Saturday, January 27, 2007

Rosemary Focaccia (Page 606)

  • Date: Saturday, January 20, 2007 -- 10pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-
I picked this recipe because I love focaccia. The truth: I have a better focaccia recipe. The one we used in culinary school is definitely superior to this one. But this one was still amazing! The dough was a little too dry (I recognized this in the process of making it and added some additional water, but it was still a bit dry). The thing is, if you take homemade bread, brush it with huge quantities of olive oil and then sprinkle it generously with excellent sea salt, it's not going to be bad! This wasn't this best focaccia I have had or made in my life, but it was delicious, and I can't help but smile remembering that there are more pieces of it waiting for me in the freezer. If you've never made focaccia, you should. It's not hard and it is one of those foods that is simply awe-inspiring when eaten right out of the oven.

Like many of my better ideas, the thought of going to culinary school was born out of stillness. It was my second year in graduate school. It had been a long semester, during which my fiance and I had split, and I had taken my quals. In the wake of my qualifying exam, an eerie silence fell upon my life. I had focused so much attention preparing for that one day, that once it passed I was no longer sure what to do. There was, as always, loads of mathematics to be done. But math could only fill some of the silences. I have always been a little scared of stillness and I knew that if I sat still too long, I would have to deal with the pain of what had happened between me and my fiance. So I cooked. Every time I opened the oven door, releasing waves of chocolatey smells, I felt renewed. I cooked like an addict. Cakes, and cookies, stir fries and currys, tostadas, citrus salads, lemon orzo, lentil soup, potato leek soup, tortilla soup... soup, after soup, after soup. I cooked comfort foods. I cooked foods whose smells would overtake me. With the freezer packed with leftovers, I just kept cooking. It was as if I was charmed: nothing I made in those days turned out any less than perfect. Nothing was dry, or tough, over or undercooked, poorly seasoned. Everything was just right. Standing in the kitchen over a perfect dinner one chilly December evening, I realized that everything was always perfect because I only cooked things that I could prepare perfectly. Desperate for a push out of my comfort zone, into a world of foods unknown, I started looking in to culinary school.

6 comments:

Mike Hill said...

And what a wonderful idea it was! I know that we have all benefited not only from the amazing food you prepare but also from your expertise and willingness to share it with us!

The phrase "born out of stillness" is really beautiful, by the way. I like it a lot.

Teena said...

Thanks for the support! I miss having you around to cook for. You always had interesting commentary on the food!

Mike Hill said...

I miss cooking with you too. It'll be weird not having a Teena made b-day cake this year (though I might be in Boston near then...)

Teena said...

If you let me know when you are going to be in town I will *consider* making you a birthday cake :)

Mike Hill said...

Next Friday morning??

Teena said...

You are only going to be in town on Friday morning? Huh?