Ingrid Estell, Northside Community Garden Mentor, is kicking off the first installment of her monthly recipe blog for the Real Dirt, which will be published every third Wednesday. Her recipes focus on creative alternatives and uses for garden-grown goods.
Toast has come into its own. Once the side-kick to eggs or the solace for a sour stomach, toast can now be found as a main menu item at restaurants. In some establishments, toast is the sole culinary.
Being a longtime fan of home-toasted bread, I’ve created my own toast meals featuring fresh ingredients from the garden and beyond. Who needs to go out for toast when you can make delicious, and inexpensive, toast in your own kitchen? Have toast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
First, select your bread. I prefer Dave’s Killer Bread, Organic, 21 Whole Grains and Seeds. The toast recipes below do require bread that will support a few layers of ingredients.
Asparagus Toast (Serves 1)
1 slice toasted bread
4-5 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed. Cut in half or to fit bread. Wash, cover with wax paper, and microwave for one minute.
2-3 tablespoons brie, softened
Sprinkle of salt-free seasoning such as Mrs. Dash’s Original
For extra fancy asparagus toast: thinly sliced 2-3 strawberries
Directions: Spread brie over toast, add microwaved asparagus, sprinkle with seasoning, and, if using, top with strawberry slices.
Swiss Chard Toast (Serves 1)
1 slice toasted bread
2 large Swiss chard leaves and stems, washed and finely chopped.
2-3 drops balsamic vinegar
2-4 slices, thinly sliced extra sharp cheddar cheese (enough slices to cover bread)
2-4 slices crisp cooked bacon
Directions: Cover the toast with sliced cheese. Place Swiss Chard in bowl and add 2-3 drops/sprinkles of balsamic vinegar. Microwave until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add to the cheese. Place bacon on the Swiss chard, either crumbled or in slices.
Taco Toast (Serves 2)
2 slices toasted bread
1 small to medium onion. Halved, peeled, and sliced thin.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons cooked black beans
1 avocado, sliced
4 tablespoons cojita cheese
2 tablespoons chipotle salsa or salsa of your choice
Squeeze of lime
Directions: Cook onion and garlic in oil until caramelized, 10 minutes or so over medium/low heat. If you are using fresh green onions, chop the tops and throw them in the pan for the last few minutes of cooking. Once cooked, add to toast as the base layer. Next, add per toast: 2 tablespoons black beans, ½ of the avocado slices, 2 tablespoons cojita cheese.
Once the cheese is added, place toast under the broiler for 2-3 minutes and brown/soften the cheese. Remove from the broiler and add 1 tablespoon salsa and a squeeze of lime to each toast.
The last toast suggestion is a carrot salad topping. The carrot salad makes 4 servings and I often eat it as a side salad for dinner and then use the leftovers for a toast breakfast the next morning.
Carrot Salad (2 servings as salad, 2 servings as toast topper)
1 cup grated carrots. With fresh garden carrots – leave peel on when grating. Store carrots, peel before grating.
1 orange. Peeled, sectioned, and chopped.
1/3 cup raisins (or dried cherries or cranberries)
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon vinegar. I prefer cranberry vinegar but balsamic, rice, and cider vinegars work well too.
Directions: Mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy as a side salad, saving enough for toast.
Carrot Salad Toast (Serves 2)
2 slices toast
6 tablespoons Carrot Salad
4 tablespoons goat cheese
Directions: Spread each slice of toast with 2 tablespoons goat cheese. Top with 3 tablespoons carrot salad.
Apricot – Beet Toast (Serves 1)
1 slice toast
1 fresh apricot, pitted and slices
1 small/medium beet, cooked, peeled, and sliced
2-3 tablespoons peppered cashews
2 tablespoons goat cheese
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
Directions: spread goat cheese on the toast. Layer beets and apricot slices on the cheese and sprinkle with the cashews. Drizzle honey and balsamic vinegar over everything.
Do note: all the topping mixtures can be served in flour or corn tortillas or even on large crackers. Also, adding bacon crumbles to any of the toppings makes for excellent eating.