Category Archives: rosemary

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

Rosemary olive oil crackers, what a fun recipe to make and serve with a salad or as part of a cheese course for a party. They are simple to make, the only thing you need to know is that the dough is fairly stiff to roll out but very forgiving, once you make your first batch of crackers you’ll be hooked! I like to eat them plain or with strawberry jam.

I think it’s going to rain again this weekend. It’s good for the garden and we need the water but I think we’re all ready for some sunshine, what a change from last year when everything was so dry. I’m looking forward to taking a digital photography class tomorrow morning, I hope to improve my picture taking skills and especially to learn more about lighting for photography. If it doesn’t rain I may go to the farmers market and look for herbs!

Ingredients and Directions
adapted from ‘The Herb Farm Cookbook’ by Jerry Traunfeld

2 cups European-style artisan flour from King Arthur Flour, or 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus 1/2 cup rye, barley or white whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling on top of crackers
4 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cold water, more if needed
1/2 teaspoon Fleur de sel, for sprinkling on top of crackers

Preheat the oven to 425°F

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the artisan flour or flours with the salt and rosemary.Stir in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and rub the mixture together between your fingers breaking up any lumps until the mixture is the texture of coarse cornmeal. Sir in the milk and the water to form a medium stiff dough, if it is too dry add more water a little bit at a time.

Line a baking sheet( about 16×12) with parchment paper, remove the parchment paper and set aside. Roll the dough into a rectangle the same size as the pan. Roll it up on the rolling pin and unroll it on the parchment. With a pastry or pizza cutter, cut the dough into crackers, 6×4 grid for 24 crackers. Brush the tops of the crackers with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and the Fleur de sel. Place the parchment paper back into the baking sheet.

Bake the crackers until they are browned around the edges and in spots through out the crackers. Slide the crackers on to a rack to cool. If the crackers in the middle of the pan are not done enough, return them to the oven for 3-4 more minutes. I brushed the tops with a little more olive oil while they were cooling. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving. Store for up to one week in an airtight container.

Makes 24 crackers

Black Olive Roast Chicken

I make a lot of roast chicken so finding a good new simple recipe after perusing my cookbooks is a much appreciated thing around my house before dinner time. I found this recipe in ‘The Herbal Kitchen’ by Jerry Traunfeld and adapted it using vegetables that I had on hand from my veggie box. Roasting a chicken on top of vegetables is an easy way to serve dinner in one large baking dish. Tonight I added celery, kale and spring onions from my Betty’s Organics box. In this roast chicken recipe the extra steps are cutting the backbone out of the chicken to position it over the vegetables and placing an herbed black olive paste under the skin. After I picked out my chicken from the butcher, I paid a visit to the olive bar at Whole Foods and found Moroccan oil-cured olives for the paste. I don’t know what it is about the olive bar but even if I’m not buying any olives, I still check it out. So, you’re probably wondering how the kale that I tossed in with the other veggies came out??


It came out really good! I just gave it a rough chop, the kale that was under the bird steamed and was very tender and the kale that was around the outside of the bird, mixed with the other veggies, was crisp and delicious. Just make sure you salt the bird and the veggies before placing in the oven.

Ingredients

herbed olive paste

1/2 cup pitted oil-cured black olives
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
3 tablespoons rosemary leaves
1 lemon, grated and juiced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, recipe calls for 2 but I used more to make a smooth paste

vegetables

1 & 1/2 pounds potatoes, Yukon Gold or any variety, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
6 celery stalks, or 2 fennel bulbs, sliced thickly
3 carrots, thickly sliced
3 spring onions, thickly sliced
1 bunch dino kale, roughly chopped, remove thick stalks

1 roasting chicken, 4-5 pounds, rinsed and patted dry
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°

Directions

1. Place all of the olive paste ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend, scraping down the bowl a few times, until they form a fairly smooth paste. I added closer to 3 tablespoons of olive oil to achieve a smoother paste.


2. Put the potatoes and the other vegetables in a roasting pan or large baking dish and spread a couple of tablespoons of the olive paste over everything.

3. Remove the backbone of the chicken with poultry shears, turn it over and spread it out flat. Loosen and pull the chicken skin, and taking a small amount at a time of the olive paste with your hand, stuff it under the skin, distributing it evenly between the breast, thighs and legs. Some of the olive paste will end up on the outside of the chicken, that’s fine.

4. Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables, positioning the knee joints inward. Sprinkle the skin and vegetables generously with salt and pepper.


5. Roast the chicken for about 60 minutes, longer for a bigger bird. The chicken should be deeply browned and show no sign of pink when you cut to look between the thigh and the lower breast. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Italian Rosemary and Raisin Buns


This recipe is from ‘Whole Grain Breads’ by Beatrice Ojakangas. I have a few of her cookbooks and this recipe for rosemary and raisin buns sounded like it would be good with fresh pea soup.
This is a holiday bread in Italy that is typically eaten before Easter, like hot cross buns. These buns are rich with eggs and olive oil as well as rosemary and golden raisins. I was instantly attracted to this recipe as I have two large rosemary bushes in front of my house that I like to use. I also like to make polenta with my rosemary. I made a small batch of 8 buns using my stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. My biggest challenge with this recipe was constantly opening the cookbook to the wrong page and reading the directions for filling and shaping the Swedish Tea Ring, the following recipe in the cookbook, why does that always happen when you make a new bread recipe? Because the instructions are all almost the same, mix, shape, bake etc. The differences being amounts, ingredients or something that gets your attention so that you realize you are once again reading the directions for the Swedish Tea Ring. Maybe I will try making that for my next baking project, probably not.

This is why it’s worth the trouble to make your own bread sometimes, beautiful and tasty buns.

Ingredients

2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra for sprinkling
3 cups European-Style King Arthur’s Artisan Flour, or 2 & 1/2 cups bread flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 & 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup golden raisins

Directions

1. Place one egg and one egg yolk in a one cup measuring cup and add enough warm water to fill the cup. Pour it along with the sugar into a warmed mixing bowl and add the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes then add the additional egg and egg yolk along with the oil, salt, rosemary and half the flour. Beat until smooth. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Slowly add the rest of the flour and beat until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough with the dough hook on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is smooth and springy to the touch. If the dough is too wet or sticky, add more flour. Knead in the raisins.

3. Remove the dough and knead a few times on the counter. Clean and lightly oil the bowl, place the dough back in and turn it over to grease the top. Cover the dough and let rise until doubled, about one hour.


4. Punch the dough down, divide into 8 equal parts, roll into balls and place the buns on parchment lined baking sheets.


5. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 45-60 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 375°

6. Brush the rolls with olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary. Slash the tops with a big X to make a cross shape. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until buns are golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Spaghetti Squash and Mint Pesto

The evenings have turned cool here this week which signals the end of our Indian Summer tomato season. I like to roast tomatoes because they smell and taste good but also because they are easy and rewarding to prepare. I decided to use my roast tomatoes in a soup with a delicious fall vegetable, spaghetti squash which works great because you can roast the tomatoes and the squash at the same time. I also have an herb container overflowing with mint that I have been trying to think of ways to use. I like the addition of the mint pesto to the soup, it gives it a little fresh color and some nice mint flavor as well.

Soup

3 pounds Roma tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 & 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 & 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 shallots, sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice the tomatoes in half and place the cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes and the squash at the same time in a 400 degree oven until brown and tender. Set aside and cool slightly.

2. In a heavy medium size pot saute the shallots in one tablespoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes until tender. Set aside to add to the tomatoes.

3. Transfer the tomatoes and the shallots to a blender or food processor and process until slightly chunky, then pass them through a food mill or strainer into a large bowl. Season with more salt and pepper if needed. Place the tomato mixture back in the pot and add some vegetable or chicken stock if you want to thin the soup. I added about one cup of chicken stock to my tomato soup.

4. Simmer the soup for 10-15 minutes while making the mint pesto.

mint pesto

1 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
Sea salt

1. Blend ingredients together in a food processor until a coarse puree forms. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. Season with salt.

Using two forks separate the strands of spaghetti squash and mound up in the center of a soup bowl. Ladle the tomato soup into the bowl and place a small amount of the mint pesto on top of the squash.