Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rosemary Bread

70 degrees F in Rome. -15 degrees F in MN. And going down to -25 degrees F this weekend. You bet I'm looking for the Mediterranean.

This is when everyone gets along. Everyone cuddles.

The angels are put away. The tree remains. There have been improvements. Luce doesn't always live in the middle of the tree.

Sometimes he sleeps under it.

(What's that joke? 2 cats are in a bar drinking. One cats says, "So they bring in this tree and hang sparkly, dangly things on it and expect me not to touch it. That's why I drink.") Luce doesn't drink. He goes for the tree!

I missed the blog. Your blogs. I missed the (somewhat studied) nonchalant way of putting words to paper. And connecting - that's what I missed the most. There's a lot of happy "throw-ricotta-and-herbs-and-olive-oil" together and celebrate in blogging. Playwrighting is more of the "tear-your-hair-out-bite-your-nails-my-last-ten-pages-were-crap" sort of thing. And inexplicably, I love it. Later. After it's written and I'm working on it with others.

So before I get to the bread - I was writing about bread I think - one more segue. During rehearsals for a reading of And the Universe Didn't Blink, I discovered how social my cats really are. Pippin slept at the foot of the actors and Luce - well Luce - he was in the midst of it. When a giggle came during a dramatic scene, you knew Luce was stealing the stage. It was even suggested that I write Luce into the script. Because every arctic explorer needs an arctic cat...

When the deep freeze came, my kitchen turned to bread and soups. I love these breads because they're small - personalized. A small boule for each diner. And even if it hurts to be outside, inside it's all about the warmth.

Rosemary Bread - from the Food network
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and serving
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons rosemary (they called for dried - don't like those twigs - used fresh and used more)
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Stir the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer). Let sit until all foamy and frothy - 5 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the flour, 1-1/2 tablespoons of the rosemary, the fine salt and 3/4 cup warm water. Stir with a wooden spoon (or with dough hook if using a mixer) until a dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (dust lightly with flour if necessary) until smooth and elastic - about ten minutes. (Or knead with dough hook on medium-high speed - about 8 minutes).

Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled - about 2 hours.

Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil. Flour a work surface and the turn the dough onto the flour and divide into 4 pieces.  Sprinkle some flour on the pieces, and working with one at a time (duh!) fold the top and bottom portions into the middle. Fold in the side to make a free-form square. Turn dough over (may use a spatula), tuck cover under to form a ball (I just formed a ball). Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing two dough-balls on each baking sheet. Let stand, uncovered, until more than doubled - about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the loaves for 10 minutes, brush with remaining olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary Continue baking until golden brown - about 10 more minutes. Transfer rack to cool. Serve with olive oil sprinkled with pepper. (We slathered butter on it.)

It goes really well with this French vegetable soup I seem to made every week from Manger. Find that here.

I wish you magic and wonder for 2014. Look at the sky and wonder. Wish upon a star. Enjoy the winterscape if you have one - it will give birth to new wonders. (Even on my iceberg.) Happy 2014! May it be a fruitful journey.


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Happy New Year!

I've missed your blogging, Claudia! I hope you made it a 2014 resolution to blog more often ;)

Your cat's antics keep me amused on facebook--they certainly have personality! I think they do deserve a play written about them. Your Rosemary bread looks so good. My Rosemary bush is still going strong in my garage, growing in its pot. I hope it survives the winter!

We had a cold "arctic blast" in early December, but it returned to normal milder Colorado weather the rest of December. I hope your weather improves soon!

Angie's Recipes said...

Happy happy New Year, Claudia!
Luce and Pippin are so adorable. Bread and soup are the best for the cold season.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Happy New Year, Claudia! Has anyone ever told you that you have away with words? You should keep at it. Never can tell, something might come of it :-). Health and happiness in the New Year. Blessings...Mary

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Happy New Year Claudia. I've missed your blogging and the adventures of Luce. I agree with Pat, perhaps a play about your cats might happen sooner or later. Your rosemary rolls look so pretty and perfect with soup or salads. Welcome back.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Oh it's so good to read your writing Claudia. I can see why your plays are so successful. It's a joy to read your words - so please blog more. Luce as a subject is sheer delight, whether as a segue to food posts or maybe a play character. And this bread looks divine. Some of that arctic chill is heading here and I know for sure bread making is on my agenda tomorrow. Buon anno amica.

chow and chatter said...

Happy new year I was excited to see a post from you, awesome bread and hope it doesn't stay too cold

Kitchen Riffs said...

I'm always delighted to see a post by you! I miss them, and your pictures of Luce. Our cat doesn't climb the tree, which I'm somewhat surprised at - although she spends loads of time under it, and batting at ornaments (we always put nonbreakable ones on the bottom third of the tree - from a cat's perspective it must look like a tree full of cat toys). Good post, lovely recipe. Happy New Year!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Beautiful bread. I bet it is very tasty.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014!



Kathy said...

Happy New Year, Claudia! I’ve missed you! I can’t believe your cat actually climbs up into the tree…so funny! I enjoy reading about Luce.
Your bread looks warm and comforting…perfect for the very cold Arctic air that is surrounding us. It was only 3 degrees here this morning…not counting wind chill! Stay warm…I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

Chiara said...

happy new year Claudia,health and happiness !

Roz | La Bella Vita Cucina said...

I wish you blessings and joy in 2014 too Claudia. You deserve some time in the Mediterranean after enduring this "Nordic Vortex" freeze! Holy cow what weather you've been having! We didn't visit Iowa for the holidays this year, but even 22 degrees was cold enough for us! When it's cold, I would eat the entire loaf of this delicious savory bread! I'm sure your home smelled incredible!
Happy 2014!


i was reading past comments in my blog when I saw your comments in one of them. so i quietly clicked your name and gosh, it was a pleasant surprise to see a new post from you.
you should have seen how my face grinned a smile :)glad to see you back... and yes happy happy 2014!

Francesca Parise- In my sweet kitchen said...

Hello my name is Francesca and I'm Italian. I discovered your blog by accident and I immediately liked, because there are so many interesting things. I have joined your followers. If you go too foul. Thank you. Francesca.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

happy new year my friend still making recipes from the cookbook from Italy you sent I cherish it.. many thanks again and wishing your the best as always... xo

Frank said...

Happy New Year, Claudia. And welcome back!