Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

365 in 365 - #37 & 38 - And....she's back!!!

Oh My Goodness.....it has been quite a long time since I posted and I have missed y'all so much.  I had not realized just how therapeutic cooking and blogging can be.  Work got CRAZY BUSY, but things are beginning to settle down now.  Back to cooking, feeding my family and friends and enjoying greater balance in my life.

I just love croutons.  I love the whole crunchy, very well seasoned bread thing.  I find it is very soothing to me for some very odd reason.  I used to buy croutons that came in those indestructible bags from the produce selection...admit it...y'all know the ones that I am talking about.  Cardboard made to look like toasted bread, all the same size and shape and most likely the same number of them in each bag....YUCK!!  

I was watching the cooking channel and someone was making Panzanella, which is an Italian bread salad with day old bread.  As they were cubing the bread, all I could think of was how nicely those would be toasted in that salad.  All the croutons that I have seen made have been fried in butter and a little oil.  Since I love the taste of olive oil, I decided to try making them in another way.  I cubed a loaf of bread, drizzled on some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with a rosemary seasoning mix, baked and there they were.... crunchy, golden brown cubes of various size croutons.  The house smelled amazing while these were cooking.  

When I pulled them out of  the oven, some had holes, some had sides with the crust still on them and all of them were perfectly imperfect.  One bite, and I was hooked.  the minute my husband tried them he was hooked.  When I make them, I have to make extra because Jason will invariably snack on them until they are gone.  

I hope you give these a try with various seasoning on them and maybe even a little dried chili for a great spicy kick.

Heat over to 350`
1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut into approx. ¾ inch cubes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on a generous amount of rosemary seasoning*.  
Bake in a single layer in a jelly roll pan, turning every 5 - 10 minutes until toasted.  
* Rosemary seasoning comes premixed in the spice aisle of the grocery store.

Orange and Almond Salad
Orange and almond salad happened when I didn't have pears and pecan pralines for the original version of this salad.  

4 cups assorted baby lettuce leaves
½ cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
2 tbsps sliced almonds, toasted
2 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Raspberry vinaigrette

Serves 2 as a great side dish with scallops or fish.

I hope y'all enjoy these 2 new recipes.  I would love to hear any feed-back.

Have a great evening!

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