Friday, March 21, 2014


Dear Lauren,

I am in love with the cookbook, Keepers. I am pretty sure you will be getting one in your Easter basket this year. Yes, the recipes are yummy, but there are a lot of tips in this book that I sure wish someone would've shared with me when I first started cooking! Like getting tomato paste in a tube instead of a can - that's a good one! It took me years to figure it out! I'm slow, ok?!

When I got to the page about toast for dinner, my jaw dropped open. Of course! Why not?! So simple! Sounds great!

The book had 10 varieties of toast for dinner and I made six of them. I chose those six because, remarkably, I had most all of the ingredients in the house. I did omit an ingredient here or there, like mango, radishes and smoked salmon. And I substituted an herb here and there. But that's the beauty of toast! Use what you have! All six varieties were excellent and I will definitely make the tomato and goat cheese toast (see below) and the mushroom with cream and thyme toast again and again.

My friend Tracy is going to have a Girl Scout night for her daughter based on different toasts and she plans to include dessert toasts. Yum! And my friend Linda (who doesn't drink) has a whole list of alcoholic toasts! Haha! You could build an adult party based on this theme, no? My friend Jessica thinks so. Or you can do what I am planning to do, make toast for dinner when you're on your own. It's such an easy dinner to make for one, and so delicious.

The book suggests two toasts per serving and two varieties at each meal. I questioned the serving size thinking it would not be filling enough for a meal, but it definitely is.

Tomato & Goat Cheese Toast
adapted from Keepers' Toasts
Makes 4 toasts

1 Tablespoon of butter
A pint or other container of cherry or grape tomatoes (Sungold cherry tomatoes are great, too - they're yellow)
About an inch from a tube of anchovy paste - or a teaspoon if you like to measure
Goat cheese
4 slices of any bread you have on hand, toasted and buttered

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and when hot add the butter. Add the tomatoes when the butter has melted and cook until they begin to burst. Help them to release their liquid by gently pressing on them with your spatula. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add the anchovy paste and stir until it is combined with the butter and tomato liquid. Goat cheese is crumbly right out of the fridge, so just sprinkle some on the toast and then divide the tomatoes and sauce equally between the 4 toasts. Serve hot.

Mushroom & Thyme Toast
adapted from Keepers' Toasts
Makes 4 toasts

Olive oil
1 shallot or 1 small onion, minced
A 16-ounce box of sliced mushrooms (use any variety and of course, you can slice your own!)
1/4 cup of whatever white wine you have in the fridge
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 slices of any bread you have on hand, toasted and buttered
The leaves from a few springs thyme (or tarragon)

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and when hot add about a Tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until it's transparent. Turn up the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Season with a little salt and pepper. The mushrooms will release a lot of liquid as they cook. Cook them until they are mostly dry and browned. Deglaze with white wine (you can use broth if you prefer) and cook the mushrooms until most of the wine has evaporated. Reduce the temperature to medium-low, add the heavy cream and cook until it thickens. Serve hot over buttered toast of any kind and sprinkle with the thyme leaves.


P.S. You might think it's fine to omit the butter on the bread. Don't do it! I thought the same thing and tried it both ways. The butter is worth it.

P.P.S. If you made it this far, here's your prize. I bet you were wondering what other toasts I made. Here they are:

Smoked Salmon & Egg Salad

Avocado with Radishes & Lime

Smashed Broccoli with Lemon & Pecorino

Curried Chicken & Mango Salad - this doesn't look so great but it tastes delicious!

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