I didn’t even like country music growing up.
I grew up near the ocean in southern California, where country music fans were few and far between among the crowds of Sublime-loving surfer dudes.
Then I went to college in upstate New York. Again, a whole lotta erudite, Girl Talk-loving neon-clad hipsters but no country music fans to be found in sight.
Then I moved to Chicago and got engaged to a sweet, buttoned-up boy from Wisconsin who likes golf, Ben Folds Five and golden retrievers and exhibited not one symptom of a country music obsession.
We got married in July.
Then, literally the DAY after we got married (I’m not even kidding), he starts BLASTING country music from the car like it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread.
Whaaaat?!?!?!?!?! Who is this man I just married???
Oh but gosh darn it, I have to admit, it’s kind of GROWING ON ME!
I mean, those lyrics about fried chicken and the stars and stripes and a pair of jeans that fit just right (hello, Zac Brown Band) — they just kind of…speak to me?
I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.
I know I will, because I’ll be devouring this delicious rosemary and garlic focaccia bread and singing along to ballads about sickin’ em on a chicken and bringin’ out the butta and flour and gettin’ ready to fry, or something like that.
Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia
Adapted from my parmesan & onion focaccia
Makes 1 large oval focaccia
Time: 2.5 hours
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. + 2 tsp. sugar
- ½ cup + another 1 cup warm water (about 105 to 115 degrees)
- ¼ cup olive oil + another ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup flour + another 3 cups flour, plus extra as needed (I used unbleached bread flour, but all-purpose flour works as well)
- ½ cup finely chopped onion (yellow or red)
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- Course sea salt for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary
- For serving: good-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Stand mixer with a paddle and dough hook attachment
- Parchment paper
- Plastic wrap
- Heavy-rimmed baking sheet
- Pastry brush
- Baking stone (If available)
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sprinkle the yeast and a teaspoon of the sugar over ½ cup of the warm water and stir to dissolve. Let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 6-7 minutes.
Add the remaining water, sugar, ¼ cup of the olive oil, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Beat on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic.
Switch to the dough hook. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, until a soft, shaggy dough forms that starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on low speed, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until moist, soft, and slightly sticky, about 4 minutes. Place dough in a bowl greased with a tiny bit of olive oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Line a heavy-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper lightly with oil. Turn the dough out onto the prepared sheet. With oiled fingers, press and flatten the dough into an oval 1-inch thick. Cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. It will be at least 2 inches thick.
With your fingertips, make deep indentations 1 inch apart all over the surface of the dough, almost to the bottom of the pan. Brush with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Cover loosely with plastic and let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425˚F. Place a baking stone on the bottom oven rack. If you don’t have a stone, just proceed with the recipe as directed.
Sprinkle the bread all over with sea salt, then about 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary.
Place the pan on top of the stone (or directly on the lower oven rack if you’re not using a stone) and bake until the bread is lightly browned, 20 to 22 minutes (this may take longer if you’re not using a stone), or until a thermometer inserted into the loaf registers about 210 degrees. Check the bottom and bake a few extra minutes if it is pale.
Serve warm or at room temperature cut into squares, long rectangles, or wedges with good-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or slice in half width-wise and use as sandwich bread.
peaches & cake