Bread Salad

Recipes in this PostBread Salad

Sometimes, you get a large load of rich, crusty bread but can only finish part of it before it starts to dry out. What can you do with it? Well, you can make croutons, or you can make a summer favorite, Bread Salad.

There is no real “recipe” for this, put in it what you like to put in regular salads, let your imagination flow! But, I will give you the recipe for the salad I made tonight.

One thing you do have to do is use the right bread. A good crusty French bread, or a good sour dough would be ideal. It should be a whole loaf, not sliced, because you will want to cut it up yourself. Don’t be scared, it’s really easy with a good sharp knife.

A flavorful dressing is also important. The Brown Derby Dressing would be ideal, or a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette would also be good. I used Girard’s Champagne Dressing on our salad tonight for a change.

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Basil, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce

Recipes in this PostBasil Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce

I am a semi-regular subscriber to Saveur magazine. I love the recipes and the photography is always spectacular. I am also always on the hunt for something fresh and relatively easy to make for those days I don’t really want to cook. They had a recipe that called for bacon and tomatoes and basil. My three favorite things. That is what inspired this dish.

Making this Basil, Bacon and Tomato Pasta Sauce was very simple. I used a can of stewed tomatoes because I really like them, but you could use regular chopped canned tomatoes, or even fresh if you wanted to take the time to peel them. I also used frozen bell pepper medley that I always have in my freezer just for days like this.
You could add a light red wine to this sauce, but it probably would not taste quite as fresh.

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Savory Watermelon Basil Salad

Savory Watetmelon Basil SaladRecipes in this Post

I love when spring comes and all the fruits and vegetables you missed over the winter come into season. I especially miss watermelon. There are all sorts of watermelon flavored things, but they are just not the same, and who knows what’s really in them.

Last year, I found a great recipe from Jeff Potter’s book, Cooking for Geeks, for a watermelon and feta cheese salad. It was an experiment in sweet salty that I made one of the times I was Guest Chef at Ascencia in Glendale.

Spane had gotten a good report card and had requested Jambalaya for dinner. It’s spicy food, and with Global Warming Climate Change giving us warm nights already, we needed something to cool down our selves and our palates. I was reminded of the watermelon salad I made last year, and it was time to make another.

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Apartment Vegetable Garden

Plants in this PostApartment Vegetale Garden in a Drawer

Has this happened to you? Have you had a vegetable start growing roots in your refrigerator? Green onions have done that to me numerous times, and I have always thrown the root part out. This time when that happened, I said “If you can live in my refrigerator, then you can live outside in dirt.”

We live in an apartment, and we don’t have a patio or yard, and yet I have always wanted to grow at least some of my own food. Well, Charlie, as my friend called him, started me on our apartment vegetable garden. I will be updating this post regularly as the vegetables grow.

We already had a basil plant that was doing fine living on top of the outside of the air conditioner. We even named her Lucille, but her name is pronounced the way that Little Richard did it in his song by the same name, Lucille. I have provided a video if you don’t remember it.

My good friend, who is the director of United States Soldiers Assistance Center and board member of Heal Children with Cancer Worldwide, suggested I use an unused dresser drawer for my garden. She was right, and the garden is doing fine.

Apartment Vegetable Garden

Apartment Vegetable Garden


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Tri-Color Lemon Basil Tomato Bread

Recipes in this PostFinished Bread

I used to make bread every week when I was Chef Farion‘s roommate, simply because he liked to have bread with his meal. I’m not that much of a bread person, seeing that at the time of this writing, I had to make a new category for bread. Well, today that is going to change.

My wonderful neighbor gave me some Lemon Basil this morning, I looked at it and said to myself, “Yes, you are going to put this in bread!” Then I thought that tomato goes so well with basil, and I have tube of tomato paste in the refrigerator. I am going to make three doughs, one with basil, one with tomato paste, and one with roasted garlic. Then I am going to braid them together, sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and throw it in the oven. I think it will be good. We will see!

I like making bread for a few reasons:

  1. I know what’s going into it.
  2. Kneading is a good way to relieve stress. Take out your aggression on the dough!
  3. The wonderful smell of bread baking is second to none.
  4. Finished bread gives you the feeling of a job well done.
    Spane holding dough

    Spane examining “Caesar” the tomato paste dough ball

  5. Bread is a great science project for kids. Kids can learn about yeast, and how the yeast is alive and how it makes the bread. If you are lucky, like I was, your child may volunteer to do some of the kneading for you. Spane was so happy to do it that he even named the tomato dough, “Caesar”.
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Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some left over grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier, and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein rich salad on a hot day.

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