A recipe for olive oil focaccia stuffed and topped with concord grapes in the style of a schiacciata con l’uva, with a salted honey glaze and rosemary.
Sunday treated us to one last summer day, warming everything until we were clad in shorts and tank tops, soaking up every last ray. We rode our bikes in a long line down the street to the university, golden-hued leaves cascading to the ground as we pedaled past. We ate dinner outside on a table lit with candles before heading off to bed, our limbs exhausted from the day’s efforts, skin still glowing with warmth under the covers.
Monday we woke up to a biting wind that had noses hidden under sweatshirt collars and fingers tucked into coat sleeves. The forecast predicts we’ll hit below freezing this week. Plans to pull every last bit in the garden are underway, along with a menu restructuring to accommodate the influx.
The windows are closed now after a summer of letting the air flow through the house, and in the evenings I find myself getting creative with excuses to turn the oven on for a bit of warmth in search of hygge. I whip together chocolate pumpkin muffins and sweet potato biscuits on the regular. In fact, I’m desperate to create this comfortable, secure space in my home. Nearly to the point of despair.
If I’m allowed to be completely honest for a moment, the walls feel like they are crumbling. All the things I built falling to pieces. As I stare at my children’s heads, growing ever so closer and even surpassing my own, I often find myself wondering where I went wrong, how I ended up here. In the midst of all of this, I keep moving. Slowly plodding forward on this path I have chosen, attempting to put plaster into the holes in the walls, to again find that bit of comfort in the middle of a storm.
This is where I found myself the night before I was to leave for a work trip, feeling as though I needed to hit the pause button so I could rush around and fix things before they became worse. I stared into the fridge and noticed the bowl of grapes, so lovingly chosen by my children at the farmers market a few days prior.
I sunk my hands deep into the dough, dusting our small kitchen’s surfaces with flour as I worked and the kids squealed because their sweet cousin, Mila, was there to entertain. They helped pull tiny seeds from the centers of grapes. We plucked herbs from our now quiet garden. Somewhere in there, as the dough rose on the stovetop while I wiped clean the flour-antiqued surfaces, the world started to slow ever so slightly so that I could appreciate the scene set on the foundation amidst the crumbling walls. Oven on, house warmed against the chill in the wind, I brushed honey over the bread, salted the top, and created my own bit of hygge.
I chased the light that was dipping below the tree line, traded a piece of bread for a bowl of tomatoes with a friend-turned-neighbor, and returned home.
Concord grapes have a distinct flavor, strong and musky. They taste of grape flavor, the dark purple grape juice, of grandma’s homemade jelly you spread on your morning toast. Those are all concord grapes. If you can’t find them at the market, try your local co-op or specialty grocer, and substitute dark wine grapes in a pinch. I don’t want you to miss out on the salted honey crust on this bread. Concord grapes have a very distinct strong flavor. If you can't find them, you can substitute wine grapes in this recipe. While you can leave the grape seeds in and consume them, giving a bit of crunch to the bread, you can also choose to remove the seeds.
Concord grapes have a very distinct strong flavor. If you can't find them, you can substitute wine grapes in this recipe. While you can leave the grape seeds in and consume them, giving a bit of crunch to the bread, you can also choose to remove the seeds.