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Fragrant Foccaccia

This delicious, round bread is a cinch to make and dynamite for dipping. (Recipe and online extras from "The Paranoia Patrol," October 2003).

October 4, 2003
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Fragrant Foccacia

For the dough:

1 packet active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups white flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt

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For the topping:

4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon crystal salt OR sea salt (optional)

Add yeast and sugar to six tablespoons of the warm water. Allow five to 10 minutes for yeast to activate (it will froth). Mix all dough ingredients together in a bowl, then let sit for 20 minutes. Knead dough, adding more flour as needed, and spread onto olive oil-greased, shallow cake pan. Let sit 15 minutes; dough will rise further. Punch several holes in top with fork and spread on topping. Preheat oven and bake at 450 degrees F for 35 minutes. Turn off oven and let sit 10 minutes. Serve warm, with sliced prosciutto, ham, cheese, tomatoes, olives, or dipping sauces (see below) if desired.

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Hot Dippin’ Sauce

6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 16-ounce jar pasta sauce
(OR 2 10-ounce cans pureed tomatoes–see Note)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red chilies (or to taste)
1 fresh tomato, chopped

Lightly saute garlic and white parts of green onions in olive oil for five minutes. Add mushrooms, saute two minutes longer. Reduce heat, add pasta sauce, oregano and chilies, simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into serving bowl, top with green parts of onions and chopped tomatoes (and sprinkle with extra crushed red pepper, if desired). Serve as dipping sauce, accompanied by fresh focaccia, French or Italian bread, or corn chips.
(Note: If using plain pureed tomatoes, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar and, if watery, 1/2 teaspoon corn starch. Add additional spice and herbs, as desired.)

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Coolin’ Down Dip

1 cup plain whole yogurt
1 large or two small green onions, finely chopped
3 teaspoons French Onion soup mix
(OR, combine: 1 teaspoon beef bouillon, 1/2 teaspoon dried chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch)
1 small fresh tomato, chopped
Dash paprika

Mix yogurt, white parts of spring onions and French Onion soup mix in sealable container. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour (dip will thicken; longer is better, up to 24 hours). Remove from refrigerator, stir well and pour into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with green parts of the chopped spring onion and tomato. Dust with paprika. Serve with fresh bread or corn or potato chips, accompanied by “Hot Dippin Sauce,” if desired (see recipe above).

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