As much as I love food, most of the things I cook day-to-day during the week, by necessity, have to be able to be made and enjoyed in one hour or less. Cooking makes me extremely happy 99% of the time, but I will be the first to admit that the 1% of the time that it doesn’t almost always involves trying to cook something overly ambitious after getting home from work and yoga at 9pm. This inevitably always results in me rushing around, spilling things, cursing, and generally wondering why I even bothered in the first place. Needless to say, I try to avoid these sorts of unpleasant situations as much as possible.
One of my favorite foods in the entire world is homemade granola. If you find yourself thinking that sounds weird, or random, or strangely healthy, I hate to break it to ya, but you’ve never had good granola. Good, homemade granola is slightly sweet, wonderfully crunchy, and chock-full of delicious extras – nuts, dried fruit, warm spices, coconut, or pretty much anything else you could think of that would be delicious smothered in a little butter and sugar and baked up to crispy perfection. It’s fake health food at it’s finest, and it’s absolutely delicious served in a big bowl with milk and berries, eaten stranding at the counter over the container by the handful, or my personal favorite, as a topping for Greek yogurt and fruit for a wholly satisfying breakfast that’s quick enough for any workday morning but also indulgent enough for a lazy Saturday.
I’ll pretty much watch any show on the Food Network, but over the years, I’ve definitely developed a few favorites. Ina Garten’s recipes are always foolproof; watching Giada De Laurentiis cook in dangerously low-cut shirts never gets old (and her food is darn good as well). I love Chopped and old-school Unwrapped, but most of all, I love Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Something about the passion people have for their little underground restaurants, the always delicious-looking and yet entirely unpretentious food, and the thrill of maybe recognizing one of the featured restaurants makes me tune in pretty much every time I see it on. Well, like, every time. For real. I can’t stop.
Guys, GUYS. I have a problem. I’m totally, completely, and helplessly addicted. To a SALAD.
What’s wrong with me?
Before you all start freaking out, taking my temperature, and generally worrying that I’ve lost my mind, let me clarify. Panzanella is a bread salad. (“Ohhh,” you say. “That explains it.”) You take hunks of fresh bread, fry ‘em up in a skillet with olive oil/butter/both (insert sheepish grin) and toss those babies with fresh veggies, some protein if you want, and homemade vinaigrette. It’s my new favorite summer meal, a perfect blank canvas with a whole world of possible combinations and customizations. Sometimes it is a struggle to make anything else for dinner, because I just. Want. Panzanella.