I know its been a year. a year of many weekends spent studying, candy for dinner, and a lot of bad take out. then summer came, I threw out my candy collection- yes, I had a collection! and joined a csa to force myself to return to cooking and baking. and it’s made me realize why I am into food in the first place and re-invigorated my love- for pie for breakfast topped with greek yogurt, late night milkshake inventions, and putting loads of lemon zest in everything. I want to share some of the summer gems before I descend back into a busier, less food-love-filled existence.
One of the best things about a csa are the weird things you get that you didn’t know existed. For instance, golden purslane is a succulent herb good for summer salads. and what are poona kheera cucumbers? and in this case, lemon basil, which is basil with a lemony floral dynamic.
I didn’t plan on posting these recipes, so the photos were all snapped with an iPhone in contrast to past photos and the quality will vary accordingly, but I’d rather share recipes that I think will bring happiness to your lives even if they are accompanied by shitty photos. This focaccia is a must make. tonight. with blackberries or blueberries or strawberries, or cherries!! definitely cherries. and a handful of some herby something thats been on your mind.
Blueberry Ricotta Focaccia (Recipe makes 2 focaccias) I made one and froze the other half of dough for another time. I promptly regretted this. you will want extra! for tomorrow..and the next day…and the day after that
(adapted from a mix of places)
For the Focaccia:
2 1/4 cups of bread flour
1 tsp dry active yeast
1 cup luke warm water
1 tsp salt
1 T sugar
2 T olive oil
For the filling:
1 cup of ricotta, liquid removed, see notes below
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup sugar or 3 T honey
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Mix the yeast and water and let sit for 10 minutes
2. stir in the sugar, oil, flour, and salt to the yeast mixture
3. Stir mixture until mixed and let sit for 5 minutes to hydrate
4. grease another bowl and add the dough ball to this bowl, add a bit of flour if needed to handle it more easily
5. Let sit for ten minutes and then flip. Let sit for another ten minutes. Flip again and let sit for ten minutes.
6. Put dough on greased baking sheet and push into 9 inch round
7. Let rise for 1 hour and meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 F and prepare the filling
8. For the filling, mix filling ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk
9. Once the dough has finished rising, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar
10. Push the dough with the back of a spoon to make pockets for the filling
10. Dollop ricotta filling and sprinkle the blueberries, pushing them in where you are worried they might roll off
11. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and crisp on the edges
12. Take out of oven, sprinkle with a handful of herbs and brush with a little olive oil
13. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes
14. Enjoy! by the slice, with coffee, etc.
for the ricotta*
its ok if you just use it right away, but to make the filling a little bit richer, its good to drain the ricotta. Put in a cheese cloth and squeeze the liquid. Or line a strainer with paper towels or a coffee filter and let sit for a few hours or press down to get some liquid out.
apparently its not a good idea to buy plants in a box online in the middle of summer. lesson learned. if you’re craving lemon verbena and can’t find it at the market, try buying seeds instead.