Here’s a word snapshot of my new apartment:
There are three cats and a turtle. I moved in while my roommate was away, so I didn’t know the cats’ names for a few days and I made up my own. Sometimes I still call them Crookshanks, Salem, and Bandersnatch Cutiebutt.
My roommate and I aren’t really into decorating. The kitchen features a string of red pepper lights and quite a lot of rooster-patterned things; my room is decorated with fairy lights, a donated red curtain, two mismatching lamps, enormous amounts of books, and some old black-and-white prints of Paris, courtesy of Ikea. In short, we’re not as concerned with things matching perfectly as we are with being warm, comfortable, and surrounded by things we love.
All three cats love to snuggle. You know that urban legend that says you’re never more than ten feet from a spider? In my apartment, you’re never more than five feet from a cat. Doesn’t matter if you’re trying to eat, study, clean, sleep, take a shower, whatever. You’ll always have a buddy.
My roommate works at some local farmers’ markets. At the end of the day, sometimes the produce vendors go around with bags of tired produce, giving them away to their fellow stallholders. When I moved in, the fridge was filled with kale and chard. It now holds bags of tomatoes, corn, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and green beans, as well as a fancy sack of moldy dirt that I suspect is mushrooms or truffles.
We haven’t wound up with much fruit, but yesterday I did sink my teeth into the juiciest plum I’ve ever met. It made me remember this recipe I threw together a few summers back: a pillowy focaccia topped with rosemary for depth, sea salt for savour, juicy red plum for an unexpected seasonal note, and brown sugar to keep it celebratory. This would be an excellent side for a thin soup — cream of asparagus, perhaps. Or let it be the star of its own show, accompanied by a variety of hard cheeses, apples, pears, and nuts. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Focaccia with plum and rosemary
(Inspired by this Smitten Kitchen recipe)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 package (2-1/2 tsp.) yeast
- 1 c. warm water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 c. flour
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 plum, pitted and diced
- 4 tsp. fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp. dried)
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 T. brown or demerara sugar
- In medium-sized bowl, combine white sugar, yeast, and warm water. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Add salt and 2 c. flour. Combine and knead until smooth, adding extra flour if needed.
- Place dough in greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Punch down dough and divide into two balls. Shape into flat loaves. Use fingers to dimple loaves. Cover and let rise 25 minutes.
- Drizzle olive oil over loaves. Top with plum, rosemary, sea salt, and brown sugar.
- Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, or until browned. Keep in sealed container at room temperature for 2–3 days.
Ideas for variations:
- Skip the brown sugar, and caramelize the plums before adding them on top.
- Mix the rosemary into the dough at step 2.
- Add slivered almonds or pine nuts to the topping. (For bonus points, try toasting them first.)
- Swap the olive oil for the same amount of browned butter.
- Swap the plums, rosemary, and brown sugar for pitted Bing cherries and finely grated Gruyère.
- Replace the listed toppings with chopped pear, blue cheese, and hazelnuts (either raw or caramelized).