Hello and welcome to Cooking with Bonnet. In possession of a non-communal kitchen for the first time since June and inspired by Lucky Frog's delicious problem, today I will be cooking with All The Grapes. Let's get started!
(Forgive the crappy photos. My smartphone gave up, so I'm using my sister's slide phone from 2011.)
First up: grape focaccia. If you're not already aware of the wonder that is Smitten Kitchen, I highly encourage you to explore the site for hours on end... while this is rising, of course.
I followed the (halved) recipe as written, with the following exceptions:
- I omitted the milk. I didn't have any, and it's just a tablespoon. Look, now it's vegan!
- I used plain old red grapes instead of Concord grapes, because some of us don't live in the foodie haven that is New York and/or are restricted to buying only what's in stock at the student-run grocery store because we have a shit ton of meal money left but not much actual money. I skipped the rosemary for the same reason.
- My dough was not nearly as wet as it should have been. This is probably because my flour settled in the bag so I almost certainly used way more than it called for. Oops. I kneaded a little more oil into the dough later on to try to compensate.
- Lacking a mixer, I kneaded this by hand. Since my dough wasn't very sticky, it was easy and took about three and a half songs to get where I wanted it.
Once you hit the first rise, leave it alone and use your leftover grapes to make these.
Now, I can hear you saying "but Bonnet, that's weird." No. Well, yes, but it's good weird.
Look. I broke open my crappy Target pepper grinder to make these grapes. I'm not a religious woman, but if I were, I would make sacrifices at the altar of these grapes. I have been waiting patiently since the DOMA decision to be able to legally marry these grapes. I truly believe that we could solve partisan gridlock in Congress if we could get everyone to eat these grapes. These grapes are better than fresh bao.
What I'm saying is that you should make these damn grapes. If you don't have some of the ingredients, that's okay—you really just need grapes, vinegar (any kind; I used cider), and sugar. The other things are just exciting bonuses.
A word to the wise: when the brine is on the stove, it's going to smell amazing and you're going to think it's a good idea to put your head over the pot and breathe in. Take my word for it and fight that urge.
When you're done with your grapes, you'll still have some time to kill while your dough rises. A lot of time, actually, since there are two rises. This is not a quick recipe. I suggest taking a nap, watching Netflix, painting your nails this awesome color, or, if you're not sick of bread yet, making some lavash. (It's amazing. If you're not feeding a crowd, though, I'd suggest a half batch even though it freezes well.) You can also dance, but that probably won't take the full time.
After what seems like forever, your focaccia will be ready to bake and you will have fallen in love with Sir Mordred's floppy hair.
While it's baking, use the time to clean the kitchen and tell a random teenage boy that no, this is not where the party's at.
After 15 minutes in the oven, your focaccia is finally ready (pictured at top). It's salty and sweet and crunchy and fluffy and magical. It's probably supposed to serve two, but I won't tell if you don't.
The next step, it would seem, is to slip into a focaccia coma. This has been Cooking with Bonnet; thank you for reading, and have a good night.