In a world full of choices, it can be easy to get swallowed up excitedly in the never-ending & vast array of things to do, places to see, clothes to wear, and of course, delicious foods to eat, cook, and experience. Am I right or am I right friends?! Sometimes too much choice is for me, too overwhelming, and in the end, I always come back to striving for what makes me feel good (usually something dead simple). Whether its the clothes on my back or the mascara on my face, simple works and creates time for other things.
In that quest I also do my darnedest to make food choices that are good for both me and my loved ones long-term health as well as the health of this planet that we all share. Keeping it simple really seems to work. Anyone else out there in this with me? Looking at you all I think!
One of the easiest things I think we can do, particularly in a world full of excess, is to carefully & steadily focus on consuming less. That is not to say eating less necessarily (though a vast majority of us would do just fine), but of consuming less. Wasting less. Using less. Needing less.
It can be hard with the aisles full of food and the stacks of ripe fruit that greet us at each opening of the shiny glass sliding doors (Whole Foods anyone?). So much everywhere, and so little time to buy it all, store it all, prepare it all, and hopefully in the end, eat it all. I mean, isn't that why we buy all that food anyway? All too often, food goes to waste. Well intentioned produce purchases wilt against the cold heart of our workweek neglect. Leftovers sit untouched as we race out the door in search of our next commitment. The one that could change our lives.
Perhaps the most unfortunate to me is the waste of good bread, especially the kind made with love by real hands. Interestingly enough though, if I've made it myself, waste is rarely ever an issue, as somehow my connection to that loaf almost guarantees its consumption. Just the thought of that wasted labor & time makes it seem just more special. Almost sacred.
Connecting to our food and its source can go far, as we connect what we buy with the real hands & real time that created it. This is my favorite way to save an old loaf of bread that's too tough to use for lunchtime, yet too precious to throw away. You can use any bread for this recipe, especially this easy Crusty Bread recipe from right here on the blog. Bet you won't waste any - it just tastes too darned good. An easy, simple way to waste less, and enjoy more. Yes. So much yes.
A few slices of any type of favourite bread in the house, halved or cut into thin (1 inch) wedges (fresh or stale)
Easy Broiled Toast with Goat Cheese, Olives, Tomato & Basil
A few good glugs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 package spreadable goat cheese, plain or flavoured
a few Kalamata Olives, pitted & minced
2-3 tbsp minced red onion
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, minced
a handful of fresh basil leaves
salt & pepper to taste
This is really a quick & impressive way to be both frugally mindful AND impressive to friends and family. These can be prepared anytime at the drop of a hat, and so long as they are consumed warm, the bread will always be tasty and fabulous (really older bread, especially baguette, will turn hard once it cools to room temp).
Heat the oven to broil and gather a flat or rimmed baking tray. Prep the toppings by mincing & setting aside each ingredient separate of one another. If desired, transfer the goat cheese to a bowl and drizzle it with a little olive oil to soften it and create something 'spreadable' (of course it is fine as is too, I am just an olive oil lover, sue me - guilty as charged!!).
Lay the bread slices out on the tray and drizzle each piece with a nice amount of oil. Pop the bread under the broiler for a few minutes and once the bread is turning brown on the edges & crispy, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Top the broiled toast with goat cheese, and toppings as desired, in any combination you fancy (you really cannot go wrong). My faves are cheese & minced olives and cheese with minced tomato, red onion, basil. Both are extra handsome with a light dusting of black pepper.
Serve right away sprinkled with freshly torn basil leaves and black pepper & salt as desired. This is the perfect accompaniment to a fresh vegetable salad and I can pretty much say this (or a version of this) was on my plate every day on my trip to France last year. There, they call the salad Chevre Chaude, which basically translates to "hot goat cheese on toast in some form served on or beside a raw salad". THE best.
If you have yet to bake your own crusty bread at home, which would make amazing broiled toasts, I highly recommend you try this easy no knead recipe from last year. Unless you are a farmer, or a baker, or a food producer of some kind, I am almost certain there is much appreciation to be gained by putting in the planning, labour & ingredients into the making of our food ourselves. Even if it is just once in a while.