Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Cooking for Healthy Families

One way I like to use prolific summer CSA veggies is to roast them for sandwiches. Zucchini, summer squash, onions, and eggplant are delicious roasted and layered on bread with fresh basil leaves, tomato slices, feta cheese, hummus, pesto, or mayo---or all of the above, why not? A drizzle of balsamic vinegar is also a tasty--if messy--topper. And this is a great summer supper for busy, health-conscious moms, because a.) it's EASY! and b.) it involves vegetables and olive oil and is therefore extremely heart-healthy. If your kids aren't big veggies eaters, at the very least I'll bet you can get them to dip the bread into the hummus, and that's healthy too.

But of course, you can't use just any bread. You're not going to make a delicious Mediterranean-style roasted veggie sandwich with store-bought wheat (or Wonder Bread, the horror!).

I like to make an easy focaccia. It's simple, it's good and salty and fresh-tasting, with little dimples of oil and herbs, and there's nothing better with roasted summer vegetables.

Here's my recipe. Sure, it's all white flour,'s focaccia. That's how you make it. The veggies can balance out the lack of whole-grains in the bread. Right?

I have no idea if this is really how they make it in Italy, but it's tasty. Try it!

Easy Focaccia

1 tsp. sugar
1 (.25 oz.) package Quick Yeast
1/3 cup very warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
olive oil for brushing on top
dried oregano and/or basil and more salt for sprinkling

In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let stand until foamy and creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine yeast mixture with flour and salt. Stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 T. at a time, until all flour is incorporated and dough pulls together into a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 1 minute.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. (I like to use an oven-proof bowl and place it in my oven turned to the very lowest temperature possible, 175 degrees. Sometimes I turn off the oven after awhile and let the bowl continue to sit in the warm oven for the remainder of the time.)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Deflate your dough (punch it down), then turn it onto floured surface and knead briefly. Place on a greased baking sheet and pat and stretch dough out into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick and approximately 5 x 12 inches (I'm totally estimating here; I don't pay that much attention to size when I make it). Gently indent dough with your fingertips, at regular intervals in rows, to make "dimples." Brush surface of dough with olive oil. Sprinkle with dried herbs and salt.

Bake 10 to 20 minutes (shorter for a moist, fluffy focaccia, longer for a crisper focaccia. I like to bake for about 15 minutes).

Cut into rectangles and spread/fill with desired sandwich ingredients.

Next time I'll give you a delicious homemade hummus recipe for this yummy bread. Check back!


Sam said...

Thanks for this recipe. I will surely try this out in weekends.

Mnmom said...

Focaccia rocks! I've been making my own for years. And my basil has been giving us amazing pesto for two weeks now. I'll have to remember sandwiches.