Farmer's market bread salad

What a week, friends. We're staring down the barrel of a huge house move and the world seems to be devolving into complete chaos. To combat all of this uncertainty, I'm organizing. Or, organizing as much as possible when life feels like a giant snow globe: One flick of the universe's wrist and everything that makes me feel grounded will be flying around every which way.

As someone who claims to be unsentimental about "stuff" and who has become pretty cutthroat about culling after 15 years of living in one, two, or three-room (not bedroom, room room) apartments, we still have a lot of unnecessary crap. Why do I have receipts for jeans I bought two years ago? Why are there face creams I've never used in my medicine cabinet? I'm not terribly worried about getting rid of things because we're moving to a house with plenty of space, but seriously future self: STOP BUYING PARENTING BOOKS YOU WILL NEVER READ. No one has space on their nightstands or in their brains, house or no house. 

I've also been trying to keep the food easy and nutritious since we don't have time or energy to cook anything complicated and I don't want to feel terrible after a heavy meal when we have so much to do. Enter, bread salad with fresh raw veggies from the farmer's market and a quick basil dressing. I am the queen of buying bread that looks great, forgetting about it, and realizing it's there a week later when it's hard as a rock. Bread salad is the perfect way to resurrect stale loaves and is a great alternative to leafy salads. You can make a huge batch of bread salad and eat it all week without worries about wilting. Also, I've never met a toddler who wanted to tear into a salad of leafy greens. But a salad that features bread and tomatoes and can be eaten with your fingers is a win with my kid.

A couple of notes: I tend to make this salad with heavy, thick whole grain bread, but it can easily be made with a stale baguette or something lighter. Use your discretion with the amount of dressing you add to the bread: A thicker bread will require more dressing while a lighter, airier bread will turn to mush with the same amount of liquid. The goal of adding dressing to the bread is to revitalize it with liquid without turning it into a liquid. So, start with 1/2 of the dressing and add more depending on how dense your bread is.

I like to eat this salad as is for lunch, but for dinner, feel free to add cheese, grilled chicken thighs, shredded rotisserie chicken, hard-boiled eggs, or grilled shrimp to make this into a more well-rounded meal.

 

Farmer’s market bread salad

8 oz very stale bread
2 ears corn
1 medium zucchini or other summer squash
½ large red onion
1 pint cherry tomatoes

For the dressing:
2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves (I used about 75 leaves, or about 1 cup slightly packed)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt

Make the dressing: Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Check for seasoning and set aside.

Chop the bread and place in a large bowl. Add ½- ¾ of the dressing (See note above to determine how much dressing) and toss. Set aside.

Chop the rest of the raw veggies and add to the bread mixture. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to eat, drizzle with leftover dressing before serving.

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Broccoli and cheddar corn bread

Broccoli and cheddar corn bread | Me & The Moose. Sneak in some more vegetables in your corn bread. #meandthemoose #cornbread #cornbreadrecipes #broccoliandcheddar #quickbread #hiddenveggies #sidedishes #toddlerrecipes

When we were but wee lads and lasses, M's dad took me to a fancy pants restaurant called Dovetail on the UWS in Manhattan. Despite its pedigree, the restaurant served this perfectly salty and sweet corn bread instead of the traditional sourdough or focaccia. It definitely had whole corn kernels--either fresh or roasted, I'm not sure-- and probably more salt than is healthy. I don't even remember the rest of the meal, but that corn bread haunts my dreams 10 years later. We're planning a return trip in March for our wedding anniversary and I'll be Instagramming the hell out of that dinner.

This also feels like a good game day food and is perfect with a bowl of chili. (My favorite chili recipes here and here.) I have mixed feelings about football (the brain injuries, the low pay for the non-all-stars, turning a blind eye to domestic violence), but we'll be watching the Superbowl this weekend for the commercials and Lady Gaga, at least. So, why not have an appropriate accompaniment, right?  

M refuses fresh corn kernels, but make no mistake, we'll be trying again come corn season 2017. To get that extra corn-y flavor of the bread from Dovetail, I subbed corn flour for the AP flour that most recipes call for, which has the added bonus of turning this bread gluten-free. The flour isn't a perfect swap for fresh or roasted corn, but it gets the flavor closer while still being something M will eat.

Broccoli and cheddar corn bread | Me & The Moose. Sneak in some more vegetables in your corn bread. #meandthemoose #cornbread #cornbreadrecipes #broccoliandcheddar #quickbread #hiddenveggies #sidedishes #toddlerrecipes

Cheese makes everything better and broccoli makes me feel like a good mother, so I've thrown some of that in too. 

Broccoli and cheddar corn bread | Me & The Moose. Sneak in some more vegetables in your corn bread. #meandthemoose #cornbread #cornbreadrecipes #broccoliandcheddar #quickbread #hiddenveggies #sidedishes #toddlerrecipes

Broccoli and cheddar corn bread

Adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup corn flour
1 cup corn meal
2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or granuated)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1.5 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1.5 cups frozen broccoli, chopped
6 large scallions, chopped
2 tbsp butter
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for the top

Preheat oven to 425. Combine the corn flour, corn meal, coconut sugar, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and lightly whisk. Add the buttermilk, eggs, cheese, broccoli, and scallions, and stir to combine.

Place the butter in the cast iron or oven-proof skillet and put the skillet into the hot oven just until the butter melts. Take it out and carefully swirl to coat the bottom and sides.

Pour the mixture into the hot skillet (be careful!) and bake until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let the corn bread cool before cutting.

Yield: 8-10 large slices of bread.

Broccoli and cheddar corn bread | Me & The Moose. Sneak in some more vegetables in your corn bread. #meandthemoose #cornbread #cornbreadrecipes #broccoliandcheddar #quickbread #hiddenveggies #sidedishes #toddlerrecipes