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Why a PINK chef's coat?

Simply put, I carry my Dad's legacy with me through my cookbook, cooking and everyday I am writing my food columns, he is always with me. I carry my Mom with me through a silent reminder of her struggle with breast cancer that took her life, as well as the lives of many other women who have dealt with, and are still dealing with, this horrible affliction. Besides, why not pink? It makes a man look good!

Rustic Italian Focaccia

Many people have asked me what the difference between focaccia and pizza dough. The answer is simply not a whole heck of a lot. Besides the toppings a pizza has and the manner of preparation. Other than that, by all means you can even top this bread off with whatever toppings you like. Just think of it as a thick crust pizza pie. Shape the dough in whatever manner you desire as well. Focaccia can be rectangular, circular or whatever trips your trigger.

Use your imagination when it comes to herbs. Sprinkle your favorite spices on top of the olive oil and top with some thin slices of cheese for a great side with a salad. Better yet, slice it in half horizontally and stuff with your favorite sandwich meats and cheeses.

Ingredients

For 4 people

Recipe

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoon(s) honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cup(s) flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoon(s) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) table salt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon(s) dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried, crushed thyme
  • cornmeal or flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) sea or coarse salt

Rustic Italian Focaccia Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix the yeast, honey and a cup warm water. Set aside while preparing rest of recipe for the yeast to dissolve. In a large bowl, combine flour, melted butter and table salt. With either a dough hook, mixer, stout spoon or your hands, add the yeast mixture into flour until incorporated.
  2. Dust a work surface and empty bowl of dough. Knead for 3-4 minutes, flouring you hands or adding a touch more to the dough as needed, until dough feels elastic.
  3. Place in a bowl that has been lightly greased and cover with damp towel to rise until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch down, divide in half and flatten each ball into a rectangle with your hands on a floured work surface. The rectangles should be about 11 x 5-inches. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal or extra flour and place each rectangle on top, leaving an inch or so between each rectangle.
  5. In a small bowl, combine rosemary, chives, thyme and olive oil. Brush this flavored oil on top of each focaccia loaf, pressing the herbs into the loaf with a spoon or your fingers. Place in an oven that is not turned on to rise once again for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, preheat oven to 450-degrees F and bake 15-16 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove and drizzle with a little more olive oil and dust with coarse salt.
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