SOMETHING TO CHEW ON


Stuffed Foccacia

I have been asked to share some recipes and/or food tips, so until I run out of ideas, I will try to share something foodwise with you on Mondays. Today, it’s what we ate yesterday during the Superbowl game, and the less said about the game, the better. It was a bitter pill to digest, but we win some and we lose some. This Stuffed Foccacia was much easier to make and to digest.

One thing you must remember is that Superbowl Sunday is inviolate. The game is important of course, but the food and drink take top spot in some families. The amount of chips, dips, and chicken wings consumed on that day could probably tilt a battleship, and the amount of beer and or wine bears no discussion. They threatened to run out of chicken wings two years ago. I didn’t hear any suggestions that it might happen again this year. I guess they are raising more chickens.

The second most important thing about the Superbowl game are the commercials on TV. Budweiser Beer wins hands down always with their Clydesdale horses and puppies every year. This year the puppy ran away and the horses found him and brought him home. Adorable. The third thing is the half time entertainment. I can’t speak for it usually because that’s when I’m out in the kitchen whipping up something to to munch on. This year it was Katy Perry, and I only got a glimpse of her flipping her skirts as she was shouting determinedly into her microphone while riding some sort of robotic animal.

Now for the good part: this is a Stuffed Foccacia, which is so easy your 12 year old could make it.

It’s my version of an Umbrian road food sometimes served at outdoor eateries in Italy. It’s the kind of thing you can pack up in a wicker basket with some good Italian olives and a great bottle of wine. Already that can’t be bad.

FOR THE FOCCACIA:
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for working the dough
1 tsp kosher salt

Two cast iron frying pans, or at least really heavy ones that will take the heat. I use my grandma’s. If you didn’t save your grandma’s I’m sorry for you. The others will work.

Dissolve the yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes, until it starts to bubble. Put the flour and salt in the food processor and pulse a few times.
Combine the dissolved yeast with a cup of warm water and pour it all into the processor over the flour while its running. Process until it clumps up and leaves the side of the bowl, about 20 seconds. Process another 20 or a total of 40 seconds.
Turn out onto floured board and knead for a minute then put into oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour until doubled.
Heat your oven to 450 preheated for 10 minutes. Deflate dough and divide in two. Flatten each piece of dough and press into cast iron skillet. Dimple all over top with fingers and bake for 15 minutes or until light brown on top.

When cool, split in half crosswise and fill with an assortment of your choice. I like to use roasted vegetables, deli turkey or ham, two or three cheeses, a few sauteed greens, and of course a generous drizzle of olive oil. Yesterday I spread a layer of artichoke pesto, then I used some roasted zucchini, and broccolini, and eggplant, havarti cheese, sliced turkey. Put the tops back on and press lightly together. Brush with good olive oil and wrap tightly in a layer of foil and place in a hot oven for about 10-15 minutes.

BUFFALO WINGS IN CRISIS!


rooster

original watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

I was surprised to learn that buffalo do not really have wings! This is not a term that I grew up with. However, the annual frenzy of the Super Bowl is upon us, and it is a known fact that chicken (aka buffalo) wings are one of America’s favorite Super Bowl munchies.

This year, however, the ubiquitous treat is in jeopardy. There might not be enough wings to feed America’s insatiable hankering for Buffalo Wings. This Super Bowl, snackers will have 12.3 million fewer wings to chow down on than last year, according to the National Chicken Council. The culprit: Last summer’s drought drove feed prices up, so farmers couldn’t afford to raise as many birds.

This is at a time when wings are increasingly becoming to Super Bowl parties what eggs are to Easter and candy canes are to Christmas. Snacking is so important to Super Bowl activities, in fact, that many snack makers say the week leading up to the Super Bowl is when they post their biggest weekly sales bump of the year. Avocados are at a rock bottom price to encourage guacamole makers. The potato chip shelves are emptying fast. Cases of beer are sailing out the doors. Is sit any wonder then that America has an obesity problem?

All I can suggest then, is to make a mad dash for the nearest supermarket and load up before the Buffalo wings are history. For we fans in the Bay Area, our pom-poms are dusted off, and front row chairs reserved. Go Niners!!