Late to the date this week due to travel and weather, it seemed a good time to share something so simple and homey that it might not deserve space? But it does. Totally yummy small sides that make a thrown together meal or a bowl of soup into something you can’t wait to eat are worth knowing about. Plus! Any way I can tell you about using up the bread on your counter is well, not priceless exactly, but definitely a fun talent to have in your back pocket. Waste not, etc. I call this “Cheese Bread.” I think it’s a cooking game changer because its method will take any number of meals up the proverbial notch.
Of course you make a stellar grilled cheese; I know you do. But this isn’t that. Naturally you’ve your own method for heating up a few slices of leftover baguette or bread you originally bought for stew…when you’re not tearing it up to make a strata (egg casserole) or bread pudding, chopping it into croutons, or whirring it up for breadcrumbs. But I’m here to sell you on my method, which skips the oven totally and makes use of a grill pan — or a skillet in a pinch — to make some grilled bread, garlic bread, and mostly cheese bread. So
two three things to know first:
- Reheat bread on a grill pan or in a skillet anytime you can. If you don’t have a grill pan, get one. I have four in different sizes. Aside…but here comes the game changer part…. A quick sizzle in a grill pan (or skillet) is also the very best way to reheat a cold chop, chicken breast, a little bit of steak, old fries, burger, cold pizza or quiche. (Do the last two in a greased skillet that you’ve gotten really hot, oiled, add the pizza/quiche to, covered, and turned down the heat til it’s hot.) Grilling bread instead of toasting it takes no longer and you won’t throw your old bread away. You’ll be much happier and maybe even pitch your toaster. Maybe not. I used mine today for an egg salad sandwich.
- For even BETTER grilled bread, butter or olive oil and salt and pepper it first. Of course I call the latter “Salt and Pepper Bread.” Turn the dial up if you melt butter, sweat a little garlic in it, dip the bread in and then grill it that way. I’d call that garlic bread where I live, but once more, I never have to turn the oven on. Lots less chance of burning those puppies and it’s done in a NY minute.
- For even BETTER grilled bread (I know), you’d do all that and ADD GRATED CHEESE after the bread was grilled and hot. When the cheese was softened, you’d turn it over and grill the cheese. And….repeat with the other side so that, yes, both sides are cheesy-crispy. No, the cheese won’t stick. If a little or more than a little gets on the grill pan, it’ll crisp up to perfection and you’ll eat that, too. And that’s my CHEESE BREAD. I do make it without the garlic just as often or maybe more often.
Eat that with your tomato soup or chili or omelet or just with a glass of wine when you’re too tired to cook dinner.
As it is nearly always the truth, a picture is worth however many words. I made the garlicky Cheese Bread:
Et voila. A delectable small goodie that costs little, means a lot, and is a smart and lovable trick to have up your sleeve.
TIP: THIS WORKS FOR CORNBREAD, TOO!! If you need better leftover or even fresh cornbread, here’s your go-to:
LIFE GOES ON:
A two-day drive from Illinois to Colorado took place without incident — the best way for a car trip to happen. We drove mostly backroads except from Topeka to Oakley, Kansas when we were on I-70.
Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad to be back in my kitchen up on the mesa and am grateful for your presence as always,
Stay well and cook on,
I stole this from the Episcopalians. Friday Fish is about to start on the blog!