First Backfire of 08

So, apparently there is a HUGE difference between a cake of fresh yeast and a packet of dry yeast. I’m even embarrassed to tell you guys that the foccacia experiment failed miserably! I thought there was something funny about the dough when I was kneading it because the recipe called for SO much flour and so little liquid! I added water to compensate and it looked fine when it was rising. How wrong was I?! It came out of the oven looking more like a pizza crust cracker than bread! Very disappointing, not to mention embarassing for someone in culinary school for crying out loud! I should have done my yeast research before I began, I suppose! Now, being a chef-in-training I am most certainly a perfectionist. When that crispy thing came out of the oven I immediately went to my pantry, wanting to try again! However (and probably a good thing, too), I had ran out of yeast.

I was counting on hot foccacia slathered with creamy hummus to go along side of my leftover lentil soup for lunch. When all hell broke loose though, I went to the trusty Nigella to see what to do. I read the section in her book, “How To Eat”, on cooking for one and was intrigued by her suggestion of a “mushroom sandwich”. I had portabellas in the fridge and artisan bread that I had thawed out, so I thought why not? It was AMAZING! I roasted a portabella that I slathered with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove and some sea salt in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. When it was done it was tender, juicy and quite tasty! I spread some whole grain dijon mustard on my toasted artisan sunflower seed bread, topped it with the roasted shroom and dug in! So good! I had it alongside my small bowl of soup and had an apple as well for about 530 calories.

Okay, half of me really wants to pick up more yeast at the store when I go in a few minutes and try again….using a recipe I have used in the past that I know works! Maybe I’ll pick up some fresh herbs as well to top it with…….

Back at it!




You Might Also Like

  • Kath
    January 2, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I think the “failure” sounds delicious!! Crispy – perfect with hummus!! The husband made foccacia this weekend with regular bakers yeast. He posted his recipe and I just ate a sandwich on it and it is GREAT bread!

  • Cathy
    January 2, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Hi Jenna! Happy New Year! Don’t worry about the bread….you’ll perfect it in no time….heck, I am too scared to even attempt to make bread! 🙂 My husband and I booked our trip to Paris….we are going the last week of April into May and I couldn’t be more excited! Being a chef in training, are there any restaurants that you recommend? We are in the Latin Quarter, but will go anywhere! I plan on walking a lot!! Thanks!!

  • Danielle
    January 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I give you credit for trying Jenna! I won’t dare make a homemade baguette, let alone foccacia 🙂 Anyway, your macaroons sound delicious! I tried a few myself when I was in France last winter and I loved, along with, quite frankly, ever single aspect of French cuisine! I’m going for a week over my spring break! I had an exchange student from Paris live with me for a year in high school so luckily I always have someone to stay with. Not to mention that she’s also my best friend, so I can’t wait to see her again.
    Oh and about the cookies… I actually made them from an unknown mix of ingredients that we got in a cute little jar from a family friend, all I did was add an egg, butter, and vanilla extract. But I will definitely ask her for you, she is a fabulous baker and the cookies (again) turned out perfect. I’ll get back to you!

  • jenna
    January 2, 2008 at 9:33 pm


    That’s so exciting! I’m so jealous!!!! Guy Savoy’s restaurant, Les Bouquinistes ( was my absolute favorite…my mom and I went there on our first night in Paris. Just beware—it’s fancy! I wore jeans like the typical american and felt a tad underdressed. It’s also pretty expensive so that might be an option for a really nice dinner when you are there. Note that everywhere is very expensive though! That’s the bad part! Les bouquinistes in in the latin quarter in the 6th arrondissment.

    From the latin quarter you can easily walk to Ile St.Louis–my favorite area in all of paris. Its a little island near notre dame and has the cutest cafes/restaurants there. My favorite restaurant there was an actual cave…you will know it when you see it if you just walk down the street there. It’s reasonably priced, the food is amazing and the atmosphere is so cool! I took Ryan there on his first night in Paris when he flew over to visit me for a week. I remember I had the salmon…it makes me hungry just thinking about it!

    There’s a cafe called “circles” I believe right across the street from the luxembourg gardens….go there for lunch. The croque monseurs are the best in the city there. Gooey cheese, fresh bread, thin country ham….Ryan and I went there for lunch after I picked him up from the airport when he hadn’t slept in about 24 hours and we ate the best lunch of our lives. seriously! I ordered a croque madame (croque monseur with a fried egg on top—bad, i know!!! but so good!!) and I still remember the taste…ah! We also went there after dinner one night for dessert because they serve Berhillion ice cream (YOU MUST EAT THIS!!!!!!!!). We had ice cream sundaes and hot nutella crepes with espresso. amazing. About berhillion ice cream…its famous all over owned place but they sell the ice cream all over paris. its worth finding. the original berhillion ice cream shop is in ile st.louis and the line always wraps around the block to just get in the door. Ice cream just doesn’t taste the same after having that there.

    I could literally write a guide book about paris food because i think i sampled everything! I want to hear about where you end up going! Local creperies are amazing and a great idea for lunch. I loved getting ham/cheese/egg crepes with a glass of cider for lunch and dinner! oh, and tarte tatin for dessert of course!!!!!!


  • Cathy
    January 2, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you!! This is amazing advise and I will defintely try all of these places!! I will send some pics when we get back!! 🙂 Thanks again! By the way, your foccacia looks awesome……you really are a perfectionist!

  • jenna
    January 2, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    oh! I found the card I had saved in my wallet of the cave restaurant…it’s called Le Caveau De L’Isle….brings back so many memories! You really must eat there!!!

    here’s their website from the card:

  • jenna
    January 2, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    hmm maybe that one just works in france…oh, well–eat there! 🙂

  • jess
    January 3, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Sorry jenna, but you forgot the l’ in the link. I noticed (minoring in french) and tried adding it. I hate it when the letters look muddled together like that, but it seems to only happen with french! It definately works, and it definately looks Amazing! I’m really looking into the french writing program that you went through (perhaps not for this summer, but next- need some time to save! haha). Anyway, the link is:

    Cathy have a fantastic time! I am super jealous. The last time I was in Paris I was with my mother and we just had the best time walking everywhere and, of course, indulging in the local cuisine!!

    And jenna, perhaps you should go for it and write the guidebook on quintessential paris eateries and/or the best boulangeries- or at least jot some notes down. I, for one, would really prefer a dining guide written by someone who knows what they’re talking about in terms of food, can express it eloquently, And focuses on the healthy aspects of savoring meals than a general ‘guide to paris’ any day!

  • jenna
    January 3, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    thanks for finding that, jess! You should def. look into it. it was a really good program with great professors. I def. spent way too much money though! and mainly on food because the dollar is so bad right now over there!!Its worth it to take time to save. luckily I had just graduated college and had some graduation money to burn! 😉

  • Kelly
    January 3, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Hi! I was just wondering, what kind of soup is that? Some sort of vegetable concoction? It looks absolutely AMAZING. Thanks !

  • jenna
    January 4, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Hi Kelly-

    That soup is a Chunky Lentil Soup…I made it a couple weeks ago and froze some of the leftovers. It has lentils, tomatoes and butternut squash in it and it is hands down the best soup I have ever made. Look for the recipe on the recipes page! It was super easy to make as well and has no meat in it 🙂