Yesterday was potluck lunch day at work: my first one, my duty to organize, and, feeling a little sure of myself my first day on the job, I’d suggested Italian food as the theme. I’m lucky enough to work with some serious foodies - professional chefs, people who cook for a living, and eat like it’s their job because it is - so it was understandable that I felt a little intimidated. I refused to give in and do pasta salad. I wanted to impress people. So I got up at five thirty to start the dough for bread: focaccia, full of oregano and basil and garlic, chewy and hearty and moistened through with olive oil.
I used this recipe, but gave the dough an extra rise, which made the finished crust airy even though I rolled it out thinner than the recipe instructed. Topped with olive oil, a thinly sliced tomato, spinach, chopped yellow onion, and garlic, the focaccia still didn’t seem quite right. It was missing something. So, at eight a.m., I ran down the street to Luca’s for a quarter pound of mozzarella. Perfect. The focaccia stood on its own, beside the professionally assembled tiramisu and polenta and finocchio casserole and the frittata that could’ve been on the cover of Martha Stewart. There were no leftovers. I was proud.