Friday, May 29, 2020

Our Favorite Chocolate Cakes


Love Chocolate? Check out some of our favorite chocolate cakes!

I'll start with a really simple no-bake recipe that comes together quickly and is the perfect cake for entertaining - No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake. Picture this - an crunchy Oreo base, a silky, creamy Nutella center, a rich ganache topping and just because we have to go over the top, crumbled Ferrero Rocher hazelnut candies on top. 

Find the recipe for this No-Bake Nutella Cheesecake here





This next cake is a yellow bundt cake with creamy chocolate swirled it. It's so pretty when you slice into it. And while its not completely chocolate, that layer of chocolate definitely satisfies any chocolate craving. The recipe for the Philly Fluff Cake is simple enough for the most inexperience baker (fact - this Philly Fluff Cake was the first cake I ever baked from scratch!). Click here for the recipe. 
This next cake is ALL chocolate and mmm, so sweet and delicious! It's another easy bundt cake with a beautiful chocolate glaze. This is the cake that I request when my husband feels like baking something! Get the recipe for this Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake here.
 
And finally, I've saved the absolute best for last. This cake is so impressive, it's almost too pretty to eat. This cake is a chocolate lover's dream - a rich, double-layer chocolate cake with a creamy whipped ganache and a chocolate glaze. The cake is topped with hazelnuts that have been toasted, candied, coated in tempered chocolate and then rolled in Dutch process cocoa powder. But why stop there? There are also fancy chocolate swirls on top! 
This cake takes some time to make, but it's SO worth it. Click here for the recipe for this Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Covered Praline Hazelnuts. 


We hope you enjoyed this round-up of our favorite chocolate cakes. Please let us know if you make any of them! Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Easy Homemade Wonton Soup

No need for takeout - make this incredibly easy wonton soup at home.


Just a few ingredients are needed for this rich and flavorful broth. The wontons also only have a few ingredients, and once you get the hang of wrapping them, you will put this together in no time.





One quick tip - make a big pot of broth and then only drop in the wontons you plan on eating that night and freeze the rest. The next day you can pull out your pot of broth, heat it up and drop the frozen wontons in. This worked much better for us than cooking all the wontons at once as they would be soggy the next day.

Enjoy!




Easy Wonton Soup
Adapted from: Spend With Pennies

The Broth 

Broth Ingredients
  • 3 32 oz cartons chicken broth (not low sodium)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 slices of fresh ginger
  • 3 Tbsb low sodium soy sauce
Broth Directions
  • Add all broth ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer for one hour.
  • Once ready to cook your wontons, remove the garlic and ginger and increase to a steady simmer. 
  • Drop wontons in and let cook about 6 minutes. Serve immediately. 

The Wontons

Wonton Ingredients
Note: I made 50 wontons with these ingredients. The broth will be able to cook 30 total; the rest of the wontons can be frozen for future use. 

  • 1 package wonton wrappers (50)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tsp cornstarch 
  • Other things needed: water, flour (about 2 Tbsp), parchment paper
Wonton Directions
  • Mix the pork, green onions, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch in a large bowl until combined. 
  • Prep your area - put a small bowl of water and a small plate of flour near your wrapping station. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a clean cutting board or other flat surface in front of you.
  • There are several ways to wrap wontons and they all work! I used this process, but you could take a look at some videos online before choosing how to wrap yours: Place a wonton wrapper on the cutting board. Spoon 1 tsp of the filling onto the center of the wrapper. Wet the edges with water, and then fold the wonton wrapper in half to form a triangle, pressing the edges together tightly. Wet the 2 pointed ends and pull them together, pinching tightly. Dip the bottom in flour and place on your parchment paper lined baking sheet. 
  • Continue until you have wrapped all of your wontons. 
  • At this point, either place them in the freezer and once frozen place in freezer baggies, or drop into the broth to cook. Or do like I did - cook half and freeze half! 








Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Jumbo Lump Crab Spaghetti with Lemon Gremolata



Fresh, sweet jumbo lumb crab meat with spaghetti is such simple classic. Take it to the next level by adding a lemon gremolata and toasted bread crumbs. And yes, I did tag this as a quick and easy weeknight meal (it is, I promise!).



Whenever my husband and I go to a nice restaurant that has crab cocktail on the menu, we have to get it. I just love the sweet flavor of the crab with a touch of heat from the cocktail sauce. And it's pretty much guilt free with low calories and low fat.

Last weekend we decided to cook something restaurant quality at home instead of going out, and I was craving crab. I ran to Costco just to get a container of jumbo lump crab meat - it's totally worth it. Their container is bigger than what you can get at a regular food market and it's about $10 less. Plus, it's fresh.

When I walked in to Costco I put my blinders on and headed straight for the food section as I kept telling myself "don't go in the middle section, don't go in the middle section." Because you know if you even glance that way something is going to suck you in and I'd end up coming home with a new coat, a jumbo pack of socks, a book, Christmas wrapping paper (in August), and I'd forget the crab. I'm happy to say that this time I checked out with just one item - this huge container of jumbo lump crab meat.


When using jumbo lump crab, you never want to break up those big, beautiful chunks of meat. If you want something more broken up, just buy the regular lump crab. The jumbo lump chunks are the perfect bite. And when you get the huge container at Costco, you will definitely have extra. It makes great crab cocktail the next day!

So I mentioned that the gremolata and toasted bread crumbs take this dish pasta to the next level, and they really do. It's such a simple part of the dish, but turns it from an at home dish to a fancy restaurant quality dish. Don't skip the breadcrumbs! They seriously give the pasta such a distinctive crunch.



This can be a dairy free dish, which is how I made it. The original recipe calls for butter to start the pan sauce; I used oil. The recipe also calls for butter to toast the breadcrumbs; I used oil again. Finally, I did not put Parmesan cheese on mine, but my husband did.



Jumbo Lump Crap Spaghetti with Lemon Gremolata and Toasted Breadcrumbs
Adapted from: Foodie Crush

Ingredients for the Crab Spaghetti

  • 1 pound of spaghetti
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • Kosher salt, black pepper to taste
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese
Ingredients for the Lemon Gremolata and Toasted Breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • Kosher salt to taste

Directions

Gremolata and Toasted Bread Crumbs
  • Combine the garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. Season with salt if desired. Set aside. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the bread crumbs and stir for 3 minutes, until toasted and golden brown. Transfer to a bowl OR combine with the gremolata (your choice! I kept them separate the second time I made this dish since my husband didn't want them).
Spaghetti
  • Cook the spaghetti in a pot of salted boiling water. Drain, reserving 1 c of the water.
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the sliced garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes, wine, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the cooked spaghetti to the pan and toss. Add the crab and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve topped a spoonful of the gremolata and toasted bread crumbs. Add Parmesan if desired. 





Friday, August 3, 2018

Mussels Roasted in Almond Garlic Butter




Think back to your favorite meal or dish that you ever had. The one you dream about. The one you can taste if you just close your eyes and remember. The one that reminds me of the best tagline I have ever seen - "You only live once, but if you dine well once is all you need."

I've asked my husband his favorite meal and he consistently says "the mussels from Fore Street."
Fore Street is a cozy and rustic restaurant in Portland, Maine that has been on many lists, including landing a spot in the top 100 in the world! And after finally getting there myself several years ago, the restaurant is now in my top 5.


My husband has been lucky enough to get back there a few times when traveling and of course he orders the mussels.

So what's a girl who loves to cook to do when she wants to really take care of her man? Recreate his favorite dish, of course! My husband has been traveling non-stop over the past 10 months, only coming home for quick 40 hour weekends. He deserved some spoiling.

I knew if I was making mussels it would have to be the Fore Street recipe. Luckily I found it without any trouble.


Having tasted them before I knew they were roasted in a garlicky butter sauce, but was surprised to read that almonds were the main ingredient in the sauce. I guess that explains the richness in the sauce.

Now, I have never prepared mussels at home and wasn't sure what was meant by debearding the mussels (and honestly I was a bit scared to find out!!). Turns out it is simply removing the tag, or the beard, from the side of the mussel. Click here for a great demo.



This is a very easy dish to pull together - all you need is a food processor, an oven-safe skillet (or cast iron pan), 25 minutes of prep-time and 12 minutes of cook time. 
Making the sauce is simply combining the almonds, butter, garlic and other ingredients in your food processor until creamy. Dollop that over the mussels, roast the mussels (while you cut the bread and pour the wine), and that's it. Sometimes the most amazing and sophisticated things you eat really are the most simple. Back to basics, true, good food. 
Mussels Roasted in Almond Garlic Butter
Adapted from: Food and Wine (via Fore Street Restaurant)
Notes: the original recipe called for 4 pounds of mussels for this amount of sauce. I used 2 pounds of mussels and the same amount of sauce - we definitely wanted extra for sopping it up with bread. Also, I used a lot more garlic at my husband's request. Glad I did! 

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 c salted roasted almonds
  • 1 stick unsalted butter quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno 
  • 1 tsp finely ground pepper
  • Salt to taste 
  • 1/2 c dry white wine 
Directions
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees farenheit
  • In a food processor, grind the almonds until they are mostly fine with some larger pieces. Add in the butter, minced garlic, parsley, shallot, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until blended. Season with salt. 
  • Place the mussels in a large, oven-proof skillet. 
  • Pour in the wine and then dollop the butter all over the mussels, making sure each area of the pan has some of the butter. 
  • Roast the mussels for 12 minutes, stirring once and shaking the pan a few times. Discard any mussels that did not open after 12 minutes.
  • Serve with crusty bread.


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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Hello Again!


Hello my friends! 

My, it sure has been a while. Nine months, to be exact when I published this Ramen recipe. And while I love the recipe and make it at least every 2 weeks (my husband actually cooks it more than I do - he rocks!!), I'm getting a little tired of seeing it as soon as I open my blog. New recipe coming tomorrow!! 

I knew I'd always come back to this blog, I just had to take some time to focus on me. 

Back in December I had some health issues that led me to explore cutting gluten and dairy as well as focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet at the recommendation of my doctor.  For the first few weeks I completely cut all gluten and dairy out and quickly lost almost 20 pounds.  I did miss cheese so much, but came to realize that I was addicted to it. I depended on it. I always turned to it for some quick protein instead of taking the time to make breakfast or prep lunch. And while I have been able to eat very small amounts of cheese every now and then, but any more than that and I'm in pain and bloated! This makes me think back to so many times in my life when I thought I was sick, but it was probably all food based.

As for the gluten, I can mostly tolerate it, but because of the weight loss I now focus on avoiding carbs such as bread, pasta, waffles, flour tortillas, etc. I haven't had pasta since December!!! And pasta is another thing I'd turn to for a quick and easy dinner. 

Throughout the process I learned that I don't need to replace everything I removed with a gluten free or dairy free option. There are a few things that I do buy when I want to indulge - like Trader Joe's gluten free sandwich bread when I want a good BLT, gluten free panko for chicken cutlets (I actually now prefer the GF panko over regular!!), or Lotus Foods Gluten Free Ramen noodles when I make ramen. But overall I just eat differently. 

I also learned so much more about food allergies and how dangerous they can be for many people. So while I feel lucky that I can tolerate these foods to a point, I have serious empathy for those who cannot. This post is not in any way about a food allergy, but simply my quest to use food as medicine and to focus on being healthier. 

So as I move forward with this blog I'll share what I'm eating but also things I cook for my family. After a few months it became really easy to cook pasta or bread for them and not crave it, so at this point my cravings are pretty much gone and I like the way that I eat.

I look forward to sharing many new recipes with you!! 



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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Easy Pork Ramen


One of my favorite things about visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Portland, Oregon, (besides seeing them and my adorable new nephew!!) is the food scene. I have had some of my best meals in this great town - seriously, even the airport has such a great restaurant  - The Country Cat - that I go back to the airport early JUST so I can eat there. Plus, I am lucky to have foodies in my family who enjoy taking me to great places! 


The first time I went out there I got to experience something for the first time - ramen. Confession... I didn't have my first real bowl of ramen until I was 40.  It's not because I didn't want to try it, we just don't have any ramen places around here! 

The next summer when I visited we went to the Pine Street Market, a very cool food hall. Walking around this place is like a trip to heaven for a foodie. Nine of the city's best chefs and restaurants all in one place! How do you decide what to eat? 

I went with ramen, as well as some pork buns from another spot, and once again, my meal in the great PDX did not disappoint. Rich, salty broth with curly noodles, scallions, spinach and thinly sliced pork. This soup IS a meal. 


When I returned home I was craving ramen so badly that I had to try to recreate it. I thought back to the few times I had ramen and just went based on my memory of the flavors and ingredients.

I made a chicken stock based broth with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a few other ingredients. We filled our bowls with mushrooms, scallions, thinly sliced grilled pork, noodles, and an egg. Craving satisfied!

Note: you can sub any protein for the pork. The last time I made it I used crispy, pan seared tofu. You could also use chicken, beef, shrimp, mussels, clams, etc - really anything you like! Experiment with different flavors and ingredients, too - add a dash of fish sauce, dried kelp, bonito flakes, grated carrots, miso paste, sprouts, or oyster sauce.



Easy Pork Ramen
Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

Ingredients 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed 
  • 1 tsp ginger (I used the jarred ginger - prefer the consistency)
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 bunch green onions - stems cut at 2 inches, the rest chopped 
  • 1 c slice shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 2 soft or hard boiled eggs (your preference)
  • 1 grilled pork chop, thinly sliced *
  • 8 oz cooked noodles of your choice (soba, ramen, Chinese noodles)
  • Optional: bok choy, napa cabbage, kale or spinach
  • Optional for serving: Sambal Oelek 
* I season the pork chop with salt and pepper and grill it to 140 degrees; let rest 5 minutes before slicing. 

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a pot
  • Add the garlic and ginger; saute 1 minute
  • Add the broth, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, mirin and green onion stems. Bring to a steady simmer and then reduce to a low simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the green onion stems and add the mushrooms. Let simmer 3 minutes and remove. 
  • If using greens, add them to the pot for one minute before you are ready to serve. 
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the miso until combined. 
  • To plate: Put noodles, chopped green onions, greens, mushrooms and sliced pork in a bowl. Pour broth on top and garnish with Sambal and an egg. 




Monday, November 6, 2017

The Perfect Roast Chicken

This may just be the perfect Sunday dinner. Juicy, tender chicken with homemade gravy and a plate reminiscent of Thanksgiving - mashed potatoes, veggies and stuffing.

Roasting a chicken can seem intimidating - there are so many decisions. Brine or no? Stuff or not? What to season it with? Roast in a bag or not? And how to make gravy without lumps? 

I am going to take you through it step by step, and I'll make all the decisions for you. Honestly, it's easy. As long as you plan ahead so you have enough time to make and cool your brine, the steps are really simple. 

In this post I share details of each step with pictures, but just so you don't get overwhelmed, here is a simple, sample timeline. At the end of this post I'll give you easy to read, step by step instructions. 

Based on Sunday Dinner, adjust as needed: 
 - Friday night: make and chill the brine
 - Saturday morning: add the chicken to the brine 
 - Saturday night: remove the chicken from the brine and dry it in the fridge overnight
 - Sunday, 4 hours before you plan on eating: season and stuff the bird, truss and cook. 



So yes, I did decide to brine for the first time ever and now I will ALWAYS brine! Why? The skin was crispier, the chicken was juicier, and the overall flavor was out of this world.  (note - if you buy a Kosher chicken it has already been brined). 

I did a lot of research on brines before making my own, and I decided to go with the advice of Chef Daniel Boulud and use a boiled brine that you chill as well as the drying method. If he can charge $75 a plate for his brined chicken, I'm sure his method has to produce some darn good chicken.  

Basically you bring your water and salt mixture to a boil (1 c salt to 1 gallon water). Adding sugar and other spices/herbs is optional, but I recommend doing it to maximize the flavors the brine will add. Once boiled, it is important to completely cool your brine. Putting your chicken into a warm bath to sit for 12 hours will just breed bacteria. So give yourself the time and completely chill the brine (use my timeline above).  



I brined the chicken for 12 hours. After that, I dried it and set it on a serving tray to dry in the fridge. This is something I hadn't heard of before, but Boulud says that it "really helps improve the purity of a chicken’s flavor and, especially, the crispness of its skin." I was a bit freaked out about leaving an uncovered chicken in my fridge overnight so I used my garage fridge which only holds beer and water :) 


On Sunday morning it was time to finish prepping the chicken by adding more flavor. I always stuff my turkey with herbs and garlic, so it was a no brainer to do it with the chicken, too. I chose fresh thyme, chunks of lemon, onions and garlic. I often add sage and rosemary, too. 
Flavoring the skin and meat is important too. Make a mixture of butter (or oil), garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Use your fingers to gently lift the skin so you can season the meat. Be generous with it! You'll also want to season the skin. 


The final step is trussing the chicken, and I really like this tutorial. A woman behind the butcher's counter at the supermarket tried to tell me that you only need to tie the legs together, but following this tutorial helps to keep everything tucked in nice and tight. 


Put that bird on a roasting rack in a roasting pan that has been layered with carrots and onions. Feel free to add celery, garlic, or any other aromatics that you like. This is what is going to help flavor your gravy. If you don't plan on making mashed potatoes, throw some potato chunks in there too for amazing roasted potatoes. 

I like the high heat method of cooking chicken to get golden brown, crispy skin. Start your bird on 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, and then lower it to 350 degrees for the remainder. Plan on 20 minutes per pound. 

To summarize all of that, here is a timeline based on Sunday Dinner:
 - Friday night: make and chill the brine
 - Saturday morning: add the chicken to the brine 
 - Saturday night: remove the chicken from the brine and dry it in the fridge overnight
 - Sunday, 4 hours before you plan on eating: season and stuff the bird, truss and cook. 

Look at this beauty!!! Is that a perfect chicken or what?? 


When you take the chicken out of the oven, you'll want to let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. In that time you can make the perfect gravy - I share my recipe below which is a spin on my husband's recipe from his mom. Creamy, lump-free and perfect every time!



Gorgeous. Mouth watering. The perfect Sunday meal. 

Whole Roast Chicken Dinner - Brined, Stuffed and Rubbed for Ultimate Flavor and Juiciness. Perfect Sunday Dinner. Great for Entertaining.

Whole Roast Chicken
Based on a 7-8 lb chicken

Step 1 - The Brine
  • 1 gallon of cold water
  • 1 c salt
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
In a pot large enough to hold your chicken, combine the water, salt and sugar and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Let cool to room temperature and then cover and transfer to your fridge to chill overnight. 

24 - 30 hours before your planned dinner, add the chicken to the brine. Keep in the fridge for 12-16 hours. 


Step 2 - Drying the Chicken

Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry. Transfer to a large plate and place in the fridge, uncovered, for 12 hours. 


Step 3 - Stuffing and Seasoning the Chicken
  • 1 lemon, roughly chopped
  • A few sprigs each of fresh herbs - thyme, sage, rosemary
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 of a white onion, roughly chopped
Put all of the above ingredients in the cavity of the bird. 
  • 1/2 c olive oil (or 4 Tbsp butter, softened)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed/crushed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (same as what you use to stuff the chicken)
Combine the above ingredients. Gently lift the chicken's skin and apply the mixture directly to the flesh of the breasts. 

Additionally, brush your bird with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 


Step 4 - Trussing the Chicken

  • With the breast meat facing up, tuck the wings under the shoulders
  • Place a long piece kitchen twine across the breast and using both hands, flip the chicken over. 
  • Tie the twine
  • Flip the chicken back over
  • Using your right hand only, wrap the twine around the smallest part of the drumstick two times (I'd call it the ankle :). Repeat with the left side.
  • Tie the twine tightly so the legs close over the cavity. Now we're all trussed up with somewhere to go!

Step 5 - Cooking the Chicken
  • 4 carrots, chopped into chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped into chunks
  • Other optional ingredients: cloves of garlic, celery, potatoes - all roughly chopped. 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss the veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper and place in the bottom of your roasting pan.  Place the chicken on a rack in the roasting pan. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 and cook 20 minutes per pound, until the internal temperature reaches 180 (breast) and 190 (thigh). Another way to test is to cut between the leg and the thigh and see if the juices run clear. 

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board (make sure it has a well, the chicken will leak!) and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the veggies to a serving bowl. 


The Gravy
  • 1 c plus 2 Tbsp water or chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp flour
Place your flour in a bowl leaving a well in the center. Slowly add 1 c of the liquid, whisking as you add. 

Place your roasting pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the 2 Tbsp of liquid, whisking it around the pan as you scrape up all the good brown bits. 

Slowly add the flour/liquid mixture - just a bit at a time - whisking constantly. Continue adding until you have the consistency you want. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. 

If it is too thick, add more liquid. If it is too thin, make another flour/liquid mixture and continue to add it until you have the gravy you desire. 

Whole Roast Chicken Dinner - Brined, Stuffed and Rubbed for Ultimate Flavor and Juiciness. Perfect Sunday Dinner. Great for Entertaining.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Grilled Bread Salad with Spinach, Tomatoes and Blue Cheese



This salad may be my favorite thing about grilling, and it's all because of the bread.

Charred bread - crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and tossed with oil and balsamic. It's seriously the perfect bite. If you haven't grilled bread for salad before, you need to do it ASAP.


I first made this salad several years ago. It has changed a bit over the years so I am sharing this updated post.

When making this bread, you don't want soft, fresh bread. Buy day old bread, or buy your bread the day before. The best bread for this salad is day-old ciabatta bread. Slice it open down the middle, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and char it as little or as much as you want.


Once charred, you chop it into bite sized pieces and let it soak in an oil bath with cilantro and red onions for 15 minutes before finishing the salad.



At this point I guarantee you will be stealing pieces of the bread to eat!



The salad is finished with baby spinach, chopped tomatoes, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of sea salt and black pepper.



Grilled Bread Salad with Spinach, Tomatoes and Blue Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 c good olive oil plus more for brushing the bread
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced open (see pics above)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 c baby spinach
  • 2 juicy red tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Directions
  • Pre-heat your grill
  • Put the onions and cilantro in a large bowl with the oil; let sit in the fridge while you prep the bread
  • Brush both sides of the bread with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place on the grill for 4-7 minutes per side, depending on how charred you want it. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite sized pieces. Add the bread to the bowl with the oil/onions/cilantro and toss. Let sit 15 minutes.
  • Add the spinach, tomatoes, blue cheese, and balsamic vinegar. Toss. Adjust oil/vinegar/salt/pepper.
  • Serve immediately.