2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed
HEAT oven to 375°.
TEAR the baguette into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, add the garlic and toss.
SPREAD bread pieces out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Carefully toss and turn the croutons and continue baking for 5 to 10 minutes longer until croutons are crunchy and golden. Serve with the salad. Leftover croutons can be stored in an airtight container for a few days (discard the garlic before storing).
Summer Peach Smoothie
Peaches make a delicious, creamy smoothie. West Virginia-grown peaches are available at Capitol Market throughout the summer. You can make up your own creation depending on the fruits that you have on hand.
2/3 cup plain yogurt (see note 1)
1/3 very ripe banana, peeled, sliced and frozen (see note 2)
1 fresh peach, well rinsed, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup orange juice
Honey, to taste (just a squirt)
PUT the yogurt in the container of a blender. Add the banana, peach and orange juice. Put the lid securely on the blender and blend on high speed until smooth. Turn the blender off, add a squirt of honey and blend again. With the machine running, remove the center part of the blender lid and drop in a few ice cubes and blend until ice is crushed. Freeze any leftover smoothie in ice pop molds or small paper cups for smoothie pops.
Note 1: I like to use Greek yogurt; it has double the protein and calcium of regular yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt is available in large containers, but be sure to choose the fat-free or low-fat variety. The "full-fat" type is very high in fat -- not what you want in a fruity, refreshing smoothie.
Note 2: Hold on to those blackening bananas. Rather than toss your overripe bananas, peel and slice them and lay them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze them, then bag the frozen banana chunks into freezer bags, ready for smoothies any time.
Taco Salad Wraps
This vegetarian wrap, made with a flour tortilla, is a salad you can eat with your hands. Pack it for a lunch on the go.
1 15 1/2-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
6 flour tortillas (10-inch diameter), preferably whole wheat
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1 avocado, chopped (optional -- see note)
6 large green-leaf lettuce leaves
MASH together with a potato masher or fork the beans, olive oil, cumin and chili powder.
LAY tortillas out on a work surface. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons bean mixture on each tortilla, halfway between the center and bottom edge.
TOP each with some chopped tomato, cheese, cilantro leaves and avocado. Cover with a lettuce leaf. Fold bottom of tortilla up to hold the filling in, then fold in one side over filling and roll it up to make a tidy wrap. Wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap.
KEEP refrigerated or in a lunch cooler until ready to serve. Extra wraps keep for a day or two.
Note: If reserving wraps for another day, sprinkle the avocado with a little fresh lime juice to keep it from browning.
April Hamilton has always said, "Cooking is fun!" She shares her easy, practical recipes for delicious food through her cooking classes for kids and families. April's husband and three daughters help with testing and tasting in their Charleston kitchen. April would love to hear from you: Email aprilskitchencoun...@gmail.com.