When you're in sixth grade and your summer calendar lists a different summer camp week after week (just like it did last year and the year before that and the year before that), you stop looking forward to camp. Summer vacation is about vacation, right? Summer camp felt like an obligation. It was school away from school with less cool teachers and more safety rules. There were only a few weeks of camp worth looking forward to. The week I went to Cooking Camp was one of those weeks. Alongside Gymnastics Camp, Archeology Camp, Cat Camp, and Photography Camp, Cooking Camp actually qualified as more interesting than the other things I thought I should be doing. (I was in sixth grade... what did I think I was going to do anyways??)
When the first day of Cooking Camp rolled around, there was no complaining. I knew the rest of the week would include a lot of baking, a fair amount of cooking, and only some dish washing (which usually resulted in a water fight, so even that wasn't worth complaining about). Starting with Cinnamon rolls and making our way to Potstickers an eventually Puff Pastry and Cannoli, we would travel the world with our tastebuds and spatulas.
Some of the recipes became house favorites--after bringing home leftovers from camp, they went down in the books as regular home menu items. To this day, I could still pull up that potsticker recipe. None, however, was more loved than the recipe for Italian Focaccia Bread.
I went on to make the recipe so many times that when I entered high school, I knew it like the back of my hand. That bread recipe was the only bread recipe I needed or wanted. It was good for sandwiches or breadsticks, but best freshly pulled from the oven.
Albeit delicious, that recipe was not exactly a nutrient dense snack. That's what brings us here. The need to reinvent that recipe... with some nourishing ingredients and real food! The end result is fluffy and soft in the middle, and with a crispy salted topping. Focaccia is back.
Paleo Italian Focaccia Bread:
1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch dried oregano
Pinch garlic powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Handful mini cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a bread pan*.
2. Whisk the egg and the coconut milk together. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, salt, oregano, and garlic powder, and continue whisking until everything is combined. Spread the batter in an even layer in the prepared baking pan.
3. Sprinkle rosemary over the batter and arrange the tomatoes evenly on the top of the bread. Drizzle with olive oil.
4. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bread is cooked through and golden. Optional: I wanted to toast the top of the bread a bit more, so after it was done cooking I turned the oven to a low broil for just a minute.
5. Remove from oven, cook for at least 5 minute, and serve plain, with Figgy Olive Tapenade (recipe follows) or dipping oil.
*I have this habit of collecting odd-sized baking dishes. I baked this bread in 2 ramekins that are 4 inches in diameter and about 1 inch tall. If you're the sort of person that has normal sized pans, I recommend using a standard bread pan. The bread will still only be about 1-inch tall, but this is fine since Focaccia is a type of flat bread.
Figgy Olive Tapenade Spread
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dried figs
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon parsley
1 cup black California olives
1. Bring the water to a boil. Place the figs in a small bowl, and pour the hot water over the figs to soften them for 10-15 minutes.
2. Once the figs are softened, drain out the water and place the figs in a blend. Add the remaining ingredients.
3. Blend all of the ingredient together until well combined. Use a spatula between blends to scrape the sides of the blender and ensure everything mixes together.
4. Serve with fresh vegetables, Paleo focaccia bread, or other "dippables".