Tag Archives: focaccia

Best breakfast sandwich

My old neighborhood was so extremely D-list that I almost moved away before experiencing the awesomeness that is Dioli’s Italian Market. Located awkwardly next to a Starbucks, T-Mobile and McDonald’s, this place has my favorite sandwiches in Winston-Salem. And I mean the BEST meatball subs, full of spicy marinara, sausage and provolone. Then there is the prosciutto and arugula sandwich, the Italian … and everything else you could want from an Italian deli, not to mention the tarts, cookies and cakes…and various antipasto and side salads.

Dioli’s also makes my favorite breakfast sandwich in Winston-Salem, which I try to order every time I go to the north side of town. All I can say is you know a sandwich is fresh when they get out a new slab of pancetta to slice for your sandwich. It comes on focaccia bread and also includes an egg and cheese, if you please.

I recently went there for brunch and read my Martha Stewart Magazine and watched a long line of cars waiting for McDonald’s…if only they knew that a comparably priced and much higher-quality sandwich existed just across the street.

Here’s to breakfasts!


Focaccia with balsamic onions and rosemary

A couple big differences exist between this homemade focaccia and the focaccia you buy at the store. Whereas those I’ve purchased are thick, spongy and oily, this homemade recipe yields a thinner bread with a crunchy crust. It still tastes delicious, but it is definitely different than I was expecting.

I’ve made this recipe before, and this time, I added onions caramelized with balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary. Very tasty, especially when dipped in garlic-infused olive oil and more balsamic vinegar.

Focaccia with balsamic onions and rosemary


  • 2 packages active dry yeast ( 5 tsp)
  • 1 3/4 c. warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 c. EVOO
  • 5 c. flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • balsamic vinegar

Dissolve yeast in warm water, whisk in sugar and let stand until foamy, approx. 5 min. Pour into large mixing bowl and add 1/2 c. olive oil, flour and kosher salt. Mix at low speed with dough hook (or wooden spoon) until dough is smooth and elastic, 7 min.

Turn dough out on floured board and knead for another 5 min., adding flour to keep it from sticking. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put in warm place to rise – it should double in size (I put mine by the fire). If you are making this ahead, punch it down after it rises and place in fridge. Bring to room temperature before shaping.

Pour remaining 1/4 c. olive oil on half-sheet pan. Turn dough into pan and press evenly to all sides. Cover the pan loosely with a dry kitchen towel and let rise again in warm spot, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, thinly slice 2 yellow onions and add to hot frying pan with olive oil, over medium heat. Saute until dark brown and caramelized, about 12 min. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 T fresh chopped rosemary. Add 1-2 T balsamic vinegar and stir until everything is thick and caramelized. Season with salt.

Preheat oven to 450.

Sprinkle onion mixture over dough and dimple the surface with your fingers. Sprinkle sea salt over the top.

Bake until golden brown, 20-30 min. Transfer to wire rack and let cool in the pan. Cut into squares and serve warm. For a soft bread every time, microwave leftover slices for 20 seconds.

For anyone who is interested in a great baking book that has beautiful pictures and instructions, here is the book I’ve been using, and loving, “Essentials of Baking” from Williams-Sonoma:

Enjoy the weekend, friends! Do you have your Superbowl menu planned? I know I do…xoxo

Scalloped tomatoes

Summer flavors baked together

Cari has made it known that these things are true: she doesn’t cook; she doesn’t consider herself a foodie; and she doesn’t like watching “The Food Network.”

I don’t know if East Coast living has influenced her, or her cat or what … but my party-girl college friend has started getting a little more Write Gal in her. 🙂

For example: yesterday, we got up late and watched FN while I made cranberry-orange scones. While we watched, we saw Ina Garten make an easy-enough “scalloped tomatoes” dish, which looked like a panzanella salad baked with parmesan cheese.

We thought this would be a nice, quick lunch for us two gals. I had homemade focaccia that I needed to use or toss. All we needed to buy were a few heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil.

This dish is simply delicious. Perfect use for leftover bread – it would be great with any chicken or fish, as a first course or appetizer. We both helped ourselves to two servings (and then somebody finished it off at around 2 a.m.) and it was perfect with a crisp glass of white wine.

We looked for the recipe online, but it wasn’t posted yet. So here, we present:

Flipflops and Write Gal’s scalloped tomatoes


3-4 good quality tomatoes, cut into wedges or big chunks

10 basil leaves, shredded

Four thick slices of good bread, cut into cubes

Olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 c. Parm-reg, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large skillet, heat 2 T olive oil and add the bread, tossing to brown. After 2 min., add garlic and stir for 1 min. Add tomatoes and stir for another 2 min. to combine and cook the garlic. Off the heat, add the basil and season with S&P to taste. Pour into a baking dish and drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle over all the Parmesan.

Bake until the cheese melts and the bread starts to brown, 15-20 min. You really can cook it as long as you want – we liked the bread still soft, but the cheese crispy.

Cut into squares and serve hot or at room temperature. There is no bad way to eat this.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo