Nov 25, 2011

IHCC: Gratitude

This Thanksgiving week, the I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is "Attitude of Gratitude."
Visit IHCC to find out which dishes get our thanks.
IHCC Tessa Kiros Button

I had a lot of ideas for this theme. 
Something with fish crossed my mind because I'm grateful for this

A drum (left) and sheepshead (right)
from my most recent fishing trip,
Or maybe something with chocolate.  Since I'm definitely grateful for that.  Although chocolate also turns me selfish.  Second thought: that doesn't fit the theme.

But bread.  Warm, fluffy bread.  Universal.  Something that brings us together.  Perfect.

Breaking bread
Give us this day, our daily bread
Bread of life
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou
or this beautiful Olive Bread
The olives are rich and take on an almost creamy quality.  Kneading them into the dough infuses the bread with olive oily flavor and richness. I made a Moroccan olive bread several years ago, but since it was only that one time I'm thinking it wasn't memorable. Not the case here. The Husband was totally impressed with how this looked and asked several times, "how'd you do that?" Like I just made this up myself. Ha!

Good bread--we all agreed. Even if The Boy picked out the olives and ate them solo. He has a thing about tainting his baked goods with extras.

Another winner from Food From Many Greek Kitchens.

Tessa Kiros offers interesting stories to go with her recipes. In this case, she explains how Athina was chosen as protector of Athens. Athina provided the city with the olive tree. Changing a gnarled tree into a heavily fruited olive tree, she tells the citizens that "the juice of its fruits will bring peace, health, and prosperity to you and your table."

Also interesting is a portion of the recipe instructing that the dough be blessed. 

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Olive Bread (Eliopsomo)

from Food From Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros
2 tsp active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
5 1/2 oz warm water
3 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1/2 cup drained pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 tsp dried oregano
small spring of dried oregano for the top

Scatter the yeast into a large bowl. Add the sugar and 5 1/2 oz warm water and leave to activate and bubble for about 10 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil and mix first with a wooden spoon, then your hands to get a soft dough. Knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and spongy. Wipe out the bowl with a paper towel and put the dough in. Make a cross on the dough by pressing with the edge of your hand (to bless the dough). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a dish cloth and put in a warm spot for a couple of hours to rise.

Pat the olives dry. Put them in a bowl with the oregano and toss well. When the dough has risen and is double in size, knead it again, this time working in the olives and oregano until they are evenly distributed. You might need to use a little extra flour, as the olives will add some oil to the dough. Shape into an oval loaf, making sure a few olives are showing on the outside. Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the bread with oil and if you have the sprig of oregano, press this onto the top. cover with a dish cloth and leave in a warm spot for about 1 hour to rise again.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake the bread for 30 minutes, until it is golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.


  1. Bread is definitely perfect for this theme! I actually love olives baked into bread...definitely need to try this, maybe with some cream cheese smeared on it!

  2. That IS a beauty! I'd be grateful for just a slice... ;)

  3. I've been meaning to make this, it looks so lovely. Perfect with a glass of wine... I love your pictures too, beautiful setting and beautiful bread!

  4. Oh my, how perfect!
    I love olives baked in to bread too, and with vino of course!

  5. Oh yummy! I'm such a fan of both olives and's a winning combination. I love that she instructs you to bless the dough. I'm not sure I've seen that before.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!

  6. There is a local bakery here that makes a fabulous olive bread and your loaf looks even better. It's beautiful! Great pick. ;-)


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