8 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
  • shavings of dark chocolate for garnish
  • chopped pistachios for garnish

Directions:

  • Pour milk into large bowl.
  • Add pudding mix and beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes.
  • Let stand 5 minutes.
  • Gently stir in whipped topping; combine.
  • Put half of the crushed cookies on the bottom of a medium-sized serving bowl, or two large glasses, then pour in the pudding mixture.
  • Garnish with the rest of the crushed cookies, chopped pistachios and shavings of dark chocolate.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

37 Comments

Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

I have a pretty cool Dad. He is the one person that will give support whenever it is needed. Moral support, that is. I always admit to him that it is because of his support that I have often succeeded in most things that I attempted to do. All I need is his “OK”, and I’m almost at the finish line holding a trophy.

But, my Dad is also a very funny guy. He tries. Last night he called me and asked to talk to Ana, who is 20 months old. During their conversation (I wish I had taped her trying to tell him that we had cake), he asked her if mommy had prepared dinner.

She responded with, “kay! kay! kay!”. “Do you mean, cake?”. “Your Mama made cake?”. “DA!”. (Macedonian for YES!).

My dad was at the front door in 20 minutes? My mom right behind him. Anything for cake!

My mom though, the not-so-supportive one, as always, found a problem with the cake before she even tasted it. Before she even saw it!

“Tell me is this egg-free or something?!”. “Yes mom, it is…it’s Lent.”.  “Oh yeah… then it’s taste-free right?”.  “Woman, give it a chance!’.

So she did. Verdict? She loved it. That means a lot coming from someone like her: She is 110 pounds, and always has been, and will not put anything in her mouth that is labeled fat-free, dairy-free, etc… She’s just naturally thin. Lucky her!


If you love coffee, and if you love a cake to accompany that coffee, give this a try. It’s a very sweet and moist cake, with a delicious combination of orange and raisin flavors.

P.S. I made this after the sun went down so I wasn’t able to take pictures while I was making it. I apologize.

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

You will need:

  • 4 cups Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Orange, zested
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup walnuts, ground
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Light Brown Sugar for the top

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 375.
  • In a large, deep mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, raisins, walnuts, poppy seeds, and zest.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the orange juice and the baking soda, then add it to the flour mixture; mix well.
  • Mix in the apple juice and vanilla extract.
  • Dust the bottom of 9×13 cake pan with flour, then pour in the batter.
  • Sprinkle the top with a handful of light brown sugar.
  • Put it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let it cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
  • Serve with a cup of Joe.

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Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.

Honey Ginger Cookies

I needed to make  a quick trip to the grocery store last night, and as I was rushing through the aisles I literally ran into an old acquaintance and knocked down the cereal box that she was holding.

After the, “I’m so sorrrryyy! OH HI!! How are you!?”, we got into a catch-up chat and at one point during the conversation I asked her if she was following Lent.

Verbatim: “Are you following Lent?” Her response, “No!? What channel is that on?!?”

Before I allowed myself to LOL, I listened to my question in my head and it still sounded correct. I proceeded – with a chuckle – to rephrase my question and then we LOL-ed together. 🙂

Lesson learned: I’m not Grammar Girl. (I still don’t know if I worded that question correctly, and “LOL” has become a part of my every day lingo…)

…And speaking of Lent… here’s a batch of cookies that I make every year during Lent; they are mildly sweet, incredibly soft, and extremely tasty.

Honey Ginger Cookies

You will need:

  • 2 cups of AP flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of Sprite

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and ginger; mix and set aside.

  • In a separate mixing bowl combine the honey, vegetable oil, and sprite.

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until you get a shiny cookie dough.
  • Put the dough in the fridge for about half hour.

  • Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick with a rolling pin.
  • Get a round cookie cutter to cut out your cookies and place the cookies onto a silpat mat or ungreased baking sheets.

  • Bake in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Let stand on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
  • Serve with a cup of coffee or tea.

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Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.

My Guest Post at More Than A Mount Full: Dublin Coddle & Soda Bread

Dublin Coddle

I am so thrilled to announce that today I have a guest post over at my friend Chef Dennis’ place, More Than A Mount Full!

If you have never visited his blog, prepare yourself for a great read and oh-so-yummy-good treats. It’s the one place where you either need your recipe book and a pen in front of you, or the printer next to you because you do not want to miss any of his delicious bites.

Please hop on over and join us for a lovely Irish meal that I prepared in honor of St. Patrick’s Day! I know – there’s not an ounce of Irish in me, but isn’t everyone Irish on St. Patrick’s Day? 🙂

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