Had a great Spring Garden Show at Comfort Feed & Garden last Saturday. Malcolm Beck was our featured speaker and he was as entertaining as he was informative.
Gordon Wybo, of Wybo's Wigglers , gave a talk about vermiculture-the practice of worm "farming".
Bruce Deuley also showed up and gave an impromptu presentation. I found it interesting how well all three talks meshed. So much good information was passed on, but the main point I took away from the day is that it isn't the health of your plants you should be concerned with, but the health of your soil! If your soil is in good shape, the plants will have a strong foundation and grow as they should. All sorts of tips were given for soil supplementation...but molasses kept coming up. One to two Tablespoon molasses diluted in 1 gallon water makes a great foliar spray. It feeds beneficial microbes in the soil as well as repelling ants! Cheap, non toxic and easily available- this seems like a great addition to the garden.
My garden has been a dream lately. I always maintain that the garden looks perfect for about 15 minutes in early April. Looks like this year it will be early May! The Big Freeze of February really did my garden in, but with lots of hard work, it is now coming back into its own.
The bed of mixed greens is giving us a salad most every night. I am thinning it now-pulling up the small plants to make salads. This gives the remaining plants more room to grow and they fill in the empty places.
The peas have climbed up the lamp shade frames and are putting on LOTS of sugar snap peas.
Yard long beans should begin to climb the trellis I made earlier in the year.
The potato mound is becoming a mountain! I cover the plants up with compost and they grow up in a day. So I cover it again. I am almost out of compost! This pic is from 2 weeks ago.
Both rose bushes are blooming. This pale pink one was a gift from my mother-in-law years ago. It is so very fragrant!
I was taking pics of the chickens and got this one of the rooster. I am thinking of painting it...what movement!
Our wood fired oven is coming along. This has been on our "Project Wish List" for years and is finally becoming a reality. Our friend Genya is chief of the project and we are hoping to do the first firing in early June. Temps in these ovens get upwards of 900 degrees. I hope by the end of the summer I can be turning out fabulous breads. And a pizza party is definitely in the works. The first pic is with the arch form still in place. In the second pic, the form is gone. It is so beautiful!
Back in January, I posted a recipe for Rosemary Flatbread. I loved them, even though I felt like I was getting a years worth of olive oil every time I made them. Marta complained about the recipe, saying they were nothing like the rosemary flatbread she buys all the time -and absolutely loves- at HEB. "So what?", I thought, "I am not trying to replicate HEB!" Then, at my birthday dinner at her house, she served the HEB flatbread and, man were they good! I took the label off the package and worked to create something similar. Significantly less olive oil and a mixture of flours really helped in addition to eliminating the baking powder. Here's what I've come up with. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you don't have a pizza stone, invert a cookie sheet on a rack to preheat. Measure out all the dry ingredients and dump them in the mixing bowl. This can be done in a mixer or by hand...I have done it both ways and see no difference.
Add the water and olive oil and mix until a soft dough forms.
Form into a ball and let sit for at least 30 minutes. The cool thing is you can cover the bowl and put it in the fridge until you have time to roll out and bake the flatbread. It can stay for days. I bet you could even freeze the dough since it has no leavening.
When you are ready to make the flatbread, pinch off pieces of dough about the size of a walnut.
Roll out the pieces in any shape you want...circle, oblong, whatever you need.
The ones Marta bought at HEB were quite thick. I like them thinner. I made them both ways this time. The thicker ones here.
And the thinner ones here.
After rolling them out, place them on a piece of parchment which is on a peel. If you don't have a peel, just put the parchment on an inverted cookie sheet. Brush the flabreads very lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Bake in the 450 degree preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes for the thicker ones or 6-8 minutes for thin ones. Obviously, ovens vary as will the thickness you roll the flatbread, so just keep an eye on them. I like mine brown on the edges. Thick ones:
And the thin ones:
They store in a tightly sealed container for a few days and don't seem to suffer. They stay crisp and tasty. If it is humid and they lose some of their crunch, reheat on a cookie sheet at about 300 degrees for a few minutes.
Here's the *new and improved* recipe:
Rosemary Flatbread Revisited
1 cup semolina flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt (add less if using table salt)
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup water
additional olive oil and kosher salt for brushing on flatbreads before baking
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you don't have a pizza stone, invert a cookie sheet on a rack to preheat. Measure out all the dry ingredients and dump them in the mixing bowl. This can be done in a mixer or by hand. Add the water and olive oil and mix to make a soft dough. Roll into a ball and let sit for at least 30 minutes. If you will not be rolling them out that day, cover and refrigerate dough. When you are ready to make the flatbread, pinch off pieces of dough about the size of a walnut. Roll them out into whatever shape and whatever thickness you want. In the old recipe, I rolled them in circles. These I rolled into oblong shapes. Place them on a piece of parchment on a peel. If you don't have a peel, just put the parchment on an inverted cookie sheet. Brush the flatbreads very lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake in the 450 degree preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes for thick ones or about 6-8 minutes for thin ones. Obviously, ovens vary as will the thickness you roll the flatbread, so just keep an eye on them. Cool and store in a tightly sealed container.
This recipe makes about 3 dozen + flatbreads. The recipe can be doubled. In fact, I encourage it...keep the dough in the fridge or the freezer so you can have a platter of these ready in no time flat! I bet they'd bake in 15 seconds in the wood fired oven! Great with cheese or hummous. I think they'd be terrific topped with fresh tomatoes still warm from the garden. Go for it!