My brother's birthday was a couple weeks ago. He's kind of hard to shop for, so I usually struggle to come up with a cool gift for him. He's a vegetarian and loves sandwiches, so I headed to Amazon.com for some ideas. I found one, Vegetarian Sandwiches: Fresh Fillings for Slices, Pockets, Wraps, and Rolls and then I found another that sounded equally awesome, Great Grilled Cheese: 50 Innovative Recipes for Stove Top, Grill, and Sandwich Maker. A whole book devoted to grilled cheese?! Awesome. I was tempted to order both for myself as well, but instead I looked them up on our library's website, and they had both, so I put them on hold. Let me tell you, though, after checking them out, I'm pretty tempted to buy both of them. At the very least I'm going to renew both books so I can keep them for awhile because there are a lot of yummy things I want to make from them. (Ryan, I hope you liked them as much as I do!)
Tonight is the husband's last Bible Study, so I needed one more dinner that was going to be easy to prepare since he has to be at church at 6:30. This sandwich stuck out because I had most everything for it already, aside from the foccacia bread. I checked the grocery store for it yesterday, but my store didn't have any. Everything they had looked like it would be too much bread for this sandwich, so I went to my trusty recipe souce, RecipeZaar.com, to find a recipe for it that I could make. This will be my first time making foccacia bread, so I hope it turns out. If not, I'll run to Fresh & Easy because I know they have foccacia dough to buy that you just have to roll out and bake. If it didn't require dragging two kids to the store for just one thing, I'd probably do that, but I think it will be easier to just make it myself. The foccacia bread recipe will be first, followed by the sandwich filling.
The Easiest, Bestest Focaccia Bread Ever!!
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 dash ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl. Let proof for 10 minutes (until bubbles begin to form). In large bowl, stir together flour, salt, sugar, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil, and black pepper. Add the yeast mix and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and combine. When dough has pulled together, turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in warm place 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Punch dough down, place on greased baking sheet. Pat dough into 1/2-inch thick rectangle (doesn't have to be perfect). Using your knuckle, make indentations in the dough about 1/2-inch apart, then prick dough with fork. Brush top with olive oil, then sprinkle with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown.
© 2009 Recipezaar. All Rights Reserved. http://www.recipezaar.com
Focaccia with Creamy Vegetable Spread
Creamy Vegetable Spread
1/2 cup fresh white goat cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 roasted red bell pepper or jarred roasted red peppers, well drained, coarsely chopped
1 Roma tomato, diced (about 1/2 cup)
One 6-1/2 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
Dash of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
One 10-inch round or square plain foccacia, halved horizontally
Freshly ground pepper to taste
To make the spread: Process the three cheeses and the garlic in a food processor until nearly smooth. Toss all the remaining spread ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in the cheese mixture. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Place the bottom of the focaccia on a cutting board; spread the cut side of the bottom with the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with pepper. Top with the second focaccia half and press gnetly.
Wrap the sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Use a serrated knife to slice it into 8 wedges or squares just before serving.
Variation: Add or substitute other vegetables (up to 1-1/2 cups total) to the spread, such as drained and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or shredded carrots.
I'm pretty excited for a yummy vegetarian dinner. I realized as I was typing this out that I forgot to get tomatoes at the store yesterday. Oops. I think I have some sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge, so I'll substitute those. I like the idea of adding shredded carrots, so I'll probably do that as well, and I bought some zucchini yesterday that I might shred and add too.
I still have some minestrone soup in the freezer that I had planned on serving with these sandwiches, but it's supposed to be 99 here today, and I'm thinking soup doesn't sound very good when it's that hot. I think I'll see if I have ingredients on hand to make a pasta salad or some kind of cool, refreshing side dish like that.
This was a good sandwich. It was nice to be able to get it ready early in the day and just pull them out of the fridge when it was time for dinner. I forgot to take a picture of the actual sandwiches, but I did take a picture of some of the leftover spread.
Oh, my foccacia bread. Yeah...didn't really work out for me. All the reviews I read on RecipeZaar.com were good, so I have to think it was something I did. For one thing, my dough didn't rise AT ALL. I questioned it then but went ahead and baked it. And then when it came out of the oven, I packed up the kids and ran to the store. They ended up having packages of foccacia rolls for the same price as the foccacia dough, so I went the easy route.
By the way, that's one of my Williams Sonoma spoonulas. They are by far one of my most favorite kitchen tools. I have two of them and may get more because I use them constantly, so it happens a lot that they're both dirty in the dishwasher at the same time.