April 6, 2011
I recently planted an herb garden in window boxes on our deck. We get fantastic sunlight in our neighborhood and there were some leftover hangers begging me to use them. (If you didn't know, San Francisco has crazy microclimates and it can be foggy in one neighborhood and two blocks away really sunny.) Finding boxes that were the correct size was quite a feat. I think it took me two trips and M one trip to find one that fit the width and length of the ancient hangers. I planted Rosemary, Italian Parsley, Cilantro, Sage, Thyme, Mint, and Oregano all from little starter plants. So far I have only managed to kill the Oregano and I'm crossing my fingers on the rest which are no where close to plant death. I also planted basil from seeds and they are beginning to sprout!
While M's parents were here they also helped us clear out the backyard (shared by 4 units and not actually used by anyone) and build a raised bed. This is going to be an interesting learn-to-garden experience. At most, I've grown peppers and tomatoes in pots, and helped my grandpa harvest tomatoes when I was little... maybe this previous experience will inspire my green thumb....
Our yard was really really overgrown. One side has pavement and tons of leaves, the other has a mixture of weeds, overgrown shrubs, and hidden flowers. The weeds and grasses were reaching almost 18 inches in height. We would have received a "notice" if living anywhere where the backyard was visible to the public... thankfully we have an 8' fence surrounding us! Oh, and I should mention we just rent so maintaining the yard is technically not our responsibility! So, while my in-laws were digging around in our backyard, they found a healthy, mature rosemary plant (among other treasures I'll share later). This is where the rosemary for the focaccia came from.
I know I posted about Rosemary Focaccia once before, but that was long ago when I was new to the blogging world. I actually used the same basic recipe as before, but changed the ingredients slightly. I'll add the new recipe to this post. I can't wait for more fresh herbs this spring/summer. Do you have any great recipes for herb bread? Or herbs of any kind, I'm hoping to have enough to share.
adapted from a recipe by John Ash, From the Earth to the Table
1/4 C olive oil - good quality (plus more for the top)
1 1/2 C warm water (110˚-115˚F)
1 T + 1/2 tsp yeast
3 3/4 C a.p. flour
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 T chopped Rosemary
Stir the yeast into the warm water in a large bowl. Let it stand for about 5 minutes until it gets bubbly. Mix in the oil, flour, and salt. Knead until smooth (about 10 minutes). Coat another clean bowl with olive oil and coat your dough too. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm area for 1 1/2 hours (or doubled in size). Punch down the dough and prepare a 12x17 pan with olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Stretch the dough across the entire pan making sure to keep it even. Dent the dough with your fingertips and cover with a tea towel. Let it rise again for about 15 minutes. Dent the dough again and add about 1/2 C more olive to the top making sure to spread it evenly. Use a pastry brush to spread the oil if you need. Pooling in the dents is welcome, your rosemary will have a nice hot tub.
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle the rosemary on top. Bake for 10-12 more minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Enjoy warm!
Additional topping ideas: Sliced black olives (one of my favorites in Italy), Rosemary + Garlic, Kosher/Sea Salt, Pizza Sauce, Golden Raisin, Green Onion