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Posts Tagged ‘focaccia’

By the Bay
(July 2012)
On Wednesday, we drive towards the Bay of Fundy, en route from Halifax to Prince Edward Island.
After stopping to take pictures of salt-sanded outbuildings and fence lines, and wildly-growing wildflowers, we arrive at the Bay’s interpretive centre where we’re reminded to be aware of the shoreline at all times. “The volume of water that will return to the Bay over the next six hours is greater than than all the fresh water lakes and rivers on earth.”
Once outside with this information, I try to imagine what it means. But while my mind telescopes for perspective, I find there is none. It’s simply not possible to gain a sense of such volume.
And so we walk.
We walk down a tree- and berry-lined path.
We walk down and down an encasement of wooden stairs. We hop onto a rock and then down further still, onto another, then another. We step onto the ocean floor, where the high tide markers suddenly rise five stories above us.
I think to myself how it’s possible that, only hours ago, a whale swam through this very passage which is now bare enough to walk on while carrying a camera and a red plastic bucket we use to collect a few rocks, a few shells, and a possible fossil.
At sand level, I pick up tiny hermit crabs that reach around their shells to touch my thumb, then settle them back in their tide pools, wondering about life in such a dramatically cycling waterscape.
Above are knotted ropes that dangle from trees atop stone towers that will become islands by mid-afternoon: lifelines for anyone caught spelunking in sea caves, or simply caught daydreaming.
I find it’s impossible to not imagine being marooned atop one of these islands, and I take a mental inventory of things that ought to be in our backpack should we find ourselves climbing out of the tide to relative safety.
In truth, everything I think of would better fill a picnic basket. And later, as we continue to travel through Nova Scotia, across a corner of New Brunswick, and the circle drives of P.E.I., we’ll discover all the edible items we could ever want to be stranded with.
There will be fresh raspberries and blueberries, and every kind of vegetable, all sold roadside, by an honor system of taking what you want and leaving money in a wooden box.
We’ll discover a gouda farm and more ice cream stands per capita than seems reasonable, even to us. And we’ll find The Maroon Pig, a bakery in Georgetown where the once-mayor/maker-of-sea-glass-jewellery will send us for olive-studded focaccia. The kind of bread that might make a couple of foolish married people imagine an accidental picnic on one of Fundy’s tidal islands.
For now, though, it’s time to be on our way.
And so we walk back across the tidal flats, climb over one rock, then another and another. Up the wooden stairs and back to our rental car, where we set shoes caked with red mud to dry in the trunk, along with a few rocks, a few shells, and a possible fossil.
“Georgetown” Focaccia
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 Tbs active dry yeast
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp flaked kosher salt
extra-virgin olive oil
grape tomatoes and green olives
 DSC_0020
Proof yeast in water. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in olive oil.
In another bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
Add half of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir (with dough hook) on low, just to mix. Add remaining flour. Mix 3 minutes more. Increase speed to medium-high and mix for 8 minutes.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise a second time. Shape into a ball, transfer to a clean bowl. Brush with olive oil and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 24 hours.
Take dough from fridge an hour before baking. Preheat oven to 425F, with a baking stone set inside.
Spread parchment paper on a baking peel and pour dough onto paper. Brush with oil and top with olives and halved grape tomatoes and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Slide focaccia, along with paper, onto stone. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden.

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