Monday, May 9, 2011

Races & Easy Homemade Croutons

Happy Kentucky Derby Day! Err, a few days late. My time keeping has been off this last while, which I partially blame upon races. Races as in which you run, not the other kinds. This past week or two have been filled with several races for me.

First off, the Eugene Half Marathon which I did splendidly in. A giant heartfelt thanks to the stellar friends, fans, and volunteers who made this race the best one of my life. My runner's high lasted me a week, finally crashing this past Sunday.

Riding a week-long high kept me far from doing my usual chores, such as grocery shopping. I suddenly found myself with quite a bit of stale or day-old bread to use up, and quickly. Hence queue the Easy Homemade Croutons. Instead of doing a lot of hardcore baking, I spent the week making croutons and daydreaming of running another race...or two. On my mind are the Butte To Butte race this July and the Eugene Women's Half Marathon in September. I'm still undecided at the moment, however I am really digging the idea of having a solid goal for this summer.

Which then leads me to the final race of this past week - the Kentucky Derby. After spending all of Saturday (race day) at a kickball tournament, a friend came through for me by recording the Derby and airing it post-tourney. Needless to say none of my horses won, or at least not the in any order that would have led to a good payout. However, Animal Kingdom's comeback was pretty impressive!

So after rambling on about races and whatnot, I should spend a few moments talking about these tasty croutons. Making homemade croutons is easy as pie (ha) and saves you from wasting food. Depending upon the salads or planned uses for the croutons, you can alter the flavor matrix to suit your tastes. I tend to like to use a lot of garlic, fresh herbs, maybe a little parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Homemade Croutons
  • Leftover day-old bread: french, sourdough, sandwich, any works
  • 1/2-1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the bread into cubes about 1” square. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, powders and spices. Drizzle olive oil over bread.

Toss bread cubes until evenly coated with seasonings and oil. Place the seasoned bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer.

Cook for 25-30 minutes or until croutons are nicely golden brown. Remove and allow to cool slightly. Store in an airtight container.

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