There are a lot of bread naysayers out there these days. Wheat Belly, a book by Dr. William Davis that has been all over the news, demonizes gluten and wheat in our modern diets, and I can't really disagree, considering that wheat is one of the most genetically modified crops in the world and gluten intolerance is on an astronomic rise.
But holy magilla, bread is sooooooo good when done well and it's one of the best canvases to make a meal of tasty goodness. Sure, there are gluten-free breads out there, but most of us are familiar with the tried and true bread made from good ol' fashioned wheat flour in all its mad-sciencey GMO goodness (well, badness, I guess).
So, with that in mind, here are a couple of bread-oriented meals that Kari and I whipped up recently.
The first was a "Stuffed Italian Bread" that Kari found on the internet. This one was pretty much a carb and cheese bonanza that was so apparently lacking in vitamins that we also had put together some veggies in the form of what I call an "Alternative" Green Salad. "Alternative" in that there was no lettuce in it, with the green coming from edamame beans, green peas and asparagus.
Alternative Green Salad
- 1/2 cup shelled edamame beans
- 1/2 cup shelled green peas
- 5-6 stalks asparagus, tender parts only, cut in to 1 inch long pieces
- 50 grams sopressata salami, sliced in to strips
- handful of toasted sunflower seeds
- Add water to a small pot to about 1 centimetre depth. Bring to a boil. Add edamame, peas and asparagus. Steam for 2-3 minutes. Chill in ice water for about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- juice and zest of half a lemon
- 1/2 tsp dried basil or 2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
- Whisk all ingredients together.
To serve, toss veggies in dressing and serve in large salad bowls and top with salami and sunflower seeds.
|A little different, a lot delicious|
The "Stuffed Italian Bread" was a fantastic recipe, easy and delicious. But me being me, I decided I need to add olives for a bit of extra flavour. Also, the "Italian loaf" aspect is purely optional, use whatever bread you want.
Stuffed Italian Bread
1 Italian loaf, about 12 inches long1 stick butter, melted
1/8 cup olive oil
3 tsp minced onion
2-3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp chopped parsley (add more if you wish)
12 oz grated cheese
2 tsp green olives, minced (optional)
- Mix the melted butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, Dijon mustard, poppy seeds and parsley in a bowl.
- Cut the bread into cubes with X-shaped slices without cutting all the way through the bottom crust.
- Pour the butter-onion garlic mixture carefully into those X-shaped cracks using a small spoon and over the top of the bread. Fill those delicious cracks with the grated cheese (and olives if using).
- Wrap the entire loaf with foil, sealing the sides properly and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and unwrap. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey.
|Stuffing the loaf - not a euphemism|
|Baked an' gooeh!|
Next up is a little recipe that shows just how good a blank canvas bread makes for a tasty and filling meal. We all know about bruschetta and crostini and other ways in which bread is used as a delivery system for some kind of delicious topping. Well, it's also a good way to take an idea that doesn't really translate into a meal per se and make it one. In this case, it all started with figs. Figs are really super delicious when they're ripe, but pretty much useless when unripe. That is, unless you caramelize them:
- Caramelized Figs
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 figs, underripe, sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- splash Irish whiskey
- Melt butter in small skillet. Stir in sugar and figs.
- Cook until figs begin to dissolve into tasty fruit goo. Add whiskey and cook off alcohol. Add butter as needed to keep from drying out. Keep mixture warm.
|All fancy n' tasty-like|
|Ready for the oven|
|Crunchy salty good!|
And there you go, just a few ways bread goes a long way to making a meal.