Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So, my girlfriend Lisa flew back to California yesterday (sob--I miss her so much, already!!), and did we ever have a great time. Lots of hanging out, drinking coffee, drinking gin and tonics (thanks, Big Daddy!), walking  in the woods, eating in our local restaurants and SHOPPING, but of course! We also got a chance to cook together, which I totally love more than anything. Between raindrops (looks like yet another rainy New York summer), we did some BBQ-ing, and were actually able to dine outside. One night, we grilled some nice salmon fillets, and prepared one of our favorite side-dishes, a fabulous Panzanella Salad. Which is also called "bread salad" by some. Well, whatever you call it, it is always deee---LISH, and is the perfect accompaniment to any grilled meat.

I put this girl to work, browning the cubed whole grain loaf in some olive oil.......(I know you've seen this photo before, but isn't she pretty?)..........

Next, I cubed up some beautiful red, green and yellow bell peppers, and thinly sliced some red onion. You will also add diced tomatoes and cucumbers.....

I have fresh basil growing just outside my kitchen door, so I threw some in...........

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, then whisk up your vinaigrette (I SO know I didn't spell that correctly!) and toss it all together...............

Let "rest" on your kitchen counter for at least an hour, then serve.............

Really, really good! Hey, before I give you the recipe, I want to give a little shout-out to my baby girl (she took this photo of herself--geek!), who is vacationing in coastal South Carolina / Georgia, as we speak. Mama misses you!.............

Serves 6

1 / 4 cup olive oil, divided
1 / 2 loaf day-old French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp. salt
2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 / 2 red, 1 / 2 yellow and 1 / 2 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 / 2 of 1 cucumber, sliced into 1 / 2 inch thick slices, then halved
1 / 2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
handful  of fresh basil, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste


1 / 2 tsp. garlic powder
1 / 2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tblsp. vinegar
1 / 4 cup olive oil
1 / 2 tsp. salt
1 / 2 tsp. pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add cubed bread and salt to skillet; saute until golden (about 10 minutes), tossing often and adding remaining oil as needed. Mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl (except salt and pepper); add bread and toss. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and toss with bread mixture. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if desired. Let stand, unrefrigerated, at least 1 hour before serving.


*My new friend (and avid blog follower!) Debbie, who I met at the most awesome Old And Everlasting this weekend. Your words were so kind and sweet--thank you!

*My Willow House customers--I should have all of your orders to you in the next couple of days!

*The sweet blueberries that are available in all of the stores this month---I love to eat them just like candy!


  1. Hey Les,

    It's funny that you were just sure that you mispelled vinaigrette, which you didn't, but I am pretty sure that it is Panzanella, not Panzella. However, I absolutely agree, however you spell/pronounce it, it is so yummy. Makes me wanna go and make up a batch of it right now. Funny thing about my basil, which grows in Oklahoma like weeds...I usually grow several varieties of it, but this year the lemon basil (one of my very faves) looked especially puny. I bought the plant anyway, planted it, and a few days later went to water it. My basil varieties grow along a walkway. ANYWAYS, I started looking down at all these "weeds" sprouting up all over said walkway, and thought, hmmm, these look a lot like lemon basil. Sho' nuff'! I have about 20 volunteer lemon basil plants from last year. If I would have known, I wouldn't have bought the sickly one for $3! lol

    Thanks for your great recipe, and I am glad that you had such an awesome time with a great friend. Truly refreshes the soul, right?

    Have a great week! Love, Debra

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