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I got mail, from my son no less! I don’t think I have received a letter from Eliot in the mail, ever! It was for Mother’s Day and it was so special. He wrote a beautiful poem and wrote me a very lovely letter and sent me a shell necklace. Very thoughtful. And I think he knows what my favourite colours are! Remember those little hard plastic loaves of bread your grandmother had that were filled with bible verses? Well, I have one of those although it doesn’t look like a loaf of bread and I often send Eliot (okay, every time) one each time I mail something to him. It’s usually randomly chosen but always seems to be appropriate for what he may be facing at that time. At least that’s my version. So when I read his comment in the letter below, I had to smile.

(click on the picture and then you can scroll through them)

We had some visitors a few weeks ago because they are moving (insert very sad face) and needed to store some unneeded items. When these said persons were here, we did some fun cooking and I have since made this bread, let’s just say a few times since. It is so easy and so much easier when you have already made it with someone else.

You start with some honey yeast and warm water. Stir it up and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it foams a bit. If this doesn’t happen, you need some new yeast and good like finding that right now in this pandemic!

Once it is foamed, you add 5 cups of white flour and some Kosher Salt. I realize a picture here is not necessary but that’s what I do.

Mix with a spatula until the flour is incorporated. It won’t look smooth, no need to panic.

Now you will need a large bowl. Put in 4 Tbsp. of Olive Oil and add the dough. Turn it over and over until it is covered in oil. Then put plastic wrap or towel over it.

You need a big bowl because this is now going to rise for a few hours and hopefully get quite large. Meredith gave me a great tip (I love it when my kids are smarter than I am) put in in the oven with the oven light on as it will allow it to rise a bit quicker. It will take about 3 hours or so depending on how warm the day is and how warm your light is!

Look how much it rose and oh the smell!!

You need two forks, grab the edges furthest from you and pull it towards you then turn the bowl 1/4 turn and repeat 3 more times. You are trying to deflate the dough.

I baked this in a 9 x 12 pan but next time I think I would do it in a cookie sheet so it is thinner. Other views are welcome! You have to butter the pan on the bottom and edges. As you see I used parchment paper, mainly because my pan is not great. I used a glass pan the first time and it didn’t work as well. After it is butter you need to add a couple tablespoons of oil. This time I used Garlic Olive Oil that I get from the Kingston Olive Oil Company. I will experiment with different flavours as I make this more. Add the dough and any left over oil from the bowl and turn the dough so it is coated. Leave uncovered until it rises again.

It should take about 1 to 3 hours for it to rise, double in size and fill the pan.

Once it has doubled, pour some oil on your hands and pretend you can play the piano and poke all over the bread and deep. Drizzle some more oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook at 450 for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

Wait, not quite done and yes more butter!! Melt some butter and some garlic and when it comes out of the oven spread this all over. Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering!! It is so good.

I also made my tried and true Swiss Potatoes but I got distracted and didn’t take a finished product. I did however use my chives from the garden and a LOT of cheese. Before you cook it, you melt some butter and add fresh bread crumbs and parsley on top.

And last but not least, (i.e. my title) Ron and I made some raised garden beds this weekend to put by our new shed we built last year. We were able to use a bunch of scrap wood and, surprisingly chicken wire, we had on hand so they were pretty cheap. We may have over estimated how many bags of dirt we needed though! Oh well, you can always use dirt somewhere when you own a house with a big yard!

Oh, and one more thing, can we just take a moment and admire my oven door?? You can actually see through it. Another great tip from Meredith. Dish soap, Peroxide and baking soda. Make a past and let it sit. Mind you, I did have to use a bit of elbow grease to get mine clean but it hasn’t been cleaned for, oh, I don’t really want to admit.

Clean Oven Door

Until we meet again

A bit of everything and how do you pronouce Focaccia??

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