Archive for Recipes: Savory

Sourdough Focaccia

When the going gets tough… the tough head to the kitchen.

Cooking and writing have always been my best therapy. But there’s a bonus to being able to cook and bake, and that’s being able to take care of other people.

Sourdough Focaccia

A few nights ago, I made this tray of Sourdough Focaccia. I love making sourdough bread, but I’m moving beyond it (I’m still making loads of bread) to other kinds of baked goods using sourdough. Like Focaccia. I was so happy with it, it turned out so well.

And I was able to leave some for my neighbour.

And I walked a few blocks and left some on the doorstep of my friend Lori’s apartment, and then backed away and then texted her. We had a 6-foot-distant conversation, and she placed a container of freshly made banana bread on the sidewalk in front of me.

This is love. This is the new love. Checking in, connecting, still feeding each other, even during a global pandemic when we can’t go within 6 feet of each other.

Focaccia Sourdough

Sourdough Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups flour (I used 1 cup WW and 3 cups AP)

To top:

  • olive oil
  • course sea salt
  • rosemary (dried or fresh, whole)
  • cloves of roasted garlic (optional)

Method:

  1. In the workbowl of your mixer, place the sourdough starter, the water, olive oil and salt. Mix well together.
  2. Slowly add in the flour, using the doughhook attachment. (you can do all of this by hand as well, it just takes more time).
  3. Once all the flour is incorporated, continue to knead for another 5 minutes or so, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and drizzle over some olive oil. Cover the whole dough ball with a thin layer of olive oil. Place back into the bowl, cover, and allow to rise. You could also do a slow rise in the fridge over night. I let mine rise about 6 hours. It should be doubled in size.
  5. Drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil and brush it all over. Place the dough on the sheet pan and use your fingers to spread it out.
  6. Set aside for 30 minutes in a warm place, while your oven preheats.
  7. Turn the oven on to 450 degrees and allow it to preheat.
  8. Before putting the Focaccia in the oven, “dimple” it with your fingers, then drizzle over more olive oil and sprinkle with course salt. Sprinkle with rosemary and roasted garlic as well, if you like.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top. Eat while still warm. I like to dip mine in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Risotto Milanese {Vegan option}

Winter has landed in Vancouver. As I type this, snowflakes are falling outside my window, and the city has come to a standstill. It’s a snow day in Vancouver, the schools are all closed (including BCIT), and many businesses will not bother to open today. 

I’m grateful I stocked up on soup and snacks and veg yesterday before all this madness happened, as I will not be going anywhere today on my very bald tires. 

I will be snuggling in bed with the cat and thinking warm thoughts and drinking lots of tea. 

With this cold snap, I’m craving simple comfort foods…Cacio e Pepe, a super simple pasta dish made with simply pepper and cheese, for example, I can’t seem to get enough of. Risotto Milanese Vegan

And risotto in a warm, sunny colour. I make risotto a lot, it’s filling and comforting, and is a basic pantry staple, as there’s never a time when I don’t have arborio, stock, wine, onions, garlic and cheese. 

The twist on this particular risotto is that it’s made with saffron. I went through a bit of a Persian cooking obsession last year when I discovered Bottom of the Pot. Saffron is a staple of Persian cooking, but you may not know it’s also one of the most expensive spices in the world. Saffron

You see, each thread of saffron is the pistil of a crocus, and needs to be harvested carefully by hand. A lot of work goes into making saffron, so its end cost is pricey. Thankfully, I live in a town with a big Persian and middle-eastern population, so finding it at a reasonable price is pretty easy to do. 

I thought I’d make something with my saffron supply, and decided risotto milanese was the way to go. It’s a simple twist on risotto that produces a beautiful, warm, yellow-coloured dish that will warm you up from the inside. 

I topped mine with some mushrooms I fried up in olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Yay dinner! Risotto Milanese

Risotto Milanese 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3/4 cup aborio rice
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 4-6 cups vegetable stock
  • a large pinch of saffron threads 
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional, or vegan parm)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method: 

  1. In a saucepan, heat the vegetable stock to boiling. Once it’s come to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, stir to coat in the oil, and allow to cook until translucent. You may want to reduce the heat a little if you see the edges  of the onions picking up some caramelization. Once the onions are softened, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. 
  3. Add the rice and stir everything together until the rice is coated in the oil and onions and garlic. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add in the pinch of saffron. 
  4. Add a ladle or two of stock to the pan, and allow it to come to a boil. Stir the risotto fairly continuously, adding another ladle of stock as needed. Continue doing this until the rice is cooked and the risotto looks saucy. You’ll need to keep tasting it to check for the doneness of the rice. 
  5. Add the final pat of vegan butter, and the cheese if you’re using it, stir well, and remove from the heat. Test for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Place a lid on and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. 
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