Tomato Basil Soup with Focaccia Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from totally awesome blog, Vegan Yack Attack! I think dipping bread in soup is one of the finest activities in the world. Promote that bread to a focaccia grilled cheese? BLAMMO! You’re living the life! You know, THEE life.
Tomato soup and grilled cheese is the ideal winter snack. And it makes me feel like I’m some sort of frontier settler like the American Girl doll I had, Kirsten (I always wanted Samantha though). Boy! What a hustle the American Girl dolls were. My doll’s clothes used to cost more than mine! I was driven to stealing money from my brother’s giant plastic Coca-cola bottle coin bank to buy those expensive doll dresses. I was a junkie! But then my brother caught me one day and it was so embarrassing. We had an American Girl intervention.
You know what’s super-duper easy to make, and super-duper delicious to eat? Focaccia! I made it for the first time on Saturday, and it was good, but the focaccia I made on Monday night was amazing. I could have died of joy, it was so good.
I followed this recipe, about which I was skeptical because of the potato, but my prior recipe didn’t use a potato and it was a bit dry, and one must be bold to reach baking heights, so potato it was.
Per usual, I altered it a little more; specifically,where it calls for 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the dough and 1 tablespoon on the top of the bread, I used 1/4 cup in the dough and 1/4 cup on top, plus chopped fresh rosemary, minced garlic (four cloves), and sliced plum tomatoes, because that was what was around.
Result: rich, fluffy, moist, airy focaccia that, were I not already half-full from a massive long-stemmed artichoke (braised in olive oil; I may have more olive oil and garlic than human blood at this point), I could have completely devoured on my own.
Happily, I didn’t, and now I can have toasted focaccia spread with homemade almond cheese for lunch this afternoon. You guys should seriously make this; it’s so simple and good, you won’t ever want to buy focaccia again.
EtA: This is my almond cheese recipe! I even blanched the almonds for it, which was really annoying.
[I would’ve removed the bread from the cooling rack before photographing, but it was too heavy with olive oil and too hot from being fresh out the oven, and I was too dying-to-eat-it to wait any longer.]
Liguria Bakery! »
Liguria bakery in North Beach is one of those places in San Francisco that not a whole lot of San Franciscans seem to know about. Maybe it’s that so many San Franciscans sort of shun North Beach, leaving it to the tourists and the peep-show perverts; maybe it’s that it’s just out of the way. Whatever the reason, vegans in San Francisco would do well to remember its name, because Liguria makes the BEST focaccia bread ever, and it is awesome.
Before you hit up this mythical North Beach bread paradise, however, you should be aware of a couple things: 1) Liguria does pretty much ONE THING AND ONE THING ONLY (though it does it in about nine flavors), and that thing is big-ass pieces of focaccia bread. You can get a slice that’s about the size of a piece of standard copier paper for between four and five bucks depending on the kind you want. It will feed you for a day if all you want to eat is bread (and believe me, you DO). 2) They open early (8 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends), and they close when they sell out. This also tends to be early, so get there before 11 a.m. if you don’t want your trip to be for nothing! 3) The ladies who work here are mean as fuck. I’m sure they’re really nice in real life when they’re not serving the hordes of North Beach frat boy tourists or tourists looking for “The Real San Francisco,” but even if you’re really nice and say “could I please have a piece of the olive focaccia please” with about 80 extra “pleases” thrown in, they will look you up and down with a look of pure hatred and only reluctantly get you your order (which is totally fine with me—I like when service people are able to express their hatred of customers—but if you’re easily offended, you’d best steel yourself). 4) They only take cash, so don’t be that jerk who can’t read the sign and then creates a bunch of hassle for everyone!
When I was there, I had a piece of the olive focaccia and the garlic focaccia, and both were completely insane. I’d been told to try the pizza variety, but I panicked and couldn’t remember if it had cheese on it or not (and didn’t want to ask), so I missed out, but for future reference, I can assure you that the pizza focaccia IS VEGAN—it’s basically tomato sauce on bread. Anyway, the bread is fluffy and soft, but not so soft it falls apart. The edges are a little crunchy in the best possible way, and the toppings are flavorful and generously applied.
There’s not a whole lot else I can say except that it’s definitely worth the trip up to North Beach (grab some xox truffles while you’re at it) and the fat ass. Go get it, vegans!