I’m starting to notice a trend: it seems I like to bake bread on Fridays. It’s true, I’m happiest with yeasty dough in my hands, kneading and shaping loaves. Friday is the beginning of the weekend, a time to relax. It’s a time to slow down and do something fun. Subconsciously I turn to my pantry, eying canisters of flour and dreaming of my next loaf. The stresses of my week melt away as my hands to combine flour, water, and yeast. The mixture sticks to my fingers as I pull it from my trusty stainless steel bowl onto my large wooden board, worn and splitting at the ends. I’m present but my hands are on auto-pilot as the ritual movements take over. Kneading is rhythmic and comforting. The dough morphs from a sticky, wet blob to a silken ball. It’s so soft. I smile and announce to my husband, “I love dough.” He laughs and says, “I know.” I’ve said it a thousand times.
Today I’ve chosen focaccia to showcase the flavor of blue cheese. This Italian loaf, enriched with olive oil, is easy and rustic. It’s a beautiful bread with soft texture that begs to be casually shared at the table, each person tearing off a piece. I found this simple recipe by Jill Giacomini Basch over at the Food & Wine website. The flavors are perfect for fall and a great example of how to cook with blue cheese. The focaccia is topped with thinly sliced pears, sweet with a floral perfume. Slow cooked onions are caramelized and savory. Crumbled blue cheese melts under the bracing oven heat releasing its fantastic pungent aroma. Serve Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pear & Blue Cheese as an appetizer or an accompaniment to soup and salad for supper. Once you’ve mixed the ingredients the dough rises an hour before you shape it, then rests for twenty minutes before baking. From start to finish the bread can be ready in under two hours, with only about twenty-five minutes active cooking. Our lives are hectic and when the weekend arrives we need nothing more than the joy of throwing together a simple and flavorful bread like focaccia.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.