Appetizers – parsley sage sweet http://www.parsleysagesweet.com cooking.baking.talking.picture taking Sat, 14 Apr 2018 16:41:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Homemade Goat Cheese, Cheeseballs, and Cheese filled Turkish Pide http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/09/30/cheeseballs-and-cheese-filled-turkish-flatbread-for-cheesepalooza-plus-part-17/ http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/09/30/cheeseballs-and-cheese-filled-turkish-flatbread-for-cheesepalooza-plus-part-17/#comments Sun, 30 Sep 2012 11:04:50 +0000 http://parsleysagesweet.com/?p=18904 So, today I’m making cheese; goat cheese; chevre to be exact.  Valerie from A Canadian Foodie has challenged a bunch of us to start making cheese from scratch with her Cheesepalooza challenge.  I was extremely excited when she announced this … Continue reading

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So, today I’m making cheese; goat cheese; chevre to be exact.  Valerie from A Canadian Foodie has challenged a bunch of us to start making cheese from scratch with her Cheesepalooza challenge.  I was extremely excited when she announced this challenge, because I’ve always wanted to dabble a little in artisan cheese making.

So, it’s a ‘palooza’, but not a lala.

Can you dig?

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!
The Red Hot Chili Peppers will not be performing at this palooza, but they will be making an appearance in my cheese!


I’ve made cheese from scratch before; Ricotta and Macarpone.  I’ve also made Paneer, but I didn’t blog it, so I do have some cheese-making experience under my too tight belt. However, all three were made with cow’s milk.

This time I’m working with goat’s milk and as mentioned above, making chevre.  I love, love, love chevre, but the first recipe provided, from the book Artisan Cheese Making At Home by Mary Karlin , contains something called  C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter.  Although I’m 99.9% sure it’s perfectly fine and won’t result in a tree growing out of my ear 20 years down the road, I just didn’t like the sound of it.

C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter.

Mesophilic disease comes to mind.

Can’t they call it something like..Me So Making Yummy Cheese from Scratch Stuff?

Making goat cheese from scratch. Homemade Chevre Cheese!

I emailed Valerie about this, and she linked me to a recipe for chevre on her blog that uses buttermilk in lieu of the bacteria/organism laden Mesophilic Disease, umm..Mesophilic stuff.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

I prefer to keep my food as natural and chemical-free as possible, even in my artery-clogging desserts, SO, as long as I know exactly what’s going into the food I’m making, and it doesn’t have numbers attached to it..it’s all good.

Now, don’t get me wrong; this is just how I cook and bake. Believe me, I eat my fair share of foods that contain ingredients with numbers attached to them. Golden Oreo, anyone? Yep, I take care of other people, but occasionally shove Golden Oreos down my gullet at warp speed, not to mention Rice Krispie Treats, Cool Ranch Doritos, Pringles..well, you get the gist.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

Look, I love ALL cheese, so I’m sure my body is saturated with C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter, but since I have a choice in this chevre matter..I’m choosing not to use it.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

Now, rennet is a different story because I read the Little House on the Prairie series and in Little House in the Big Woods, Ma used rennet to make cheese, and they used the rennet directly from the animal’s stomach lining back then…

Ma added the previous night’s skimmed milk to the cooled milk from the morning milking and put it on the stove to heat.  A bit of rennet inside a cloth is soaked in warm water.  Once the milk is warm, she squeezes all of the water out of the rennet in the cloth. She adds the rennet water to the milk and stirs it well.  The milk mixture is left in a warm place by the stove until it thickens to a quivering mass.  

The mass was cut with a long knife into cubes.  The cubes were allowed to sit until the curb separated from the whey.  The curds and whey were placed in a cloth and allowed to drain.  When all of the whey was drained, the curds were placed in a pan and salted.  The curds were then placed in the cheese hoop to be pressed.

Once all the whey had been pressed out, Ma trimmed the cheese, put a tight cloth around it, and buttered it.  Each day, she wiped the cheese with a wet cloth and rubbed it with butter until the cheese was ripe and had a hard rind on it. – Laura Ingalls Wilder

And that’s how you make cheese to this day, albeit with a lot more convenience, electricity, modern appliances, and better clothes.

Turkish Pide (flatbread) filled with fresh, homemade chevre cheese!

So I made the cheese using goat’s milk, buttermilk (which actually contains the Mesophilic stuff, a little fact alerted to me by a reader, but I just felt better using buttermilk; it’s a mind issue) and a rennet tablet crushed with some water.  It turned out fantastic.  I wanted to blow this whole post off and eat it all with a spoon.

But I didn’t. Thankfully.

Homemade Turkish Pide stuffed with fresh, homemade chevre cheese!

It was so fresh that it had some subtle sweet tones to it, along with a slightly sharp and salty edge, and the mouth feel was extremely creamy, as it should be.  I think everyone should make their own chevre because it’s too damn easy not to.  The rennet and buttermilk gel the goat’s milk after sitting for 12 hours, or until it’s similar to the texture of yogurt.  Which brings me to this:

Have you ever made yogurt cheese?

Turkish Pide (flatbread) stuffed with fresh, homemade chevre cheese!
Well, essentially, once the goat’s milk has formed into a jelly like mass, you do the same thing you’d do when making yogurt cheese; wrap up the milk jelly (I cut mine into pieces) in cheesecloth, tie it up tight, and let the whey drain over a strainer into a bowl, overnight.

Spicy, Garlic, Herb Goat Cheese (chevre) Turkish Flatbread (Pide)

Upon baking, I realized I didn’t pinch the ends together correctly.  They should look like THIS.

The next morning I had creamy, dreamy chevre!  I got about 16 ounces of cheese, so, after eating a few spoonfuls (uhh..4 ounces), I added crushed red-hot chili pepper flakes, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest to the rest of it, rolling them into cheeseballs (I love cheeseballs as one word because it tickles the kid in me) and packing them into ball jars with a light olive oil and more herbs.  I used the other half of my spicy chevre as a filling for a Turkish bread called Pide.  Pide – Pizza – Pita..you know, flatbread in any language.

The only difference between pide and the others is that you fold the dough on each side partially over the filling in the middle so you kind of have an oval slipper with some of the filling showing, which you can see in my bad photos.

Spicy, Garlic, Herb Goat Cheese (chevre) Turkish Flatbread (Pide)I cut the pide to resemble pizza slices.  I kind of wish I cut it the way it’s supposed to cut; like THIS.  Much prettier. But, I love how the chevre caramelized; it gave it a whole new and amazing flavor, one that I want to experiment with.  Who knows, caramelized cheese could be a new ‘thing’?!?

In fact, the photo of the pide straight from the oven kind of looks like a female body part, doesn’t it? Sometimes my photos are just gross, but hey, one day I will have natural light, and when I do, they’ll look less like discolored female body parts.  I hope.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

In conclusion, be adventurous and make cheese! Then make cheeseballs! Then make pide..or just grab a huge spoon and eat cheese; cheese that YOU made from scratch; fresh, creamy cheese straight from YOUR kitchen! It beats paying mucho dinero for a half pound of it, you know?

Marinated Fresh Garlic-Herb Cheese Balls

If you have a moment, head on over to Valerie’s blog to see the chevre round-up, HERE. You’ll be amazed and inspired and hopefully it will inspire you enough make some yourself and/or take part in some of the Cheesepalooza challenges!

How to Make Chevre Cheese

Homemade Chevre Cheese Recipe HERE
without C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter!

Soft Cheeseballs and Cheese filled Turkish Pide (Filled, Folded, Flatbread)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 cheese filled flatbreads (pide) or two to four 8 oz jars soft cheeseballs, depending on how big or small you roll them.
 
If you're making the homemade chevre, naturally the prep and cook time listed will increase according to chevre directions linked above.
Turkish pide dough adapted from finedininglovers.com
ingredients:
Spicy Garlic Herb Chevre (or Feta *) - For cheeseballs and/or pide filling.
  • 12 ounces fresh chevre. Cut chevre with cream cheese if you like, 6 oz each, or use all cream cheese, if you prefer
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, then mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small lemon, zested
  • 2 tablespoon red hot pepper chili flakes (you can add more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs of your choice. I used parsley, chives and basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • Extra herbs for olive oil marinade for cheeseballs, Pack 'em in for even more flavor!
Flatbread (pide) Dough
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup lukewarm water
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil,, such as vegetable
  • 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 3¼ to ½ cups All-Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
directions:
  1. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients thoroughly. Set aside, covered at room temperature to let the flavors blend while you make the dough. If you just want to make the soft cheeseballs in olive oil, refrigerate the cheese mixture until firm, covered, about 1 hour, then roll into balls, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter and pack into jars with olive oil. Stuff more herbs of your choice and add extra chili flakes into the oil around the cheeseballs or cubes of feta *. and seal or cover tightly if using a bowl. Tap sealed jars on the counter to remove any air bubbles. I used 8 ounce ball jars. The cheese balls in olive oil will keep for a month in the refrigerator.
For the Turkish Pide (flatbread) Dough
  1. Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in ¼ cup lukewarm water until foamy, then mix with the flour, salt, oil , yogurt, and remaining ½ cup water. Knead to a smooth dough, adding more flour or water, if needed. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour or until doubled.
  2. Gently punch down dough by folding it over itself. On a floured board, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F - Remove the top rack. You will be using the rack on the middle shelf.
Assemble and Bake the Turkish Pide
  1. While working with one piece of dough, keep other covered. Roll the piece nto an oval..about 14 inches by 10 inches. Place dough on a parchment lines baking sheet. Alternatively, you can use a pizza peel and baking stone, which will give you a slightly crisper bread, but either way is fine. Spread half the goat cheese mixture (6 ounces) down the center, leaving about 2 to 3 inches on each side. Fold each side of the dough toward the middle, sealing and tapering the ends so you have a slipper looking flatbread with some of the filling showing down the center (see photos above).
  2. Bake flatbread about 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown (I drizzled a little olive oil over the top before baking which made it brown a little more than it should have). Quickly remove bread from baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Repeat all the above with second ball of dough and remaining 6 ounces of cheese.
notes:
*You can use my olive oil marinade to make marinated feta cheese cubes, too! If using cubes of feta, infuse the olive oil with herbs and chili flakes (meaning add all to the olive oil prior to adding the feta cubes), then add the feta cubes and marinate in jars or a tightly wrapped bowl.

I’m submitting this Turkish Pide with Goat Cheese to this month’s  #TwelveLoaves theme – cheese, hosted by Lora of Cake Duchessand to Yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast.

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Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/07/09/pulled-honey-sesame-chicken-sliders-with-rainbow-slaw-and-part-14b/ http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/07/09/pulled-honey-sesame-chicken-sliders-with-rainbow-slaw-and-part-14b/#comments Mon, 09 Jul 2012 16:00:45 +0000 http://parsleysagesweet.com/?p=17437 Today we’re going to transform a popular Chinese take-out dish, Honey Sesame Chicken, into a pulled meat slider. I know it sounds weird, but bear with me. We’re all familiar with loads of twists on pulled pork, pulled beef, pulled … Continue reading

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Today we’re going to transform a popular Chinese take-out dish, Honey Sesame Chicken, into a pulled meat slider. I know it sounds weird, but bear with me.

We’re all familiar with loads of twists on pulled pork, pulled beef, pulled chicken, pulled any meat that can be shredded into juicy strands after being simmered in a sauce for a few hours, then slopped on a bun which soaks up some of that sauce. I’ve seen riffs on Asian pulled pork and chicken, but I’ve never seen a take on it using my favorite Chinese take-out dish, sesame chicken, until I scrolled through my blog assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw
Does any carnivore NOT love General Tso’s or it’s milder counterpart, Sesame Chicken? Well, the blog I was assigned, Eat Little, Eat Big, authored and photographed by Susie, who just so happens to live on the beautiful island of Maui (lucky!), came up with this brilliant idea. She simmered chicken breasts in a similar sauce used for sesame chicken, in a crockpot for a few hours, and voila, Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken!

Initially, I was going to make her Crunchy Oven Baked Fish Sticks, but then  decided that there was no way I was turning on the oven in this oppressive heat. We’re talking 98 – 100 degrees the past week, so I loved that this dish was slowly simmered in a crockpot..or slow cooker, whichever you prefer to call it.  Potatoes, puhtahtoes.

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

Of course I couldn’t leave well enough alone. First, I toasted the sesame seeds, then I omitted the ketchup and used tomato paste instead. I used chili paste (Sambal Oelek) in lieu of chili flakes, added rice wine vinegar for a bit of acid, and a little chicken stock for more sauce.

I also changed the cooking time since I was starting with semi-frozen chicken breasts, plus, to get that really shredded texture, more time was needed, semi-frozen or not. To thicken the sauce after simmering, I made a slurry of cornstarch and chicken broth instead of using cornstarch alone.  I grated some fresh ginger into the sauce simply because I couldn’t fathom sesame chicken without ginger.

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

Before I even finished reading the recipe, I had already decided to pile this pulled sesame chicken on buns. At the bottom of Susie’s recipe, she suggested doing just that, so I piled this chicken on buns, but not just any buns. Back in Dec, ’11, I baked some plain buns using an extra batch of dough I made from the Daring Bakers Char Siu Bao recipe  and froze them. Soft and velvety instabuns for the large sandwiches! For the sliders, I used store-bought slider sized potato buns.

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

I love Asian bun dough because, as mentioned above, it’s soft and velvety and it makes a great vessel for burgers or sandwiches, but use any kind of bun you like, even a doughnut if that suits your fancy. Doughnut sandwiches seem to be all the rage, but I’m not really recommending it so proceed with caution and an adventurous palate! Sprouted buns are also nice and work well because they’re sturdy, leaving lots of leeway for sauce soakage without falling apart. I highly recommend those along with the two aforementioned buns, but not doughnuts.

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

Finally, you know how much I’ve waxed on and on about my love of natural rainbow colors incorporated into dishes? What better than an array of colorful vegetables to pile on these buns with the pulled honey sesame chicken? We’ve got shredded red cabbage (the purple), a mix of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, and blanched snow peas, all tossed together with a light Asian inspired vinaigrette.

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

This is my summer of Eat the Rainbow.  Well, I’m trying to Eat the Rainbow.  More to come soon, I hope.  You see, I always say I’m going to make something, and then I never come through.  I’m definitely not cut out for blogging, am I? OK, I will rephrase that.  I will do my very best to regale you all with loads of rainbow inspired dishes this summer.

Maybe I should just stop saying it and try to actually do it.

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

In conclusion, these honey sesame chicken sliders are pretty darn amazing and perfect for any party, so I do recommend you proceed without caution! If you’re Gluten-free, eat it out of the slow cooker, like I did at one point, or over or in something else gluten-free!

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw

Crockpot Pulled Honey Sesame Chicken Sliders with Bell Pepper Slaw
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: about 8 to 10 loaded sliders
 
Inspired by Susie of Eat Little, Eat Big[
ingredients:
Honey Sesame Chicken
  • 4 semi-frozen chicken breasts, cut in half , OR, about 1 to 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs *
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup chicken stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (more if you like a lot of heat)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth or stock
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds, the amount depending on your preference
  • burger buns or slider buns
Pepper Slaw **
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin or shredded
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin or shredded
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin or shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • About ¼ a small head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 very small red onion or half a large red onion, sliced very thin or shredded
  • ¼ lb snow peas, blanched, each snow pea sliced in half vertically and horizontally. No worries about peas falling out - it just makes it better.
Dressing for Slaw
  • 5 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced with kosher salt until it's a paste, LIKE THIS
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1¾ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • freshly ground black or white pepper and kosher salt (to taste)
directions:
For the Chicken
  1. Season frozen chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and place in the crockpot.
  2. Mix all the sauce ingredients together except for the sesame oil, sesame seeds, cornstarch and 2 extra tablespoons of chicken stock. Pour over seasoned, frozen chicken in the crockpot.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, until the chicken starts to fall apart. Remove chicken from sauce and shred with two forks. Set aside in a bowl.
  4. Pour sauce into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir together the cornstarch and chicken stock until smooth, then pour into the simmering sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened, whisking constantly - it should only take a few minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Pour over shredded chicken and mix well. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
For the Asian Slaw
  1. Combine all the shredded or sliced vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. In a clean jar with a lid, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and shake like crazy until uniform. Pour over shredded vegetables and toss to combine.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the flavors blend in the fridge for a few hours. You can use it immediately, but it's much better after marinating for a few hours. SO, make this salad while the chicken is cooking.
Assemble Sliders
  1. Cut buns in half - toast if you like. Place a heaping spoonful of rainbow slaw on the bottom bun. Top that with a heaping spoonful of the pulled chicken. Pour some extra sauce over chicken and top with other half bun. Enjoy with plenty of napkins!
notes:
* Starting with semi-frozen chicken seems to help it shred better once cooked. Also, if your chicken breasts are kind of big, I would suggest doubling the sauce ingredients poured over the breasts in the crockpot. The cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of chicken stock for the thickening slurry remains the same, but add 2 tablespoons sesame oil instead of 1 when the sauce is thickened and done.
** If you want a really shredded slaw, use the shredding disk or very thin slicing disk in your food processor for all the veggies (stack the snowpeas to shred). I used a knife that needed to be sharpened so I couldn't slice the veggies as thin as I would have liked. It's much easier to pile a more shredded slaw on the sliders or sandwiches, and much easier to eat!

Click on the blue frog below to see what my fellow SRC Group A participants chose from their assigned blogs.

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Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar, and ‘Eggs in Wells’ aka Breakfast Focaccia http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/05/31/bacon-cheddar-and-eggs-in-wells-focaccia-for-breakingbread-and-part-12/ http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/05/31/bacon-cheddar-and-eggs-in-wells-focaccia-for-breakingbread-and-part-12/#comments Thu, 31 May 2012 21:53:30 +0000 http://parsleysagesweet.com/?p=16290 Before I get to this Breakfast Focaccia, there’s a new bread challenge in town.  It’s called the Bread Baking Society (Twitter handle @Breaking_Bread – hashtag #BreakingBread), founded by Lora from Cake Duchess and Shulie from  Food Wanderings.  This month the bread they asked … Continue reading

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Before I get to this Breakfast Focaccia, there’s a new bread challenge in town.  It’s called the Bread Baking Society (Twitter handle @Breaking_Bread – hashtag #BreakingBread), founded by Lora from Cake Duchess and Shulie from  Food Wanderings.  This month the bread they asked everyone to bake is focaccia, and of course I wanted to take part.

Thankfully I got this focaccia in on the last day, last-minute of the month.  Once again, there was humidity, but not as bad as last week.  But, no braiding or shaping of focaccia..just dimpling (awww), so humidity foiled.  Ha!

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!
Of course, there was free creative reign, so the variety of focaccias linked up, sweet and savory, is pretty amazing, from sweet potato to southern charm.

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!

I made a Breakfast Foccacia, although a friend called it a Focaccia McMuffin.  He called it that because it’s composed of bacon, eggs and cheddar encased in dough (the Mcmuffin part).  What makes this focaccia kind of cool is, the eggs are in wells within the focaccia! I scrunched up 6 large pieces of tin foil into 3-inch balls, coated each one generously with olive oil, then stuck them into the cheese and bacon filled focaccia dough before rising.  When fully risen, I pressed them down again, and baked the focaccia for about 20 minutes, then removed the tin foil balls; giving me perfect wells to crack 6 eggs into.  I put the focaccia back into the oven for 8 to 10 more minutes, and voila, six  perfectly cooked eggs in six bacon-cheese focaccia squares (when cut), per person!

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!

Of course I had to make it pretty, so before baking the focaccia, I topped it with some roasted red peppers, arugula, more bacon, plus a few drizzles of olive oil.  When perfectly done, the eggs were seasoned with flaky sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and chopped chives.

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!

Finally, I used Nick Malgieri’s focaccia dough in this recipe, but due to the damn humidity, I had to add an extra cup of flour because the dough continued to suck up flour while basking in the free sauna the weather provided.  I also took down the salt because of the bacon since bacon can be salty.  I’m sure Nick wouldn’t mind since he’s a pretty awesome pastry chef and guy, and he left a comment on THIS post back in 2010, thanks to Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie, alerting him to the post.

Cool, huh?

I was pretty stoked since I’m such a fan girl when it comes to my favorite chefs.  As you can see, I wrote a novel in response to his comment, and it kind of makes me cringe. But, I won’t delete it because it was a genuine moment, and genuine moments can be embarrassing at times.

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!

So, uh, make this breakfast focaccia if you can.  Yes, it’s unusual, and yes, many Italians would probably gasp in horror at the sight of it, but it’s really fun and delicious (this is all filler text since there used to be a story here.)

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!

More filler.  Not much to say. *twiddling thumbs*

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia!

Breakfast Focaccia

Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and 'Eggs in Wells' aka Breakfast Focaccia
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6 servings
 
Basic focaccia recipe adapted from How to Bake, by Nick Malgieri, with my revisions
Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
ingredients:
  • 1⅓ cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2½ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour ( I ended up using 1 more cup due to humidity)
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, chopped
Topping
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus 6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese for the egg wells (1 tablespoon per well)
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced or chopped (or add your favorite vegetable(s) *
  • arugula leaves (optional, or use your favorite greens)*
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • chopped chives
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
directions:
  1. In a small bowl,water sprinkle the yeast over the water. Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir.
  2. In large bowl, combine the flour and 1½ teaspoons of salt; whisk together or mix together on low speed in your mixer.
  3. Stir the yeast, water and olive oil into the flour and salt until you have a dry dough. Slowly add the 1⅓ cup of water while mixing, until you have a soft, but slightly raggedy dough. You may or may not use all the water.
  4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  5. When dough has doubled, fold it onto itself, then flatten it on a floured board. Scatter the cheddar cheese cubes and chopped bacon all over the flattened dough and fold it over a few times, adding flour as needed. Use a bench scraper because you will run into stickiness. Keep folding and kneading until the bacon and cheese is disseminated throughout the dough evenly. If bacon and/or cheese pops out during kneading, just shove it back in. Let rest, covered for 5 to 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
  6. While the dough is resting, oil a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan, then cut a piece of parchment to fit. The oil will keep the parchment paper down. Flatten the ball of dough onto the parchment lined pan and spread it as best you can until it almost reaches all four corners. If it resists, let it rest a few minutes, then start pushing and spreading again. Tuck in any cheese or bacon that pops out.
  7. Make 6 tin foil balls..about 3 to 4-inches each, and coat each one with olive or any oil, generously (I used spray olive oil) Press each tin foil ball into dough, two in each row, equally apart.
  8. Cover pan with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1½ hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Once risen, press the foil balls down again (they rise with the dough), then dimple focaccia and drizzle with olive oil. Top with the roasted red pepper strips or chopped roasted red pepper, and arugula, if using.
  10. Bake at 425 F for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven..keeping oven at 425 F, and pull out foil balls. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese in each well. Crack each egg, one at a time, into a ramekin or small bowl, then slowly and carefully pour each egg into a well until all six are filled. Sprinkle the chopped bacon topping all over the foccacia, but not over the eggs.
  11. Place pan back in the oven and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, like a sunny-side-up egg.
  12. Remove pan from oven and immediately sprinkle the focaccia all over with the 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (2 cups is even better!), as the residual heat will melt it, then salt and pepper each egg, and sprinkle with chopped chives, if desired. Serve immediately, cutting the focaccia into 6 squares, each containing an egg. Gently reheat leftovers (if there are any!), so not to overcook the egg.
notes:
* If you don't want to add greens or veggies of any sort, top with extra bacon and cheese. Herbs would be nice too.

I’m submitting this breakfast focaccia to Yeastspotting, hosted by the talented Susan of Wild Yeast.

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