It's blazing here. Our electric bill came in yesterday and I had to have a come to Jesus with myself. In the end, personal hygiene and overall sanity won in that we will continue to keep the air condition going strong, however, we will be downgrading to boxed wine. That's right.
In the midst of this heat wave, cooking and grilling are almost unbearable. Ina Garten has a most delish alternative, Greek Panzanella. It's totally yummy and requires little time in front of the stove. The time spent on the stove is frying bread, and I'm not going to complain one bit about that. (Obviously, the detox program will be delayed one week.)
Here's what you need to do in order to make a fantastic summer meal...
Adapted from Ina Garten (“Barefoot Contessa,” Food Network)
•Good olive oil
•1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
•1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
•1 red bell pepper, large diced
•1 yellow bell pepper, large diced
•1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
•1/2 red onion, sliced in half rounds
•1/2 pound feta cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
•1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1 teaspoon dried oregano
•1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
•1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
•1 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•1/2 cup good olive oil
1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread cubes and sprinkle with salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned. Add more olive oil as needed.
2. Place the cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.
3. For the vinaigrette: Whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small bowl. While still whisking, add the olive oil and make an emulsion.
4. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables. Add the feta, olives and bread cubes and mix together lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.