The Great Italian Bidding War

It was a dark night in November. We headed to the silent auction for my daughter’s school. Armed with a credit card and a readiness to buy a good gift card or piece of children’s artwork we walked in. Three hours later I walked out with no voice, a really good strong buzz, a trip to Italy, and most likely a bad reputation of being a little bit crazy. 
You see, I didn’t know they had a live auction at the end of the night. I didn’t know there would be a trip to Italy. I actually didn’t really care all that much. However, four glasses of wine later I HAD to be the winner of that silent auction. Or I should say my hand did. Because my brain was saying “STOP”, (and apparently so was The Great Husband,) but the hand connected to my arm did not hear them because it just kept raising. Every single time a number was called out. Then, all of the sudden they stopped calling numbers. And when I say numbers, I mean prices.  Prices that are WAY out of our budget.
I snapped out of the zone I was in.  I looked around to see who won.  All of the sudden the emcee comes walking toward me with the microphone.  I backed up like she was holding a gun.  She stuck the mic in my face and said, “Thank you SO much!  What is your name?”  I opened my mouth and released a squeak.  I had lost my voice.  I had literally scared the voice out of myself.  What had I just done?

I turned around to look at the great husband.  At that moment he seemed to loom 6 feet over me.  He was staring down at me with laser beam eyes and smoke coming out of his ears.  I gave him a weak smile and tried to bat my eyelashes.
As I made the very long walk from the live auction to the table to pay people stared at me, or patted me on the back and said “Congratulations!”  I would reply in my squeaky, whispered voice to not congratulate me because I am pretty sure my husband was going to divorce me over this.  All the while I am thinking, Can I just tell them I will gladly step down as the winner of this prize and let the guy who was also wildly raising his hand as well have it.
I actually must have said it out loud, because immediately I hear The Great Husband’s voice from behind me say, “It doesn’t work that way.  Just go pay for it and lets go home.”
We walked home.  Maybe we screamed at each other the whole way home.  I am sure the neighborhood all said, “Did ya hear that poor couple fighting last night about how they HAD to go to Italy for vacation.  Poor things.”
Now, as I sit here 10 months later, with an amazing experience in Italy under our belt, we can all laugh about it.  Well, almost all of us.
One of the best things we ate while there was an AMAZING sandwich in Florence from a place called  All’Antico Vinaio.  It wasn’t fancy, but it tasted completely and utterly delectable.   We ate it sitting on the curb of the street moaning about how delicious it was with our olive-oily hands and faces.  I tried to recreate this piece of amazingness at home.  I highly suggest you try it as well!

Italian Foccacia Sandwich



Italian Foccacia


1 Tb Granulated Sugar
1 Tb Active dry Yeast
12 ounces Water, lukewarm
1 lb 2 oz All-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 Tb Olive Oil
6 Roma Tomatoes, sliced thin
1/4 c chopped basil
Combine sugar, yeast, and water in a bowl and stir to dissolve the yeast
Combine yeast mixture, flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
Using a KitchenAid, mix on first speed with the dough hook until it is pulling away from the sides.
In a separate bowl, pour 1 tb olive oil around the sides and place dough in bowl.
Cover and let sit in a dry warm place until it doubles in size.
Press dough  with fingers into a 12 x 18 sheet pan, reaching all corners.
Spread a bit more oil on top of the dough.
Sprinkle with some kosher salt and pepper. 
Evenly place tomato and basil on the dough.
Cover with towel and let sit in dry warm place until double in size.
Bake at 400F about 25-30 mins.


I will share with you the foccacia recipe today.  The recipe for the spread will appear later in the week.

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