Homemade Garlic Croutons

I had some soup the other day that needed a little crunch. I also had a two day old loaf of bread. That means crouton time! It couldn’t be easier: toss some bread + olive oil + salt + garlic powder and stick it in the oven or toaster oven  for 10-15 minutes. And for all your non-trouble, you’re rewarded with a perfectly delicious salad topping that has a nice CRUNCH to it.

Here’s the “recipe.” I can’t really call it a recipe since I didn’t measure anything. Just use your eye and you should be fine!

How to Make Crunchy Homemade Garlic Croutons

  1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven (much easier) to 350°F.
  2. Cut bread into roughly 1″ cubes and spread out in one even layer on a baking pan or sheet or dish or whatever.
  3. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Remember, the bread is already a little salty, so don’t overdo it. Use sea salt if you’re feeling decadent. Garlic powder has a very strong flavor so just a little bit on each piece will suffice.
  4. This is where you can get a little creative. If you want, you can add a little bit of Italian seasoning and/or crushed red pepper flakes here for added flavor. Or you can leave out the garlic powder completely for plain croutons. OR you can cut a clove of garlic in half and rub the cut side all over the pieces of bread. My grandma used to do this and the flavor is very sharp but very delicious if you love garlic. You can also try sprinkling onion powder instead. Or paprika. Or how about a blend of cumin/coriander/turmeric for curry croutons? Whatever seasonings you decide to add, remember to use a light hand. You don’t want the flavor to be overpowering, just a little hint is what you’re aiming for.
  5. Toss everything together, spread in an even layer again, and put it in the oven. Watch it closely – I recommend checking and tossing every 4 minutes. You want the pieces to bake until light brown and crunchy. Any longer and they will become hard as a rock. The total time depends on how fresh or stale your bread was when you started. My two day old bread took about 15 minutes; fresh will take longer.
  6. Enjoy in soup, on top of a salad, or as a snack straight off the baking sheet!

I recommend making these in small batches. They dry out even more if you leave them out, but they get soft if you leave them in an airtight container. Plus, prep is so easy that there’s no reason not to have fresh, warm croutons whenever you want them.

Buckwheat Cake with Sea Salt

buckwheat cake

The recipe for this cake sounded very unusual: buckwheat flour, rum, salt?! I did have a bottle of dark rum just begging to be used up, and for some reason, I also had buckwheat flour in the pantry. So I figured, why not? And I’m so glad I did!

Everything in this cake is so perfectly balanced: lightly sweetened and a kick of salt, not too airy or too dense, no distracting frosting or toppings, a deep and interesting but not over-the-top flavor. It goes great with a cup of tea or an after-dinner drink like Frangelico. The salt provides a really nice contrast to the sweet cake. It highlights the flavor without being overwhelming.

My photos certainly don’t do it justice. It was really difficult taking a good photo of this cake. I even made it twice and tried to make the pictures look better on the second pass, but no luck. You’ll just have to take my word for it. This cake is divine. And all the family members who tried it loved it. Even my little cousin, who was confused about why it was salty, still gave it a thumbs up.

Read the recipe and the rest of the post here…