I apologize for getting nearly political here. I know it’s not the place. But I feel quite upset about this, so I’ve got to talk about it! You know what’s comforting? Flatbread. Making it and eating it. I made this flatbread with some cornmeal, some thyme, and some mozzarella. I thought it was delicious. A nice crispy/chewy texture. They’re not cheesy, exactly, but they have a nice flavor of cheese, and it helps to make them less dry. The boys loved it, too. We ate it with grilled vegetables, sliced tomatoes, spicy fried potatoes, and a big big salad. It’s not hard to make, but it is one of those pleasant do a little bit all day long types of dish. It was nice fresh with dinner, and nice the next day toasted with scrambled eggs.
With the start of summer comes the start of summer eating, and my ideal meal in the summer is a big mix of vegetables, prepared different ways, some cool, some warm. Salads, beans, potatoes, olives, cheeses, maybe a sauce or two. And something to eat everything with. Some bread or crepe to tuck everything inside. Like this giant rosemary flatbread! It’s quite chewy and crusty (from the milk, I think) which makes it idea to sop up tomato, basil and olive oil, or the sauce from nicely seasoned greens and beans. You could make smaller shapes, if you liked, but I got a kick out of making two big pieces, almost the size of my cookie sheets. Parts puffed, parts didn’t, but even the parts that didn’t could be pulled apart and stuffed with yummy things. I kneaded rosemary into mine, because it went nicely with everything else I was making, but you could easily add any other herb, or sesame seeds, or caraway seeds.
Here’s how it all came about…we had some leftover stew, and for some reason I was semi-obsessed with the idea of making flatbreads to go with it. But I wanted to do something different. I wanted to use some unusual ingredient. I thought about all the different kinds of flour in the cupboard. But I’ve already made toasted barley flatbreads, and semolina flatbread. Then I thought about the sweet potato I’d bought on a whim. Why not put that in? And I’d just bought a huge bunch of fresh rosemary, so we’ll have some of that, too. And we’ll roast them together, rather than just boil and purée the potatoes, for more intense roasty flavor. So that’s what I did! The dough was a pleasure to work with – soft and firm at the same time, just as dough should be. I wanted them to be sort of light and puffy, so I made them the way I’d made pita bread one time, on a preheated baking sheet. They puffed beautifully! I was so happy! I love a bread that you can tear apart and use as a spoon, and stuff with delicious foods. I finally let Malcolm eat the remaining flatbread the next day, and it was good reheated as well.
In the early days of this blog, I foolishly used up all my sweet potato songs at once in a small playlist. It’s been a while, and they’re all good songs, so I’m just going to repost it here. Something to listen to while you wait for your dough to rise!
Well, I said I was going to invent my own version of a flat bread/pancake along the lines of injera, tortillas, pita, roti, dosas, moo shu etc, etc. And I HAVE DONE IT!! *THUNDERCLAP* I feel like John Cleese in the brontosaurus sketch. This flat bread, which is mine, belongs to me and I made it.
But let’s start at the beginning… I’ve always loved foods you could eat with your hands. Indian, Ethiopian, middle eastern – any cuisine that involves lots of little delicious dishes you mix and match, and eat with a bit of bread that you tear off, or a big piece of bread that you wrap around. It’s the best, most enjoyable way to eat. I’ve made (or tried to make) injera, pita, roti, crepes, etc, with varying levels of success, but it’s never quite as good as you can get at the restaurant. And yet, I’d like to eat this way more often. And so I decided to try to invent a new type of bread of my very own. Here was my criteria… I wanted it to be crispy on the outside, but softer and chewier on the inside. I wanted it to be smoothish on one side, but have crumpet-like holes on the other. I wanted it to hold together well enough to be a useful utensil, but not be too dense. I wanted it to taste good all on its own, but not be too distracting from other tastes on the plate. I wanted it to be fairly easy to make, and not fall apart frustratingly when you tried to cook it. I wanted it to have little toasty patterns on it.
And here is what I came up with. I’m calling it the ooto (it’s an acroynm!) because I like the sound of the word. But I suppose I might reconsider that in days to come. It’s made with semolina flour and regular flour, which gives it a nice taste & texture. It’s got black pepper in it, but no other distracting herbs or spices. Black pepper goes with everything! The first pancake fell apart, but after that it was a breeze to make. Although it did smoke up my kitchen a little, since I used olive oil, which is tasty but does get smoky. And that’s pretty much the news about that. My family liked it. And it tasted good today toasted and crispy – nice with scrambled eggs.