Panzanella

Image

Panzanella is a classic Florentine dish that simply showcases old stale bread and the juices of plump, ripe, summer tomatoes. Since we are on the brink of tomato season I thought I’d share my favorite salad recipe!

Image

Ingredients:

4 cups of Chopped Tomatoes ( I like to use all different kinds for color)

4 Cups of Cubed Stale Bread

1/2 Cup Chopped Basil

1/8 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Tablespoon Sea Salt

1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper

Image

First things first, using stale bread is key or it will completely fall apart. If you don’t have stale bread around the house, you can buy bread, cut it into 1 inch cubes and leave it out overnight, or pop it in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes and it will be just fine. For my salad I chose a rosemary loaf just to add a little more Mediterranean flavor.

Image

Chop the tomatoes into nice large, but bite sized chunks and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Image

Combine with chopped basil, salt and pepper and let sit for 10 minutes. If your making this salad before prime tomato season they may need a little help so you can add a little but of red wine vinegar to add acidity and liquid that you would normally get with perfectly ripe tomatoes.

Image

Combine tomatoes and bread, drizzle with olive oil and serve! I love the simplicity of just using these ingredients however some other fun things to throw in are cucumbers, artichokes, and capers!

Image

Also if you have a ton left over and the bread is getting really soggy you can throw it in a baking dish and cook for 20 minutes at 350 and you’ll have a warm savory bread pudding!

So excited for summer!

Advertisements

Easy-Peasy Picnic

Image

I was so excited to go on a picnic with my friends this weekend. I normally would have loved to whip up some fun sandwiches and dips, but I was just too exhausted. Lucky my local grocery store came to the rescue!

Image

Instead of just grabbing sandwiches and calling it a day, finger foods from pretty much any market can make for a more fun and special meal. There’s no science to the perfect combination of food – see what’s fresh at the store and what you’re in the mood for!

ImageImage

I chose 2 cheeses – a soft Bree and Humboldt fog goat cheese, 2 cured meats – prosciutto and salami, a crusty sourdough baguette, herb bread sticks, strawberries, sparkling water, mixed olives, a marinated artichoke, red pepper and mushroom salad and almonds.

Image

( I like that you can eat all of these items with your fingers )

Image

In addition to food some good things to pack are: plastic cups, napkins, cheese knives, a cutting board and sunscreen!

Image

Malibu Winery was the perfect escape for our picnic. What are other great spots?

Extra Versitile Olive Oil

Image

I love finding new uses for my glass jars and bottles! This bright green bottle used to contain extra virgin olive old from California Olive Ranch. As you know, I use olive oil pretty frequently when I cook, so I didn’t have to wait long to decorate my home with the bottle!

Image

One way to use this bottle was as a dish soap container. After thoroughly cleaning the bottle, pour in regular dish soap with a splash of water to make it less dense. Top the bottle with a pour spout that you can purchase for under $5.

Image

Another more obvious way to re-purpose this bottle is as a vase. I filled it with some fresh lavender from my yard and it really made my room look and smell like spring.

Image

Have a great weekend everyone!

Image

Fresh Meatball Subs

Image

When I moved into my first apartment-style dorm with a kitchen, I freaked out. I really had never cooked for myself before. My first meal? Meatballs. Cooking those first meatballs is what sparked my love affair with cooking. My recipe has come a long way since my dorm days and I hope you enjoy!

Image

MEATBALLS:

1/2 Pound of Ground Beef

1/2 Pound Ground Pork

1/2 Pound Ground Veal

5 Garlic Cloves (grated)

2 Eggs

1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Teaspoon of Salt

1 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

FOR THE SUB:

2 Cups of Tomato Sauce

1 Bunch of Fresh Basil

2 Large Balls of Fresh Mozzarella

1 French Baguette

Image

I’m a big fan of combining all three of these ground meats when making meatballs. The pork and veal add a great depth of flavor. To ensure that they are moist and hold together, don’t try to save calories by buying the lean meat. To start, preheat your oven to 350.

Image

I love garlic, but I don’t love crunching down on raw pieces in my meatballs. To get the maximum fresh taste without that hazard, grate the cloves on a microphone or cheese grater. I usually use about 5 cloves, but you can use less if you don’t love garlic as much as I do.

Image

After the garlic also grate 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Image

Combine the ground meat, eggs, garlic, Parmesan, salt, pepper, cayenne and Panko bread crumbs. Your best tools are your hands, so just get in there.

Image

Once everything is mixed together evenly, you can start rolling the balls! Each should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, but they don’t have to be exact. This should make about twelve meatballs.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and pop in the oven for 30 minutes.  (If these were going on pasta, cook for 15 minutes and then throw them in the simmering tomato sauce to finish cooking)

Image

Now that they are all golden brown, it’s time to assemble the sub! While the meatballs cook, slice some fresh mozzarella, basil and a french banquette so everything is ready to go.

Image

STEP 1: Place meatballs on bread

Image

STEP 2: Cover with tomato sauce

Image

STEP 3: Layer mozzarella on top.

Image

Pop the sandwich back into the oven at 500 for five minutes until the cheese is all gooey and the bread is toasted. Sprinkle with some basil and serve!

Image