09 May 2009

Like ghosts

For reasons I can't really explain, today has been an exceptionally sleepy one. I went to bed last night at a reasonable hour (no, really), and then took my sweet time dragging myself out of bed. Breakfast of some majorly deformed pancakes and half of a mango. Then to the farmers market! And then we went to Brooklyn Flea, mostly for lunch, but also to see what there was on offer. Jeff also had an extreme craving for a chorizo hurache.

Huraches are kind of like this: Take a very very large tortilla, about 12 inches in diameter, and stuff it with refried beans in a thin layer. (I am NOT sure as to how they accomplish this. It is very impressive.) Then take the very large, bean-stuffed tortilla, shape it like a taco, and add delicious, spicy chorizo, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, and two kinds of hot sauce: red and green. It is about as large as my forearm and much, much more substantial. I would have taken a picture for you, but Jeff ate the entire thing while I was still waiting in line for my own snack.

And then we both took naps. Since then, we've both been drifting around in our apartment, like ghosts--Jeff is groggy from his nap, and I can't seem to shake the feeling that I'm sleeping and yet awake. Luckily, there is the sweet aroma of fresh bread coming from the oven. Focaccia, and without a mixer! Focaccia with caramelized tomatoes and briny olives, baked into a lovely golden mass. I've been meaning to make this for months now, and today, well, I'm glad it actually happened. Maybe soon we will also have sweet basil to go with it, thanks to our lovely plants acquired today. I can't wait for tomato and basil season... so for the time being, we'll just have to do with tomatoes and olive oil and olives. I think I can handle it.

Focaccia Ai Pomodorini, adapted from Saveur

1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups flour, plus a little more for kneading
1 tablespoon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 pound pitted, oil-cured black olives
coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel

1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 cup body-temperature water (as in, when you run the tap over your hand, the water should be neither hot nor cold, just, neutral). Let mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, the remaining sugar, and salt in a large bowl; form a well in center. Pour in yeast mixture, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 cup body-temperature water; mix into a stiff mass. Transfer dough to a floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and transfer to a bowl greased with 3 tablespoons oil; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

2. Rub bottom and sides of a 12-inch cast iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Transfer dough to the pan and gently flatten into the bottom of skillet with fingertips. Cover skillet with a damp kitchen towl; set aside and let rise 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

4. Gently press tomatoes and olives into dough and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 30-35 minutes. transfer to a rack to cool slightly before serving.

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