Fabulous Flatbread

crispy herbed flatbread with summer veggies | www.lifealdente.com
Crispy Herbed Flatbread with Summer Veggies

I love bread. But I’m NO pushover. I want good bread! I swoon over a well-formed boule. I’m gah-gah for the chewy, yeasty ciabatta. For the crispy, crunchy baguette, I’m bonkers! I’m also partial to a flavor-packed, crispy  flatbread, too!  

I watched Martha Stewart prepare this recipe on her PBS series, Martha Bakes. It looked so beautiful, I couldn’t resist. It violates my KISS recipe rule (well, it’s more of a guideline) of NO more than 8 ingredients, but DON’T let that scare you away! This recipe makes tasty flat bread and plenty of it. It’s the perfect backdrop for goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, brie, or big shavings of parmigiano reggiano. Try this recipe and tell me what you think? Here’s the link to Martha’s video. She makes it look really easy.

Crispy Herbed Flatbread with Double Cream Brie | wwwlifealdente.com
Crisp Herbed Flatbread with double cream brie

This is my take on Martha recipe called ‘Julie’s Flatbread’.

Crispy Herbed Flatbread with Summer Veggies

Ingredients
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees), plus more if necessary
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup fresh rosemary needles (I used a mixture of fresh rosemary and thyme)
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, plus more for sprinkling
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for bowl
1 medium red onion
1 bunch fresh sage leaves (I skipped this in favor of fresh thyme)
4 tomatillos, husked and thinly sliced (I subbed zucchini and yellow squash, a summer bounty)
6 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced (I used multi-colored heirloom cherry tomatoes)

Directions
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine yeast, 1 1/2 teaspoons flour, and sugar. Stir in 1/4 cup of the warm water, and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Whisk together the remaining 3 cups flour, cornmeal, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper; add to the yeast mixture.

Using the dough hook, mix on low speed while slowly adding the remaining 1 cup of warm water. Mix, adding more warm water, if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface, and knead four turns into a ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl, and coat the dough with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Turn out onto a clean surface; divide into 6 smaller balls, each about 4 inches in diameter. Transfer the balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and loosely cover them with plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, shape one of the balls into a 3-by-5-inch rectangle, then roll it out to a 5-by-17-inch rectangle; it should be very thin.

Place on the diagonal on an ungreased baking sheet. Slice the onion lengthwise as thinly as possible, leaving the root end intact. Fan out each slice of onion. Brush the surface of the dough with olive oil; place 3 or 4 sage leaves, 2 to 3 slices of onion, 2 to 3 slices of tomatillo, and 2 to 4 slices of tomato on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush again lightly with olive oil. Repeat with remaining dough, and place on the sheet.

Bake until the flatbread turns golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the flatbread to a wire rack to cool. Working in batches, roll out, top, and bake remaining dough. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Vesper Martini

cropped vesper
This is so refreshing and it’s one of my fave sips of this summer.

While the Vesper Martini is new to me, it’s by no means a newcomer to the world of cocktails.  The Vesper was introduced by James Bond in Ian Fleming’s novel, Casino Royale. Next time you’re heading out for dinner at an upscale establishment, consider ordering a Vesper. It’s the perfect aperitif. A word of caution, Lillet Blanc may not be found at your average neighborhood watering hole, but it’s really worth seeking out.

Vesper Martini

1 1/2 c. cracked ice
3 oz. Gordon’s Gin
1 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc (pron. lee’-lay blahnc)
2  thin-sliced lemon twists

Put ice, gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc in a cocktail shaker and shake until your hands are freezing cold. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Twist the first lemon peel and twirl it around the rim of the glass to release the oil , then discard. Twist the second lemon peel over the glass and toss it in the glass for a garnish. Enjoy!