To celebrate this season of giving and sharing, I’m passing along an old favorite. May your holiday and New Year be filled with health, happiness, good cheer and everything you find meaningful. xo, Alisa
This recipe was inspired by one from olive oil expert Lidia Colavita. You can make a meal around the bread by offering it as an accompaniment to bean soup.
2 cups warm water (105°F; to 115°F;)
2 teaspoons dry yeast
4 1/2 cups (about) all purpose flour
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
24 black or green brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata or Greek),
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
Place 2 cups warm water in large bowl. Sprinkle dry yeast over; stir with fork. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes.Add 4 1/4 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture and stir to blend well (dough will be sticky). Knead dough on floured surface until smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is sticky, about 10 minutes. Form dough into ball. Oil large bowl; add dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough; knead into ball and return to same bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area until doubled, about 45 minutes or less
Coat 15×10-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Punch down dough. Transfer to prepared sheet. Using fingertips, press out dough to 13×10-inch rectangle. Let dough rest 10 minutes. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over dough. Sprinkle olives and chopped rosemary evenly over. Let dough rise uncovered in warm area until puffy, about 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475°F. Press fingertips all over dough, forming indentations. Bake bread until brown and crusty, about 20 minutes. Serve bread warm or at room temperature.
Time got away from me this week. We traveled to the west coast to open our summer house and it’s been nonstop errands. So, no time for a long post but here’s a wonderful recipe to kick off summer: sweet, salty shortbread with an herbal kick.
Optional garnish: small rosemary sprigs if using fresh herbs
Preheat oven to 350°F and generously butter (or spray with Baker’s Joy) a 9-inch cake pan or 9-inch round shortbread mold.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter with honey and sugar until light and fluffy. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and chopped or dried rosemary. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just combined.
On a lightly floured surface knead dough until it just comes together (about 8 times). With floured hands press dough evenly into pan or mold. If using cake pan, score dough into 8 wedges with floured tines of a fork and press edges decoratively with flat sides of the tines. Press small rosemary sprigs on top.
Bake shortbread in middle of oven 20 to 30 minutes or until pale golden, and let stand in pan for 10 minutes.
While shortbread is still warm, loosen edges from pan with a small knife and invert onto your hand covered with a kitchen towel. Invert shortbread onto a cutting board and cut halfway along score marks. (If using a cake pan, let it cool in the pan until easy to cut and remove.)
Cool shortbread on a rack.
YIELD: 8 large wedges.
Note: I prefer smaller pieces and this recipe works well in a square 8×8 pan too. Not as pretty though!
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance” wrote Shakespeare in Hamlet. Unfortunately I don’t remember where I first saw the original recipe and I’ve made a few changes to it along the way.
Being blessed (or cursed, as the case may be) with abundantly-growing rosemary in our hot climate, I’m always looking for a new way to use it. This tangy, crunchy, slightly sweet loaf is super-easy to make. It’s also very versatile. Substitute any of your favorite herbs or nuts, or add raisins, chopped figs or kalamata olives for a different flavor.