Even after sharing some with a stranger on the way home and baking double-decker polenta last night, there was still an impressive pile of fresh rosemary on the counter. Time to make rosemary bread! Adapted a hearty recipe from Good Life Eats that I’ve been meaning to try for ages now… didn’t disappoint. Well, only slightly. I forgot to place a pan of water on the bottom rack, so the bottom burnt onto the pan in a couple spots. Didn’t hurt the flavor any, but did make it a little trickier to slice. Otherwise, marvelously tender, crisp crusted, and delicious. O rosemary, how I love thee.
Perfect with a quick and simple mushroom soup, yet another great recipe from the Daring Gourmet. The original proportions turned out to yield only enough for one full and two half bowls of soup. Thankfully my father and I weren’t feeling very hungry and my mother was away, but the adjusted amounts given below should hopefully make four hearty bowls of soup. I bet some young greens would make a wonderful addition as well.
Rustic Rosemary Bread
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 cup all-purpose flour for dusting
Dissolve yeast in 2 cups water, then whisk in oil. Meanwhile, combine flours, salt, and rosemary in a large bowl. Make a well and incorporate the yeast mixture. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a firm, elastic dough. It will still be a bit tacky. Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, flipping to coat both sides, and leave to double, 1-2 hours.
Scoop risen dough onto lightly floured surface, deflate it, and divide in half. Form two log or round hearth loaves and leave to rest 5 minutes. Flatten out each loaf slightly, dust heavily with flour, and place each on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Cover and allow to rise until doubled again, about 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, place a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 500ºF. Slash the top of the loaves (3-4 diagonal cuts along log or a cross at the center of round loaf), brush with water, place in oven, and immediately lower temperature to 450ºF. After 20 minutes, lower temperature to 350ºF and bake for 20-30 minutes longer, until golden brown and bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
20-25 mushrooms, sliced (button or cremini)
2 tablespoons butter (or oil)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk of your choice
4-5 cups water or stock
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
A few handfuls of chopped fresh dill (2-3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon tamari (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
A few spoonfuls plain yogurt (optional)
In a large frypan, sauté onion in oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute more, then add mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so, until they turn brown and juicy. Meanwhile, melt butter at the bottom of a medium pot, then whisk in flour and cook over medium heat until golden and fragrant, whisking frequently. Whisk in milk until smooth, let begin to thicken, then add water or stock and seasonings (reserve a few dill leaves for garnish). Bring to a boil, then let simmer gently, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in a few spoonfuls of yogurt if desired, or add a few dollops to each bowl as a garnish (will tend to drop to the bottom) along with a sprig of fresh dill. Yum!