We’re on the heels of a delightful visit of the talented Erin of the blog Naturally Ella. She made the trek from her home state of Illinois to check out Indianapolis and spend some time together. Though we’d never met before, we quickly got to know each other, and had a wonderful weekend cooking, eating, photographing, and laughing together!
It was so comforting to hang out with someone who also loves to photograph their food, and doesn’t mind eating it cold, or standing amid a pile of messy dishes.
Erin also graciously offered to help us with some recipes for our Green Mango Cafe benefit cookbook. We had a great time working on a few items from the book.
And while focaccia bread might not seem quite Cambodian (it’s not!), it’s good proof of the international flair of the menu at the cafe. Since the girls at the culinary training center have been trained in all styles of cooking, a fair amount of Western-style items appear on the menu, especially baked goods.
Focaccia is one of our favorite breads to use for sandwiches, or to serve with a meal. This version was a collab creation between all of us and a few different sources, and may end up on the cookbook line-up, along with a variety of other Cambodian and international items.
In the meantime, take it as a chance to try out some of the fresh herbs as part of recent series on fresh herbs!
Thanks to Erin for all her help, and the wonderful visit!
More Behind the Scenes Photos
See this lineup at Naturally Ella
More on Our Cambodia Trip
Other Posts in Our Herb Series
How to Start Growing Herbs (Video)
Lemon Mint Slush (Alex’s beverage of choice above)
Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Herbs
Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt and Mint (Recipe and Video)
How to Chiffonade (Video)
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (we used rosemary and basil)
- Kosher or sea salt
- 10 x 15-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan)
- In a bowl, place 2 cups warm water and 2 teaspoons dry yeast. Let stand for about 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or food processor), add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, the yeast mixture, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir the mixture together a bit using the dough hook from your mixer to start the mixture. Attach the dough hook, and then start to mix the dough on a low speed for about 12 minutes, slowly adding about 1/2 cup all purpose flour as the dough mixes, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, adding the additional flour in the same way to get the dough to a smooth and elastic consistency.)
- Turn the mixture out into an oiled bowl. Cover with a towel, and wait about 1 1/2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
- Coat a 10 x 15-inch baking pan (jelly roll pan) with about 1 tablespoon oil. Punch down the dough, then knead it into a ball. Using your fingertips, spread the dough into the baking sheet. Let it rise for about 30 minutes in the pan until puffy.
- While you wait, preheat the oven to 475°F. Mince 4 cloves garlic and chop 2 tablespoons fresh herbs.
- After 30 minutes, drizzle the bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with minced garlic and herbs and several pinches of kosher or sea salt. Using your knuckle, make small indentations across the top of the bread, about 1/2 inch deep and about 1/2 inch apart.
- Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.