Tonight I had a fellow shop gal and very close friend over to celebrate closing on her house. I am hoping that now she officially gets her check I will get mine... or at least an offer. You know, one shop gal at a time!
On any given night you could find us last summer on my patio grilling vegetables and drinking Pinot Grigio. I decided in my last few days of patio life I needed to disobey all selling-your-house rules and bring this summertime ritual back. Tonight's menu was not elaborate, it will win no culinary awards but it did bring this gal that loves to cook (and entertain) some simple pleasure
In addition to a great bottle of Cupcake Pinot Grigio and Grilled Purple Asparagus, Zucchini and Red Pepper we enjoyed one of my summer favorites...
Adapted from Ina Garten
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
basil leaves, coarsely chopped
For the vinaigrette
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.