Saturday, June 16, 2012

Italian Bread

After eating bread in Italy, it is hard to find something comparable in the US.  Where I live there are numerous Italians and some great Italian bakeries, but it is hard to mimic the crusty shell with a soft chewy inside. So, I've tested so many different types and found a great loaf at my local grocery store - Wegmans in which fresh bread is made daily.

Today I grilled some Italian bread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. So delicious! Then we slathered it with homemade ricotta cheese and chopped fresh basil.

A meal in itself and one that is so fresh for a hot summer day.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Grillin'

I went out to start the grill last night and it was out of gas! That is the worst when you have a plate filled with marinated chicken and some fresh corn to grill. So, I used the George Foreman, but it wasn't the same.

I use a gas grill.  I know a lot of chefs like the traditional charcoal, but using it usually takes more time and it is messy.  When grilling, it is usually a mad dash home from work, throw some ingredients together, and plop them on.

So, today is another day. After some errands (I'm in desperate need of a manicure) and a soccer game, I'm going to stop by and switch out the old canister for a new FULL one to grill tonight's dinner.

What am I cooking? Well, I was watching Barefoot Contessa and saw a wonderful grill veggie and bread recipe that had my mouth watering--Grilled Panzanella.

Here's Ina Garten's Recipe

Grilled Panzenella


  • Good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 10 large basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1/2 small ficelle, cut into 1-inch thick slices


Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. I'm using a gas grill. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside. Place the cucumber, tomato, basil and capers in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside. When the grill is ready, brush 1 side of the onion slices and the peppers with olive oil. Place them, olive oil side down, on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and place on a cutting board. Slice the peppers 1/2-inch thick, separate the onion rings and add them both to the cucumber mixture.
Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden. Add them to the cucumber mixture. Pour the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss together. Serve warm.