Happy Birthday!

To my blog.

It’s officially one year ago today that I posted my first entry. It started out as a creative outlet in a rather dark time, but has turned into so much more. I have turned into so much more over the past year.

And I want to say thanx. A sincere thank you to everyone who has stopped by (and surprisingly it’s been more than just my Mom!), left encouraging comments, and taken the time to get to know me.

So, to celebrate I made a bright and happy strawberry focaccia (Many of you may be surprised it’s not something chocolatey but have no fear. Chocolate is coming. Dark, dark, chocolate.). Yeast is not my friend, and this upcoming year I am determined to master it. Among various other things. It’s amazing where a year can all take you…

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Focaccia 

courtesy of the fabulous Joy The Baker

  • 2 packages active dry yeast (it really helps to use fresh yeast. Trust me.)
  • 1 C warm water
  • 3 C flour, divided into 1 C portions
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • zest from one orange
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 C thinly sliced strawberries
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling
  • 1/2 C goat cheese
  • good quality balsamic vinegar
  • fresh chopped mint
  • In a large bowl sprinkle your yeast over the warm water. Add in one cup of flour and stir until everything is blended together and smooth. Cover and set in a warm, draft free place for one hour to rise. I often place mine in the oven.
  • While the mixture is rising, zest your orange and combine it with the sugar. With your fingers, rub the zest and the sugar together until it’s bright orange and fragrant. Set aside.
  • After the yeast mixture has risen it’s hour, stir in 3 Tbsp olive oil, the orange and sugar mixture and salt. Add in one cup of flour and stir to combine. About 1/4 C at a time, add in the remaining flour. Your dough should be a little sticky. You might need a little less flour, or maybe a little more. I’ll let you be the judge!
  • Once the dough has come together, kneed by hand, on a floured surface, for five minutes. Your dough should still be a little sticky. That’s a good thing for this recipe.
  • Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and roll it around, making sure the entire surface gets a thin coating of oil. Then cover the bowl, place in a warm, draft free place and let rise another hour or until doubled in volume.
  • Next, punch the dough down and knead for just a minute. Then stretch the dough on a floured surface, using a rolling pin if desired into one large 16″x9″ rectangle. You can either leave it as one large rectangle or cut it into four as pictured above. Place the dough on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover losely and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • While the dough is rising again (it’s worth it!), preheat your oven to 375F.
  • After 30 minutes, use your fingers to make random indentations into the puffy dough. Drizzle with a little olive oil, about 1 tsp total. Top the bread with the sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.
  • Bake the bread 25-35 minutes until lightly golden and baked through.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire wrack. After about 5 minutes top with the goat cheese, fresh mint and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Notes:
  • The sooner you eat this bread, the better! It does not keep well on the counter.
  • Did you know each strawberry has approximately ¬†200 seeds? And it’s the only “fruit” with it’s seeds on the outside. Huh.

 

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5 thoughts on “Happy Birthday!

  1. I was the lucky one to try a piece this afternoon and it is amazing. Ate the whole piece!!! Definitely worth trying. Great blog! love mom

  2. I always look forward to reading your posts! I made the breakfast cookies the other day and I absolutely love them!!
    Thanks for your creative words and amazing recipes;) oh and Happy Birthday!

  3. Pingback: In Season: Juicy Strawberry Recipes | Yummly

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