When Casey from Tastestopping.com first started talking about a new concept she was developing on her Kitchen-play.com site, I was intrigued. I raised my hand right away and said that I wanted to participate! And so, after several months, I finally received the long awaited email saying that it was my turn to be part of the new Progressive Party series. I read the email with such excitement. For the first sentence, that is.
Casey explained that November’s participants would be creating recipes using products from Lindsay Olives. Yay! I love Lindsay Olives. I use them all the time. This was going to be great. Then that second sentence – “Course assigned: Dessert.” Dessert?!? What the heck? Surely it was a typo. It wasn’t. So, after a few days of thinking, pondering and Googling “olive desserts” I started trying some things. Most of the desserts I found on the internet were created by professional chefs who had made candied olives and in turn used them in the dessert recipe. So I thought, okay, let’s try candying some olives. I spent two days one weekend making candied olives following instructions I’d researched online. All I’m going to say about candied olives is, well, um, there aren’t any in my recipe.
Look – I’m not a professional “recipe developer.” I’m a home cook. A pretty darned good one, but still just a home cook. So I knew that whatever I came up with had to be reproducible by other home cooks and, most importantly, had to be a delicious recipe that most families would enjoy. It really took some thought and lots of work and, honestly, this post almost didn’t happen. I nearly gave up more than once. But, thanks to Casey’s encouragement, I think I’ve come up with something that is going to surprise almost everyone!
This recipe starts out as a savory olive and rosemary yeast bread full of delicious Lindsay Greek Kalamata Olives, but then it turns into a wonderful vanilla and cardamom-scented French toast. The yeast bread is easy to make and the French toast portion of the recipe is even easier. And, even more amazing, it only took one try to get it right. I made the bread one afternoon and the next day cooked the French toast. BeeBop and I took the first bite, looked at each other and said in unison, “Wow! This is amazing!” I truly hope you’ll enjoy it as well.
You can play along with us over on Kitchen Play by recreating one of the six recipes from the Lindsay Olives Progressive Party for a chance to win $100. The contest runs through November 30, 2010, and bloggers can enter each course, up to six entries. Visit http://www.kitchen-play.com for full contest rules.
6 ¾-inch thick slices Olive-Rosemary bread (recipe follows)
1 cup milk
3 tblsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp ground cardamom
2 tblsp butter
2-3 tblsp powdered sugar
In a shallow bowl or pan large enough to fit an entire slice of Olive-Rosemary bread, combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cardamom. Whisk until well combined.
Dip bread slices two at a time into the egg mixture for about 15 seconds per side – enough time for the bread to absorb some of the egg mixture but not become soaked through.
Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter to skillet. When the butter has melted, place the prepared bread slices into the skillet. Cover the pan and cook for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn slices over and repeat.
Remove to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm while cooking the remaining French toast.
Before serving, dust liberally with powdered sugar.
1 pkg active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (105°-115°)
2 tsp sugar
2 tblsp olive oil
1 cup warm milk (105°-115°)
6 oz Lindsay pitted kalamata olives, chopped
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tblsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp salt
Combine yeast, sugar and water and set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the proofed yeast, olive oil, milk, olives, all-purpose and whole wheat flours, rosemary and salt. Stir until a rough dough is formed.
Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and knead for approximately 10 minutes or until dough is elastic and pliable incorporating up to ½ cup more flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking.
Place the dough into a large, well-oiled bowl and turn so that the top of the dough picks up oil from the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and divide into two equal pieces. Shape the dough into rounds and place on an oiled baking pan. Cut an “X” in the top of each loaf. Cover and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes or until nearly doubled in size again.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Bake until loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped. Approximately 35-40 minutes.