Focacta Focaccia

On Tuesday I jumped on a train to Chicago.  There were three very important things awaiting my arrival.  Food, a Brewers-Cubs day game at Wrigley, and my mom.  Of course it was a fantastic mid-week “weekend”; nothing much could have been better.

Well, nothing other than LaTroy Hawkins 8th inning pitching.  He was a solid gold lights out pitcher before Wednesday at noon.  Maybe it was simply post traumatic Wrigley stress.  In 2003 Hawkins pitched for the other side.  The dark side.  The Cubs.  That year, Cubs fans made a habit of booing him after he blew two saves in late September costing the team the wild card.  Poor guy.  Regardless, his eighth inning implosion was the type of pitching that made my Brewer loving gut hurt.  The one thing I don’t like about Wrigley field is the Cubs.

So this brings us to my Friday morning swim.  Perhaps it can be dubbed “fail number two” (LaTroy can take the first one).  Friday morning my swim was riddled with flip turn nausea.  By that time I was back in Michigan and over my baseball sympathy pains.  This nausea was a simple implosion of my own stupidity.  However, this all goes back to Wednesday’s Brewers loss which, in my case, ended with my mom, Chinatown, and me.  A delicious combination.  So delicious in fact, I decided that pork dumplings, crispy eggplant and beef would be fine to take home.  Well, in case you didn’t know, MSG does not preserve food.  Surprise.  It simply suppresses the flavor of rot.  One night and a train ride later, I of course wanted to eat the never-seen-a-refrigerator spoil factory.  Needless to say, upon digestion my intestines were not much pleased, and flip turns were a bit of a struggle.

So, this brings us to my Focaccia, a failure gone right.  Apparently failed focaccia results in a much different outcome than failed MSG judgment and a Brewers loss.  No stomach aches, just flatbread.

Focaccia Gone Flatbread

“Adapted” from James Peterson’s Baking

3 C flour

1 C barely warm water

½ tsp yeast proofed in 1 Tbsp warm water

¾ tsp salt

¼ C plus 3 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium red onions

1 cup dark olives (I used kalamata)

Parmesan cheese for grating

Prepare yourself for delicious failure.  Start the process by mixing 1 cup flour, ½ cup water and the proofed yeast in a bowl.  Add ¼ tsp of salt and mix it in.  Peterson’s Focaccia directions say to let the mixture rest until it triples in volume.  Well if you’re an antsy little bugger like myself, let the mix grow to 1 and ½ its size and move on.  Patience is overrated.

Put the 2 remaining cups of flour, ½ cup water and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl.  Add ¼ cup of olive oil, and your slightly risen blob of dough to the flour/water/salt, and mix it all together.  Let it sit for about 20 minutes.  (Again, I was being an impatient little fartso last night, so lets call it 12).  Knead the dough until it is smooth and you can make a mohawk down its back.  It took me about 10 minutes to get a good smooth consistency.  Let it rise for about 2 hours, or until it doubles in volume.  This is another place impatience prevailed.  I let it rise for 2 hours, however it was not double the volume.  I’m a little shit.

Brush a 13 by 17 inch sheet pan with olive oil and grab your dough.  Depending how sticky the dough is, either roll or press the dough into the shape of the pan.  Let the shaped dough rise for about an hour or until it is at least twice as thick.  Mine rested for an hour, but did not rise to double the thickness.  That is why I ended up eating flat bread.

While you are waiting for your darn flat bread to not rise, slice the onions and sautee them in olive oil until they start to caramelize.  Put them in a bowl and set them aside.  Next, pit your olives.  I have neat little pitter.  It pops the pits right out of the suckers.  If you don’t have a neat little pitter, don’t worry.  A knife is handy too.

Grab your “risen” dough, and distribute the onions evenly over the top, and place your pitted olives over the onions.  We coarsely grated parmesan cheese over the top, drizzled olive oil over everything, and baked the thing at 450 for about 20 minutes.  Really, just bake it till the edges are golden brown, and you will have a delicious little failure for dinner.  Ta-dah.


1 Response to “Focacta Focaccia”

  1. 1 Joe Maassen April 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    This recipe actually sounds like something Wimpy would consider. On the other hand, he would have warned you to stay far away from that chinese stuff even before it was a day old.

    P.S. We’ll see friday if my presence at a Brewers Cubs soiree can produce the win that you and mom let slip away in chicago.

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