Monday, January 24, 2011

Focaccia Caramelized & Blue 1/24/11

Happy New Year! Where is time gone? It is already 2011 and as I stumble out of my hibernation, I need to get back to cooking! I am not sure why I blacked out! Maybe I am part bear. I guess all of the food I have consumed had put me in a food coma and now that 2011 is here I need to get back on the stove. Since we have last crossed paths we have sold the house and now reside in the northern suburbs of Dallas. My youngest son completed his 2nd season playing football for Louisiana Tech and my oldest son skied for the first time ever. The travel business is making a slow crawl up the start your own business mountain and now that I have been reunited with my wife, the dogs and I are getting back to normal. I am currently looking for full time work, so if you know anyone hiring let me know. I will have the travel business and continue to grow it as well. I finally figured out it just takes time. I am going to follow the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson ~ “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” What an inspiration! I think that wraps up my hibernation in a nut shell. Hey big fella, this is supposed to be about food so let's get on topic! During my food coma I cooked several recipes that were outside of my box. I will introduce those to you very soon. I decided to start 2011 experimenting with Focaccia. I guess I need to explain. Focaccia -(foˈkattʃa) is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, which may be topped with herbs or other ingredients. Focaccia is related to pizza, but not considered to be the same. My inspiration came from reading Food & Wine magazine and I ran across a Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Bosc Pear's and Blue Cheese recipe. These are all things that I like so why not make them into one. This should be very interesting. To make the Focaccia recipe you start out with 1 cup of warm water, 1 package of active dry yeast, 1/2 TSP of honey, 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil and a TSP of kosher salt. Sounds simple enough! In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast and honey and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then stir in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of EVOO; let stand for 5 minutes. Then stir in the remaining flour and the kosher salt and knead until smooth. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let stand for an hour or more. This gives me time to take the dogs out. I know I am in need for a walk. This food coma as added a few extra pounds to my waist line. After a nice walk around the lake it is time to start working on the rest of the ingredients for the Caramelized & Blue Focaccia. Take a large onion and slice thin. In a skillet, heat 1 TBS of oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Then add a TBS of brown sugar, cover and cook another 10 minutes or until caramelized. Now that your onions are caramelized take 2 Bosc pears and core them. Then slice them anywhere from 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch thick. I squeezed a little lemon juice on them so they would not turn brown. I must of had a bad lemon as my sliced pear's did turn a little brown while they were waiting to be added to the building process. Go ahead and preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Oil a 9 X 13 inch sheet pan. Then transfer the dough to the sheet pan and press it into all corners of the pan. Then dimple the dough all over with your fingers and drizzle 2 TBS of EVOO on the dough. Let the dough rise until puffed, about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes it is now time to scatter the caramelized onions on the dough. Then arrange the pears over the caramelized onions and sprinkle with 3/4 cup of your favorite Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola. I used Gorgonzola for my version of the recipe. Now we drizzle 2 TBS of EVOO over the Focaccia and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. The aroma is amazing! Once she is done, transfer her to a rack to cool. I am not waiting very long. My red wine is in my hand and I am grabbing me a slice or two. Yum! Yum! I think my culinary nose is now awake! I am pleasantly surprised with how all of these flavors go so well together. Another glass of red wine and one more slice please. Oh my! That was incredible! My mind sure is wandering with these flavors. I can see other creations. I hope you try this recipe. I just wanted to thank Jill Giacomini Bash for providing the recipe and for the inspiration to create my version. I want to apologize for the length of my hibernation. I am on new medication and I promise many more recipes will be coming your way! When you have time send me your favorite recipe and I will make it and then write about my experience with it. When you try this recipe send me a note and let me know how it came out. Find something you enjoy and just do it! Life is way too short! Have fun and smile! You never know what tomorrow will bring! Until next time, Cookin' with John will be playing with some more food ideas to share with you!

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