Sunday, May 27, 2007

carbs, glorious carbs....

when all else fails, i make a salad. truth be told, i love a good medium rare filet with whiskey cream sauce as much as the next carnivore, but if i had to choose just one food to eat for the rest of my life, i would probably choose salad. the possibilities are endless and there's something about the cool crunch and tang of a really delicious dressing that makes my tastbuds happy.

my favorite combination is the classic fruit, nut, blue cheese....i usually don't get too wild with the lettuces and just do a rough chop on some hearts of romaine. the nuts are always walnuts though. i'm not a pecan kind of gal, unless we're talking pie. i like them candied but have yet to find my go-to candied walnut for the fruit, anything will do. green grapes, pears, apples, strawberries, craisins....a sweet, tart champagne vinaigrette always closes the show and i am a happy girl.

sometimes though, a salad just screams for croutons. to me, few things are as exciting as the last dressing soaked crouton at the bottom of a salad bowl. i make a mean caesar, which will make it into this blog one day. the dressing is from scratch, right down to the homemade mayonaise and i don't skimp on the garlic either. if there is one thing on which i will not compromise, it is the quality of my croutons. the bagged marie callendars ones in the produce section rarely cut it for me. making croutons is so simple, there's no reason not to do it and the difference in flavor is truly amazing. different salads call for different croutons though, and you have to be aware of what taste sensation you're going for. for the caesar salad, i create little mini garlic croutons, using a french baguette, because the french bread has a subtle flavor that lends itself well to a full flavored olive oil and garlic. for a good old fashioned veggie salad with ranch dressing, i go for a tangy crouton made from a sourdough baguette. i find that the olive oil flavor really clashes with the sourdough and prefer to use a light vegetable oil/butter combo...either way, i am a fan....

Garlic Croutons
1 french baguette, cut into 1'' cubes
extra virgin olive oil
garlic powder
salt & freshly ground pepper

put the bread cubes into a bowl and drizzle generously with olive oil to coat but not saturate. sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper and mix.

spread bread cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or untill crunchy and golden. let cool and try not to eat them all before they make it to your salad.

Sourdough Croutons
sourdough baguette, cut into 1'' cubes
vegetable oil
melted butter
salt & freshly ground pepper

put the bread cubes into a bowl and drizzle generously with butter & vegetable oil to coat but not saturate. sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

bake at 375 for 20 minutes or untill golden brown and crunchy.


Julie said...

As long as my salad has some crumbled blue cheese on it I'm a happy gal. Skip the crumbles, make mine blue cheese chunks (I really love blue cheese.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I love salads - I like to change it up all the time, but in general I love arugala, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese and olives!

Blue cheese is a wonderful thing as well!