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Antipasto with olive oil bread

August 9, 2009

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At the farmer’s market yesterday I bought some heirloom tomatoes because they were pretty.  That’s right, I thought they looked nice, so I bought them.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I had some ideas by the time I headed home.  I popped into Cheesetique and bought some burrata, which is the best cheese ever.  It is so creamy and flavorful, I could buy a little pouch of it and literally sit there and eat it plain all by myself.  It is that good.

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DSC_0408See all that creamy goodness?  Just looking at this picture seriously makes my mouth water.

Ok, enough waxing obsessive about burrata.  Once I had my tomatoes and cheese, the rest of it came together quite nicely.  I made a loaf of olive oil bread that was so good that it made me stop hating the oven after yesterday’s fiasco.  There are few things that smell better than a loaf of bread baking away in the oven, and I love bread that’s so fresh you can’t even cut it…. yum.

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No, that is not a sigma or a summation sign, but rather a W on its side.  The recipe said something about scoring the top of the loaf, and a W was the first thing that came to mind, as it is the letter with which my last name starts.  I’ll get more creative next time, I promise.

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In the fridge we had some proscuitto and pepperoncini, both of which we bought at the Dekalb Farmers Market in Atlanta before I moved up to VA.  I miss that place so much, it’s sad.  Everything (except canned goods) is so tasty and cheap, and it was the one grocery store that I’ve ever made sure to take visitors to.  It’s awesome.  We also got some spicy salami from the Cheesetique, which fit well into my antipasto-ish plans.

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Combine that with some pesto and spicy olives and you’re set! I would have added some artichokes, but I ate them all last week…

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Again, doesn’t that look good?!  It’s amazing how the simplest of foods sometimes/usually taste the best.  We topped it all off with a refreshing bottle of cherry chardonnay that we picked up at a vineyard in Door County, WI.  It was the perfect summer meal, eaten outside on the porch with the subtle scent of citronella in the background (in a moderately successful attempt to ward of mosquitoes).  The best part is that this meal was next-to-no work!  Aside from making the bread, which you don’t actually spend that much time doing, since it rises and does its own thing, all you have to do is slice stuff, put it on a plate and that’s it.

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Olive Oil bread

(Adapted from How to Cook Everything)

1 c warm water

1 packet yeast

1/3 c good olive oil

3.5 c flour

1 tsp kosher salt (I used salamoia, as seasoned salt I got in Bologna)

Add the yeast to the warm water in a large bowl. After it has proofed for about 5 minutes (meaning it got puffy and dissolved) add in the olive oil and stir with a wooden spoon.   Add in the flour and salt.  Start out with 3 c of flour and add in more as you need it, stirring/kneading it into the dough.  Knead the dough until it isn’t really sticky; put it in a bowl coated with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap.  Put it in a warm, happy place and let it rise until doubled in size.

Punch it down and form it how you want (either a circular loaf, longer loaves, dinner rolls, etc).  Place it on a board/plate covered with flour or cornmeal, and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size again.

Heat the oven to 500F and put the pizza stone in the oven (if you’re going to use one).  To make the crust on your bread nice and thick like you’d find in a deli or bakery, boil some water and just before you put the bread in the oven, pour the boiling water into a big pan on the rack below where you’ll put the bread.  Slide the bread onto the pizza stone, or you could bake it on a cookie sheet.  Let it bake for about 5 minutes at 500F, then lower the temp to about 375F.  Let it bake for 40-60 minutes, or until the internal temp of the bread is 210F.  Remove from oven, let it cool and enjoy!

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