Friday, February 5, 2010

As Pure as the Driven Snow

The most recent snowstorm hit last night. We woke up to another winter wonderland. Powdery white, steadily falling, we head out to the barn to do our chores. Patrick and I milked Priscilla and Coco as Carmelita and Dulce cried. They now have to sleep separately from their moms so we can share the morning milk. Then they go back with their mom's and drink all day long.

We noticed that the goats are being very bossy to those calves, butting them and putting them into their place in the barn hierarchy. Funny how they don't behave that way when Priscilla and Coco are around.

After taking care of the milk, Thomas and I grabbed snow shovels and enthusiastically hit the driveway. At least we were fairly optimistic as we started the monumental task.

Two hours later the driveway was cleared.

I didn't feel nearly so enthusiastic or optimistic.

Is there any exercise that works so thoroughly as snow shoveling?

After a cup of tea in front of the fireplace I gathered enough resources to begin my baking day. The children played many rounds of monopoly and I took care of paperwork for Philip. My body was begging for calories so I pondered what recipe would satisfy.

Focaccia, of course!

There is nothing that satisfies like fresh, homemade focaccia. Especially focaccia made with honey and freshly milled whole wheat. The children and Philip felt loved as they came in from hauling firewood to the smell of herbs and garlic and yeasty bread.

Here is our favorite recipe. If you don't have your own grain mill, come over and I will be more than happy to mill you your own flour, especially for this recipe!


2 tsp. yeast
2 c. warm water
2 TBSP honey
4 TBSP olive oil
1/2 c. oil I use coconut oil
1 tsp salt
+/-5 c. freshly milled flour

garlic, olive oil, herbs, salt, dried tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, cheese, whatever you want to place on top

Mix together the yeast, water, honey, olive oil, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat with a dough hook for at least 5 or 10 minutes. Add the rest of the flour quarter cup at a time, kneading well with the dough hook. When the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, continue to knead for around 5 minutes. Let the dough rise until double, punch down and let it rise again. Then divide the dough into 2 parts, grease 2 large cookie sheets and spread the dough out so that it looks like very nice, thick pizza crust. Cover with a towel, let the dough rise 30 min. then spread olive oil, sprinkle garlic and salt and top with whatever goodies you happen to have on hand. Fresh tomatoes are great in summertime, but we don't have any these days. We used dried tomatoes, soaked in olive oil, mushrooms and dried herbs. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. The focaccia should be nicely golden.

The problem in our family is that this recipe is typically consumed by the 7 of us in a matter of minutes. But I don't dare make more. We might just eat it.

Boy, do I ever feel better. All those wonderful, healthy carbs make me want to go shovel snow again tomorrow so we can eat like this every day!

BTW, the snow tapered off at dusk. The pond was black and oily, the trees were heavy and tired. Ducks were happy that the temperatures were still around 28 degrees. Perfect for a noisy dip. Rose and Nora attempted body sledding. I think they had a great time. I think I will pass.

Thanks to Philip and Thomas and Patrick and Maggie we have a roaring fire made with standing dead locust they harvested. Locust is such a wonderful wood for heating. It puts out more btu's than just about anything. Time to go sit in front of it and watch Lord of The Rings.


Beth said...

Oh Ginger, you have made me very hungry now! Your focaccia sounds divine. I can only imagine what it must taste like with freshly-milled flour. And, yep, that snow shoveling is quite the workout. We didn't get that much snow this time, but our driveway has turned into a sea of quicksand-like mud----we call it our Slough of Despond. :-) So we have been shoveling mud which, I must admit, has really challenged my optimism. I am thrilled to hear from the weatherman that we are going to have sunshine today.

Chris said...

I like focaccia and have found that leftover focaccia makes the very best grilled sandwich bread. So go ahead and make that double batch :). said...

Oh, Beth, shoveling mud is not fun at all. I have to do that occasionally around the barn, like now that we have a burst pipe, and it is HORRIBLY challenging for one's optimism. The sunshine has been pleasant today!

Chris, you are right, next time, a double batch.

CountryDew said...

I hope you enjoyed the movie! It's my favorite.