In the spirit of saying goodbye to old friends and welcoming new ones into our fall and winter homes, I developed a hearty helping of oven-roasted tomato focaccia bread, hot buttered rum, and a non-alcoholic version using your favorite coffee. Yum! So hello to falling leaves, goodbye to long, lazy sunny days...we're about to get our carbs on!
Hot Buttered Rum
*This is an alcoholic beverage; non-alcoholic version to follow.
What you'll need:
1 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup of softened, unsalted butter (use the real stuff, please...)
1/3 of a teaspoon of shredded lemon peel
1/3 of a teaspoon of shredded orange peel
1/4 teaspoon of cinammon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (if desired)
Bottle of Rum (dark or light--your choice, just make it the good stuff)
1/2 cup boiling water/mug
Mix the brown sugar, butter, lemon and orange peel, and cinammon (and/or nutmeg) in a bowl. You can cover and chill if you don't plan on using it immediately. The mixture should be good for up to 32 days in your refrigerator and can be used for 6-8 mugs of hot buttered rum, depending on your mug-size. To use immediately, place 1 heaping tablespoon of above mixture at bottom of mug. Add 4 tablespoons of your favorite rum. Add 1/2 cup of boiling water to mug. And there you go! Hot Buttered Rum...it's not just for the holidays anymore!
Non-alcoholic version: Do the same as above except substitute hot water and rum for 3/4 cup of your favorite hot coffee.
Rosemary Oven-roasted Tomato Focaccia
What you'll need:
-1 ball refrigerated pizza dough from your grocery store or local pizzeria
-4 plum tomatoes quartered, seeded, and tossed with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 7 grinds fresh black pepper, 1 sprig's worth of rosemary leaves, and a teaspoon of sea salt spread on baking sheet and roasted on bottom shelf of oven for 25 minutes at 375-degrees, turning once after 10 minutes. Once cooled, you can chop the tomatos to spread more evenly on focaccia dough.
-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-2 full sprigs of rosemary, removing the leaves
-fresh ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon of sea salt
-2 tablespoons shredded parmiaggiano reggiano cheese
Stretch out dough 2 hours ahead of planned baking time on cookie sheet. Spread one tablespoon of olive oil on one side; turn over stretched dough and spread second tablespoon of olive oil on opposite side. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest on counter for about 1.5 hours. Preheat oven to 500-degrees. After dough has rested, stretch again to refit to pan as needed. Let sit for 5 minutes, then pressing out any air bubbles that may have formed. Spread remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over top surface of dough. Sprinkle with rosemary. Evenly add the oven-roasted chopped tomatoes. Grind fresh black pepper over entire surface to taste. Add teaspoon of sea salt over entire surface. Sprinkle cheese over entire surface. Bake for about 13 minutes--but keep your eye on it. The sides should be golden brown. Cut up the focaccia however you wish--if you have teenage boys, it will feed 2 well--for everyone else, about 4-6 people can enjoy multiple servings--approximately 12 or so servings--depending on how you cut it.
I'd day we're ready for the fall season, and the cooler weather, wouldn't you? Bring it on! We're steeled against the cold, against the wind, against the end of our summer pop culture favorites by new flavors popping all around us. Don't forget to check your TV Guide or on-screen program guides. Set your tivos to record...cause here comes fall! And pop culture wouldnt have the same *pop* without my pop culture cooking to add to the enjoyment of it all!
Thanks for joining me for this week's segment of pop culture cooking! Next week, we'll get a little hot cider working and maybe head to the healthy shelf for a satisfying yet light roasted butternut squash salad with home-made croutons. Tastes of the season permeate pop culture cooking this fall!