Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Scotch Broth and Rosemary Garlic Focaccia #recipes from @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ;  In The Solace of Bay Leaves, Pepper shares her friend Laurel’s recipe for focaccia, an easy, yummy recipe I’ve made successfully many times. Not until after the manuscript was turned in did I discover this recipe, which is even easier and yummy and now the only one we make. 

The key is the herb-infused olive oil, which goes in the dough, in the pan, and on top before baking. Use your best olive oil. I like using fresh herbs but have discovered dried herbs work, too. You can certainly change the herbs, based on what you have. 

It is, of course, perfect with any soup, including the Scotch Broth, below. 

Rosemary Garlic Focaccia 

adapted from Inspired Taste website

Total prep and cooking time: about 2 hours, 15 minutes

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)

1/4 teaspoon honey

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

flake salt for topping (optional)

In a cold medium skillet, combine olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and black pepper. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until aromatic, but before the garlic browns. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey. Stir a few times then let sit 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup flour and 1/4 cup of infused olive oil mixture to the bowl with yeast and honey. Stir 3 to 4 times until the flour has moistened. Let sit 5 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and the kosher salt. When the dough comes together – it will be slightly damp and a little ragged – transfer to a floured board and knead 10 to 15 times until smooth.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with a warm, damp towel and let rise 1 hour, in a warm area of your kitchen. 

Heat oven to 450 degrees. 

Use two tablespoons of the infused oil into a 9X13 rimmed baking sheet or baking pan; brush the oil or tilt the pan until the oil covers the bottom of the pan. 

Place dough in the baking sheet or pan and press it into place. It may not fully stretch to each corner. Dimple dough with your fingers, then drizzle with the remaining two tablespoons of infused oil. Sprinkle with flake sea salt. Let dough rise for 20 minutes, until it puffs slightly.

Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving. 

Leftovers can be kept in the pan, well-covered, or wrapped tightly and refrigerated. The bread freezes nicely. 

Scotch Broth

adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes From a Lifetime of Cooking, by Julia Child

We love soup. We love barley. We love soup with barley, so when Mr. Right first saw a recipe for Scotch Broth in one of our favorite cookbooks, we had to try it. Now, Julia is known for French food and the name suggests this isn’t French. Who cares? She didn’t, and neither do we.

This past winter, we’ve been going through our French cookbooks and making some of our favorites, getting them down just the way we like them. If your vision of Scotch Broth is the 1960s Campbell’s Soup variety, with barley and bits of beef and carrot in a dark, salty beef broth, this isn’t it. If you’d like to play up the beef broth, use one large tomato, seeded and finely chopped. If you’d like a more vegetable-forward version, try ours. The original called for a cup of diced canned tomatoes, but the can is a cup and a half, and why leave half a cup sitting in the fridge in the hopes of remembering it? There’s still a strong beef presence – it’s not a tomato soup, by any stretch. Just a different color than you might remember! 


2 quarts beef stock 

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

8 ounces chuck, petite sirloin, or similar cut of beef, cut in half inch cubes (leftovers are great for this)

3/4 cup barley, uncooked

½ cup diced white or yellow onion (about ½ a medium onion)

½ cup diced carrot (about 1 large carrot)

1 cup seeded and diced tomato or 1 to 1-1/2 cup diced canned tomatoes (see note)

1-15 ounce can white beans

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

In a stock pot, bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. While the stock is heating, heat the oil in a small saute pan and brown the beef. 

When the stock is simmering, add the beef, barley, onion, carrot, and tomato. Cover loosely and simmer about 15 minutes. Add the beans. When the vegetables are tender and the beans heated, the soup is ready. Serve and sprinkle a bit of parsley on top. 

As Julia would say, Bon Appetit!

From the cover of BITTERROOT LAKE, written as Alicia Beckman (coming April 13, 2021 from Crooked Lane Books in hardcover, ebook, and audio): 

When four women separated by tragedy reunite at a lakeside Montana lodge, murder forces them to confront everything they thought they knew about the terrifying accident that tore them apart, in Agatha Award-winning author Alicia Beckman's suspense debut.

Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.

Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.

And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by her website and join the mailing list for her seasonal newsletter. And join her on Facebook where she shares book news and giveaways from her writer friends, and talks about food, mysteries, and the things that inspire her.


  1. I’ve come up with my own version of scotch broth over the years. I use lamb and no tomatoes. I use beef broth, barely, leeks, turnips, celery and carrots.

    1. That sounds delicious. We rarely cook with lamb but do enjoy eating it.

  2. Sounds quite tasty.
    I'm with Sandy-I'd love it with lamb.

  3. I love scotch broth. Sadly, my husband doesn't like it. When he was out of town for a week last year, I made a pot of mushroom barley soup. I ate it daily. LOL It's so good, in my opinion.