Have Potatoes, Will Focaccia

 
I have this tendency to buy potatoes and not use them before they get gross.

Even though we’ve been experiencing 80+ degree days here in New Jersey, I was feeling the urge to bake.

  
One of my go-tos that I don’t do often enough is focaccia. It’s a pretty easy pantry staple because all you really need is flour, oil, salt, sugar, and yeast. It’s a quick bread to make – about two hours to do, and about 90 minutes of that is just hanging out and waiting.

For a moister, fluffier center and chewy-crunch crust, potatoes are also used. My inspiration for this focaccia came from a Bon Appetit recipe from a few years ago. I modified it this time around, omitting the seasonings/toppings. I opted for a Rosemary-rich Italian seasoning blend and Parmesan cheese. 

Focaccia also makes a great Accidental Pantry Project Recipe – you do not need potatoes, but they do make a better bread. The rest is pretty much stuff you have around – flour, yeast packets, sugar or honey, oil, and water. 

Follow the rest of the recipe accordingly.

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Baked Potato Soup 



With winter coming to a close (hopefully) I decided to give baked potato soup a whirl. Whenever I go to Houlihan’s it is my favorite soup to order but for some reason I never thought to make it.

I looked up some recipes but I was not totally sold on anyone in particular so I modified and came up with my own.

In all honestly I needed an excuse to use the grill press that I bought as my first employee purchase from Sur La Table.



To make the soup I cooked about 11 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon and I reserved about a quarter cup of the bacon grease. I chopped one small yellow onion and threw in some garlic, seasoning the mixture with salt-and-pepper. After the onions got soft I added a few tablespoons of flour and started to create a roux. 

I then added 32 ounces of chicken broth and six chopped and peeled russet potatoes. I let the mixture boil then simmer about half an hour until the potatoes were soft. I then added a cup of warm milk (I was scared cold milk would curdle) and adjusted the seasonings. The soup definitely needed more salt because I forgot how much the potatoes absorb. I also added about a cup of chopped scallions and then my crumbled bacon which I had reserved on the side. That was pretty much it and it was really only about an hour for the whole process.

To serve I just added a little bit more scallion and shredded cheddar. So yummy and boyfriend approved. ☺️