Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Aroma Therapy

I have to give it up to for super fast delivery! My books are here... and... I don't feel ready for them. My menu for this week is planned out, mostly home cooking, but all new meals that I have never dared to attempt - which puts my official launch date to Monday or Tuesday. I do plan to do plenty of reading until then, however, and plenty there will be! Over 2000 pages to be exact. A little intimidating, perhaps?
But first things first, a rustic Mushroom Barley Soup with Olive and Rosemary Bread. The thought of watching over soup calms my nerves, and because of this I know this year will be just fine. Spending an hour in the kitchen (or two, or three!) is like therapy to me. And oh what therapy it is, as it fills the house with beautiful aroma, not to mention a happy husband after a long day at work.

Tuscan fresh Olive and Rosemary Bread
A rustic loaf flavoured with fresh rosemary, this good served warm from the oven to accompany hearty winter soups and stews.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup mixed green and black olives
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 extra-large eggs
3 tbsp olive oil
about 3/4 cup milk (not fat-free)

a baking sheet, lightly greased

Makes 1 medium loaf

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix the flours with the chopped rosemary, olives, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the olive oil and milk, then stir into dry ingredients to make a soft and slightly sticky dough. If there are dry crumbs or the dough feels stiff, work in a little more milk.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball about 7 inches across. Set on a baking sheet and score the top with a knife.

Put in the oven immediately and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath with your knuckles. Transfer to a wire rack and leave until cool enough to break into quarters or cut into thick slices. This loaf is best eaten the same day but can be frozen for up to 1 month.

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