Rosemary Olive Oil Bread and a Winner

January 8th, 2013

I have been appalled lately by the price of a loaf of bread.  Bread is one the big three of the things people run out for when a blizzard is forecast;  bread, milk and toilet paper.  It is so basic to our needs (unless we are on a carb free diet) that it seems criminal to charge so much.  Granted you can still find loaves of spongy white bread at a good price, but if you prefer a more wholesome bread you can pay up to $5.00 a loaf.  One of my favorite breads, and one that I don’t mind paying a premium for, is La Brea’s Rosemary Olive Oil Bread.

The La Brea Bakery opened in Los Angeles in 1989.  Chef Nancy Silverton developed her bread starter in 1988 and when she opened La Brea the following year the starter was well established.  Chef Silverton was one of the pioneers of the artisan bread movement in the United States.  Now La Brea Bread is sold all over the United States and internationally.  I buy it at Harris Teeter stores when I am in North Carolina.  But we are in Florida for the winter.  After lamenting the price of breads available in the supermarkets here, I decided to try my hand at making my own rosemary olive oil bread.

I found a very easy recipe on the internet and adapted it to suit my taste.  I have plenty of rosemary on my 6 foot bush next to the house and had picked up a fruity olive oil when I was at Trader Joe’s.  Making bread is a simple and rewarding process.  It takes very little hands on time and even that time is relaxing with the gentle kneading of the dough.  What is even better is that the bread tastes so good; almost as good as La Brea.  I have already made my second loaf.  I have a feeling bread making will be on my agenda all winter.  I’m also saving money, which is a good thing after the holiday frenzy.

Now to the winner of the What Katie Ate Cookbook.  Thanks to everyone for the nice comments.  I used the random number generator website to pick a winner.  I couldn’t figure out how to display the winning number here, so you will just to have to take my word for it.  The winning number was 33.  My comments appear from the bottom (number 1), up.  Number 33 is Lea Ann.  Congratulations Lea Ann.  You are going to love this book.  Please email me with your address.


1 cup very warm water
1 packet of rapid rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon Italian herbs
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
1 egg, beaten
Additional rosemary, either fresh or dry for sprinkling to top of dough

1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes to proof.

2. Meanwhile steep the chopped rosemary in the olive oil.  Add the salt, rosemary olive oil mixture, and other seasonings to the bowl.  Add one cup of the flour and stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Add the second cup of flour and mix to combine.  It will be sticky.  Dump the dough onto a heavily flour board and knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth.  I added about 1/2 cup more flour in increments.

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about1 hour.

4. Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on a cornmeal dusted pan, cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Makes 1 round loaf.

Printable recipe




Garlic and Rosemary Baguettes

August 18th, 2015

Garlic Rosemary Baguette 1

I can live without chocolate, but I can’t live without bread.  It is one of the great joys of a meal as far as I’m concerned.  Now, because of changes in our food choices, I am trying to experiment with different types of flour in my bread baking.  These garlic and rosemary baguettes are excellent.  King Arthur has a white whole wheat flour that I wanted to try.  It is milled from hard white Spring wheat – a lighter colored grain than traditional red wheat which yields milder-tasting baked goods.  Because this bread recipe also has an abundance of garlic and rosemary in it, the lighter but healthy white whole wheat flour is a bonus.

Garlic Rosemary Baguette 2v

But what I was most excited about, and inspired me to make this bread, was the free printable French bread wrappers that I found on Heather Bullard/ Lifestyle blog.  She is a contributing editor to Country Living Magazine and found the script sheets while traveling in France.  A big thank you to her for making them available.  They make a pretty presentation if you bake  loaves to give to friends and family.

Garlic Rosemary Baguette 3

The original bread recipe came from a blog called Good Life Eats.  I changed the flours, but kept the garlic and rosemary.  This is a very garlic heavy bread, so if you are not a great fan, you can reduce the number of cloves.  It makes a convincing looking baguette but tastes more like a conventional homemade bread.Garlic Rosemary Baguette 4

The rustic loaves make great sandwiches and are a great accompaniment to spaghetti.

2 cups warm tap water, about 110 degrees
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
2 3/4 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh rosemary, chopped
4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup flour for dusting the loaves
Cornmeal for the pans
2 small cookie sheets or a large (at least 11×17-inch) jelly roll pan

In the bowl of a food mixer, mix the water with the yeast.  Allow to ferment for about 10 minutes.  Once the yeast is bubbly add the olive oil, 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour, the white whole wheat flour, garlic, rosemary and salt.  With a dough hook gently mix until all of the ingredients are combined.  Mix on medium for about 5 minutes to knead the ingredients together.  If dough is too moist add a little more of the all-purpose flour.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently.  Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.  Leave to rise for 2 hours.

To shape loaves, scrape risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and press it to deflate it. Divide dough in half and shape one piece at a time. Press dough into a square, then roll it up tightly. Rotate cylinder of dough 90 degrees and roll up again from short end. Arrange dough seam side down, cover with plastic or a towel and let it rest of 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.

Dust pan with cornmeal. Roll each piece of dough under palms of your hands to elongate it. Work from middle of loaf outward, pointing the ends slightly. Place loaves seam side down on cookie sheets and dust each loaf heavily with flour, using about 1/4 cup in all. Cover with plastic or a towel and allow to rise until doubled.

About 30 minutes before you intend to bake the loaves, preheat oven to 500 degrees F and set racks at the middle and lowest levels. Set a pan on the lowest rack to absorb some of the excess bottom heat and keep the bottom of the loaves from burning.

Holding a razor blade or the point of a very sharp knife at a 30-degree angle to the top of each loaf, make 3 to 4 diagonal slashes in each loaf. Immediately place loaves in oven and lower temperature to 450 degrees F. After loaves have baked for 20 minutes and are completely risen, lower temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking about 20 to 30 minutes longer, until bread reaches an internal temperature of about 210-220 degrees F. Remove loaves from oven and cool on a rack.

Printable Recipe

Ribollita – Tuscan Vegetable and Bread Soup

October 24th, 2014

Ribollita 1

Ribollita is a classic Tuscan peasant soup.  It utilizes stale bread and inexpensive winter vegetables.  Translated ribollita means “reboiled”.   Many times left-over minestrone was used as its base.  I admire the frugality of this soup because it also offers a wealth of nutrient rich vegetables.  Leafy kale (cavalo nero in Tuscany), savoy cabbage, carrots, potatoes, celery,cannellini beans and tomatoes are all part of the ingredients.  The stale bread stretches it to feed many.  I was inspired to make this soup because I had a left-over chunk of the wonderful Parmesan bread that I made in my last post.  It was perfect for this soup; a little dense and full of Parmesan flavor.

Ribollita 2

I reviewed several recipes for ribollita.  Some included pancetta or bacon, some added garlic and rosemary, but I went with a classic recipe from Gabriele Corcos, who with his wife Debi Mazar, has the cooking show Extra Virgin on the Cooking Channel. Gabriele is a native of Tuscany.  For me, this hearty soup had a depth of flavor that emanated from the vegetables.  The tomatoes were kept to a minimum and water was used instead of broth to flavor the soup.  So the overall flavor was mild with a rich earthy vegetable taste.  This is most likely the way it was made originally.  My husband decided he needed some meat, so added sauteed sausages to his soup.

Ribollita 3

This soup is very forgiving of any ingredients that you may want to add, and I have decided that I will be hoarding stale bread just for the purpose of making it.  Warm, filling, delicious and good for you.  You couldn’t ask for more.

David Cooking

Today is David’s birthday.  Happy birthday to my partner, soul mate and best friend.  As you can see we have a lot in common.  But I don’t mind sharing kitchen space with him.

RIBOLLITA (Adapted from Extra Virgin by Gabriele Corsos and Debi Mazer)

8 ounces dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover (Or 1-15 ounce can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans)*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1/2 white onion, roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch Tuscan kale or regular kale, leaves, removed and roughly chopped
1/2 head savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 pound stale country style bread (I used 1/3 of a loaf of Parmesan bread), cut into cubes

Rinse and drain the soaked beans.  Bring a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot full of water to a boil.  Add the beans, making sure they’re covered by a few inches of water, and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook for at least 1 hour, salting the water after 40 minutes, until tender.  Drain the beans and set aside.

In an 8-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.  Add the carrots, onion, and celery and saute’ for 8 to 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent but not golden.  Add the potatoes, kale and cabbage and saute’ for about 5 minutes, until the cabbage is wilted.

Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon and the drained beans.  Add enough water to cover the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until it thickens considerably.

Add the bread and continue cooking for another 30 minutes , until the crust of the bread begins falling apart.*  If using canned beans add them when you add the bread.

Serve in bowls with an extra drizzle of olive oil.  Serves 6.

Printable recipe

Rosemary Focaccia

March 1st, 2012

I use rosemary in so many dishes.  I stuff it in whole chicken with lemons.  I sprinkle it on pork roasts and I flavor focaccia bread with it.  Rosemary is a woody perennial indigenous to the Mediterranean region.  It’s Latin origin means sea dew and it thrives in dry soils with just the sea breezes to moisten it’s needle like leaves.  When we first bought our Florida house, I planted a small rosemary sprig.  This is what it looks like five years later.

Not only do I love the way it adds flavor to so many dishes, but it supposedly has health benefits also.  It contains the antioxidants carsonic acid and rosmarinic acid which aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.  That makes me want to just chew on it’s leaves out of hand.  : >)

This is a very easy focaccia bread to make.  The rosemary is both sprinkled on the top of the bread before baking and added to the dough after an initial steep in boiling water.  The bread is good with soup or it can be split to make a tasty sandwich.

I am willing to do my part in reducing the risk of losing my mind.  The phrase “Rosemary for Remembrance” is  more than folklore.


1 1/4 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 package dry yeast
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon water
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon seal salt or kosher salt

Combine boiling water, 1 teaspoon rosemary, and honey in a large bowl; cool to 100 to 110 degrees.  Sprinkle yeast over honey mixture; let stand 5 minutes.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Add 3 1/4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 teaspoon salt to honey mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic ( about 10 minutes ); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.  Punch dought down.  Pat dough into a 14 x 12-inch rectangle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Uncover dough.  Make indentations in top of dough using handle of a wooden spoon or your fingertips.  Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon water, and egg yolk; bush over dough.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with 8 teaspoons rosemary and sea salt.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Printable recipe

Julia Child’s Deviled Chicken with Mustard and Breadcrumb Coating

April 22nd, 2011

This is not the first time I have had this chicken, but it is the first time I have made it myself.  This used to be my husband’s speciality.  I received Julia Child’s The Way to Cook Cookbook for Christmas in 1989.  I consulted it often and made many great dishes from it.  By 1989 Julia Child had perfected her cooking style and meant this book to be a textbook on techniques and the last word on the way food should be prepared.

David latched onto this recipe, I think, because it requires you to spatchcock a chicken.  He took great delight in bandying the word about and flattening chickens by removing the backbone and throwing them on the grill.  What is it with you men?  We women prefer to butterfly our chickens; same process and easier on the ears.  Use scissors or a very sharp knife to cut out the backbone of the chicken.  Then turn skin side up and press very hard on the breast to break the breast bone.  Tuck the wing bones behind the chicken, make slits in the skin near the tips of the breast and insert each leg in the opening created.

CHICKEN IN BONDAGE.  It’s not pretty but it cooks faster this way.

I’m not sure what prompted me to return to this succulent chicken dish.  Maybe it was because I had a beautiful organic chicken that was calling for special treatment, calling to be slathered in mustard and feathered with breadcrumbs.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad I returned to this classic preparation.

The chicken is first broiled and basted.  Some of the juices are mixed with the Dijon mustard along with tarragon and shallots.

The chicken is then coated with the mustard mixture and breadcrumbs are pressed into it.  I used crumbs from a rosemary olive oil bread.  The chicken is returned to the oven, now set at 400 degrees F.  and baked until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through.

Savoring this bird was worth every effort of the preparation.


To butterfly a chicken:
First remove the backbone by cutting down close to it on each side with a heavy knife or sturdy shears.  Spread the chicken skin side up on your work surface and bang the breast with your fist to break the collarbones and some of the ribs; this flattens the chicken.Fold the wings akimbo by tucking the wing ends behind the shoulders.  Then maka a slit in the skin at either side of the breast tip.  Push the knee of the drumstick firmly up under the armpit to loosen the joint; then pull it down and insert the tip of the drumstick through the skin slit.  The leg will be held in place.

For 4 servings:
A 3 to 4 pound chicken, butterflied as described above
2 tbs melted butter mixed with 1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of thyme, tarragon, or mixed herbs, optional

The mustard and herb coating:
Cooking juices from the chicken
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs finely minced shallots
1/4 tsp tarragon
2 drops of hot pepper sauce
1 cup crumbs from fresh homemade type white bread

Preheat the broiler.  Brush the chicken all over with some of the butter and oil.  Arrange it skin side down in the baking dish, and set it so the surface of the flesh is about 5 inches from the hot broiler element.  After 5 minutes, brush the flesh, which should just be starting to brown, with the butter and oil.  Baste again in 5 minutes – use the juices in the pan when the butter mixture is gone.  Broil another 5 minutes, then sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and optional herbs.  Turn the chicken skin side up.  Broil and baste for 10 minutes more.

Drain the fat and juices out of the broiling pan into a small bowl; skim off and discard all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat from the top of the juices.  Blend the prepared mustard in another bowl with the minced shallot, herbs, and hot pepper sauce.  Beat up the remaining juices; blend half of them into the mustard.  Spread the mustard over the top (skin side) of the chicken, then pat on a coating of crumbs.  Baste with the remaining juices.

Ahead of time note:  May be prepared somewhat ahead to this point; set aside at room temperature.

Final cooking and serving:  Roast in the upper third level of a 400 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes or until crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through.

Printable Recipe 

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.