Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tuscan Panzanella Salad

My dear friend Ann introduced me to this recipe, and now I can't stop making it.  It's full of good-for-you veggies, delicious homemade croutons, and salty feta cheese - all of which make it extremely addictive!  This salad is called "Panzanella" because of the homemade croutons.  "Pane" = bread in Italian.  I'll make this salad on a Monday, and it will feed me lunch for the rest of the week.  Or you can add it to a greens at night to spice up your regular dinner salad.  I personally like when the dressing soaks in to all the veggies over the week.  But if you like a crisper salad, don't toss the dressing right away.  Pour it into a mason jar with a lid, save in the fridge, and toss it in as you eat.

Tuscan Panzanella Salad - serves 6
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
8 oz feta cheese, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste

1.) While the croutons are toasting, begin to chop up all the vegetables, cheese, and olives.  
2.) Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.
3.) Pour dressing over salad and toss.
4.) Add in toasted croutons and mix together. Serve immediately or cover and put in fridge.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Homemade Croutons

"So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 

"The good outnumber you, and we always will."
- Patton Oswalt

When I first read the above quote I couldn't believe how perfectly a stranger had put my thoughts in to words.  I'm sure many of you have read where it came from (if not, see here).  To me the truth is in the last line - "The good outnumber you, and we always will."  It's pure human hope and optimism...

I tend to turn to food when comfort is needed (well... food, wine, friends, family!).  We can discuss the health (or lack there of) of that later, but facts are facts - I'm obsessed with bread.  There's nothing better then the glorious aroma of a big ol' fresh loaf of rustic bread.  Mmmmmmmm.  I always have a loaf on hand to pair with pasta, salads, soups.  Lately I've been making my own croutons from the not quite so fresh remnants at the end of the week.  They are perfect to pair with salads and soups and oh so easy to make!

Loaf of bread (any kind) - torn or cut into small bite-sized pieces
Extra Virgin olive oil

Drizzle a good amount of olive oil in pan.  Toss in the torn bread and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Saute bread at med-high heat until well toasted.  Add more olive oil and salt to taste.

Tomorrow I'm posting a delicious Mediterranean salad recipe that these guys star in - it's fantastic!