double crisped sourdough panzanella salad with peaches & blueberries

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i realize i am just on the cusp of tomato, peach and blueberry season being over. i had intended for this panzanella salad to be up a couple of weeks ago but somehow this september has grown it's own set of wings and completely taken off on me. 

it's all exciting, it's all good, wonderful really, these things i have going on behind the scenes (hope to be shared soon), but nonetheless they have kept me on my tippy toes flying around. which has meant i have not been able to be as present as i may have wished in this here space of mine. to be honest this busyness may take over my life for the coming months but i do promise to pop in here at least once a month with some kind of delicious update...like this panzanella salad.

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if there was one salad i could eat for the rest of my life it would be this salad. it represents all the beautiful elements of the end of summer and flawlessly leads us into the cooler autumn months.

the flavours are simple as is the prep but once they are tossed together it is like heaven on a plate. my biggest pet peeve with panzanella salad's is mushy bread, i mean, who ever really wants mushy bread panzanella salad or not. but i wanted to make sure these croutons could stand the test of time. so i started with fresh bread, yup fresh, not day old, not two day old, not three day old, fresh soft, squishy bread. 

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using fresh bread really allows you to determine the kind of crunch you want. personally i like it when a crouton is a little larger (think 1 inch in size), has a crispy outside but a tender soft inside. it's the best of both worlds really. the fresh bread is torn into pieces, somewhat dehydrated in the oven on a very low temp, then tossed in butter, garlic & olive oil that the toasted bread just soaks up. finally the flavoured croutons are placed back into the oven at a very high temp to get that second layer of crisp. they are highly delightful and really quite easy to make. you could make a larger batch and save some for later salads, caesar maybe or just eat them by the handful.

this salad is a salad that is hard to mess up...i don't really give that many measurements as a drizzle here and there is really all you need and you will be able to determine that once you have everything cut up and tossed together. side on the less is more motto until you get the perfect combination. i think i used about 2 tbsp of each...

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double crisped panzanella salad with peaches & blueberries

ingredients

1 loaf of fresh bakery sourdough

5 cloves of garlic

3 tbsp butter

2 peaches

1 pint of local cherry tomatoes (a variety of colours for prettiness)

1 cup of blueberries

1 shallot

basil

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

honey

salt & pepper to taste

directions

preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

roughly tear the sourdough into 1 inch pieces. you don't want the pieces too small nor too large. place the fresh bread onto a baking sheet and into the oven for 30-40 minutes until it has semi-dried out. the outside will feel slightly crispy but still tender to the touch (a squishy middle).

preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

in a large sauce pan on low-med heat add about 2 tbsp of olive oil and 3 tbsp of butter. mince the garlic and add it to the pan to brown a little. throw in the dehydrated bread, coat evenly and season with salt and pepper. place the croutons back onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. watch this step very closely as the croutons will burn quickly.  you just want to brown them, again the outside will be crispy and the inside will still have a slight squish to it. trust me the crisp with the squish is delicious.

the rest of the salad is quite simple. finely chop a shallot, slice a couple of peaches, cut the tomatoes in half, add everything including the blueberries and basil to a large bowl and toss together with a drizzle of honey (about 1 tbsp) and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar (a couple of tbsp of each, use your discretion here). finally add the crispy croutons and toss once more, making sure to coat the croutons with some of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar juices. 

serve immediately. these croutons because they are larger and crisped twice will hold their structure much longer than regular croutons but not more than one seating (aka you can't leave this salad overnight).


butter BBQ chicken sourdough sandwich with chipotle mayo & roasted red peppers

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so i know this recipe is about the whole deal, the whole sandwich, and don't get me wrong the sandwich is to die for, like literally get all over your face good. but in my bias opinion it is because of the mayo. well and of course all the butter.

this homemade mayo is so super easy to make (please don't let the idea of making mayo at home scare you, it is so so so worth the five minutes with the food processor), is incredibly fresh in taste and has the perfect spicy kick to it. i used to hate mayo, like hate, hate, hate it. truth be told any store bought condiments really gross me out. i mean how long has it been sitting on that shelf and why can it sit there for so long? all seems kinda weird to me when homemade mayo can only last about 5-7 days max in the fridge, to make it have a shelf life of many many years there has got to be some not so good components in that mayo. 

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plus the smell and texture of store bought mayo really just icks me out. so for years i never even thought of mayo, tasting it, eating it, all no. until the last couple of years when i started making it at home and realized the big fuss over mayo. if you like store bought mayo this one will change your life. the texture is better, the smell is better, the freshness is not even comparable. plus it will take you less time to make the mayo then it would to go all the way to the store to buy one from the shelf and bring it home. so long story short make the mayo!

not only it is good on this sandwich but it is really yummy to use as a dip for tortilla chips or garden veggies, spread on a bacon and egg morning sandwich or even on potatoes! we have even used it as a semi hollandaise and put a spoonful on poached eggs. delish! 

ok so I think you get the point, this mayo is good. but what about the sandwich you may be thinking it is second place to the mayo, but really it is right up there next to it. when I say there is butter, there is butter, when in doubt just add more. i am guessing we used about 8 tbsp but it may have been more. if the pan is starting to look dry add more in. and baste baste baste. this chicken comes out so moist from the butter and the bacon fat. the onions let them get all charcoal like, trust me they are amazing that way, you can throw some in closer to the end to have them a little less cooked. the head of garlic will be burnt on the tips, but it is a beautiful crisp that goes oh so well with the soft creamy like inside bits. 

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the roasted peppers give the sandwich that bit of sweetness balance, then you add in the fresh tomato slices and lettuce and as heavy as you may think it all sounds its really quite refreshing. when i say to brown/blacken the chicken i really mean it. do not be afraid of the dark side during this meal all that charcoal goodness is what makes everything taste so damn good here. 

alright now go blacken away friends...and hey just think if people tell you it is burnt you can say no actually it is meant to be that way, thank you very much! 

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butter bbq chicken sourdough sandwich with chipotle mayo and roasted red peppers

ingredients

2 chicken legs

4 slices of bacon

1 head of garlic

1 onion

a bundle of thyme sprigs

6-8 tbsp of butter

2-3 tbsp of olive oil

lettuce

tomato

4 small sweet red peppers

1 loaf of fresh sourdough bread

chipotle mayo

3 egg yolks

1 cup grape seed oil

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

1 tbsp of dijon mustard

4 tbsp of chipotle puree (recipe here) or 3 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (or too your spice taste)

1 large handful of cilantro

1 shallot

salt and pepper to taste

directions

preheat the bbq to 375 degrees with a cast iron pan in it preheating as well. generously salt and pepper the chicken legs. 

once the bbq is heated up add 2-3 tbsp of olive oil and 5 tbsp of butter to the pan. brown/blacken the chicken legs really well on all sides, then add in the slices of bacon, the onion (rough chunks), the sprigs of thyme and the head of garlic (the sliced end face down). season with a sprinkle more of salt and pepper. 

continue letting the garlic, bacon and chicken cook together for about 35-45 minutes, basting the chicken every fifteen minutes with the melted butter, adding more butter as needed. the chicken should get nice and blackened as will the head of garlic and chunks of onion (you can add some of the onion in closer to the end as well to have it less charcoal). 

while the chicken is cooking you can make the mayo.

in a food processor place three egg yolks. blitz for 5 seconds to break them up. next mix the grape seed oil and olive oil together, put the lid of the food processor on and at high speed very slowly drizzle the oils in through the top hole. once the yolk and oil comes together you can start to pour in the oils faster (you just want to go slowly at the start so that they don't break). once the oils and yolks are a nice thick consistency, turn off the food processor and add in the rest of the ingredients. blitz until it is nice and smooth. place in the fridge until you are ready to use. 

once the chicken is blackened take it off the bbq and let it sit to rest for 10 minutes. while it is resting you can roast the peppers. keeping them whole, place them directly on the bbq (on low to med heat) and roast until the skin starts to get blackened like charcoal. place on a plate and let cool. 

slice the sourdough and butter each side, place on the bbq to get those nice grill marks and get it all toasty good! 

to assemble, layer each side of the toasted bread with the chipotle mayo, add some of the butter bbq'ed chicken, a slice or two of bacon, some of those onions that were in the pan getting all crispy, squeeze some of that roasted garlic on top, layer with the roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato, top with the toast, cut in half and get some napkins!!