Darrell and I have been in Williamsburg for the last week weathering the heat and humidity the best we can as “Northerners.”
My journal is full of notes (and pictures!) so I can share some of our journey with you in future posts! I learned so much not only about bread in the 18th century but about the people in the 21st century who keep the stories and traditions alive. I can’t wait to introduce you to some of them!!
I admit that I did bring my sourdough starter along to feed and nurture while we were in Virginia but that was the extent of my bread making. I didn’t have my hands in a dough bowl all week!
I had to make up for lost time when we got home. I’d seen rosemary in every garden in Williamsburg so I started out with a rosemary sea-salt focaccia but quickly added in a batch of sourdough biscuits for shortcake when I saw all the berries that had ripened in our absence!
Although we missed being able to harvest our own salad (and berries) while we were away, Darrell and I did enjoy eating out a lot more than we usually do. We loved the convenience (and having someone else do the dishes) but we missed our simple farmhouse suppers.
Now that we’re safely home, here’s what is on the menu for our first night back at the farmette: a simple grilled chicken sandwich with herbed mayonnaise and fresh greens on rosemary-focaccia bread.
To make it, I’ll start out in the morning with a batch of “No-fail-anybody-can-do-it-focaccia.” (Please note that I’ve started my dough as late as 3:00 in the afternoon on school days for a 6:15 supper! Adjust rise and fold times to meet your time frame.) Remember that this dough doesn’t require lengthy kneading, is very forgiving, and is easy to work with!
Marinate 4 boneless chicken breasts. We keep it simple and generally stick to Lea & Perrins because it doesn’t have added corn syrup or other ingredients that we can’t identify. In the end we want it to compliment this great sandwich, not take it over!
About 30-60 minutes before we’re ready to grill, we pour about a 1/4 cup (or less) Worcestershire sauce in glass baking dish, sprinkle on a little fresh or powdered ginger, and add a dash of lemon juice. If there happens to be cilantro in the garden we might add some of that in, too. Turn the chicken once or twice while marinating. (There are times when we modify and adjust with a little soy sauce or by adding in a little honey or olive oil.) Keep it simple!
The herbed mayonnaise:
Sometime while my dough is rising or my chicken is marinating, I’ll pick some of our favorite herbs from the garden and mix them up with a little bit of mayonnaise. We always make more than we need because it’s great on sandwiches and burgers plus keeps a long time in the fridge.
A basic starting recipe is 1 cup mayonnaise to 3-4 tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs.
Mix the herbs and mayonnaise. I really love a blend of tarragon and thyme but you can add in some chives, basil, dill…whatever you have. If you don’t have an herb garden use some dried herbs and put planting an herb garden (or herb pot) on a to-do list that you hope to get to one day!
Grill your chicken, slice your focaccia, and spread on some herbed mayonnaise. Put out some fresh green lettuces, tomato, or onion for anyone who wants to fancy it up a bit.
Plate it with some kettle chips and fresh fruit and you’ll have an incredibly simple supper. It really doesn’t get better than this! …except when you take your plate out onto the porch and spend the rest of the night just enjoying the people you love!
Hope to see you around the bread bowl soon! I’ll be at the Seymour Library on July 22 at 6:30. Space is limited so make sure to sign-up ahead of time!
If you enjoyed this post, or know someone who might like to make these great chicken sandwiches (and maybe invite you over for diner?), please share it!
PS: Don’t forget to make any leftover focaccia into croutons for your summer salads! They’re easy and delicious, too!
Don’t forget to sign-up on my contact list to stay connected and be the first to get information on upcoming fall classes!
Need dessert to go with this? Try my Frozen Peanut Butter Cups!