Toast is totally having a moment right now. How can the world's favorite and most boring stand-by breakfast item possibly be trendy, you ask? Welp, folks in California begin to take it to the next level with artisan toast and entire toast menus, that's how. And I don't think that's such a terrible thing. I've already been suckered into paying $4 for a cup of coffee or $10 for an egg sandwich (I needn't remind you that eggs cost, like, $3 for a whole dozen). If someone's going to claim that they make an amazing piece of toast, I'll probably bite.
Toast is a total comfort food for me. As a kid, I would rip off a chunk of a baguette, stick it in the oven for just a minute or two and then spread it with salted butter. In college, me and my roommates survived on toast and, to this day, if you get us all together, we'll probably get into the long, ugly (but now kind of hilarious) story of how we were once tragically left without a toaster. Luckily, the stolen toaster was soon replaced with a toaster that burned the face of Hello Kitty into your slice, which helped with the grieving process. Most of us would just spread a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter or Nutella. But then there was Colleen who could actually eat toast for three meals a day, and she got super creative with her toast. I'm talking Vegemite and bean sprouts as a topping. What a gal.
Nowadays, if you opened up my freezer, you'd find at least three loaves of bread on a normal day. We generally have a loaf of whole grain sandwich bread, a sliced sourdough boule and a sliced Pullman loaf. One goes best with peanut butter, one's best for spreading an avocado across, one's ideal for raspberry jam. I've been this particular about my toast since I was a kid; my poor mother would make me and Candice two completely different PBJs every day on our way to school. Candice had whole grain bread with strawberry jam and crunchy peanut butter and I required white bread with creamy peanut butter and concord grape jelly, ideally packed at the bottom of my lunch bag so that the sandwich would get squished and the jelly would bleed through the bread - HEAVEN!
If you aren't a huge toast person (which... does that exist?), or if you've never thought much about what you spread across your warm slice of bread each morning, try one of these combinations that I've grown to love. All of the ideas are great for an afternoon snack or a simple breakfast. Or, get creative and share your ideas/favorites with me. Who knows? Maybe we could partner and bring this toast thing to NYC!
1. Mushrooms on toast - classic! Recommended bread: thickly-cut slice of a fresh Pullman loaf.
2. Avocado on toast. Spread 1/4 of an avocado onto toast. Top with coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper. Recommended bread: sourdough.
3. Tomatoes, mayonnaise and salt. There's nothing like it when tomatoes are in season! Recommended bread: sourdough or simple white bread.
4. Fresh ricotta, olive oil and berries. Healthy, filling and a little unexpected! Recommended bread: baguette or whole grain.
5. Bacon. I ate this religiously (literally every Sunday on my way to church) growing up. The combo of white bread that sops up the bacon grease and then the salty crunch of the pork is perfection. It's also the only thing to eat after a night of drinking - skip the eggs! Recommended bread: WHITE BREAD is essential for this one.
6. Spanish chorizo and manchego. When I stayed with my sister while she was studying abroad in Barcelona, the chef that cooked for the dormitory set this out for breakfast every morning. So good and perfect if you're not in the mood for something sweet early in the morning. Recommended bread: something crusty!
7. Goat cheese and your favorite jam. A more hearty alternative to butter and jam. Try fig jam with this one if you haven't before! Recommended bread: baguette.
8. Canned tuna, Dijon mustard and pickles. Tuna sandwiches taste better open-faced, I promise! Recommended bread: whole grain.
9. Meatballs. Cut leftover meatballs in half and put them on some toast. I leave mine cold. Recommended bread: those chewy Italian breads with sesame seeds!
10. Refried beans and Sriracha. This is one of my less-refined favorites, but I could eat refried beans out of a can with a spoon forever. So, spreading it on toast makes me look a little less like a boxcar hobo. Recommended bread: sourdough.