Maybe it’s a means to keep ties with home or maybe it’s a delusional past-time — I religiously read the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on the Internet every day. I can’t help feeling more connected to the city I grew up in than our current address. It’s one of those cities that has an everlasting effect on you.

Milwaukee is the place we go to walk along the lake, people watch at cafes, watch the symphony or ballet, throw down a blanket for the Big Bang fireworks or the air show, relax with antipasti and wine at Jazz in the Park, lounge on a river cruise, root on the Brewers and eat a brat at Miller Park… for treats from the ethnic markets and eateries, an afternoon at the art or historical museum, a brewery tour, an entertaining outing to one of the Maier Park festivals

Milwaukee is such a vibrant, friendly, alluring place; the list is ever extending.

I believe the Journal-Sentinel to be one of our country’s finer news publications [even if the daily crossword is way too easy]. This past weekend I ran across an article in the Home & Garden section: Turn your garden into a laboratory The gist, to play around with what you grow in your garden, have fun. Just because corn or asparagus or melons allegedly won’t grow in your area, doesn’t mean it’s the absolute truth. And it certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your dream crop a try.

That being said, I fully intend to grow figs and olives someday. I’d also like to see mulberries and blueberries and asparagus. Possibly some fennel and brussels sprouts. And how about avocados, mango and papaya? Okay I’m not being totally realistic [especially since I don't intend to live in the tropics], but definitely the first five… first seven.

Although the olives aren’t home-grown [the herbs are!], the fougasse from this month’s issue of Saveur couldn’t get much tastier. Chewy, soft and flavorful.

Well worth a try, and worth attempting to grow olives for.

Fougasse [makes 5 small loaves]

Printable recipe

1 t active dry yeast

1 t sugar

4 1⁄2 c flour

2 T extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing loaves

1 t kosher salt

cornmeal or semolina, for dusting

1⁄2 c minced, pitted kalamata olives [we used all (3/4 c total) niçoise olives]

1⁄4 c minced, pitted green olives

2 T minced fresh parsley

2 T minced fresh thyme

1 T minced fresh rosemary

sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and 1 1⁄3 c water heated to 115° F; let sit until foamy, 10 minutes. Stir in flour, oil and salt, and mix until a dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 6 minutes. Cover with a damp towel; let sit until doubled in size, 1 1⁄2 hours.

Heat oven to 500° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with cornmeal.

Divide rested dough into 5 equal pieces. Working with one dough piece at a time, roll into a rough 8 x 5″ triangle. Transfer triangle to the prepared sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut three lengthwise parallel slashes in middle of dough and one small slash below and parallel to middle large slash. Spread slashes apart with your fingers. Cover with a damp towel; let rest until puffed, about 30 minutes.

Combine chopped olives and herbs in a bowl. Lightly brush each dough piece with oil; sprinkle with olive-herb mixture and season with salt and pepper. Bake, one at a time, until golden brown, about 15 minutes each.

From Patricia Wells, via this month’s Saveur

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