Spring has officially arrived. Easter has passed, and the busy season has arrived for the gardeners and farmers. I hopefully will be able to count myself among those who produce their own food. Today I spent most of the day preparing my soil and planting my small, quaint garden. I placed it right outside my window to be able to view it and not forget to water the tiny plants I nestled in the ground. I have tried to plant everything that a wonderful ratatouille requires. This summer I am determined to make ratatouille while watching the movie Ratatouille. (I think I have gotten the spelling down now.) If you have not watched it, I beg you to view the darling film while eating a fabulous meal. If you are not eating the fabulous meal, you will want to by the end of the film.
I seem to always be in the mood to grill on my last day off. The reason is my need to soak up as much sunlight as possible before becoming a Cullen and sleeping during daylight hours. The weather is breezy and light, and I want to soak it all up as much as possible. As I planted my garden, my hummingbirds were buzzing around, trying to scare me away from the area. Their presence, which I dearly missed, made my garden planting ten times more enjoyable and myself more hopefully that this summer will welcome a bounty harvest.
When I grill which has not been many times, I find that I enjoy making a Grilled panzanella salad. I watched Ina make the recipe on her grilling episodes, and it looked fabulous! When I went about to make it, I was so disappointed that my bell peppers were not in their best state! So I slightly modified the recipe a bit to include everything I did have, and those that I did not. The definition of a panzanella salad is a bread salad with sometimes “leftovers”. The bread, which is grilled, soaks up all of the lovely dressing and acts as little sponges bursting in your mouth with flavor. I added a bit of goat cheese to mine in the beginning, and while the hot grilled vegetables were added, the goat cheese melted into the dressing making the whole thing rich and creamy. My hubby of course stated I could have added more goat cheese, but this is a usual complaint of his about my cooking. “It needs more cheese!” I used potatoes, mushrooms, onions, and zucchini to grill, and added tomatoes and capers in with the dressing. This salad will definitely be a staple for our summer months due to the easiness of it as well as the flexibility of the contents. Hope you enjoy.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Good Olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cucumber, cut into ½ inch thick slices (I did not use this)
1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1 inch cubes
10 large basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers, drained
Things to Grill:
1 onion, yellow or red, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
½ small loaf of Italian bread (I used Asiago bread) cut into 1-inch slices
(I also used
1 small red potato cut into ½ inch slices
1 zucchini, cut into four pieces
2 ounces goat cheese)
Prepare the charcoal grill with hot coals.
In a small bowl whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ cup olive oil. Set aside.
Place the cucumber (if using), tomato, basil, goat cheese (if using), and capers in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside.
When the grill is ready, brush 1 side of vegetables to grill with olive oil. Place them olive oil side down, and the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooling an additional 4 minutes. The onions and potatoes will probably need a couple more minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill onto a cutting board. Slice the vegetables ½ inch think cubes, and separate the onion rings. Add them to the bowl with the tomato mixture and toss.
Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden, about 2 minutes. Place them on to a cutting board, and slice into 1 inch cubes. Add them to the mixture. Pour the reserved vinaigrette over the salad and toss together. Serve warm.
Serves 6-8 people.