In keeping with the practicality of this post, we will give you two recipes at once, and both will be for practical things – bread and potatoes. This bread is the best bread that I have ever made! All the other loaves have been preparation for this bread. It is crispy, it has a big open grain – it has holes! It’s chewy, and tasty. I nearly killed my food processor making it!! I’ve been experimenting with wetter and wetter dough, these last few months – to the point that it became very messy to knead with my hands. I was thrilled to get my food processor, because I thought I could use it to knead the dough. It worked, but at some point it seized up! There was a bad smell of burning. The dough was stuck in the food processor, the blade wouldn’t move, the container would not be budged! I scraped all the dough out into a bowl, and everything worked out in the end. I must have left it too long. The other recipe is for a medley of different types of potatoes (from our CSA!) We have red-skinned, white fleshed, golden fleshed. We scrubbed them, cut them in half, boiled them briefly, combined them with olive oil, oregano, capers, olives and lemon juice, and broiled them. Perhaps the most delightful and unexpected part of this recipe is that the capers (or flavor dynamites, as my sons call them) got crispy. Crispy! They’re delicious.
Here’s The Velvet Underground with Beginning to see the Light. Some people work very hard, but still they never get it right. Ain’t it the truth?
1 t yeast
1 t sugar
3 cups flour
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
Combine the yeast, sugar, 1/2 cup flour and one cup warm water in a bowl and set aside for about half an hour to get bubbly.
In a large bowl combine the remaining flour and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix well. It should be a very wet dough, only just kneadable with your hands. Add more warm water or flour as necessary.
If you have a food processor, put the dough in there, and process it for a couple minutes. If you don’t, stir/mix with your hands for about five minutes. It will be a bit messy, but that’s okay.
Set aside in an oiled bowl for about 2 hours till it’s about doubled in bulk. Fold/punch it down, and set it aside for another hour or so.
Lightly oil a baking sheet. Spread the dough in any shape you like. It won’t stay in a firm shape, but that’s okay. Leave it for about an hour to rise again.
Preheat the oven to 500 (or as hot as it will go. I think mine goes to 455).
Gently rub the top of the bread with water, and splash some water in the bottom of your oven, put the bread in, and close the door. After five or ten minutes repeat this process. After another five or ten minutes, do it again. Cook till the bread is golden on top, and hollow-sounding when you tap it. Thirty – forty minutes in my oven.
6 or 7 medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into halves or quarters, depending on their size
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 t capers
2 t oregano
salt & pepper
Bring a big pot of salted water to boil. Drop the potatoes in and cook them for about 7 minutes. They shouldn’t be too soft. You just don’t want them to be rock hard. Drain them and let them dry a minute.
Put them in a single layer in a roasting pan. Add enough olive oil to lightly coat them. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over them, scatter the oregano, olives and capers over, and mix lightly.
Preheat the oven to 425. Cook the potatoes till they’re nicely browned on the outside and soft inside, about 20 minutes to half an hour.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.