I know it’s a little early for a summer salad, but it was 72 out there today so baked clams and this light salad seemed the right thing to do.

For the clams, follow this link. Baked Clams

Ingredients

8 ounces thin sliced button mushrooms.
8 ounces thin sliced celery (about 2 cups)
Juice of one fresh lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil.
1 ½ teaspoons Greek seasoning (Cavender’s or see bellow for a recipe).
2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

Adjust salt pepper and lemon to taste.

Directions:

Thinly slice the mushrooms and celery and toss with the parsley in a glass bowl.
Mix the lemon juice, seasoning and oil.
Toss with celery and mushrooms.

Let rest for 15 minutes and toss again.

Greek seasoning:

2 tsp salt
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dill
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Add all the ingredients into a food processor and give it a good whirl. Store in a tight container

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A million years ago I had the pleasure of living in Cortona, Italy. A picturesque Tuscany town way up in the hills. As an art student (well for that year anyway) the simple upended nature of a town older than Rome perched almost sideways on a mountain was astounding. Just beyond what you imagine Tuscany.

But being me, my favorite thing was a breakfast sandwich made of focaccia with garlic, rosemary and olives with a thin rolled up omelet and house made mayonnaise tucked inside. Yes, Saint Francis lived there; never saw his room. I never did draw a sunrise or even bother to photograph one, but I would get out of bed to get one of these treasures. At about 6:30 AM I would climb a few thousand steps down to a small bakery that sold these little sandwiches wrapped in butcher’s paper. By 7:00, they would be gone. The bells for the monks would go off at 6:00; If you did not get up, you did not get one.

I did need to get up. I needed to get back up to the convent of Santa Margherita before school to start the sauces and prep the kitchen for the chefs. 4 millimetri a cubetti padrone? Si! Well my Italian sucks, but I did learn to cook.

Anyway, I never liked to get up early. But this, this was about the same as the Sistine Chapel. Artistry. From a bakery several hundred years old.  Magic.

Ok, it’s out and the kids are attacking. One walked off with a letter sized chunk. I can’t wait for breakfast. Go make this now!

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons olive oil divided
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 heaping tablespoon yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan
½ cup Kalamata olives roughly chopped
Sea salt or Kosher salt optional as a topping.

Instructions:

Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in your mixing bowl and let stand 15 minutes

Add the flour and salt and mix for about 60 seconds with an electric mixer with a dough hook. Add a bit more water if the mix becomes a thick dough. The mix should be somewhat runny and sticky.

Add the rosemary, garlic and olives and mix until blended in for about 15 to 30 seconds

Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 9 x 13 sheet pan. Make sure to coat the sides and let the rest settle on the bottom.

Spread the dough in the pan and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes. Well at least 60 minutes, a little more won’t hurt.

Drizzle the dough with the last half of the olive oil. Use your fingers to poke down the dough (see the picture below). Let it rest for 15 minutes.
If you plan to eat the loaf warm and fresh, sprinkle the top with the salt. If you plan on cooling the loaf for the next day, skip this step. The salt will make then to soggy overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the bread until for 25 minutes. Turn the oven up to 425 and bake another 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and wait 5 minutes. You can turn it out on a rack to cool, or better just set it on a cutting board and eat it hot.

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