Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert First. ~ Ernestine Ulmer (A vida é incerta. Coma a sobremesa primeiro.)

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back and be thankful.  There are literally millions of things to be thankful for.  A child that smiles at a stranger on the street and stops time.  The blades of grass that cool our bare feet.  The sun that rises faithfully every morning and sets in the evening.  The shimmering grains of sand on the beach.  A kitten sleeping peacefully on your favorite pillow.  Grandpa Elliott singing “Stand By Me” with Playing for a Change.

How sweet is the scent of someone you love coming in for a hug? Or the excitement you feel when a hand-written letter arrives in the mail and it’s from a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.  Tucked in the branches of the Christmas tree is an ornament you bought while strolling through quaint little shops in a foreign land.  A good laugh at your desk when you receive an email that says: “I’m interested in a Health Care Curse”.  There might be a vowel missing from the “curse”.

Of all the blessings of this life I am especially thankful for good health.  Most of us have two eyes that open when we wake each morning.  And we have legs that will take us on a scenic jog whenever our heart desires.  With good health we can enjoy and feel thankful for all the other things.

This Passion Fruit Mousse recipe is very easy to make and easier to eat…first.

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Allrecipes.com

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Allrecipes.com

8 Maracujás
1 colher de sopa de açucar
1 lata de leite condensado
2 copos de crème (whipping cream)

Tire a polpa dos maracujás, amacie com as mãos e coe para extrair o suco.  Acrescente o açucar e o leite condensado.

Numa tigela fria (coloque a tigela no freezer antes de usar) e bata o crème até formar um Chantilly.  Levemente acrescente um terço do crème à mistura do maracujá e logo acrescente o restante do crème até que desapareçam os traços e a cor fique uniforme.  Leve para gelar (na geladeira) durante uma hora.

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Focaccia col Sale

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by The Italian Baker

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by The Italian Baker

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Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside…this Focaccia recipe ensures happiness in the home.  I added the rosemary to the dimples just because.

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 cups plus 1 to 2 tablespoons water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
Scant 7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or half all-purpose flour and half bread flour
1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Stir the yeast in to the warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.  Stir in 2 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon of the water and the oil.  Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and whisk or stir until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough comes together.  Knead on a floured surface until velvety and soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.

First Rise ~ Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shaping and Second Rise ~ For rectangular focacce, cut the dough in half and shape to fit two oiled 10 1/2 by 15 1/2 – inch pans.  Cover the dough with towels and let rise for 30 minutes.

Dimpling and Third Rise ~ Dimple the dough vigorously with your fingertips, leaving indentations that are as deep as 1/2 inch.  The bakers of Genoa do this to trap the little pools of oil and salt that flavor the surface.  Cover the tops with moist towels and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Topping ~ Brush the dough with 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt. The secret of keeping doughs moist while cooking them is to cover the tops with equal amounts of olive oil and water mixed with salt; the water evaporates slowly during the cooking, allowing the interior of the focaccia to cook fully without drying out.  For home ovens that don’t get hot enough to make use of this secret, you can paint the tops with oil and sprinkle them with salt, and when you place the focacce in the oven, spray them with water.

Baking ~ Preheat the oven to 400F.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, spraying with water three times in the first 10 minutes.  When finished baking, immediately remove the focacce from the pans and place the focacce onto racks to cool so that the bottoms do not get soggy.  Eat focacce warm or at room temperature.  Don’t refrigerate them!  They’ll taste strange.

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2 ¼ colheres de chá de levedura seca
½ copo de agua morna
2 ¼ copos mais 1 a 2 colheres de sopa de agua, em temperatura ambiente
2 colheres de sopa de azeite de oliva
7 ½ copos razos de farinha de trigo para uso geral, crus
1 colher de sopa de sal marinho fino

Misture a levedura com a agua morna numa tigela grande; deixe descansar até ficar cremoso (uns 10 minutos).  Acrescente 2 ¼ copos e uma colher de chá da agua e o azeite.  Adicione 2 copos da farinha e o sal. Misture até ficar consistente.  Adicione o restante da farinha, 1 copo de cada vez, até formar a massa.  Sove a massa até ficar macia, uns 8 a 10 minutos.

Primeiro Crescimento ~ Coloque a massa numa tigela untada com azeite e cubra com papel plastico.  Deixe crescer até dobrar o tamanho, uma hora e meia.

Segundo Crescimento ~ Para focacce retangular, corte a massa na métade e forre duas asadeiras untadas com azeite.  Cubra o massa com pano de prato e deixe crescer durante 30 minutos.

Terceiro Crescimento ~ Use os dedos para formar crateras na massa.  As crateras podem ser de até ½ polegada.  Os padeiros de Genova faziam isso para prender o azeite e o sal, o que dão o sabor.  Cubra com toalhas humedecidas e deixe crescer até dobrar o tamanho, umas 2 horas.

Cobertura ~ Utilize um pincel para passar 2 a 3 colheres de sopa do azeite de oliva por cima da massa.  Espalhe 1 ½ a 2 colheres de chá de sal marinho.  (Eu usei alecrim também)

Assar ~ Aqueça o forno (400F).  Asse por 20 a 25 minutos, regando o forno com um spray de agua tres vezes durante os primeiros 10 minutos.  Quando estiverem assados as focacce, tire das assadeiras e deixe esfriar numa trempe.  Sirva em temperatura ambiente our morno.  Não coloque na geladeira.