Quick and Easy Focaccia

The key with any bread is to know your ratio. I make Focaccia with a 65% hydration dough. That means for every ounce of flour you add, you’re going to add 2/3rds that much in water. For example: 9 oz of flour = 6 oz water.

Salt will startat 2% of the weight of flour, and yeast is anywhere from 1% to 1.2% the weight of your flour. Lastly is the olive oil, which is up to you but I start with 10% weight of flour and then add more once it’s baked.

You can measure by cups instead if that’s easier, but I find weight yields more consistent results.

All that outta the way, here’s the recipe for the focaccia I baked yesterday:

  • 600g Flour
  • 400g Water
  • 60g Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Don’t scrimp here, use the good stuff)
  • 12g Salt
  • 7g Yeast
  • Tsp of Brown Sugar (For Blooming the Yeast)
  • Seasonings such as Oregano, Garlic, Thyme, Rosemary, etc.
  • Baking Sheet plus Silpat or Parchment Paper
  1. Blend the salt and flour in a mixing bowl. Add olive oil and mix until dough becomes somewhat clumpy, about pea-sized.
  2. Using filtered water, or water left on the counter to air out overnight, warm to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and add sugar and yeast. Whisk lightly until yeast lumps disappear. Wait until foam appears. This is called “Proving” the yeast. If foam doesn’t appear after 15 minutes, either buy fresh yeast or use another source of water. (Chlorine kills yeast!)
  3. Add water/yeast to flour and mix with a sturdy wooden spoon until dough becomes a shaggy mass. Knead until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Place dough in a well-oiled bowl, coat with more oil (YAY OIL!), cover with saran wrap and allow to ferment for 1 hour, or until dough doubles in size.
  5. Punch down dough and fold into thirds, return to bowl. Pre-heat oven to 450 Fahrenheit.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat. Transfer dough to baking tray and press flat.
  7. No, flatter. Flatter. Think Pizza. Yeah, like that.
  8. Using your fingers, press indentations deeply into dough. This will allow oil and spices to pool later.
  9. Season with salt and herbs.
  10. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes depending on your oven speed, or until bread is GBD. (Golden, Brown, Delicious.)
  11. Remove and soak with Olive Oil. Let rest for 1 hour no matter how good it smells.

Alternative toppings: shredded cheese, sundried tomatoes, fresh sliced mushrooms, sky is the limit. Focaccia is, after all, considered considered the mother-bread of pizza. Good luck!

Dave’s “Close Enough” Greek Dressing Recipe

Burquenos! Are you a fan of Dion’s Greek Salad Dressing? Me too.

This is a dead-easy recipe to make at home as it requires minimal tools: blender, teaspoon, and a graduated measuring cup.

3/4 c Red Wine
1/2 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Marjoram
1 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2 Egg Yolks

Blend for 10 seconds, refrigerate for up to 7 days.

Small Magical Facts

Oh dear. I suppose I really ought to collect these somewhere instead of letting them wander about unsupervised. To summarize, I read something I really liked and decided to write some lore of my own. Enjoy.

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Stamps carried in the wallet will fly swiftly and return bearing money, but only when the book is folded stamp-side out. If the stamps are folded inward, the letter is likely to go missing. #SmallMagicalFacts

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Coffee has the ability to shift time. When it is hot, it borrows from the future. But as it cools, it begins to absorb from the past. The bitter flavor isn’t from coffee, it’s from your own life. #SmallMagicalFacts

PS: Cold Brew borrows from neither the past nor the future, but from a place outside time. Do not drink too much, there are things that hide in the dark areas where such liquors issue.

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Contrary to popular belief, the Hour of the Dead happens twice: 4 PM and 4 AM. The dead are always there, the only difference is that there are far less living beings to get in the way at night.

#SmallMagicalFacts

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Humans are the only species with a natural affinity for knots.

Strangely, humans themselves are almost universally unaware of their abilities, and will curse luck or fate or any number of imaginary malevolent forces for a tangled set of earbuds, or a seat belt that won’t unlatch, or a paramour who won’t take the fucking hint.

The last human knot-adept was Gordias of Phrygia, who’s works were historically reduced to a single act of vandalism. In recent times, humans have retaken the mantle and have made inroads into understanding their own abilities with the rather anachronistic phrase, “Mathematical Topology.”

(Author’s note: At the time of this writing, human libraries and colleges have made surprising developments in a field they’re choosing to call “Quantum entanglement.” They do not, however, appear to understand that they themselves are the cause of their own observations. The ability to compartmentalize their realms of study may be a natural side-effect of their untapped abilities. Certain unscrupulous academics have suggested Gifting a likely human and observing the results, but this publication could not possibly condone such a hasty and potentially dangerous undertaking. See related subjects: Tunguska, Tambora.)

#SmallMagicalFacts

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HOW TO SUMMON A BUS. (A spell.)

Nat Sherman Black Gold cigarettes. Remove from pack, tap 3 times then pause, then 3 times then pause, then 3 times again against your left hand. Turn widdershins from the road to 5 o’clock.

Intone, “These fucking things are always late” but do not look anyone in the eyes.

Light the cigarette, take a small drag, but do not smoke the rest of the cigarette.

Your bus will arrive before the coal extinguishes itself.

#SmallMagicalFacts

Departmental Memoranda

Wherein our intrepid reporter wastes time with his coworkers.

R: Accidents on paseo and east bound I-40, been on the road an hour already.

E: West Siiiiiiiiiiiiiide!

R: Lol! Yup

E: Did two donkey carriages crash into each other blocking the dirt road passage through the alfalfa field?

Me: South Valley people kinda nod their head in embarrassment and say, “Yeah. Again.”
Corrales people get jealous.
NE Heights folks ask “Whats an alfalfa?”
SE Heights people steal the donkeys and turn the carts into taco trucks.

My boss has threatened to create a departmental blog and make this the first post.

Blow you to Smithereenies

Last night as Hannah and I were just falling asleep came a horrible squawking from the chicken coop. Unusual enough by itself, but it happened again. And again. “Shall I go check it out?” “Yes, please, right now.” Hannah replied. I grabbed the flashlight from my desk and held it to the back window, sweeping the yard. Just at the corner of the coop two amber eyes gleamed back at me. LARGE eyes.

“Hannah? I need a robe and my keys. Now please.”

Pulled on pants, robe, grabbed what turned out to be a cobweb duster, and ran barefoot to the back yard. The racoon had already mounted the wall and was ambling north. I waved blue bristles in his direction and made noises like a bear with bad diarrhea. He stared at me in what appeared to be contempt, either for the ridiculous noises I was making or for my lack of adequate armament I couldn’t be sure. Nevertheless I continued to push forward and he continued to avoid me. Eventually he threw me a final dirty look over his shoulder and disappeared into my neighbors yard.

This morning, I went and bought two things that I’d never had reason to own: A high-power BB rifle and slip-on boots.

I got no small amount of shade walking through the mall with my purchases. One older woman in overalls eyeballed me and sucked her teeth in disapproval. I made sure to give her a sunny smile and a V for victory. Now that I’m home and I have this strange thing next to my bed do I realize that I’ve one more trapping of being a farmer:

20160924_160330
A varmint gun.

The Fish, the Barrel, the Smoking Gun

Recently I listed some furniture for sale on craigslist, including my address and the amount desired. This afternoon I got the following email:

Am still interested in the item, but the only delay i am having now is your mailing address so that i can be able to mail out the payment to you, please kindly get back to me with the following information such as….

Full Name
The Mailing Address including your Zip code
Your cell Phone number as well.
Last Asking Price:

Please kindly get back to me as soon as possible so i will be able to forward the information to my secretary so the payment can be mail out to you.

I will be looking to read from you quickly.

Best regard

My response:

Haha sure why not.

Gristle McThornbody
2600 Marble Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM, USA
87106
No cell.
$500

I suspected that would be the end of it, until:

Your real name is

David Taggart

Delighted, I responded:

NO! Gosh, I always thought I was adopted! How did you know?!?

They weren’t so amused:

You will die i will stangel you with your mothers intestines fuck you

But I’m not letting them get away so easily.

YOU KNOW MY MOTHER?! This is the better news than I could’ve ever hoped for!

Is she pretty? Does she miss me? Does she need furniture too??

Stay tuned boys and girls on this developing family reunion!

Process Documentation as Performance Art

A small excerpt from a guide I wrote this morning:

Setting Session-level credentials in a Browser Driven Script..
Doesn’t work. I opened a case with Vendor A, 12345, in which they said “Talk to Vendor B.” I opened a case with Vendor B, 54321, in which they said, “Talk to Vendor A.”
So don’t ask.

I’m a firm believer that documentation should reflect the character and attitudes of those who write it. I’m still trying to find a way to include “Pipe Wrench” in this morning’s work.

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