I usually end up making dinner on Sunday evening because EPC likes to relax in the late afternoon before he heads off to his Sunday evening yoga class. But this week he decided to make his favourite black bean soup recipe from Toni Fiore’s Totally Vegetarian.
In response I chose to make whole wheat sage focaccia from Jack Bishop’s Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook. I had a lot of luck with his whole wheat pizza crust and figured it couldn’t hurt to give his foacaccia bread a try. Afterall, the flecks of fresh sage in the bread would make a great accompaniment to my husband’s soup.
As always, the soup was delicious. This was the first time he had tried it with canned fire roasted tomatoes and it did make a difference.
I remember the first time he made this soup - before we had an immersion hand blender – what a mess. Scooping soup by the cupful into our blender was not the easiest way to blend up the soup, and we lost a considerable amount on the floor. It certainly made my husband an advocate of our latest kitchen appliance. If you like to make soups I really recommend picking up an immersion blender (we got ours at Superstore for about $30.00). I find even if the soup does not call for pureeing, blending a small amount of the soup gives it a nice thick consistency.
In addition to that first messy batch of soup, we followed the recipe by adding the 2-3 jalapenos and the 3 tablespoons of chipotle chili powder it called for. This made the soup almost inedible! We now use only one jalapeno and 1 -2 teaspoons of chipotle chili powder.
Since winter has practically arrived in Edmonton (one night last week it went down to -5°C!) I did not mind spending the majority of the afternoon indoors as I waiting for the bread to go through two long rises (1 1/2 to 2 hours each). It was worth it. I had never made focaccia before and I am really glad that I did. Next time I will bake it on a sheet of parchment paper. Well-oiled or not, I had a difficult time prying the bread off the pan. The edges cracked a little and I lost some of the bottom to the pan, but what it lacked in presentation it made up for in taste.
I also found the bread cooked quicker than the 20-25 minutes recommended, so make sure you take a peak in the oven after 15 minutes.
I think I will use the leftover focaccia to serve as a bun for the veggie burgers I am going to make tomorrow night. So stay tuned!
Sage Focaccia Bread
1 1/3 cups of warm water
2 teaspoon of active dry yeast (I used bread machine yeast and it worked fine)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 scant cups of whole wheat bread flour
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage leaves and about 20-25 whole sage leaves
2 tablespoons of olive oil for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt.
- Combine water, yeast, and oil in a large bowl.
- Add the flour, salt and sage and stir to mix with a wooden spoon. Stir until the dough comes together (it will come away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball)
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes)
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. In a warm place let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (I found 1 1/2 hours was sufficient).
- Oil the bottom a cookie sheet with at least 1 inch deep sides ( I recommend parchment paper instead of oil). The pan should be about 15 by 10 inches. Flatten the dough into the pan, spray the top of the dough lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the dough has almost doubled in size (I waited almost 2 hours).
- Preheat the oven to 425°C. Before placing the dough in the oven use your finger to dimple the dough at 2 inch intervals. Place a fresh sage leaf in each dimple, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt.
- Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown and remove from the pan to cool.
- Serve warm or at room temperature
Toni Fiore’s Black Bean Soup recipe can be found here. EPC only adds 1 -2 teaspoons of chipotle chili powder and 1 jalapeno. The soup is too spicy otherwise.