Thursday, June 21, 2012

Keeping it coooool....

Hi everyone!

Sooooo...didn't I say I won't be here for the week sometimes?  Wellllll...I guess that week stretch into *EEK!* over a month!  To be honest, I've been struggling with both finding time to write AND the motivation TO write once I found the time.  But I have to say once I was surfing through the blog looking for a recipe the other night, I realized how much I missed it!  So again, it's not easy, but I'll try to fit writing in as much as I can.J

What also helps is that cooking dinner has now gone from *HURRY UP! SCOTT'S HOME AND THE BABY'S SLEEPING!  MOVE! MOVE! MOVE!* to now getting to bring the little peanut in the kitchen with me to keep me company....all while Penny keeps HER companyJ  
That makes things QUITE a bit easier!

Anyyyyhow...I have a great recipe to share with you today.  And a perfectly appropriate one since the mercury hit the TRIPLE DIGITS in Jersey the last few days, so we had to have a cool & minimal cooking dish!  Which = Panzanella salad...
What's Panzanella salad?  It's an Italian salad made of stale bread and tomatoes.  But since man can't exist on bread and tomatoes alone, I used it as my base to highlight a beautiful bounty of summer produce.

But first, the classics:  the tomato... 

....butttt since I'm not a fan of 'raw' tomatoes, I coated them with olive oil & sea salt and roasted these in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until they were brown and bursting... 

Next, I gathered up the rest of my ingredients... 

My first 'added ingredient' was some sliced zucchini.  And since Scott wasn't home, and it was 3043580 degrees outside, I took the 'easy' route and grilled the zucchini on my indoor griddle... 

...which I *possibly* should have sprayed with some olive oil...buttttt, I did manage to gain some great grill marks!J

I diced those up and added them to my bowl... 

...along with a diced cucumber... 

...some diced fresh mozzarella.... 

...a couple handfuls of torn basil (my quintessential summer staple...yum!)... 

....and here's where it gets interestingJ  You certainly wouldn't see this in a traditional panzanella...but who could resist the cooooool addition of some creamy avocado! 

And finally, the bread, of course!  I cubed up some stale Italian bread (about 5 days old)....
...and added it along with some salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, olive oil & red wine vinegar.  I let it refrigerate  for about an hour to let all of the flavors meld & to allow the bread to soften up a bit.  (hold off on adding the bread if the salad is going to refrigerate for more than an don't want it to get soggy!)

Where, oh where, do I begin to even start to tell you how good this was!?? 
Chewy bites of bread along with tangy tomatoes, soft mozzarella, creamy avocado, crunchy cucumbers, grill kissed zucchini all dotted with fresh basil...each bite was a veritable HUM of flavors!

Scott said he'd eat this again next you know that's a thumbs up!  Guess I have something to do with that 2nd half of the breadJ 

Summer Panzanella Salad
Adapted slightly from Camille Styles
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (and roasted if your not a 'raw' fan, like me!)
  • 2 sliced zucchini, grilled & diced
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 2 handfuls of basil (about 12 leaves), torn
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 loaf of stale Italian bread, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (for drizzling)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
Combine everything in a large bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.  ENJOY!

I definitely went back for seconds on this one!

And just to show you what ELSE was going on my kitchen...I thought I'd show you how *fun* things got once Daddy arrived homeJ

 I could say I won't be posting pictures of the baby on every post...

...but I think part of me would be lyingJ 

Anyways...I hope you enjoyed my post for today!  I'll be giving you guys an update on my post-baby exercise schedule & weight loss soon.  Let's just say it's been a C-H-A-L-L-E-N-G-E!

Have a great night...and if you're on the east coast: STAY COOL!
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