I spent some time at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens yesterday. Their newly designed kitchen garden will lend itself to a wonderful series of cooking lectures and demos by nationally known chefs. Their campus was teeming with landscapers and land shapers- I would love to have had a camera set up on the side of the buildings with a snapshot every 30 seconds or so. Sitting in their lovely cafe for my meeting allowed me a vantage point to witness the grounds changing before my eyes. These folks are serious! Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is a place that invites inspiration. The education director Rebecca Jacobs gave me a tour of their upcoming programming. They are right on track for the summer. I can't wait to join them. We're scheduling times in July, August and September for me to come in and work with their staff to produce some demos/cooking classes for both adults and kids. What fun!
Here is a recipe for an Herbed Bread. Enjoy it alongside your favorite salad. I've taken to adding a few whisps of fresh herbs to my salad greens. It's a great way to get a little sprinkle of extra flavor into your veggie creations.
Savory Herb Bread
This loaf is made from a soft dough—a bit sticky—but it bakes up moist on the inside and crusty on the outside. The fresh herbs infuse the bread with a kitchen garden scent. Serve it warm alongside your favorite soup.
2 T yeast
1⁄2 c warm water
1 t Maine maple syrup
5 c King Arthur flour
11⁄2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 T fresh herbs of your choice- I like to use a combination of rosemary, sage, basil and thyme, finely chopped
2 c ricotta cheese
1⁄4 c Maine maple syrup
3 T chopped fresh chives
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 T butter, melted, or extra-virgin olive oil
Mix the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. Let sit until it’s bubbling and frothy.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Stir in the herbs.
In another bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, 1⁄4 cup maple syrup, chives, parsley, eggs, and melted butter. Whisk in the yeast mixture and immediately pour all the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined.
Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface for 10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add a Tablespoon of flour at a time until it is just firm enough to knead. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Place dough on the pan and form it into a long loaf. Let it rise until double in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let the bread cool on a wire rack. Slice to serve.