Cold Weather Comfort Food

Panzanella, an age-old Italian recipe for using stale bread, is still very much in the 21st century as it appears in my new “Everyday Italian” cookbook by Giada de Laurentiis. This delicious recipe was the perfect solution for some of the Mediterranean pita bread left over from the recent Rex Foundation 25th Anniversary Benefit (what a wonderful evening of great music!). Organic tomatoes ( purchased from both the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market and Safeway) olives, capers, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil are also key ingredients in this recipe. In addition, I used some sun-dried tomatoes (since I didn’t have the peppers called for) which gave the dish some extra flavor. Fragrant cream of cauliflower soup with saffron paired wonderfully with this salad. Baby cauliflower from the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market was transformed by this recipe from Epicurious. I use an immersion blender when I make soup. I love this but learned to put the pot with the soup and blender into the sink so it doesn’t splatter all over the kitchen! Our wine this evening was a gift from a visiting daughter of a college roommate –  a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from the R Collection. We were truly warmed and comforted by this meal!

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