Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Clean out the Fridge" Panzanella

After making my first panzanella with the Barefoot Bloggers I found myself craving those crusty cubes of toasted bread soaking in oil and vinegar and dancing with fresh veggies. I had a bunch of odds and ends in the vegetable drawer in the fridge and instead of my usual "clean out the fridge stir fry" I decided to put those veggies to use in a panzanella modeled after Ina's that I had made a few weeks ago.

Luck would also have it that at the same time my veggie drawer was getting jam packed I had just made two loaves of Honey French Bread, luck or maybe not, maybe I just made the bread because it's the same bread I made last time I made Ina's panzanella and it was just perfect for it. Shhhh don't tell my husband the real reason I made the Honey French Bread he adores was not for him but really so I could make panzanella again. And he won't even touch panzanella, WAY too many veggies for that man. Oh-well.

For the veggies I used cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes, which were all in Ina's recipe. I forgot to add the tomatoes last time, so really wanted to add them this time around. I also added some mushrooms that were at that sad point where they beg to be used, knowing that if they aren't used right then, the next time you take a peek at them hanging out in the fridge they will need to be surely tossed. First I sauteed them with some seasoned salt in olive oil, then let them cool a little bit, but when I tossed them into the panzanella they were still slightly warm, which was a wonderful contrast to the cool raw veggies.

Also in my fridge I had half a container of goat cheese, left over from another one of Ina's amazing recipes from grilled pizzas -- the goat cheese was a suggested topping which I'm so glad I was reminded of, I love goat cheese on pizzas out at a restaurant but for some reason never thought to buy it for pizza night at home until I saw it in Ina's ingredient list.

For my dressing I used Ina's panzanella vinagrette as a base. I really only used the champagne vinegar and olive oil, used a bit of seasoned salt to make up for the lack of minced garlic, and added a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in place of the dijon mustard in Ina's recipe. I tried it the first time, knowing I'm not a mustard fan, it wasn't too bad then, but I knew I would prefer it sans mustard if I made it again. I just love balsamic vinegar and I could tell it wanted to be used after I reached for the champagne vinegar next to it. :) That special champagne vinegar I special ordered just for Barefoot Bloggers when we made Ina's panzanella, and you know what I just noticed, when you look at the bottle it says "Champagne Wine Vinegar" -- I added the picture again just incase you missed the the first time. I know when I ordered it I was just looking for Champagne vinegar and I totally missed the 'wine' in the title, does it really matter? Is there a difference between champagne vinegar and champagne wine vinegar? I'd really like to know! I really love buying all of these specialty ingredients I'd never try otherwise, makes me feel like my culinary horizons are expanding just a touch with each new spice or vinegar I try.

My second panzanella was amazing! Even better than the first because I could customize it, leave out the mustard, add in the mushrooms and goat cheese and balsamic vinegar, I really enjoyed all of the flavors and textures mingling together. I already am craving it again. And I'm craving Ina's jalapeno cheddar cornbread, another Barefoot Bloggers pick, oh man was that delicious. There must be something really special about Ina's recipes, because they make you want to make them again, they make you crave those flavors. I really love trying new recipes, and I like lots of the recipes I try but there are not that many that leave me wanting to make them over and over again. Thanks, Ina, and Barefoot Bloggers, who are the real reason I've taken the plunge and tried these recipes.


Anonymous said...

Oh, that sounds so good and refreshing right now.
I don't think there's a difference in Champagne and Champagne Wine vinegar. I could totally be wrong though... I thought champagne was a type of grape- and they make a drink out of that grape... but I might be way off base.
~The Cat's Pajamas

Elra said...

LOL, it's so funny that your husband won't touch it because its too many veggies?

Panzanella always welcome in my family, your looks so appetizing! I better get cooking now!

Debinhawaii said...

Looks delicious--I keep thinking about the panzanella and need to make it again.

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