Sunday, March 4, 2012

Getting The Most From Your Baguette

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Despite all warnings from carb-phobes, I still love my bread.  Granted, we eat whole grain versions most of the time.  However, sometimes…well, sometimes, I just want a big old hunk of baguette.  Little indulgences.

Our local Jewel often sells two baguettes at a very low price.  As much as we love our bread, that’s way too much for one meal.  So, I’ve found ways to use our baguettes without tossing them outside for bird food.

Day One:  Fresh bread, dipped in Olive Oil 

There is a little Italian restaurant that does this and the kids go ga-ga over it.  Why not do it at home?  We make each person a small plate and add salt, pepper and grated parmesan to the olive oil. 

This is a VERY old pic of B-boy doin’ the dip…

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We keep a bottle of nicer extra virgin olive oil around for things like this.

Wrap up any leftover bread from Day 1 in plastic wrap.  Those little brown bags don’t really keep the bread soft. 

Day 2:  Roasted Garlic Spread

On day two, I warm the bread a bit in a 350 oven. That will give the outside a little crunch, but the inside should still be soft.  What better way to top this revived bread, than roasted garlic spread. 

Roasted Garlic Spread

Preheat oven to 425.  Take an entire head of garlic (two if you LOVE garlic like we do) and just cut the top off a little, exposing a some of the cloves.  I also remove a few of the outer white layers of the bulb, but not all of them.

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Place the head of garlic into a muffin tin or small baking dish.  Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. 

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Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until cloves are soft. 

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Carefully (they’re HOT) squeeze out all of the cloves onto a plate.

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Mash the cloves (with a few pats of butter, if you like!) and spread directly onto slices of bread. 

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This is SO yummy and easy enough to do any night of the week!

Day 3:  Bruschetta

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If you’re actually lucky enough to have any bread left by day three, bruschetta is the way to go.  The bread is past its prime and already crusty.  Cut the baguette into 1/2 inch slices slightly on a diagonal.

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Place on a baking sheet in a single layer, brushing each side lightly with olive oil.  Toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes per side, being careful not to burn.

My “recipe” here isn’t really exact. I basically mix my favorite bruschetta toppings together in a bowl, taste here, taste there and done. It’s a simple mixture of fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic and balsamic, etc. I’ve tried to remember approximate measurements below, but trust me. TASTE and re-taste. Add more of whatever you love and run with it.  Also, I’ve substituted canned tomatoes for this application as well. Just be sure to drain the canned tomatoes first.

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Bruschetta topping:

  • 4 plum/Roma tomatoes, seeded, diced and drained of excess juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Mix all of the ingredients, minus the Parmesan in a medium bowl.  Top each baguette slice with the mixture and then sprinkle with cheese.  Enjoy immediately!

I’d love to hear back from any of you with your ideas for using banquettes over a few days.  The birds in my backyard can get their fill on birdseed…not my beloved baguette.

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4 comments:

  1. Yum! I love all of those ways to eat a bagette!

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  2. Yu. Hubs loves crusty loaves of bread. I've always wanted to try making my own croutons from it, but just haven't yet. Crusty bread with roasted red peppers is a yummy treat around here too.

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  3. Thanks so much. It's just my husband and I, no kids yet, so I rarely buy bread because it usually rots. I look forward to getting some now though!

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  4. Oh how I love real white bread...sigh...every once in a while I just have to eat it too! I use a baguette to make this appetizer: spread with goat cheese, place a slice of pear on top, drizzle with honey and toasted pine nuts!

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