Happy almost new year! Do you have any big plans for New Year's Eve or are you staying home to binge-watch West Worl ? - which btw I encourage 100%. Or have you already binge-watched West World? and if so, we need to discuss, because next to Game of Thrones, this is probably the best show that I have ever seen.
We don't have any plans for New Year's Eve as of yet, but we do plan on leaving the house to hang with some friends, which is probably a step in the right direction.
How was your Christmas? Ours was low-key and wonderful. We woke up super early Christmas morning because Sebastian hasn't got the memo that NO ONE ELSE wants to wake up at 6:00 am unless we a) have to fly somewhere or b) have to pick someone up or drop someone off at the airport. Naturally, I would have guessed that he would have been excited about Santa and presents, but as I predicted, he was way more into the empty boxes and wrapping paper. We still have gifts under the tree that we've been slowly giving to him over the course of a week.
For Christmas, I got Brent a fancy espresso machine and his mom got him a burr grinder which has been LIFE CHANGING - similar to purchasing a king size bed - something we wish we had of got years ago. Despite the constant presence of coffee grinds everywhere, I cannot recommend it enough. After many many hours of extensive research, we decided on the Breville Dose Control Pro Burr Grinder and the Breville Duo-Temp Pro Espresso Machine.
Believe me, I have exactly zero experience making coffee, but after some research and dialing in the grind, I can now make an espresso similar to the fancy coffee place down the street, which kind of blows my mind. My milk frothing skills still need a bit of work, but every time I make myself a latte, I can't help but think about the $5 I am saving making it at home.
Since Christmas, I have had exactly zero desires to prepare food. My energy is limited to picking up the phone and ordering takeout, and microwaving a frozen burrito. This has proved itself to be extremely inconvenient, seeing as we have Brent's parents staying with us and I'm pretty sure they are sick of frozen burritos. Dealing with a sick toddler for approximately 6 weeks has left me wanting to tuck myself into bed until next year. But life goes on, and sometimes we just need to make ourselves 3 shots of espresso and power through. Which is just what I did.
Which leads me to this recipe for focaccia!
Focaccia is one of the easiest bread to make. You can top it with a variety of ingredients, similar to a pizza. I've made focaccia with just garlic and rosemary and served it with a marinara dipping sauce. I've made it with artichoke hearts, olives, peppers, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes. It's fun to play around with flavor combinations. This was the first time experimenting with a fruit topping. The grapes mellowed in their sweetness after baking and paired really well with the rosemary. Focaccia is best eaten the day of, when its' fresh out of the oven, warm, and soft!
FOCACCIA WITH ROSEMARY AND GRAPES
makes 1 - 11x16" loaf (18 slices)
prep time: 3 hours
cooking time: 20 minutes
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) of dry active yeast
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil + extra for drizzling
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 cup grapes, halved
1 tsp Maldon salt
In a large bowl, proof the yeast with sugar and warm water.
Add the salt and olive oil and combine.
Add one cup at a time of flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Dump the dough onto the counter and continue kneading with your hands until the dough is smooth and elastic. Sprinkle with flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.
Place the dough into a well-oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot to let rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and let it double in size.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Place the dough on a well-greased 11x16" baking sheet (with a 1 - 2" lip). Gently stretch and press the dough into the corners of the pan. Drizzle the dough with olive oil. Cover with garlic, rosemary, and grapes. Drizzle with more olive oil. Make indentations in the dough with your fingertips. Sprinkle with salt.
Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, rotating half-way. Remove from the oven, slice, and serve warm. Best eaten the day of. Can be stored on the counter covered for a couple of days.