Cooking From the Garden II

I added fresh rosemary, thyme, basil, and minced garlic to my dough.


Continuing the theme of cooking with what I harvested, I made Focaccia Bread for lunch. Fresh herbs, ripe tomatoes, and some shredded summer squash on herby-garlicky dough was delicious!

Fresh, really ripe tomatoes. The ones in the center are called Chocolate Drops, an heirloom plum variety.


Focaccia Bread


  • 5 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 c warm water (105-115 degrees)
Basic Toppings
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • parmesan cheese (grated, not the nasty powdered kind)
This is the most basic version of the dough, to which you can add things to your heart’s delight, and top with whatever floats your boat.
Put the warm water, sugar, and yeast together in a large measuring cup. In the bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, and add any herbs and spices you wan tat this point. Don’t add too much “wet” stuff, like tomatoes or vegetables, save those for the toppings as they will throw off the moisture content of the dough. Mix in the yeast liquid and knead for 4-5 minutes, either by hand or in the kitchen aid.
Cut the dough into thirds and grease cookie sheets with olive oil. Oil your hands, and squish and pat the dough out until it is about a quarter inch thick. drizzle on more olive oil and put toppings on as desired. I used sliced ripe tomatoes, more fresh herbs, shredded summer squash and pamesan cheese because that was what I had on hand. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 mintues, or until the cheese is golden brown. I don’t use the cheese with a heavy hand – they aren’t pizza!  Also, I don’t bother rising the dough for this recipe – this is a get-it-on-the -table recipe.

It looks so pretty it's almost a shame to bake it.


Crispy, savoury, and the tomatoes are incredibly sweet.


Power Outage Minestrone

We’d had a power outage the other day, the result of a particularly violent thunderstorm moving through. I came home from work in the middle of it, and made dinner in the dark. This is the reason I insist on always having a gas stove. I can light it even without the automatic starter. I’d planned to grill chicken, but between rain and lightning, decided soup was the way to go. I had very little potable water in the house, which I changed the next trip to the market with a couple jugs of distilled water, but decided to keep the water out of the soup. Looking around the pantry, I saw the tomato juice Dad had made the previous year and grabbed that. Now, I’d never made Minestrone from scratch, and didn’t have a recipe in any of my cookbooks. So I made it how I thought it tasted.

Power Outage Minestrone

1 qt tomato juice

2 small zucchini

2 carrots

1 onion, chopped fine

2-3 tbsp chopped garlic

little olive oil

handful of fresh thyme, oregano, and rosemary, chopped finely

2 can of beans (I used black-eyed peas and pinto beans because that’s what I had)

can of whole kernel corn

can of beef consomme

fresh ground pepper

I combined the sliced zucchini, carrots, onion, garlic, and herbs in the pan with the olive oil and sauteed them until they smelled really good and the onions were translucent. Then I poured in the tomato juice, consomme, and corn. I drained the beans before adding them. I let the whole thing simmer for about thirty minutes and served with bread (store bought that night, fresh by preference) and parmesan cheese sprinkles on top. Very filling and yummy! The lights came back on just as I was serving it.

Yum! It was hot, savory, and good.

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