Can’t help saying again and again that cooking, baking and food are just so exciting! I am always thrilled when I discover and experience a new food or a new dish. Eating is fun but cooking is even more fun. It is so satisfying and therapeutic.
I know a lot of you may not agree. That’s because you have not discovered it. I went through that stage, too, until I threw myself into the kitchen to try and try. Made many blunders and the food ended up in the thrash bin…..of course without telling anyone….*big wink*. Bought lots and lots of cookbooks with beautiful pictures just to enjoy looking before going to bed every night. Did it work? Of course it did. I reached a point where I couldn’t contain my curiosity and desire to eat and serve my family good food. That’s when my cooking journey began….until today. Just look at my Recipe section and you can see how many recipes I have tried just within these 2 years of blogging.
Now, croutons is my latest discovery, not that I had not tried it before but it is totally different when I ate it last week. It was just SO good. You see, a very good friend, also by the name of Mary, gave me a lovely treat to an Italian restaurant last week. It was a meet-up that’s hard to come by. We had been trying to meet up for the past 1+ year but never succeeded. It’s either she travelled or I travelled or other commitments cropped up. It was a fabulous few hours in the restaurant, just chatting and enjoying the food.
See what I had here.
Oh, I really love this starter……filled mushrooms drizzled over with a beautiful balsamic sauce. I need to try making that too. The big and thick mushrooms give a lovely, juicy bite bursting with cheesy flavour….mmmm…..really good.
I love Mexican food and when I saw this cajun chicken salad, I knew I had to go for it. Well, it was just average I would say. It was mainly lettuce and some baby tomatoes. I would prefer a different mix of vegetables. And I still prefer my Thai dressing to the creamy dressing with grated cheese. But of course I can’t be choosy. This is Italian restaurant, not Thai restaurant!
However, something in my salad really drew my attention…..CROUTONS! I had croutons before but they tasted different. The ones in my salad were bigger, more chewy and full of flavour…..very delicious! When I came back all I want was those croutons. I knew I have to make them. These would be so good in my Thai salad, my latest food craze. It all started from my Simple And Easy Thai Beef Salad. I LOVE salad. It’s so healthy, so refreshing and so delicious. Will share more about salad in another post.
If you are from the West, this would probably be easy peasy for you but for those who come from Asia, like me, we grew up eating mainly cooked food. I think the only uncooked vegetable that I ate was cucumbers which we grew lots, and sometimes tomatoes.
The very next day, off to the supermarket I went…….for bread. To be honest, I have never been so excited to buy bread! I even feel strange myself. The bread is the most important. It has to be a tougher, chewy one and one that can soak up the butter or oil. Looking through the many shelves of bread, I finally decided to go for ciabatta.
Back home from the supermarket, my croutons-making begun. It has to be very simple ingredients to give it that beautiful buttery and garlicky flavour.
garlic (peeled and chopped)
There’s no measurement here because you can adjust the amount depending on how garlicky and buttery/oily you want it to be. I love garlic so I added quite a lot. You do need enough butter/oil so that the croutons will be delicious.
Cut up the ciabatta into pieces, depending on personal preference. Mine is quite big pieces.
Add the butter and garlic into a frying pan. Fry a little while. Add the ciabatta pieces and keep frying until they turn golden but not crispy. Dish up. You can enjoy it as a snack or add it to salad.
The croutons were chewy and very delicious. You want to know how delicious they are? Before I could use it for my salad, they were almost all gone!! They were just like what I ate at the Italian restaurant! I was so happy…success at first attempt…yippee….*BIG smiles*. They were SO good with salad.
Then I tried it again the next day but this time I cut the bread into smaller pieces and used olive oil instead. I fried it a short while and then put into the oven (at 180 degrees Celsius) to crisp up a little. I left it a little too long and they turned crispy. They are still flavourful and delicious but I prefer the first one for my salad….bigger pieces and chewy, soaked in garlic butter….very addictive! The crispy one is also very delicious. My children like them very much.
It is easier to bake the croutons because you can make 2-3 trays in one go and also less greasy. I prefer this option.
Hope you will give this garlic croutons a try, whether to add to your salad or as a snack. They are just too good not to enjoy them unless you hate garlic. But garlic is so good for health! I will be making lots more, especially to go with my salad (top picture).
Have fun cooking! As for me, I think I have to learn how to make ciabatta bread next…..*smile*
Quote of the day……
“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Keep Learning Keep Smiling