Sunday, June 28, 2015

Eat This: Summer Herb and Tomato Focaccia

Summer Herb and Tomato Focaccia

I grow a lot of herbs and veggies in containers on my patio. Chili Piquin Peppers (RIDICULOUSLY hot TicTac sized peppers), Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Chives, Mint, Jalapenos and cherry tomatoes. I found a recipe and changed it up a bit for a quick Sunday afternoon treat. I love focaccia and herbs and thought, "What the heck!?!" let's just marry them all together and see what comes up. Here's what I came up with.


2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
3 tsp yeast (1.5 packets)
2 tsp salt - I like roasted garlic grey salt
3 + 3/4 cups good quality soft bread flour
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup fresh herb leaves, chopped finely - I use Basil, Oregano and Rosemary because I grow them
1.5 Cups of small cherry tomatoes split lengthwise
1/2 cup grated cheese for sprinkling - I prefer Romano/Parmesan blend


1. Preheat the oven to 110 degrees F for rising
2. Put the yeast in a large mixing bowl and pour in the warm water.
3. Add the salt and 2 cups of the flour, mix into a soft and sticky dough.
4. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour and mix well. The dough should still be sticky. You want it sticky/wet to be able to rise well
5. Cover and let rise for 40-45 minutes in the warm oven
6. Turn the dough out onto the lined pan. Add about a third of the chopped herbs to the top of the dough, fold over and add another third; fold over again
7. Press out the dough on a well oiled, or silpat lined baking sheet. Using your fingers, ease it into a rectangle, approximately 9×13, give or take.
8. Put the olive oil in a small bowl and dip your fingers into the oil, and then all over the bread, poking the bread surface and leaving little pools of oil.
9. Poke the tomatoes all over the dough pressing them in slightly., then scatter the remaining herbs across the surface. Sprinkle your chosen salt over all, and finally sprinkle on the cheese.
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden.
11. I like to top off the freshly baked bread with coarsely chopped Basil because it is so fragrant and sort of "melts" into the toppings.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Style: Painted and Stained Chest Makeover

Finished Product!  My $16 chest.

Last year when I went to the local County offices to vote, I had a conversation with a man who had a load of old furniture strapped to the back of his truck on the way to the Goodwill.  I saw a chest of drawers and liked its lines. I had been looking for something to sit in my entry hall and wanted a painted chest.  I talked the guy out of the chest and loaded it in the SUV. Thank goodness I had that vehicle at the time or this post wouldn't be happening.

Masked off for painting.

This chest was just an inexpensive, likely late '40's or '50's mass produced three drawer chest.  Cobwebbed and scratched, I cleaned it, rubbed it with Old English Scratch Cover and it sat in the foyer for months. 

One coat of white satin finish spray paint.

Last weekend I decided to work on it.  I removed the hardware and drawers, sanded the top and drawer fronts until they were very smooth.  I lightly sanded the sides and front of the chest to take paint.

Another light coat and we are almost done!

I'd been reading about spray painting furniture and got some satin finish white paint. I used a light Pecan poly and stain combined in one and after three coats of stain and poly on the top and drawer fronts (you can re-coat after only an hour with the fast-drying product) we were done.  I let it sit for 48 hours to cure and then, it was done.

Just about finished ... one more coat!

Not bad for a few hours work and $16 in supplies!  So I decided it's true: you CAN repurpose furniture quite easily.  I think next I am going to paint my bed frame and night stands!  Stay tuned!

I stained the drawer fronts next to each other and one right after the other to make sure I got the right amount of stain to be consistent.  It worked out well!