Bits Of The Weekend! Red Velvet Cake, Focaccia & a Fab Brooklyn Picnic!

/ Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome back and happy Monday, friends! How nice was it to wake up to a short work week? I must say, I'm especially thankful. I'm operating on very little sleep and a massive sugar-high—we had quite the eventful weekend celebrating my birthday with friends and family! I'd love to share a few photos from our picnic party in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, if you're interested (plus a super easy recipe for my favorite focaccia)! It was such a special treat to spend my birthday relaxing with those I care about most. Here's a little peek at the festivities...

Mom brought my childhood wagon to transport big buckets of fried chicken, cherries, olives, cheese and my homemade rosemary focaccia (recipe below). It's a miracle that this thing's still around!


1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
5 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
2 to 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped  

1. Put 1/2 cup warm water (about 110˚) in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water and stir gently to combine; let sit 5 minutes or until foamy. 
2. Add 1 cup warm water, the flour, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 7 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed. Transfer dough to an olive oil-coated bowl, cover and set aside in a warm place 1 hour or until dough doubles in size. 
3. Meanwhile, coat a 9-by-13 baking dish with olive oil. Punch down the dough and spread it into the prepared pan. Set aside in a warm place, uncovered, for 1 hour. 
4. Poke holes in the focaccia, about 1 inch apart, with your fingertips. Brush the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over the surface of the focaccia, sprinkle with the rosemary leaves and generously with flakey sea salt. Set aside and let rise again, uncovered, about 45 minutes. 
5. Preheat the oven to 450˚. Bake the focaccia on the lowest rack 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool slightly; slice into squares. 

Oo! I wish boyfriend took a picture of little ol' me trying to walk these monster balloons to the park (we lost 1 in the process). They were so gigantic and unwieldy—people kept stopping me to comment. They're the 36-inch round balloons from Party City. The tassels I made myself, following these wonderful instructions by Line, Love and Love (but I tied the tops with string rather than gluing 'em). 

Eeks! These are all of my besties—some old, some new—how darn cute are they!? I'm a very lucky girl...

Boyfriend was in charge of making the birthday cake. His vision: a Red Velvet Confetti Cake—I love how his brain works! As you can see, the cake suffered through some serious sun/transportation trauma but, after minor surgery, he was able to piece it back together.

(Just between you and me, I was the one who ended up making the birthday cake. We were short on time and we knew one of us could crank out a cake faster than the other—though boyfriend did supervise to make sure his vision was honored.)

At the end of the day, we decided to gift the giant balloons to a few of the kiddos in the park. It was such a blast to watch them scatter (below) so darn happy! 

It was a beautiful day, to say the least. Hope you enjoyed the photos! Thank you for all of your warm wishes. Can you believe it's July now—sheesh! Many more fun summer moments to come. Thanks, again! xo Erin

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