grape + ricotta focaccia

it's becoming easier and easier to wake up before the sun and i love it so very much. especially now that i have a fluffy robe because waking up before the sun and then being cold is the worst. but waking up before the sun, wrapping myself up in my robe, and then shuffling out to the kitchen to latch my arms around eggboy while he pours berries into an overflowing pot of steel-cut oats is my favorite way to wake up these days*.

*(these batshit crazy days that begin with frost on the ground and end with piles of leftovers and more dishes than will fit in our dishwasher.) 

so it's good batshit crazy.

good batshit crazy.

i cooked venison for my new friend sam last night. well, correction: i coated venison loin with grey salt and smoked cinnamon, seared it a bit, took a shot of whiskey, and then had him help me with the rest, because the rest is what scares me. we finished it in the oven, drizzled it with its juices, hit it with more cinnamon, and then ate it with lefse and egg mama's tater tot hot dish. a table full of eggs and a wonderful crew from the times, eating supper in our little farm house (!!!!), i wanted to capture the moment and put it in a snow globe.

so this weekend, after last week in new york and this week working with sam and his crew, life goes back to wedding planning and cake making and treadmilling in front of cupcake wars. soon there will be snow on the ground and one night i'll catch up on homeland, but i guess today is halloween so tonight is not that night.

here's some focaccia that's inspired by emiko's schiacciata all'uva, anne's perfect basic focaccia, and a gorgeous ricotta squash loaf from izy's book. i've been loving using grapes in places where i'd otherwise put tomatoes-- pizza, savory crepes, and anything with ricotta. the grapes make this focaccia a perfect morning time bread. it's soft, sweet, and cozy, just like my fluffy robe.

grape + ricotta focaccia

makes one large loaf


1 3/4 c warm water

1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) yeast

3 tb sugar

5 c flour

1 tb kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

1 c olive oil

1 1/2 c california grapes

3/4 c ricotta


combine water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl and let it proof. 

in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour and salt. add 1/2 cup of olive oil and the yeast mixer to form a dough. knead for 7-10 minutes until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed.

transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let it rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.

pour most of the remaining oil into a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish, reserving a few tablespoons for drizzling on top of the dough. divide the dough in half and press one half into the dish to cover the bottom. sprinkle the top with 1 cup of grapes and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. flatten out the remaining half of the dough and place it on top, sealing in the grapes. scatter the remaining 1/2 cup of grapes on top of the dough, and dollop spoonfuls of ricotta on top as well. sprinkle with salt and remaining olive oil.

let rest for another hour. preheat oven to 425. bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. slice into squares, spread with more ricotta if desired, and enjoy!



p.s. no friday links this week :( but major internet hugs to freya for having me be part of her "one day" series, and lynn and ashley for putting together this epic halloween post in which i am a drunk cartoon. also steph and lindsay did a tortoro week this week that is so beyond.

this post is sponsored by grapes from california. all opinions are my own!

new york

i am back.

back from a week of challah, schnitzel, new bffs, and old ones.

halva crème brûlée, halva frosting, pickles, and fish.

san fermin, bagels, hummus, and za'atar.

epic is an understatement, turnt is more like it!

this week was like camp, with babka class instead of pool time and jewish food royalty instead of counselors. we shuffled around town, learning history through food and creating bonds over meals that had me so full on love, i nearly exploded. 

my time there ended with a zooey deschanel sighting (!!!!), four added pounds, and rob's album release party, and by yesterday, i was ready to be back on the farm with my netflix and eggboy and our new range hood that he spent the entire week building from scratch. 

i probably will not shut up about my trip for the next few posts, but for now i should get my rear end on the treadmill and leave you with a few links for new york things i tried and loved:


bar bolonat: home of the first olive i ever loved, the best za'atar i ever had, and a halva crème brûlée that had us nearly licking the dish.

la boîte: the fanciest spice blends i ever done smelled, including a smoked cinnamon which i plan on putting all over venison this week.

gefilteria: we had a pickling workshop with the owner and it was the funnest! only then i was the worst fermenter in the world and didn't take care of my pickles and they made my hotel room smell like a million butts had farted at once. 

hummus place: this might be my dessert island restaurant. give me all the hummus, pita, and kadaif. 

yonah schimmel's knishes, russ & daughters, and katz's: you simply cannot come to new york to learn about jewish food without going to these places. more on these later though, as i have a little lower east side jewish food article coming out soon!

zucker bakery: a little east village bakery with israeli yummies like za'atar crackers and tahini pastries. (they were the ones that had the turkey sufganiyot last year!)

la vara: my new love affair with olives continued here (who am i??) and i also loved their crispy eggplant with honey and salt baked fish with harissa. 

breads bakery: a wonderful bakery from israel that has the softest, most perfect challah in all the land. we took a challah and babka making class and i learned so much and got nutella all over my hands. new bff talia and i delivered our babka to the food52 office afterwards and it was the happiest afternoon ever.

blackseed bagels + mile end: the future of deli is upon us and it tastes to gosh darn good. we spent a day at their beautiful kitchen on the water in red hook, eating bagels, learning how to make the fluffiest ever matzoh balls, and eating schnitzel.

cafe glechik: a ukrainian restaurant out in sheepshead bay. our meal put every meal in game of thrones to shame. it was one of those banquet-y meals where you fill up on like a million different dishes, drink a bunch... and then they come out and announce the main course. 

wythe: after a failed attempt at sneaking into the brooklyn bowl to see san fermin (alias: rachel green), new bff jacob and i sipped away our sorrows at the wythe rooftop and it almost made everything better. fast forward two days when we heard that the ebola guy was in a bowling alley in williamsburg the same night that we *tried* to get into a bowling alley in williamsburg: no, just no. ohmygod. no. but we did get to see san fermin the next night and it was cray, as always.

shalom japan: shortrib cholent, toro toast with scallion cream cheese, sake challah... oh and a heated toilet seat. get at me!!!!

taam-tov: a secret uzbeki restaurant in the heart of the diamond district, it's kosher with chinese influences, and it was so delicious.

kalustyan's: an epic spice and specialty foods store where i stocked up on odd ingredients like soapwort root, sodium acetate, and nigari flakes... things that just do not come to north dakota without a personal invitation.

new york public library menu archive: menus from the inauguration of the statue of liberty, a dinner with the queen in 1957, a meal from the astor house in 1843... we got to hold these things!!!!!! it was so freaking fascinating. did you know that there used to be a soda and fruit juice dispenser's union??

shopsin's: it was difficult to keep my shit together because all of the rules scared me, but mac and cheese pancakes, a post modern grilled cheese where the cheese was on the outside, and kenny shopsin yelling that no one knows what a fucking kazoo is before handing brian a kazoo and listening to him play beyoncé on it made it all worth it.

el rey: i spilled coffee all over myself there and i still had a delightful time because i was with lydia and brian and we ate beet pickled eggs with za'atar.

sammy's roumanian: this review of sammy's is perfect. i love that place so much. it was the perfect end to our week. 

with the exception of the wythe, shopsin's, and el rey, all of these meals and classes were enjoyed through the tent food nyc workshop. i can't recommend it enough!!!!!! you should apply. and pack stretchy pants. i'm happy to answer any questions you have if you're thinking about applying.