Tag Archives: bread

Autumn Is for Ovens.

New York is gray and drizzly today: perfect weather for a cozy afternoon indoors, watching black-and-white movies, puttering in the kitchen, and maybe cuddling up with a sanity-challenged feline or two.

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Sadly, work beckons instead, but if you happen to be lucky enough to have a few hours at your disposal, might I suggest a cheesy, oniony, pull-apart bread to warm things up?

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Daydream Believer.

When I’m between jobs, I have nothing but good intentions for my down time. In my daydreams, the apartment sparkles, the giant pile of donations in the hall finally makes its way to the Salvation Army, I go to the farmers’ market at least once a week, and I exercise every day. And, naturally, I find time for the more involved cooking projects on my list.

I’m a world-class procrastinator, though. (If it were an Olympic sport, I’d be a contender for the gold.) While this is an unfortunate state of affairs, it’s also well-mined territory around these parts; you’d think I would’ve learned my lesson by now. Case in point: This recipe went up on Smitten Kitchen just over a year ago, and when I think about how long I could’ve been enjoying the beautiful bread it produced, I want to kick myself.

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A Tale of Two Focaccias.

My father passed away in the fall of 2007, and, as is customary in these situations, my family was flooded with sympathy food. Meals, snacks, desserts—you name it, our amazing friends delivered it. Through no fault of the kind, thoughtful cooks involved, though, there wasn’t much enjoyment in the majority of that eating.

We had perfect weather the night before the memorial service. Close friends and family members crowded around the patio table as many bottles of wine were opened and stories were told, both funny and bittersweet. Earlier in the day, one of those chef-friends had dropped off a basket of homemade Italian baked goods, which was brought out, passed around, and promptly demolished. I don’t remember eating anything else that evening. I know I did, but that focaccia—dense, chewy, salty, studded with briny kalamata olives and sprinkled with rosemary—was the only thing I really tasted.

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Lucky for me, she shared the recipe; unlucky for me (and for you), it’s been languishing in my email ever since. I couldn’t bring myself to cook a whole lot in the weeks that followed, never mind something that would take me back to that unbearable span of time. But I was reminded of my moment of carbohydrate nirvana a few months later, when a food blogger I most enjoy posted instructions for her own take on the savory treat.

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Poppin’ Fresh.

One cold Sunday evening in December, after a frigid game of pickup fútbol in Prospect Park, I was curled up on my too-short couch, enjoying leftovers, a glass of sherry, and a better-than-expected movie. Call it the power of suggestion, but when the film’s dialogue took a turn for the food-related—”popover” this, “popover” that—the promise of easily made starchy goodness was too much to resist. I paused the DVD and headed straight for this bookmarked recipe.

image: the kitchn

image: the kitchn

Mine looked nothing like these.

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