Friday, December 14, 2007

Not Dead. Just Frozen.

It's officially winter. Out here in my part of the Northeast of the US of A, central New Jersey, yesterday we had what the weatherpeople like to call a wintry mix. I call it a multitude of collisions waiting to happen. On the highway I steamroll down on sunny days, I went a mere 25 MPH. People who drive 18-wheelers and SUVs are, quite frankly, morons. As one radio listener noted on NJ's own semi-conservative radio station--that I listen to for weather, traffic, and to keep up with how the other half lives--"I don't know where these people get their tires but their not invincible. Just dumb." I concur, my brother. But it doesn't matter because they are usually the ones who end up jackknifed on an exit ramp or wrapped around a tree.

Anyways, the delight of my morning today wasn't my cup of lemon tea or my lovely commute through ice and traffic. It was the half-sandwich I ate and I can't get enough of it. It's been my obsession of the week. I go through these phases where everything I eat for a week or two is centered around one ingredient.

A few weeks ago it was ricotta cheese cooked a la Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe--stir-frying it in some olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and some dried Italian seasoning, like a creamier, more delicate scrambled egg.

This week it's been sun dried tomatoes packed in garlicky, herby, red-hued olive oil. Before my last cookbook writing class on Monday, I stopped into Whole Foods' Fresh and Wild and got the Grilled Salmon Omega Salad: grilled salmon, dried cranberries, walnuts, avocado, sun dried tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigerette over a bed of greens. Much more delicious (and cheaper!) than the so greasy they were slimy sugar snap peas and rubbery tofu I kept eating from the $8.99 a pound buffet before. That started my sun dried fixation.

I've been eating sun dried tomatoes at home mostly as a sandwich filling to tide me over before workouts or before bed when I'm feeling the stirs of hunger but have already had dinner. This morning, it was my pre-breakfast breakfast (I usually have either two breakfasts or two dinners with a few snacks throughout the day because I'm hungry pretty much every two hours. And this is one of reasons I have to workout). You should have it for breakfast, lunch, a snack, or light supper too. It's delicious anytime. The well-seasoned and pleasantly chewy sun dried tomatoes pack a surprisingly meaty flavor and texture that will please meateaters and veggies alike. The recipe below could be replicated on several slices of baguette or on one large focaccia loaf and serve as a very nice appetizer for a few folks. This is how I make it for me.

Sun Dried Tomato and Avocado Toast
2 slices of whole-grain bread
1 ounce (basically one chunk, about the size of two dominoes) of Monterey Jack cheese or 1 tablespoon of garlic herb Alouette spread, optional
1/4 to 1/2 of Haas avocado
3 slivers of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil (you can use completely dry ones if you're watching your fat intake but I'm not going to lie and say it will taste as luscious)

1) Toast bread. If using Monterey Jack cheese, add to bread before toasting so it can melt. If using Alouette, add after bread has toasted. If omitting cheese, just toast the bread.
2) Add avocado and tomatoes to one slice of toast. Top with other slice and smoosh down to break up and spread the avocado. Eat.

Serves one, happily.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I just had a bowl of oatmeal, and now you have me ready for a second breakfast! I might make a sandwich or something, even though it's only 9:15 a.m.! Who knew!

By the way, my love, you'll be pleasantly surprised by a treat I picked up for you at the store earlier this week!

Excellent post and tasty-looking recipe. Can't wait to read your cookbook!