Focaccia with Bacon, Cheddar and ‘Eggs in Wells’ and Part 12May 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Posted in Appetizers, Breads, Breakfast, Lunch, Rainbow, Vegetables, Yeastspotting | 46 Comments
Tags: #BreaingBread, Arugula, Bacon, Bread Baking Society, Cheddar Cheese, Cheese, eggs, focaccia, Roasted Peppers, Yeast
There’s a new bread challenge in town. It’s called the Bread Baking Society (Twitter handle @Breaking_Bread – hashtag #BreakingBread), - founded by Lora from Cake Duchess and Shulie from Food Wanderings. This month the bread they asked everyone to bake is focaccia and of course, I wanted to take part. Thankfully I got it in on the last day, last minute, of the month. Once again, there was humidity, but not as bad as last week. But, no braiding or shaping of focaccia – just dimpling (awww) – so humidity foiled. Ha!
Of course, there was free creative reign, so the variety of focaccias linked up, sweet and savory, is pretty amazing, from sweet potato to southern charm.
I made a Focaccia McMuffin. I call it that because it’s bacon, egg and cheddar. What makes it kind of cool is, the eggs are in focaccia wells. I scrunched up 6 large pieces of tin foil into 3-inch balls, coated each one generously with olive oil, then stuck them into the cheese and bacon filled dough before rising. When fully risen, I pressed them down again, and baked the focaccai for 20 or so minutes, then removed the tin foil balls – giving me perfect wells to crack 6 eggs into. I put the focaccia back in the oven for 8 to 10 more minutes, and voila, six perfectly cooked eggs, in six bacon – cheese bread squares (when cut), per person.
Of course I had to make it pretty, so before baking the focaccia, I topped it with some roasted red peppers, arugula, more bacon – and a few drizzles of olive oil. When done, the eggs were seasoned with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and chopped chives.
Finally, I used Nick Malgieri’s focaccia dough in this recipe, which Lora also used. But, due to the humidity, I had to add an extra cup of flour. I also took down the salt because of the bacon. I’m sure Nick wouldn’t mind..he’s a pretty awesome pastry chef and guy. He left a comment on THIS post back in 2010…thanks to Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie, alerting him to the post. I was pretty thrilled since I’m such a fan girl when it comes to my favorite chefs.
By the way – please excuse the poor photos. Ego Lights never do well with yellow or white. Yellow (cheese and eggs) in this case, not to mention I really rushed it, I didn’t give it the time it deserved.
Bacon, Cheddar and ‘Eggs in Wells’ Focaccia
Basic focaccia recipe adapted from How to Bake, by Nick Malgieri, with my revisions
Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
6 individual servings
1 1/3 cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ( I ended up using 1 more cup due to humidity)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
6 to 8 oz cheddar cheese, cubed
10 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus 6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese for the egg wells (1 tablespoon per well)
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced (optional, or add your favorite vegetable(s)*
arugula leaves (optional, or use your favorite greens)*
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium or large eggs
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
*If you don’t want to add greens or veggies of any sort, top with extra bacon and cheese. Herbs would be nice too.
101/2 x 151/2-inch jelly roll and parchment paper
1. In a small bowl,water sprinkle the yeast over the water. Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir.
2. In large bowl, combine the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; whisk together or mix together on low speed in your mixer.
3. Stir the yeast, water and olive oil into the flour and salt until you have a dry dough. Slowly add the 1 1/3 cup of water while mixing, until you have a soft, but slightly raggedy dough. You may or may not use all the water.
4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
5. When dough has doubled, fold it onto itself, then flatten it on a floured board. Scatter the cheddar cheese cubes and 2 pieces of chopped bacon all over the flattened dough. Fold it over a few times, adding flour as needed. Use a bench scraper because you will run into stickiness. Keep folding and kneading until the bacon and cheese is disseminated throughout the dough evenly. If bacon and/or cheese pops out during kneading, just shove it back in. Let rest, covered for 5 to 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
6. While the dough is resting, oil the jelly roll pan, then cut a piece of parchment to fit. The oil will keep the parchment paper down. Flatten the ball of dough onto the parchment lined pan and spread it as best you can until it almost reaches all four corners. If it resists, let it rest a few minutes, then start pushing and spreading again. Tuck in any cheese or bacon that pops out.
7. Make 6 tin foil balls..about 3 to 4-inches each, and coat each one with olive or any oil, generously (I used spray olive oil) Press each tin foil ball into dough, deep..two on each row, equally apart.
8. Cover pan with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
9. Prehaet oven to 425 degrees F. Once risen, press the foil balls down again (they rise with the dough), then dimple focaccia and drizzle with olive oil. Top with remaining chopped bacon, pepper strips, and arugula.
10. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven..keeping oven at 425F, and pull out foil balls. Sprinkle a 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese in each well. Crack each egg, one at a time, into a ramekin or small bowl, then slowly and carefully pour each egg into a well, until all six are filled.
11. Place pan back in the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still jiggly, like a sunny-side up egg.
12. Remove pan from oven, sprinkle all over with remaining shredded cheddar cheese (the heat will melt it), and salt and pepper each egg. Sprinkle with chopped chives, if desired. Serve immediately, cutting the focaccia into 6 squares, each containing an egg. Gently reheat leftovers, as not to overcook the egg.
Now to Part 12 of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, and Part 11 is HERE.
Once again, he read my mind.
“Wanna get going, honey?”
Ahhh..he was good. I was called sweetheart so many times that night, he had to mix it up with honey.
Honey, sweetheart, baby…it didn’t matter. He could call me dingbat, and I’d be putty in his hands.
After a half hour of goodbyes, we were finally alone. My head was still filled with the cacophony of ‘youse guys’, ‘dose guys, ‘deez guys’, ‘dem guys’. One guy even called a toilet a ‘terlet’. Sounded more like a bird than a porcelain waste station.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored his friends, they were so vibrant and they were real. No phoniness, no airs, no BS, and under their tough exteriors, genuine warmth. I was just a little overwhelmed and intimidated that first night. Within a week, I was as comfy as a kitten in a quilted basket, talking almost as fast as they did.
Unfortunately, the girl I connected with, the bride-to-be, broke off the engagement and relationship, so I never saw her again. J was a hurting puppy for a long, long time. He fell hard for one of my friends later on, which I’ll get to in another part.
Through his friends, his ‘bad boy’ was confirmed. The stories they told me were scary, but again, thrilling, because that ‘bad boy’ thing was my weakness. The knife to his leg was nothing compared to the other tales they weaved. It would literally take up 8 pages telling all of you. He’d almost been arrested a few times, once for almost killing a guy who was attacking his cousin so violently, his cousin ended up in the hospital for weeks, with all kinds of injuries.
Truth be told, he didn’t like to fight. It’s not like he got his jollies kicking ass, he was just very protective of friends and loved ones and if someone or someone(s) were bullying or attacking them, as one of his friends would say, ‘fuhgeddaboutit’.
The ironic (although his friends thought it was funny) part of the story was the that the perpetrator ended up in the same hospital as his cousin, right across the hall. Soon the cousin and the guy who nearly killed him, were talking and buddies. That’s just how these people were. They could forgive most anything.
That being said, my relationship with Dreamboat was better than ever – it was almost gross in its saccharine salacity. We saw each other at least once every weekend, because I had to hang out with my friends too (You know..the old ‘friends come before guys’ teenage rule/mantra), but we’d also sneak in weeknights (school nights for me, my curfew was midnight, and work the next day for him), so, I’d sneak him into my bedroom once my parents were fast asleep, or I’d sneak out after he dropped me off by 11 (1 hour early to make it look good), just to spend more time with him. When we weren’t together, we were on the phone for hours, even though he wasn’t a phone person.
I showed him where I used to stack my pillows against the window, put on his favorite radio station, and cry myself to sleep missing him. He laid down on the pillows next to me, the cool night air caressing us as he wrapped me up in his arms. Like clockwork, Stairway to Heaven came on. It was almost all too surreal – he was lying next to me in my year long ‘mourning’ space for him. Now it was a space of love, joy and content, especially when I could smell him on my pillows after he left.
He finally told me he loved me on a chilly autumn evening in early October, parked on the side of a dead-end street with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline. Just as he said the words, “I love you, Lisa” my diamond stud earring caught on the shoulder of my sweater when I wrapped my arms around him - ready to make this moment as perfect and disgustingly romantic as possible - and popped out, hitting the floor of the Beetle somewhere. They were a gift from my grandmother and they were very expensive, but, the sentimental value far outweighed the price. I loved her dearly. I couldn’t lose one of them.
I was bent over in seconds, blindly running my hands all over the floor in front of and underneath the passenger seat, hoping to feel the sharpness of the stud against the flattened, coarse carpet.
So, I’d been waiting desperately for the ‘I love you’ moment and when it finally came, I was scouring the floor of a Volkswagon Beetle – now scraping my fingers across the rug, bemoaning the possible loss of this earring.
Like I always say, it figures, This is my life to this day. Welcome to it.
He opened the door for light as we searched diligently. I sat up quickly to really dig between the seats – forgetting about the dashboard.
I slammed my head against it hard. I saw spots for a moment and then my eyes started to tear because it hurt like a bitch. Dreamboat started examining the area.
Dr. Dreamboat in the house again!
I started to panic.. ”Is it bleeding? Is there a gash? Does it look like I need stitches??”
I couldn’t believe how perfect the first ‘I love you’ moment was turning out!
“No, sweetheart, it’s just a bump..you’ll be fine.” Dreamboat said with a soft smile, as he continued to evaluate my rapidly forming goose egg.
I loved him so much. Oh, wait, I could tell him that now.
“I’m not dunking my head in the East River and I love you too.” Not exactly romantic, but I’d just banged my noggin hard. I don’t think I was all there for a few moments.
But, I finally got to say what I’d been feeling since I’d first laid eyes on him. We had a good laugh at my East River barb, then the romantic and mushy talk followed.
I completely forgot about my earring.
As he rubbed my head, he told me he had known he loved me for a while, but wanted to make sure it wasn’t rushed – such serious words. That made me love him even more, so I said it again, and again, and again..I think I must have said it like 10 more times that night, just to hear him say it back.
I was and am such a sap.
He found my diamond stud a few days later and presented it to me in a box with a beautiful, thin gold chain with one simple, matching diamond stud attached to it. I’m not a bling girl, I like delicate, understated jewelry, so it was perfect. I still occasionally wear it to this day.
My senior year was amazing, mostly because of him. I was so happy, you could stick a needle in my eye and I’d tell you not to worry about it. The year before, my miserable junior year, I never would have thought it would turn out this way. How did I get so lucky?
However, there was a problem. The more I snuck out during the week, staying out or ‘in’ super late on school nights, the more exhausted I was, and I couldn’t get up for school no matter how loud my mother screamed or how hard she tugged at my blanket. I was late to school about twice a week.
My mother thought I was doing drugs and wanna know how I found that out?
I opened my eyes one morning to see my freakin’ guidance counselor sitting on a chair in the middle of my bedroom, surrounded by dirty clothes I’d thrown on the floor the night before and a plate with a half-eaten crusty tuna salad teetering precariously on the edge of a table next to her. I almost wanted it to fall on her lap.
I rubbed my eyes several times, I MUST be dreaming. This was crazy! Teachers and any ‘school employees’ weren’t supposed ever see your bedroom, much less be in it!
I was going to kill my mother.
To make matters worse, I’d fallen asleep in my bra and panties, too tired to fully undress and put on a T-shirt. I pulled my blanket up to my chin. She didn’t even leave to let me put some clothes on. I know, woman to woman, but when you’re in high school, teachers and guidance counselors aren’t human beings, they’re just teachers and guidance counselors. For instance, if you saw one out shopping or picking up a pizza, living their life outside of school, it was almost like spotting an alien shopping or picking up a pizza. Just plain bizarre.
Once I convinced her I wasn’t on drugs, could barely drink alcohol without puking, and there was no one or no situation at school that was upsetting me, she started veering into other areas. Pregnant? Sick? Oh, come on now…I finally stopped her..
I‘m up all night having sex with my boyfriend, okay?
But I didn’t say that.
“I have a boyfriend and we stay on the phone for hours late at night, plus I talk to my friends too.” I lied, gauging her expression while pulling the blanket tighter around myself.
She seemed to accept that explanation, her faintly lined face softening, human for a brief moment. She let out a sigh, “Young love, I remember it well…”. Then she sort of stared into space for a minute. I was waiting for a good story, but then she snapped out of it and said,”…BUT, you need to get up on time for school. so cut the phone calls short, okay?”
I agreed, waited until she left, then tore into my mother for embarrassing the hell out of me.
My father later solved this problem by taking my phone out of my room at 11 pm each night. I’d gotten away with it and continued to sneak with him, but made sure I got up on time every day, torturing my body under a blasting, ice cold shower for a few seconds to shock myself wide awake. Worked like a charm, but those few seconds were hell.
So, except for that small fork that almost led me down rehab road, my senior year was happy and breezy.
One day in January, the Beetle met it’s maker, it just died and was beyond repair. Hey, he got almost three years out of a junkyard mess he restored into working condition, not too shabby, but I still think she died of a broken heart. I stole her man.
Now that I had my driver;s license and full use of my parent’s cars, I would drive to him then let him take over the driving because I liked it that way. I’m sure my parents wouldn’t have liked it, but like I said in the previous part, teenagers in love don’t usually think rationally or weigh the possible consequences of their actions. Besides, I was always more of a passenger seat gal since I like to play with the music and well, look at him instead of the road.
When prom time was approaching, I didn’t bring it up because there was no way I thought he’d want to spend the evening with a bunch of high school kids. I was too nervous to ask him to take me, so I was either going to skip it, or maybe go with a guy friend – but then I changed my mind, Dreamboat was the only man I would to go to prom with. I’d skip it.
Remember that scene in Pretty In Pink where Annie Potts talks about the girl who missed her prom going through life feeling like something was missing every.single.day, not understanding why, then realizing it was all because she didn’t go to prom? We had the movie on video, and that scene haunted me when I thought of not going.
Lo and behold, he brought it up one Saturday night on our way to see a movie.
“Hey, isn’t your prom coming up?” He said, not taking his eyes off the road,
I started twirling a strand of my hair – a nervous habit, “Yeah…but I don’t think I’m going to go..it’s stupid anyway.” I replied, trying to convince him and myself.
He kept driving..awkward silence, still not taking his eyes off the road. Then he finally spoke..
“Why skip it? I’ll take you.”
My heart did a little flip. “Really? You wouldn’t mind hanging out with a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds?” I asked, unconsciously biting on the twirled strand of hair.
He smiled “I’m hanging out with a 17 year old now.”
I laughed, he had a good point.
So, he took me to my prom. He looked just as hot in a tux as I imagined he would when I conjured up images of of our future wedding.
I was a little worried he might experience some snootiness from some of my insanely wealthy classmates, but the opposite happened. The guys were drawn to him..maybe because he was older and tough, and the girls couldn’t stop telling me how gorgeous he was.
I couldn’t help thinking that these girls would love a piece of him, but would never marry him. He wouldn’t be able to give them the lifestyle they were used to and had no plans of giving up. They’d end up marrying wealthy men with similar cultural/religions backgrounds and/or investment bankers with roman numerals following their name.
Soon summer was upon us and I graduated – for real this time. It was a bittersweet time in so many ways, but what hurt the most was that I had so little time left with him. I was leaving for college in Florida in the Fall. I had applied early, my junior year, and only applied to one school in the northeast because I wanted to attend a college in a warm weather state, near a beach. All the schools I applied to, outside of Boston, were in SoCal and Florida. Not the best reason to choose a college, but I was thinking more sun and fun than academics.
My priorities were about as straight as Lombard Street.
Then, I chickened out. I couldn’t be that far away from him, the thought of it made me queasy. It would be too expensive or damn near impossible to see him at times other than school vacations, so I changed schools at the last minute. Boston was still a 4-hour drive, but only a 45 minute to 1 hour flight before 9/11 and all the security. It actually turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made because I think Boston is one of the best cities to attend college in, but I’ll get to that later.
He was going to work on the pier again that summer, but wasn’t going down until mid-July, so we could spend lots of time together before I went to our place in Florida with my friends, mother, sister and her friends, for 2 weeks. Me, and two of the three friends from the summer before, rented a bigger, better apartment in the same apartment complex we stayed at the previous summer, for the last three weeks of August., So, although I wouldn’t see him for 2 weeks, it worked out perfectly, or so I thought….
I need to stop here because several people have told me I’m shortening the memories to finish my story, stuffing an elephant into a sausage casing, so to speak, diluting it – the Cliff Notes of my first love.
I deleted the second half of this post, the end of the story, because it was a bunch of quick paragraphs finishing everything up, no substance – no meat. By forcing it – I’m cheating myself and cheating anyone who’s reading it..so, there is going to be a Part 13.