feasting with friends

I’m Back….

I’m back at feasting with friends. It seems it has been forever since I’ve posted anything new. Well, not forever. More like 3 months. Three months?!?!  Why? Well there hasn’t been much feasting, let alone feasting with friends, over these last months. I needed to focus on healing and on myself. We’ve done very little entertaining. We’ve shared meals, here and there. Though it was our wonderful, caring friends and family doing the cooking. We had wonderful meals delivered and shared at our table. We are blessed. The salad photos scattered throughout this post is one of those delivered foods. It happens to be an old favorite of mine, delivered by an old [I’m referring to length of friendship not age!] friend and her daughter. It was a small part of a bounty of good eats they delivered to our home. The recipe is from a local restaurant, Paesano’s, and Chef Isabella Nicoletti…a delicious Insalata Panzanella.Insalata PanzanellaHave I missed blogging?  Yes, immensely. Initially, I was still following along on what everyone else was cooking or writing or posting in general. That soon fell by the wayside too. I believe I didn’t even open WordPress for close to two months. No peeking at stats, no seeing what was new in my reader, not even ridding my site of those pesky spammers. But…enough is enough. Just today I spent many hours trying to catch up at blogger friend’s sites…and, boy oh boy, have I missed a lot. I still have a ways to go. A long ways, in fact. If you haven’t had a visit from me yet…beware…I’m wandering from here to there and to and fro. I shall once again be stalking…hehe. 😉insalata panzanellaDid I stop cooking? Yes, for several weeks. And then cooking was minimal. And then cooking was boring…certainly not blog worthy. And then cooking was old favorites from non other than this blog. Hahhah. Nothing like having many of your favorite recipes all in one place…talk about easy access! I’m finally getting back to what I love…cooking. I’ve even done some canning in the last couple of days. Things are looking up! It’s really only been in the last couple of weeks that I’ve ventured out of my “comfort food” zone and have cooked something “new”. Unfortunately, out of practice or routine means forgetting to take photos. Urgh! It’s like a re-training of the brain. I’m getting there…

insalata panzanellaDid I stop eating? Well, that’s a loaded question. Yes, I stopped eating many kinds of food. After my surgery, many foods became disagreeable to me. Either they didn’t taste good or they didn’t “sit” well. The most disagreeable of all? Tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes! Whether in pizza sauce, bolognese, raw, stewed, roasted or even ketchup, my beloved tomatoes turned on me. The acid in tomatoes seemed to be the culprit. That was a hard break-up…thank goodness it was only temporary! We are in the process of making up again…yippee!

insalata panzanella

The first time I hit that “publish” button when I started this blog I was a nervous wreck. Coming back to this blog is somewhat like that. A routine that is interrupted, for any reason, is difficult to get back into. My distance from feasting with friends has left me with a list of things to focus my attention on when it comes to this blog. For instance, I missed my blogiversary…it was one year recently. Guess we’ll have a belated celebration. I’ve received awards from fellow bloggers I want to recognize. And…I want to give one more shout-out [coming soon…] to all of the lovely ladies who provided a guest post here. [My, what a delicious group of recipes they shared with all of us.] And, of course, I need to cook. Cook on a regular basis. Cook and remember to take photos on a regular basis. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I won’t let my “laundry list” of things keep me away any longer. The hard part is over…I’m here. I’ll take my time and get things done, one step and one meal at a time.

insalata panzanellaThe time has come to once again enjoy feasting with friends, whether I’m serving sauteed eats or whipped up sweets. It’s time to cook…and eat! Here is the salad and dressing recipe…

Insalata Panzanella

insalata panzanellaFor the salad:
1 cup asparagus, ends removed
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
5 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup ricotta salata, shaved
2 cups toasted croutons
3/4 cups honey dressing, warm [see below]

For the honey dressing:
1 cup honey
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
1½ cups extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:
•Cut asparagus very thin on the bias.
•Put greens in a bowl, add asparagus, thawed peas, cheese and croutons.
•Mix together and divide salad onto 4 plates. Drizzle with the warm honey dressing.

For the honey dressing:
•Mix the honey, rice vinegar, salt and pepper together. Slowly whisk in the oil.
•Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Warm over medium low heat, in a small saucepan, when ready to use.




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