Thursday, 22 May 2008

GYO, Grow Your Own - Herb Focaccia

I was very excited by the Grow Your Own challenge given by Andrea of Andrea's Recipes. Growing food at my little tiny home with the little tiny yard has been one of the greatest rewards of moving to a house. There was really only so much I could do in a city apartment and I never seemed to be facing the right direction to keep windowsill herbs alive.
This year, like last year, I have gone overboard with my tomatoes and hot peppers (I gave up on sweet peppers as the bugs liked them too much) I am guilty of planting too many, too close, but somehow they produce nicely for me anyway. The only problem is that here in Southern Ontario, I won't see the fruits of my labour until August. Sigh.

Which leaves me with... Herbs! Well, there are greens too but they are a bit small yet. The herbs are lusty and verdant and just waiting to be of use so for this GYO I have baked up a Herb Focaccia to showcase the spring upstarts. Herbs are featured in the dough and as a topping.

Herb Focaccia

1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 package traditional dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil*
1 tsp kosher salt
1 generous cup chopped fresh herbs - I used chives and oregano

In mixer bowl, combine water and yeast with rubber spatula. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with dough hook on medium for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can knead by hand. Dough will be sticky.
Scrape into oiled bowl, turn dough to oil all over and cover with a tea towel and let rise 1 hour.
Meanwhile - Cut 1 purple onion in half and slice each half thinly. Put aside with a generous amount of dry thyme leaves and rosemary.
When the dough has risen, oil a cookie sheet and press out with your fingers to get a dimpled effect. Put on your onion slices, rosemary and thyme. Press these into the dough with your fingertips. Drizzle with olive oil* and sprinkle with coarse salt. Let rise 1/2 hour on the counter.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Bake 20 - 25 minutes, until crispy on the bottom and edges.

*I like to use a garlic infused olive oil. I just take 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 head garlic, peeled, and put them in a small oven proof vessel with a lid at 400 for 1/2 hour. Let cool and discard garlic.
What all did I grow for this recipe? Oregano, thyme (dried from last year's garden) chives and rosemary.
Check out Andrea's site for this month's round-up.