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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

California Style BLT With Avocado

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A Bacon Lettuce And Tomato sandwich is a staple in American cuisine. Having only a few simple items means, I need to use the best ingredients I can find. That way I can take this sandwich to a different level of deliciousness. A thick cut apple smoked  bacon, thick sliced heirloom tomatoes and leafy greens makes for a great sandwich. Avocado gives this sandwich a taste of California.

Then there’s the bread. It has to be one that compliments what’s inside. I think buttered and toasted Ciabatta bread is the answer.

Ingredients:
8 slices of thick cut apple wood bacon
2 heirloom tomatoes, sliced thick
leafy greens
1 sliced avocado
pesto mayo

Directions:
Preheat the oven at 400 degrees F.
Place the rack in the lower third of the oven. I use a foiled covered baking sheet with a rack. This makes for crispier bacon because it cooks the bacon from all sides.  The bacon should take anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Check the bacon progress after 12 minutes. Once fully cooked, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towel.

On medium heat, in a cast iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Then rub one side of the bread in the butter and flip it over and rub the other side. Once both sides have butter on them I let them toast upright in the pan. I’d say about 2 minutes per side.

I like to spread a light coating of *pesto mayo on each the top and bottom slice before placing the lettuce down first, then the bacon, then tomato, with a very light sprinkling of Kosher salt, and then the avocado with another sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper. Finally finishing off with the top slice of buttered Ciabatta. This is my secret to making a great BLT With Avocado.

*pesto mayonnaise
Mix 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of fresh basil pesto.

 

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Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

Tuscan Sausage, Kale And Potato Soup

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Panzanella Salad (2)

Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushroom, And Asparagus Strata

There is nothing better than Homemade Ciabatta Croutons. Whenever I make croutons, they’re usually made from cutting up a special Artisan bread I bought from my local bakery. Ciabatta bread is my favorite. Specifically the Tuscan garlic loaf. Whole roasted garlic cloves are baked right into the bread.

Let me say this if you love good bread, and you’ve made homemade croutons then you know what I’m talking about.

Above are a few of my recipes where I’ve added Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

My Tuscan Soup, French Onion Soup, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Rotisserie Chicken Salad, Panzanella Salad With A Twist, and finally, my Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushroom, And Asparagus Strata.

I think in the future I’ll be making a sweet bread pudding using another variety of  Ciabatta bread. They are just so many recipes that start out with great Homemade Ciabatta Croutons.

Let me show you two techniques I use when making croutons. One is the stovetop method, the other is the oven-bake method.

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Tuscan Soup (40)

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (1)

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Parsley And Parmesan Croutons

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Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minute
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 cups of croutons

Ingredients For Stove Top Method:
4 to 6 cups of bread cubes, 1 1/2-inch size cubes (1 loaf of Tuscan Ciabatta garlic loaf, or plain Ciabatta)
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh herbs, optional
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, optional

Ingredients For Oven Bake Method:
4 to 6 cups of bread cubes, 1 1/2-inch size cubes (1 loaf of Tuscan Ciabatta garlic loaf, or plain Ciabatta)
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, divided
Fresh herbs, optional
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, optional

Directions For Stove Top Method:
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes making sure not to overcrowd the bread cubes and that they’re in a single layer in the pan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Toss all the bread cubes around so they absorb the butter and olive oil. Sauté for a couple of minutes without turning. Once a golden brown, on the first side, then toss them again until brown all sides. This takes about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Directions For The Oven Bake Method.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

While the croutons are nice and hot add freshly chopped herbs and/or grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine.

Updated-Tuscan Soup With Parmesan Croutons

French Onion Soup With Mini Meatballs

Roasted Acorn Squash Filled With Italian Sausage And Pears

Panzanella Salad With A Twist

Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushroom, And Asparagus Strata

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Roasted Piquillo Pepper And Edamame Pestos

 

Roasted Piquillo Pepper And Edamame Pesto

When I make any type of pesto, whether it’s the original basil pesto or pesto made with different ingredients, they’re all so delicious. In this post, I’m making two identical pestos but changing up the star ingredient. The first one is my Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto, the second is an Edamame Pesto.

Crostini, are what’s known as little slices of grilled bread. The choice of bread is just as important as the toppings you put on them. Ciabatta bread I find is the best bread to use.

I lay them out onto a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and sprinkle each one with Kosher salt, and pepper. Pop them into the oven until they’re golden brown. Another great way to toast the Ciabatta is on an indoor grill pan.

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I want to talk a little about Hominy. Hominy is just whole corn kernels that have been soaked in a lime solution to soften the tough outer hulls. The second ingredients I love to add to pesto is Cannellini beans.

I’m incorporating these ingredients in my pestos for extra body and texture. First, because it doesn’t overpower the flavors that I’m highlighting and second, they’re a staple in my pantry.

With the exception of the star ingredient, the Edamame and the Roasted Piquillo Pepper both pestos contain all of the same ingredients.

So you can see here I have everything prepped including my grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

First, I’m starting with the RoastedPiquillo Pepper Pesto.

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When the pesto is finished I always drizzle a little of the E.V.O.O. over the top, it adds a nice finish to the pesto.

Roasted Piquillo Pepper And Edamame Pesto

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Equipment: food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

Ingredients:
1 cup of Roasted Piquillo peppers
1/2 cup of drained and rinsed Cannellini beans
1/2 cup hominy, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 clove of peeled garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup of E.V.O.O.
1/3 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 loaf of Ciabatta bread (yields 16 slices)

Ingredients:
1 cup Edamame, shelled
1/2 cup of drained and rinsed Cannellini beans
1/2 cup hominy, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 clove of peeled garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1/3 cup of E.V.O.O.
1/3 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions For Ciabatta Bread:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Directions:
Start with the adding the walnuts to the food processor first, giving them a head start on getting ground up. Pulse the walnuts a few times. Next, add the Roasted Piquillo Peppers, or the shelled Edamame, Cannellini beans, Hominy, roughly chopped garlic, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper into a food processor. Pulse until everything just purèed. Though the feeding tube, add the e.v.o.o. until pesto comes together to a paste-like consistency. Last, add the grated cheese and then give it a couple more pulses till the cheese is combined. Give the pesto a quick taste to make sure the seasoning is just right. Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl. Drizzle a little E.V.O.O. over the top.

 

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