First off, I have to start (again) with some exciting news. I have been chosen as a finalist for the Davis Food Co-op Eating Locally Challenge! Basically anyone on Facebook could submit a recipe using locally grown ingredients to the Davis Food Co-op Facebook Page; five finalists were chosen by the co-op. For the next three days, my recipe (for charred corn and gouda grilled cheese!!!) will be on the Food Co-op Facebook for people to look at and like. The winner with the most likes receives two free tickets to this AWESOME sounding event called the Davis Village Feast.
So, why am I telling you this? Well, for a few reasons. First off, I am shocked that people actually enjoy the things I make to eat, and think that they are somewhat decent. I know nothing (okay, I know some things, but am by no means an expert) about food, and basically just go with my instinct. It amazes me that people trust my judgement and genuinely enjoy the things I make. Second, I am so (pleasantly!) surprised at the opportunities blogging has opened up for me. I got my amazing internship at the Davis Farmers Market because of it, and I have been able to participate in this fun challenge because of it as well. Also, food blogging is an excellent topic of conversation when you run out of things to talk about with acquaintances, and are fighting against an awkward silence (I am kidding. Partially).
Third though, and most importantly, having a blog has taught me to be more confident in myself and the decisions I make. Although it seems like a somewhat trivial thing, I do feel like starting and keeping up with a blog has taught me dedication, creativity, and self assurance and I am so thankful for that. “Putting myself out there,” so to speak, was a difficult thing to do, especially knowing that anyone could read it – but I am so grateful I did. I am also SO grateful for you (whoever you are!) if you are reading this right now!
So, after being chosen to be a finalist is this contest, the above is the revelation I came to. Starting a blog is very scary thing (in my opinion, at least) and while I am still learning so much about it, I recommend starting one to anyone who is even remotely interested. You never know what opportunities could come of it, or what you could learn about yourself.
SO, after that lengthy ramble, I present to you: PANZANELLA. I’ll make this short and sweet: panzanella is a bread salad that is made with the crusty leftovers of bread. This is perfect for me because I tend to buy bread and then forget about it a day later. Thus, panzanella solves this problem by letting me use little forgotten bread bits, toasting them up, and then tossing them into a delicious salad of heirloom tomatoes and arugula. Try this! You won’t regret it.
Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad
Serves 2, generously
- 1 loaf day old crusty bread (I used CIABATTA because I am a ciabatta fiend)
- 1 cup mini heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup arugula
- a few slices Grana Padano (or Parmigianno Reggiano if you’re feeling really fancy) cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- For the vinaigrette
- small handful fresh basil, cut chiffonade style
- pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this is optional but I have recently become a spice-aholic)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut your bread up into cubes and toss them in a little bit of olive oil and garlic powder.
Place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven until the croutons are nice and brown! You want them kind of crispy so they don’t get mushy in the salad. When they are done, place them aside in a big bowl.
While the bread is toasting, make your vinaigrette. Put the basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, mustard and balsamic in a bowl, and stir. Slowly whisk in the olive oil – viola, you have a dressing! Set this aside.
Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet, and briefly put them in the oven. I like to do this just to warm them up a little.
Next, assemble your salad. Put the tomatoes in the bowl with the crispy croutons, along with the arugula. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat the salad. Top with some cheese (of course!) and ENJOY!! This is so delicious, and I can’t wait to have it again.