Some days I think I should have become a librarian. I mean- I love books, I love reading, libraries have always been a happy place for me. Surely working at a library would make me equally happy… right? I could be the head of the library. The President of Library Affairs and Filing Books and Other Stuff.
Of course, I just had to google “Library Science” to find out exactly what that education entails…
“Library science (often termed library studies or library and information science) is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary field that applies the practices, perspectives, and tools of management, information technology, education, and other areas to libraries; the collection, organization, preservation, and …”
Sorry, what? I stopped listening. That’s not a good start. Hm. Maybe not.
I had the same thought last year, during a particularly down week at work. Maybe I should become a dental hygienist! I could clean teeth all day, it would be meditative and relaxing. It would just be scraping plaque and squeezing different flavours of flouride into those gummy mouth guards. Yeah… that would be okay. Like a janitor for teeth, with a decent pay cheque. I could get rid of all my blazers and just rock to work in multi-coloured scrubs every day.
Until… I went to get my teeth cleaned the following week and regaled my hygienist with my new life plan. Her response…
“Are you kidding me? I’m trying to go to art school so I can work as a graphic designer like you! Must be so great… sitting at a computer, drawing things. My job is so stressful every day, I can’t stand it. We’re always behind schedule and the dentists get really grumpy about it!”
Sometimes it takes a wake up call to realize that often the grass only looks greener on the other side. Did I really have a passion for archival technology or plaque reduction techniques, or was I just have a rough week in an otherwise pretty great job?
Let’s put it this way, if I were outside delivering mail right now (mail delivery person being yet another job I glorified at being “it” one week), I would probably be freezing my butt off, looking grumpily at people through office windows. I would be thinking “Lucky bastards with their business casuals, drinking their hot coffee, laughing in the boardroom. Oh, that one’s in marketing- what an easy job, I bet they’re never stressed out. What is marketing anyway? Make stuff attractive. Pick a strategy, pick a font, add a colour, come up with a catchy tagline. I could do that in my sleep! Pfft, I should go into marketing…”
And there we have it. That IS what I would think, if I was in another job. Because, well, I’m a curmudgeon.
At least I’ve scraped together enough wisdom in my years now to recognize that not every job, or every person, or every anything, is going to make you happy 100% of the time. Some days will be crap, they just will. But if it makes you happy most of the time… well, that’s pretty good.
And for the days it doesn’t… no one will fault you for eating an entire loaf of bread for dinner. If it’s got grapes in it, it’s pretty much a salad, right?
Roasted grapes are my new favourite thing. I know they’ve been around for ages, but I’ve fallen deeply in love with them only recently. Raw grapes, too. I don’t know why, but I’m really, really, really into grapes right now. It’s not even grape season. I don’t know what’s up with that.
Sweet and tart roasted grapes, salty and pungent blue cheese- they’re match made in heaven. Dotted into some focaccia… crispy but tender crust, soft, moist interior. Salty, peppery, herby, dipped into some tangy balsamic. I mean, can you fault me for making it my dinner main course?
|Roasted Grape & Blue Cheese Focaccia|| || |
- 5 ½ cups unbleached flour
- 2 ½ cups cold water
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2½ tsp yeast
- ¼ cup olive oil + more for drizzle
- Flaky sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
- 12-20 red, seedless grapes
- ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- In a large bowl (or a stand mixer with the dough hook attached), combine the flour, water, olive oil, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix on for about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes and then continue mixing for another 3-4 minutes, until the dough is relatively smooth but still quite sticky.
- Coat the bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and then flip the dough to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (8-12 hours).
- Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator roughly 3 hours before you intend to bake it (2 hours on a warm day). Coat two 9-inch pie pans with olive oil and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper, also rubbed with olive oil.
- Drizzle the tops of each dough with (yes more) olive oil. Stretch the dough with the tips of your fingers to so that it fits each pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes through the dough. (Yes, this is weird, but when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy looking focaccia.) If the dough resists, give it another 10-15 minutes to rest and continue pressing it out.
- Let the dough rise once more for approximately 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450.
- Once the dough has risen a second time, it's time to top it. Take a handful of grapes and press each deep into the dough. Sprinkle the top of each loaf with salt, pepper, rosemary and blue cheese. Put the loaves on the middle shelf of the hot oven and reduce the heat immediately to 425°F. After 15 minutes, rotate the pans to ensure even baking.
- Check the dough after another 5 minutes. If it's done, it will be golden brown on top and, if you lift a corner of the dough, the underside will be golden as well. If not, return the pan to the oven for another 1 to 2 minutes and check again.
- Once the focaccia is done, gently remove it from the pie pans and let it cool on a baking rack for 20 minutes before serving. Pairs excellently with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.