So, is everyone ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow? We’re hosting for the second year in a row, so we are in the process of turkey brining/chestnut roasting/mad prepping before the big day. Got all of the deep cleaning in the house done on Sunday (yay for productivity!), so on Thursday it’s just cooking, some light cleaning, and some definite parade watching. Growing up, my family always traveled to Bakersfield to visit my dad’s side for Thanksgiving, so I never watched the parade until I was an adult, but I definitely get the appeal. But, we always listened to Alice’s Restaurant in the car on the way down, so I insist on continuing that tradition even when we’re staying at home.
I wanted to post a recipe this week, but was at a bit of a loss of what to do. I figured everyone is pretty overwhelmed with turkey/potato/green bean/squash/pumpkin/various pie recipes, so I thought I would go in a less traditional direction. I wanted to do something as a starter, something a less traditional, a little … different. So, in looking for something new and different, I looked to Rachel Khoo.
For those of your who aren’t familiar with Rachel Khoo, I insist you get familiar. She is a culinary creative, originally from London but based in Paris, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu and now has several cookbooks and a show on the Cooking Channel. She does fresh, modern interpretations of classic French dishes. She is also one of the most adorable human beings on Earth. I discovered her cookbook, “The Little Paris Kitchen,” on our trip to Calistoga in May. I have been working my way through the book, trying as many recipes as I can. They are all so fresh and interesting and inventive. I have a full-on food crush.
One of the recipes I had been dying to try was this bread: Lavender, Rosemary and Goat Cheese bread. Almost like an herbed focaccia, with pockets of hard goat cheese sprinkled throughout. I could hear it calling me every time I flipped through the book. I could resist no longer. I had to make it!
Imagine this bread, crusty and warm, straight out of the oven, with a dish of soft butter or good olive oil on the side. Everyone ripping pieces off, dipping, enjoying the sharp hit of the cheese throughout the soft, aromatic dough. This would make an excellent starter to an elegant and hearty Thanksgiving. Or, just a nice afternoon’s lunch. Or breakfast. Really, anytime. This bread is pretty fantastic. Upon making the bread, I realized that I had run out of dried rosemary. I decided to use Herbs de Provence instead (a dried French herb mix of lavender, thyme, fennel, savory and basil), which worked beautifully, though I imagine the lavender and rosemary combo would be just as tantalizing.
With a little bit of time for rising, this bread is actually incredibly easy to make, and so rewarding to eat. Make this, either tomorrow or another day, your taste buds will thank you.
Have a happy and indulgent Thanksgiving friends! THG
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. dried lavender
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 3 oz. hard goat's cheese, cut into small cubes
- Mix the yeast with the warm water, stirring until the yeast has completely dissolved. Mix the flour, salt, rosemary and lavender in a large bowl. Pour in the dissolved yeast and the olive oil and mix to form a dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it forms a sooth, sticky ball. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour, then put into the fridge overnight.
- The following day, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until it forms a smooth ball again, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough into a large circle and then cut the circle in half. Make a large cut down the middle of each half without cutting all the way through the dough, starting a little way in from the rounded edge and stopping before the opposite side. Make three small slashes on each side of the cut, then use your fingers to gently open out the slashes to look like the veins of a leaf. Place each half on a piece of parchment paper and push the cubes of cheese randomly into the dough. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 475F.
- Put a baking sheet in the oven to get hot while oven is preheating. Brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt. Once the oven is hot, place the bread on the hot baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400F and bake for another 12-15 mintues or until the bread is golden brown. Serve warm with butter and olive oil.