Here on the Left Coast of the USA, toast is trending in fast ‘n cool restaurants as the latest and, perhaps, greatest light meal or snack category. This is probably happening elsewhere as well, but since I do live on the West Coast, and since this toasty phenomenon is appearing all over Portland, I thought it was worth a mention.
I’ve seen ‘specialty toasts’ priced at around $9, and that go up to as much as $15, depending on what one orders. I have my own favorites, that I shall share with you now:
Avocado, Feta Cheese and Pomegranate
This one is delicious on a piece of thickly sliced multigrain bread, sprinkled with sea salt and, maybe drizzled with one’s favorite dressing…or not. The trio of flavors are perfect, each complimenting the other.
Just in case you don’t know how, here is a video that demonstrates a quick and easy method for extracting the seeds from a pomegranate.
Your Favorite Berries, Basil and Cream Cheese
This is a delicious breakfast toast. I prefer this one with whole wheat bread, but it would probably be great with virtually any kind of bread. Use fresh berries that are organic and in season to achieve the best results….and *always* use fresh, fresh basil!
The Sunshine Tavern, right down the street from our place, serves a very nice housemade Pimento Cheese with Celery on a Toasted Baguette. I don’t have a picture of it, however, so I’ll just upload this generic pimento cheese one:
Here is a Pimento Cheese recipe that I like to make:
from “The Gift of Southern Cooking” by Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock
First, make your own mayo (it’s key).
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil or light olive oil, or a combination [I’d stick to vegetable or canola]
1 tablespoon hot water
Put the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and mustard into a bowl, and whisk or stir until the salt and mustard are dissolved. Add the egg yolks, and beat until smooth. Add the oil drop by drop at first, and then in a slow, steady stream, whisking or stirring constantly until all of the oil has been incorporated and you have a very thick emulsion. Stir in the hot water until smooth.
[Refrigerated, homemade mayo will keep for up to 1 week.]
Now for the pimento cheese, it couldn’t be easier…
Mix together 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese [try a combo of white and orange], 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste), salt (to taste, if needed), 5 to 6 grinds of black pepper, 3/4 cup of the the homemade Mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons finely chopped roasted red bell pepper or pimento. Stir until it’s well mixed and creamy, then taste carefully for seasoning and adjust. Cover and store, refrigerated, until ready to use.
Another toast that I really like is Almond (or Cashew) Butter, Banana and Chia Seeds. Again, use the bread of your choice.
And finally….one of my all-time favorites…is the Apple (or Pear), Bleu Cheese and Honey Toast:
The next time you’d like a small meal, try to think up a good combination of ingredients to serve on a thick slab of delicious toast. It’s a ‘thing’ these days…even though I’m sure you’ve been eating toast for your entire life, right? Me, too. Funny how these restaurant trends can seem so “inventive”….even when serving something as common and familiar as toast….and imagine charging $15!! Make them at home, serve with a favorite salad and enjoy! (without the high price tag.)