How do I even begin to explain the past two months of my life.  I have tried on numerous occasions, but finding the right words is harder then I expected.  I've stumbled upon a few different food blogs with heavy subjects attached to an undeserving recipe.  They always leave you with that same uneasiness when talking with someone who is suffering from the loss of a loved one.  "How are you doing?" - of course we know not to ask this question but surely enough the words form from your lips.  I told myself I would never write such a post, I would never get caught in such a blogging faux pas.  Yet here I am, sentences forming with every press of a button.

    I've come to realize that even though I write a public food blog in this small corner of the internet, the content is driven by personal experiences.  This blog is about my life which isn't always perfect, and if you know me personally you know that I don't pretend like it is.  So all pity aside please, because we all live real lives and suffer real losses.  For myself and my family, these past two months have been difficult because we have mourned the loss of my paternal grandmother, my husbands mother and the father of a very close friend, all of which were sudden and unexpected.  In every instance I have seen that the memories we make with each other become the most important and cherished gift we are given by those that leave this world before us.  If ever a life lesson was driven into my mind, it is that we need to place more importance on spending time with the ones we love.  Which is why we decided to take a much need trip down to see my husbands grandparents this last weekend.
    It's not a short trip, but it is one I always look forward to making.  "Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go" plays endlessly in my head over each expansive length of road. Do you have one of those women in your family?  The matriarch who prepares everyone's favorite meals and who possesses all the knowledge and experience you could ever hope to learn in a lifetime.  You could rummage through all her handwritten recipes and still only hope to one day learn to cook as well as she does.  Whose hard life shows not only on her hands, but her heart as well.  Even in the shadow of her loss she still manages to prepare an amazing meal, and offer up comforting words to those that need it most.  

"We count our blessings."

    Hand crochet doilies and curtains.  Plant cuttings rooting in every window corner.  The smell of thousands of home cooked meals clinging to your clothes.  A bag of leftovers handed to you as you slowly make your way back to the car as the sun is setting.  A time most needed by all and a time you promise to make again soon.  The details I want to forever remember; the cherished memories I'll hold in my heart.     
    So what do to bring to what you know will be one of those memorable meals of your life?  The means by which to soak up every morsel of flavor.  You make a bread suitable for drowning each and every piece in a bath of seafood goodness!  Focaccia is quick, easy and perfectly suited for red sauce so that was what I wanted to bring.  

Rosemary Onion Focaccia

serves 6-8

1 (7-gram packet) active dry yeast
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon powdered rosemary
1 tablespoon salt

1 1/4 cups of water
4 branches rosemary
1 small red onion, sliced
coarse sea salt

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water.  After 10 minutes add 2 tablespoons of oil to the yeast.  Combine the flour, salt and powdered rosemary in a large mixing bowl.  Add the yeast mixture to the flour along with 1 and 1/4 cups of water and stir until the dough becomes too stiff to stir anymore.  Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead it until smooth.  Shape the dough into a ball and coat it with oil.  Place the dough in a bowl and cover it with a dishcloth.  Place in a warm spot to rise for 2 hours.  Transfer the dough to a floured surface and using your fingertips, press the dough out into a 12'' circle and place it on an inverted cookie sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.  Cover the dough with the dishcloth and set aside for 1 more hour. 

Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 400°F.  Whisk together remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl.  Press the dough with your fingers to create dimple on the surface then brush with the oil/water mixture.  Scatter slices of onion and branches of rosemary over the top of the dough and sprinkle on some coarse sea salt.  Transfer the dough onto the warm pizza stone and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.


“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart.”  -Erma Bombeck



06/25/2013 11:11am

I'm sorry to hear about the loss and hurt your family has endured these past couple of months. But as you wrote, through loss, life and more importantly, living life becomes so much more valued and beautiful. Spending time with loved ones, creating lasting memories, that's what it's all about.

Thanks for the reminder that we all need now and again. To stop thinking about tomorrow, and to relish in today.

06/25/2013 11:44am

Thanks Chris, it is something I have to continually remind myself of too! It is so hard to be mindful of such things in the middle of our everyday responsibilities.

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06/25/2013 2:15pm

These beautiful photos are so full of the sentiment you wrote about. The food looks so delicious too. I wish I was sitting at that table, on carb overload and smiling blissfully.

06/25/2013 2:25pm

Thanks so much Kerry! It definitely was a carb overload for sure...and I enjoyed every single bite ;)

06/25/2013 4:10pm

Sandra, I'm very sorry for your losses. Sometimes writing it down does help and you're so right, we all suffer real losses whether we choose to share them or not so it's not about pity but community. Thank you for the beautiful message underlying this post. The older I get, the more keenly aware I am that the time we have together and the love that we share is truly the only thing that matters. Your grandmother does sound like an incredible woman -- lucky you. I'm especially enjoying the action shots in this segment and the expansive table spread at the end. So warm and it ties the family theme together beautifully. Thinking of you with love and light - xo.

06/25/2013 4:45pm

Thanks Kelly! I got up in the middle of eating to take a few shots and everyone looked at me and said, "what are you doing" to which I replied, "I WANT to remember THIS meal" I think that last photo is one of my favorites from that day :)

06/30/2013 1:09pm

Mmm- Focaccia is the best kind of bread. Yours is gorgeous!

06/30/2013 5:24pm

Thanks Shelly!!! And thanks for stopping by :)

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