Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |

Focaccia! Who doesn't love it? It's like a pillow top mattress you can eat. I'm a lover of all bread but there's something about focaccia that makes it especially irresistible. Oh wait I know what it is - all those pools and puddles of luscious olive oil it's baked in. Before you get too jealous that I have an entire pan sitting before me, know that I'll be compensating this week by forcing myself to take the monster stairs at the Porter Square T stop.

Focaccia is of course Italian but funny enough my most memorable experience with it was in Oaxaca, Mexico. After a week of feasting on tortillas, I stumbled across a European bakery with rows and rows of focaccia studded with all manner of enticing toppings - green olives, black olives, cherry tomatoes, charred onions, fresh cheeses and herbs. I handed the baker my pesos, stepped outside, and ate an entire slab standing right there on the street corner. I don't even remember what kind I chose but I do recall it was crispy and chewy and soft all at once and left my hands glossy with oil. In a word, perfection. So perfect in fact that I doubted I could recreate that magic at home. However I'm here to attest that homemade focaccia is really easy and really, really good. Even if you plan to give it all away to friends it's worth baking for the aroma alone.

Now a word about the Meyer lemons. If you're skeptical about them, don't be! They're delicious rind and all. Meyers are sweeter than regular old lemons and not nearly as sour. They add an unexpected juicy tang that's - warning - highly addictive. My one regret is not scattering them more liberally.

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |
Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |
Mayer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia |

Meyer Lemon, Pine Nut + Rosemary Focaccia

Adapted from this Food Network recipe.


  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs kosher salt
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 springs rosemary, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 (or 2!) Meyer lemons sliced very thinly
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)


  • Combine yeast, water, and honey in a small bowl and let sit in a warm place for at least 15 minutes until it's nice and frothy.
  • In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook combine flour, yeast mixture, salt, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil on low speed.
  • Continue to knead on low speed (I used the '2' setting on my KitchenAid) for 4-5 minutes; dough will be smooth and sticky.
  • Sprinkle with flour and turn onto smooth surface.
  • Knead a couple times until dough comes together and shape into a ball.
  • Coat the inside of a bowl with olive oil, place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for at least one hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  • After dough has risen you're ready to press into your baking sheet. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil onto baking sheet and then use your hands to stretch dough to fit the pan. Flip dough over once so it's well coated with olive oil on both sides. While you're stretching out the dough use your fingers to poke holes all the way through. This will ensure those classic focaccia dimples.
  • Once your dough has stretched, let sit for one more hour to rise again. Use this time to preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prep your toppings if you haven't already.
  • After an hour your focaccia is ready to bake. Scatter toppings and finish with sea salt.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until focaccia is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

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Carrot Chocolate Chunk Bread

Carrot Chocolate Chunk Bread |

I use the term bread here loosely. Let's be honest. This is cake. Chocolate studded cake. But if we call it bread we can eat it for breakfast with a pat of butter. Mmmmm. Bread it is. 

While cake for breakfast is a delightful way to start the day, it was not the impetus behind baking two loaves of this last night. Nope, it's because we're going skiing! In my mind skiing and quick breads are inextricably linked. Heading to the mountains demands provisions. Pack a few loaves of banana, zucchini, or pumpkin bread and nearly all your boxes are checked - it's breakfast, it's a snack, it's dessert, and it can even ride the chair lift. Voila.

Carrot bread is a new variation for me, but after how well this batch came out I doubt I'll be calling on the usual suspects anytime soon. Zucchini is out of season in the winter. Bananas - try as I might - I just don't like very much. And pumpkin gets too much play these days. (In all seriousness, the Pumpkin Spice Latte  has 90,000 followers on Twitter). The true test will be whether any remnants survive the weekend. I'm banking on no leftovers so I can return to regularly scheduled programming at breakfast where it's obviously whole grains and yogurt everyday, and never, ever cake.

Carrot Bread Baking Prep |
Carrot Bread Baking Prep |
Pureed Carrots |
Mast Brothers Brooklyn Blend Chocolate Tablet |
Chocolate Chunks |
Buttered + Floured Loaf Pans |
Carrot Bread Batter |
Carrot Chocolate Chunk Bread |

Carrot Chocolate Chunk Bread

This recipe is from The Fearless Baker by Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss. I stumbled upon it on NPR's Kitchen Window series when looking for a carrot bread that incorporates both pureed and grated carrots (most call only for grated). The addition of chocolate was my only modification.

Makes two 8 1/2-inch loaves (recipe could be easily cut in half to make only 1 loaf)


  • 16 carrots
  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 10 oz. good quality chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Mast Brothers Brooklyn Blend)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Butter and flour two 8 1/2-inch loaf pans
  • Peel all the carrots
  • Take 6 carrots, chop into small rounds and cook in salted, boiling water until soft (about 10 minutes). Drain and puree in a blender or food processor.
  • Grate the remaining 10 carrots and set aside
  • In a small bowl use a whisk to combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until smooth
  • Stir eggs into the butter/sugar mixture one at time until combined
  • Stir the buttermilk, pureed carrots, and grated carrots into the egg mixture
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  • Fold in the chopped chocolate
  • Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 60-70 minutes (check for doneness by inserting a thin knife; bread is done when it comes out clean)
  • Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pans
  • Let cool completely (if you can stand it) before slicing
  • Store at room temperature wrapped in plastic; will keep for four days this way or freeze for up to two months


Rosemary Cornbread + Salted Maple Butter

Rosemary Cornbread with Salted Maple Butter |

It's been a while since I could cozy up to cornbread. There were long stretches of my life where it was the only sustenance available. No, my parents weren't survivalists or aggressive campers. Nope, the cornbread diet carried me through my shifts at the last waitressing job of my career. As any server will confirm, it's the bread and only the bread we have guaranteed access to. Everything else that you yearn to nibble on during a 10 hour shift remains guarded by a wanton kitchen staff. You're at their mercy and they love it. They know they can torment you with the promise of a few fries, and so they do. If you're too weary to engage in the antics then it's all bread basket, all the time. It's the one portion of food service that the waitstaff have full jurisdiction over. This is how cornbread and I became so well acquainted. No doubt, the cornbread at this restaurant was on point. But as a meal replacement for days on on end, let's just say a bitter resentment took root.

Fast forward a couple years to September 2013. I had left the restaurant biz for a big girl desk job. My family is organizing to throw my (then) fiance and I a southern-inspired engagement party. My brother suggests skillet cornbread. At first I wince, but then figure this is as good a time as any to rekindle an old flame. And viola, the book is re-written. Now cornbread brings me back to one of our happiest celebrations in recent memory. The drudgery of those long shifts? Just crumbs by comparison.

This recipe is adapted from Alice Waters cornbread in The Art of Simple Food. Here it's been winter-fied with rosemary and maple, though I'm sure it would be equally welcome at your breakfast/dinner/midnight snack table in warmer months. By design, this cornbread is not on the sweet side. That's where the maple butter comes in. On its own though this cornbread would be a great wing man for stew or chili.

Start by making your butter. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat heavy cream on high until buttermilk (liquid) separates from the milk solids (the butter). You will get heavy cream first, keep going. Total beating time should be between 5-7 minutes. 

Homemade Butter from Cream |

Once separated, place mixture in a colander lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel to drain. Press down with additional paper towels to release as much of the liquid as possible.

Homemade Butter |

In total about one cup of buttermilk should be released. Save this for pancakes or salad dressing.

Return butter solids to standing mixer this time with a paddle attachment. Add maple syrup and salt and whip on high until well incorporated. 

Homemade Maple Butter |

Whip baby, whip. And pretty soon you're in business, the homemade butter business.

Homemade Salted Maple Butter |

Next up, the main event. Pre-heat oven to 425. Put a cast iron skillet (I used 8 inch, 9 or 10 would work as well as would a similarly sized baking dish) with a pat of butter in it. You want your skillet nice and toasty when the batter goes in.

Mix dry ingredients together with a whisk in a mixing bowl.

Rosemary Cornbread Prep |

Sour your milk. Squeeze juice of half a lemon into the milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Don't worry, it's supposed to curdle.

Buttermilk Substitute |

Chop your rosemary while you wait on the milk. 

Chopped Rosemary |

Melt your butter.

Melted Butter |

Fold the milk, egg, and rosemary into the dry ingredients until combined and smooth. Add the melted butter and stir until incorporated. Pour batter into hot skillet.

Rosemary Skillet Cornbread |

Bake 25 minutes (if using 8-inch pan) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If using a wider pan you'll need to reduce baking time. Check for doneness at 20 minutes.

Rosemary Cornbread with Salted Maple Butter |

Find a friend to share and dig in.


Rosemary Cornbread with Salted Maple Butter

Serves 6-8

Salted Maple Butter

  • 1 pint heavy cream

  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup (grade B is best)

  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (Maldon is superb)

Rosemary Cornbread

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal (yellow or blue)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Soured milk (1 1/4 cup whole milk + juice of one half lemon)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 4 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 pat butter (for skillet)

To make the butter: In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment beat heavy cream until the liquids and solids separate (5-7 minutes on high). Drain mixture in a colander lined with a cheesecloth or paper towel squeezing out excess liquid with more paper towels. Return butter solids to standing mixer this time fitted with a paddle attachment. Add maple and salt and whip on high until incorporated.

To make cornbread: Preheat oven to 425. Place one pat butter on skillet and place in oven to warm. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in mixing bowl until combined. Add egg, soured milk, and rosemary. Stir to incorporate. Add melted butter, stir until combined. Pour batter into warmed skillet and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve with salted maple butter.