"How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?"
Here it goes again.
I can't count how many times this happens. I'll be in the middle of doing something important- whether it be studying for a midterm in the class I didn't go to last week, trying to finish the essay that's due in two hours, or realizing that for the past three months I've been growing more horizontally than vertically when it invades my thought process like the Allies on Normandy: food.
Not just the thought of trying to satiate my growling stomach, but the idea of spending time to prepare it, to lovingly caress each ingredient, and then finally relishing each mouthful in the presence of a good friend to compensate for the amount of butter used. How can I justify all of the skills learned and the cash burned from white-collar higher education when all I can think about is going home and making Thomas Keller's white corn agnolotti? I mean, do people actually want to take all these accounting classes and secure a 65k a year salary with a big four accounting firm?
This torrid affair with food and cooking have left numerous victims over the past three years, including countless opportunities to make deans list, a pair of skinny jeans, and my now neglected old food blog (which shall remain unlinked and anonymous due to my embarrassment). Yes, I completely acknowledge that I am romanticizing and idealizing the idea of cooking and being in the kitchen, but I also must attest to the fact that I fell hard and fast for food like the damsel in a Nicholas Sparks movie.
So does this twenty one year old business student know what the future bring? Abso-f*cking-lutely not. But despite my numerous fears of how the imminent future will play out like an apocalyptic nightmare of joblessness and indecision, I can temporarily rest assure that all is well, solely based on the fact that avocado toast, the holy grail of all breakfast foods, just got onto an entirely new level with garlicky focaccia.
Adapted from Anne Burrell
1 cup of olive oil
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
red pepper flakes
1 package active yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of kosher salt
1 3/4 cups of warm water
5 cups of flour
In a small saucepan heat the oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and pepper flakes on medium heat. Let cool.
Combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky. Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.
Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.