Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Prosciutto Fig Pizza with Arugula

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Sweet and salty marry well in this prosciutto di Parma fig pizza topped with peppery arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese.  The fig preserves are a tad sweet, but sprinkling some kosher salt over the preserves before topping with the mozzarella cheese tames some of the sweet. If you can't find the fig preserves, fresh sliced figs can be substituted. The pizza dough is easy to make and can be kept in the refrigerator for several days before using. In fact, I find the dough is more manageable and tastes much better than pizza dough used right away. 
 Proscuitto and Fig Mise En Place
Fresh Figs

Pizza is the theme for our We Knead to Bake Facebook group.  Aparna, our admin, broke her wrist and was unable to choose a bread for us to bake, so suggested pizza, sweet or savory as the bread for September. My pizza is a bit of both! Happy healing to Aparna and looking forward to October's bread. 

The pizza dough is my own creation, but the prosciutto di Parma fig arugula and shaved Parmesan topping is an adaptation from Ree Drummond's-The Pioneer Kitchen.

Pizza Dough

  • 1 envelope instant or rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a medium bowl, add warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the water , stir and let stand 5 minutes or until softened. 
  2. Stir in olive oil, flour and salt. Stir until dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Alternatively, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several days before using. Makes one large pizza or 4 pizzettes.
Proscuitto Fig Arugula Topping
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fig spread
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 12 ounces fresh Mozzarella, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced Proscuitto di Parma
  • 1 bunch arugula, rinsed and spun dry in a salad spinner
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
To Make the Pizza
  1. Preheat oven to 500° F. Remove pizza dough from bowl. Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a round. Transfer to a large parchment lined baking sheet. Brush each piece with olive oil. Divide fig spread among the 4 rounds. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  2. Lay slices of mozzarella cheese over each round. Sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 12-15 minutes in a hot oven or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling.
  3. Remove from the oven and immediately lay the prosciutto slices over the hot pizza.  Just before serving, sprinkle on the arugula and shaved Parmesan. Serve immediately.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Black and White Wednesday #143-the Gallery

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Today's gallery has a happy mix of not only delicious soups, vegetables and pasta,but some lovely shiny tankards, teapots, coffee pots, wooden spoons and mugs. Thanks to all who contributed to BWW #143. Hope you all will contribute to the next edition of BWW. Simona of Briciole will be hosting BWW #144.

Curried Lentil Soup
Chef Mireille

Spicy Potato Stew with Cumin and Green Chiles
Sudha-Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous

Nodi Knots-Handmade Pasta

Wooden Spoons from Dehellerin's
Lynne-Cafe Lynnylu

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wooden Utensils From Dehellerin's in Paris-BWW #143

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An image of woolens spoons bought at Dehellerin's in Paris is my contribution to Cinzia's weekly black and white Wednesday gallery of which I am hosting.  Wooden utensils was shot with an iPhone 5 using Camera+. The images were then brought back into Photoshop CS6 and a levels and curves adjust made. Back to the phone using the Photo Transfer app and made into a collage with the Diptic app. Lastly, a filter was added with the app Jazz.

I look forward to your contributions to BWW #143

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Beachside Diner-Black and White Wednesday #141

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Seat Yourself, Honey

Shot on the fly while herding two very tired children back to the condo after spending nearly all day at the beach and then out at night to the amusement park nearby. I can't remember the name of the diner, but the mannequin hostess caught my eye. Image captured with iPhone in color and converted to black and white via Silver Efex Pro on my computer.

This image is my contribution to the 141st edition of Black and White Wednesday hosted by its talented creator, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook. For rules and the host line-up, please visit Cinzia of CindyStar Blog who now expertly manages BWW.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fougasse Stuffed With Roasted Red Pepper

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Fougasse Stuffed with Roasted Red Pepper

Shiny bits of glistening roasted red pepper peek through the slits of this very festive fougasse (pronounced foo-gahz), a  rustic peasant flatbread with a moist and chewy crumb. The red peppers are easily blackened using a gas or charcoal grill giving the peppers a rich and smoky flavor perfuming the entire fougasse.

Only slightly adapted from the original recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the dough is a pre-mixed high moisture dough, a technique developed by authors Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois which helps home cooks re-create the once time consuming great European breads. This peasant bread dough makes four loaves of bread. I used one-fourth for the roasted red pepper fougasse and refrigerated the remainder for later use.

This is my contribution to We Knead to Bake #14 whose challenge this month was a stuffed savory bread. Thanks to Aparna for creating this Facebook baking group.

Roasted Red Pepper Fougasse

  • 1 pound (grapefruit size) of pre-mixed European Peasant Bread (recipe below this one)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, or equivalent jarred roasted red pepper, drained and patted dry
  • Coarse salt, for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Olive oil for brushing the loaf
  • Whole wheat flour for covering the pizza peel
  1. Cut the bell peppers in quarters and flatten for easier blackening. Place a grill basket on the rack of a gas grill. Preheat on high for ten minutes. When ready, using tongs, oil the grate with a folded paper towel pad dipped in olive oil, taking care not to lose the paper towel in the grates.
  2. Place the flattened peppers in the basket and grill until skin is blackened, 8-10 minutes. Remove the peppers from the grill and place in an empty bowl. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes for the skins to loosen from the steam. 
  3. Peel the peppers, discarding the blackened skins. Some of the dark skins may stick to the pepper's flesh which is okay. Cut into strips and set aside.
  4. Twenty minutes before baking the fougasse, preheat the oven to 450°F with a baking stone placed in the  middle of the oven. Place an empty broiler tray on the lower shelf.
  5. Dust the grapefruit size piece of dough with flour and shape into a ball. With a rolling pin, shape into a large flat round about 1/8 thick. Add more flour as needed since you will need to cut slits in the dough that do not close up. Place the dough on a whole wheat covered pizza peel.
  6. Cut angled slits in the dough only on one half of the round.  You may need to still add more flour so the slits stay open. Carefully, spread the holes open with your fingers.
  7. Place the roasted red pepper strips in a single layer on the unslit side of the dough round. Sprinkle with the coarse salt and dried thyme. Dampen the dough edge, fold the slitted side carefully to cover the peppers and pinch to seal. Brush the loaf with olive oil.
  8. Slide the fougasse directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water in the pan beneath and quickly close the door. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then slice or break into pieces to serve.
Blackened Red Peppers

Dough Preparation with Placement of Roasted Red Peppers

European Peasant Bread
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Mixing and storing the dough-Mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5-quart bowl or lidded, but not airtight, container.
  2. Mix the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, a spoon, food processor or a heavy duty stand mixer. If using a spoon, you may need to wet your hands to incorporate the last bits of flour. 
  3. Cover and let rest at least 2 hours until the dough rises and collapses.
  4. The dough can be used immediately after initial rise, but easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded container (not airtight) and use over the next 14 days. For the fougasse recipe above, remove a grapefruit size portion of the dough and proceed with recipe.

Artisan Bread in Five
Feta Stuffed Flatbread
Potato Stuffed Flatbread

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Gibassier-A French Anise and Orange Flavored Loaf

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While vacationing in Aix-en-Provence a few years ago, I was too busy enjoying one of the best brioches of my entire life to notice if the patisserie there sold these buttery rich French breakfast breads studded with candied orange peel and flavored with orange blossom water and aniseed. The gibassier. Often called fougasse-prounced "foogass"-, a flatbread that is usually slashed to form shapes, the Gibassier appears to have originated in Lourmarin, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southeastern France.

Not a difficult bread, the Gibassier needs a little more time as it involves using a starter or biga made at least 14-16 hours ahead of making the dough. This adds flavor and complexity and helps to preserve the keeping qualities of the bread. I was lucky to find the orange blossom water, but not so with the candied orange peel, the commercial variety which I do not like, so I used chopped dried apricots as suggested by Aparna, admin of We Knead to Bake, this being the 19th edition. On Aparna's blog, My Diverse Kitchen, you can see step-by-step photos of how to shape the Gibassier. Below is a watercolor version of the Gibassier-a little serendipity!

Gibbasier: A French Anise and Orange Flavored Loaf
Adapted from Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads authored by Ciril Hitz

Ingredients For Starter (Biga)
  • 1-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup milk, or more to make a slightly stiff, but smooth dough
  • 1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
For the Dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup orange blossom water, if not available, either leave it out or use 1/2 teaspoon orange extract. Another substitute might be warm orange juice instead of the 1/8 cup warm water 
  • 1/8 cup warm water (or orange juice
  • 3-1/4 cups bread flour
  • Biga (from above)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel, or same amount chopped dried apricots soaked in warm orange-drain
  • 1-2 teaspoons orange zest
For Glazing and Dusting the Gibassier
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup clarified butter (ghee), you can make your own ghee by placing unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Let it boil until it turns golden. Strain out the solids. Store in a glass jar.
  • Vanilla sugar or caster sugar
  1. 14-16 hours ahead, make the biga by mixing the flour, milk and yeast together until smooth. If too stiff, add a little more milk to achieve the smooth dough. Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and let stand at room temperature for about 14-16 hours. At the end of the time, the dough will have risen some and have a fermented look.
  2. Next day, make the dough with a food processor or a heavy duty stand mixer. I used the food processor so will go with those directions.
  3. Put the eggs, olive oil and orange blossom water in the processor bowl and mix well. Then add the warm water and mix again. Caution your water is not too hot or the eggs will curdle.
  4. Tear the biga up into chunks, add it along with the bred flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Knead with the processor until the dough is smooth. Add the slightly softened butter in increments of three, mixing well after each addition. The dough should be soft and supple.
  5. Add the candied orange peel or apricots, aniseed and the zest. Knead until incorporated into the dough.  Shape in a round and place in a well-oiled bowl, turning to coat well. Cover loosely and allow the dough to double in volume, about 2 hours.
  6. When dough, turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Divide into 12 equal rounds and let rise for about 20 minutes. To shape, flatten each round into an oval or semi-circle. Make three cuts in the semi-circle, one in the center and two on either side of the middle cut. Make sure the cuts open up into neat slits. Then using scissors, make 4 snips along the arched side of the dough, equidistant apart.
  7. Transfer the Gibassier to a parchment-lined baking sheet making sure to stretch it a little so the cuts open up well and the slits spread apart. Let the dough rise for about 30-45 minutes until puffy.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes until they turn golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and brush the hot Gibassier with the clarified butter. Immediately after, press the brushed side down lightly into the caster sugar. Let cool. Serve slightly warm or a room temperature. Makes 12 large Gibassier.
This post has been submitted to YeastSpotting.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Black and White Wednesday #139-The Gallery

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Welcome to the gallery for Black and White Wednesday #139, a lovely collection of monochromatic culinary images from a very talented group of photographers and food bloggers. Enjoy! Next week, Aparna-Stories of the Mahe Coast will be hosting #140 whereupon Black and White Wednesday will go on summer break and resume on September 3, 2014. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this edition. I'm always thrilled to see your photos!

Barro Negra-Shri V
An Idyllic Restaurant Terrace-Rosa
Hot Momos-Aparna
Cesto D'aglio/Basket of Garlic-Simona

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Gadget by The Blog Doctor.