Thursday, March 7, 2013

one hundred and ninety-nine

Growing up in a single parent household, I ate a lot of leftovers--and not the tasty kind of leftovers like taco meat turned Mexican pizza.  Instead, we would have the previous night's pasta dish microwaved for a minute and a half (sometimes with rotisserie chicken thrown in for what I can only assume was "the lulz.")  I've always been weird about textures, so leftover nights were a thing I quickly came to dread.  My mother, ignoring my pleas for a sandwich, would hand me a plate of food and say, "When you grow up, you can throw away all of the food you want!"

And so I do.  Unfortunately, I'm a painfully cheap adult, which means I can't just throw away the leftovers without considering the waste.  To make myself feel better, I store each component of a meal separately and give them to Mr N for him to recombine, reheat, and eat for lunch.*  Leftovers that don't a man-sized lunch make (muffins, rolls, etc.) end up getting frozen for future use, while the non-freezable starches plus a sliced tomato oftentimes become my lunch.  All of the leftovers seem like they're being put to use, right?  Almost, save for one problematic chunk'o'carbohydrates.

I love to bake full sized loaves of bread.  Since Mr N and I are only two people, the bread usually goes stale before we have time to eat it--despite having bread with dinner, breakfast, and snacks--and though it's inexpensive to make, I never fail to feel guilty when I hear the solid thud of the stale bread hitting the bottom of the trash can.  The sound waste is enough to make our Bubbies spin in their collective (and possibly figurative) graves!  But what is a home cook to do with day old Italian bread?  Why, the Italians have already figured it out for us: you make garlic bread.

*He claims he likes it, but I still feel like a bum.

Easy Homemade Garlic Bread

1/2 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1/2"slices
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 tbsp dried oregano (or parsley)
2 to 4 tbsp minced garlic (or up to 1 tbsp garlic powder)
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Lay the slices of bread in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Drizzle or brush with half of the olive oil.  

Bake about 10 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown.  Remove the bread from the oven and flip so that the oiled side is face down.

Top the unoiled side of the bread with the remaining olive oil.  Then, top evenly with the garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bread is crunchy and a majority of the garlic is browned.

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