Wow! amazing! spectacular! phenomenal! incredible! These are just a few words that come to mind to describe the charming little village that we are staying at ………… smack dab in the middle of the French Alps!
If we had to leave today and return home, I would be so thrilled to have been able to be here – it is definitely some of God’s most amazing, breathtaking handiwork! You’ll see what I mean from the pictures!
We cross-country skied early in the day and then, after picking up little Lilly (our youngest granddaughter) from her kindercare, we enjoyed wandering around the village, indulging in some of the culinary delights so abundantly available here; fresh artisan bread of every shape, size and variety, sausage and ham shops (called charcuteries here) that would boggle your brain, chocolate shops to delight the imagination and fascinating little grocers with endless displays of cheese, yogurt and interesting varieties of fresh produce that I never knew existed.
The chalet we’re staying in has a fully equipped kitchen, so I’ve had fun preparing our evening meals. I made pizza for dinner last night with a simple, but delicious dough recipe from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. It was perfect because it doesn’t require a mixer and comes together so quickly. The recipe makes enough for several pizzas, artisan loaves or pans of focaccia bread and keeps for at least five days in the refridg.
I decided to have some fun with the dough and made some mini heart-shaped, I Love You Focaccia Bread. We enjoyed them as an appetizer with olive oil for dipping along with creamy local cheese and thinly sliced salami. The girlies enjoyed them sliced in half and made into small heart shaped pizzas.
If you’re looking for a fun way to celebrate Valentines Day or just looking for a delicious focaccia recipe, give this Five Minute I Love You Focaccia Bread a try. I think you’ll be thrilled with the results and you’re family and friends just might think they’re even better than frilly, lacy paper Valentine hearts! Who knows, you might start a new tradition!
- 2-¾ cups lukewarm water
- 1-½ tablespoon granulated yeast
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6-½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- sea salt
- finely chopped fresh rosemary
- Mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
- Mix in the flour using a large wooden spoon or sturdy large whisk until all flour is incorporated.
- Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and begins to collapse (or flatten on top), approximately 1½ to 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 4-5 days.
- For heart shaped focaccia breads - prepare a sheet pan by greasing well with about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Preheat oven to 450˚F.
- Pull out about ¼ of the dough and place on a well floured counter. Roll or pat out until approximately ½ inch thick. With a heart shaped cutter, cut out as many hearts as possible and place on a prepared sheet pan. Re-roll the dough as needed to make more hearts or just make some fun irregular-shaped focaccia.
- Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh rosemary. Make 6-8 indentations with fingertips, if desired, in each heart.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Removed from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Serve with extra virgin olive oil for dipping.
If you want to make regular focaccia, just pull about a fourth of the dough and pat into an oiled 9x13 inch pan. Allow to rise until doubled in size, then press all over with your finger to dimple, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh rosemary and sea salt. Bake at 450˚F for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and try to control yourself until bread is slightly cooled.