Heirloom tomato focaccia and a garden update

Life is good. Ok, now that I started on a  positive note…..the gardens aren’t going as well as I’d like them too, either of them, and that’s sad to me. Really sad. Lucky Shoe, (the big garden) well I don’t even know what to say about that, but I will say, WE are starting this fall preparing for next year so that this doesn’t happen again. Nuff said. Now my backyard garden was thriving, beautifully; until something attached my squash and cucumbers, turning them into wilted and sad versions of their former luscious selves.  I’m just now  starting to get tomatoes, green beans and peppers.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love it. Still love being in the dirt, love pruning, love getting my hands dirty, but I don’t know, I just thought that BAM it would be amazing and fruitful. Now it feels like it’s going to frost before the veggies mature. I’ve been out there every day and it feels like for nothing.

So that’s the bad.  The good is, I’ve had tons and tons of the most delicious lettuce  all spring and summer long, I’ve been spacing out my plantings, and harvesting, and every week I have a plethora of lettuce.  And dang, it’s good! I love being able to go in the backyard as pick it as I need.  Oh and Basil, oh the Basil is delicious!!! I have, oh I dunno, 4 or 5 different kinds of basil, and it’s all amazing! Now all of those are container plants, so the lettuce and basil I can bring in this fall/winter. And I plan on trying to keep them in the mudroom, we’ll see how that works out. But they were started from seed, and are doing  amazing.  So I don’t feel like a complete failure. The purple green beans are just starting to sprout little beans, but then again I started those very late, so I’m not so bummed about them.

“Hurricane” Irene came and went, and completely knocked down the tomato plants in the backyard. I went out and fixed the cages after, (several times) pruned away all the damaged bits, and the tomatoes were able to recover. As for the tomatoes over at “Lucky Shoe” they all survived as well. Those I staked and tired onto poles, rather than caging, so I’m thinking going forward I’ll just stick with the poles. Although the (very tall) weeds surrounding  them seemed to actually work to our benefit as they protected the tomatoes.

I’ve been really looking forward to making homemade focaccia with the tomatoes we’ve been growing, but I had to give in and pick some up from the Farmers Market. Don’t get me wrong, they were delicious, they just weren’t fruits of my own labor. Oh well, shit happens. We live and learn….

I picked up my trusty “Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman (My go to kitchen reference, yes it’s better than my CIA books) I decided to make some dough myself and go crazy with it. I ended up with a lot more dough than I planned on, thanks to me thinking I only needed to look at the ratio once, so I had several pounds of dough to work with.  I made 4 different Stromboli plus 3 Focaccia, and everything was amazing!


  • Preheat your oven to 425
  • For the tomatoes, I halved and quartered them, depending on size, and toss them in a bowl with salt and pepper. let them sit about 20 minutes or so to macerate (yes I love any reason to use that word)
  • “Roast” a bulb of garlic by skinning each clove, place in a small sauce pan and cover with olive oil.  Simmer on LOW – DO NOT BURN – if you burn the garlic it will get bitter, we want it sweet and soft, not bitter and crisp.  I don’t want my men like that and I certainly don’t want my garlic like that! And simmer it for 20 minutes or so. watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn. Turn it off and let it cool.
  • Once the dough is preshaped and ready, use it however you desire.
  • Focaccia: Pull and shape into a thick  rectangle, about 1inch thick and dock with your fingers, cover as desired. for my purposes it was tomatoes, their juices, and the garlic and olive oil. Then top with some freshly ground salt and pepper.
  • Stromboli: Roll out into a piece about 4 inches longer on all sides than the Stromboli you want to enjoy. Remember you will wrapping it so it will be smaller than what you roll out. (See the picture above) Fill the middle of the stromboli only, fold over on all sides. Come on, you know what a stromboli looks like 😉
  • Whichever you are making, brush or gently hand rub with Olive Oil
  • Bake at 425 till it’s the doneness you like. Yes, I’m completely vague, but I’m real.  I like my breads extra done, so it takes longer. Regardless of how you like your stromboli, bread or pizza, I saw give it a good 20 minutes and then check it and go from there. 
  • BTW, this is the recipe for pizza dough, I just use it as interchangeably for stromboli and focaccia.

For the Dough Recipe, you can cheat (which is ok sometimes) and buy your dough already made, or pick up “Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman, or head over to his site.  Because why type it all here when he does it way better anyway 😉


7 thoughts on “Heirloom tomato focaccia and a garden update

  1. Jess, one thing my ‘rents have done since I was a kid was use old sheets to tent the garden from frost(s). Not saying you havn’t thought of this, or done last year maybe (?) but it does work fantastic!!!! If you don’t have old sheets, just buy some cheapo ones at dollar store, walmart etc. Wishing I had made more of a garden this year, Irene barely bruised my neighbors garden.My saving grace is we raised the pigs!! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Grilled Mozzarella, this will blow your mind « Green Skies and Sugar Trips

  3. Pingback: Grilled Mozzarella, this will blow your mind « Burlap and Butter Knives

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