Saturday, July 21, 2007

Summer Salad with Homemade Croutons & Strawberry Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette

In the words of the Fresh Prince, today was a beautiful day in the "Summer summer summertime, time to sit back and unwind!" But rather than playing double dutch, I made a delicious salad to eat out on the back patio with my little husband. The highlights were the from scratch croutons, strawberry enhanced dressing, and leftover grilled chicken. Below find the crouton and dressing recipes and then all the junk I put in the salad. (Let's face it, a recipe for a salad is just all the stuff you dump in the bowl, so you can figure out what you particuraly want and how much of it!) So let the alpine blast and enjoy!

Homemade Herbed Croutons

  • 4-5 Sliced of Italian Bread
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Dried Herbs & Spices (Thyme, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Salt, Tarragon)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the bread slices into bite sized squares/ rectangles. I cut them into pieces around 1/2" to 1" wide.
  3. In a large sealable bag, drizzle in olive oil. Seal the bag and smoosh the oil around so it isn't just a giant puddle on the bottom.
  4. Add in the bread pieces, shaking them quickly around the bag to evenly coat them with oil. If you are not careful to get the bread moving, the first few pieces will sink to the bottom and soak up most of the oil. If that happens, squeeze those pieces like a sponge to try to get some oil out for the other pieces!
  5. Open the bag and shake in a bunch of delightful herbs and spices. You do not need a lot of herbs to be effective. I would estimate I used no more than a pinch of each. Again, shake bread around, trying to evenly coat the pieces with seasoning.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with foil for easy clean up. Place seasoned bread bits in a single layer on the foil. Cook croutons in the oven for around 10-12 minutes, turning occassionally to brown on all sides.
  7. When browned, remove croutons and allow to cool before using in salads, soups, or casserole toppings.

Strawberry Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (high quality)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 4-5 Small OR 2-3 Normal Strawberries, finely chopped
  • 1 Tsp. White Sugar
  • Dash of Black Pepper
  • Dash of Salt

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Mash the strawberries around to extract some of the juice.
  2. Let the dressing sit for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mix.
  3. Before serving, strain out some of the strawberry bits.

Salad Fixins
  • Boston Lettuce
  • Leftover BioHazzard Chicken, cold and sliced (Recipe available on blog)
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • White Mushrooms
  • Hard Boiled Egg
  • Homemade Croutons
  • Strawberry Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette

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