As many people have discovered after going gluten-free for a while, I have found that I don’t always miss bread, or crave bread, as much as I did when I first started eating this way. I can go for a week without a bread-like product without feeling a bit grumpy, which often bewilders friends who don’t see me often or people I go to visit. “But is it okay if we make burgers since you didn’t bring a bun?” “Oh yeah, it’s fine.” I’m not by any means offended that they ask permission—it’s kind of them—but eating a burger (or whatever) on a bed of lettuce, with a smear of avocado and a dollop of ketchup—it’s just what I do at this point. It’s shruggable. That’s not to say I, by any means, live a low-carb lifestyle: I eat plenty of potatoes, rice, corn, sweet potatoes, quinoa, wild rice, grits, etc. And of course I occasionally make quick breads—-muffins, cornbread, etc. Bread, by which I really mean loaf bread, by virtue of requiring particular effort, is just not often my carb of choice.
But sometimes I do get a hankering for it, and sometimes I just have the desire to bake some real bread—and if I have the time (it’s not so much the energy, as the bread recipe I most often use is easy), I’ll have a go at it, and make a loaf or two. When I make bread, for the first two days after it’s fresh from the oven, I eat sandwiches for lunch, and often for dinner, and sometimes I make toast for breakfast, as well. After two days, the bread—lacking the moisture-locking gluten—can go into the freezer to be thawed and toasted later, if I desire. If I make two loaves in a batch, unless I have a rush of company coming, I will slice and freeze the second loaf. But more often, I make one loaf, and when I get to Day 3, I put that bread to use as people have deliciously used stale bread throughout its history: bread pudding, French toast, bread salad, or croutons.
Yesterday was Day 3 of my most recent loaf. After I sliced off two pieces for a sandwich, I chopped the remainder of the loaf into 1″ cubes, tossed the cubes in a bit of olive oil, salt, garlic, and herbs, and toasted them—at 300 degrees—on a jelly roll pan for 45 minutes, flipping them once in the middle. (Or at least, that’s what I usually do. Yesterday, I actually flipped them, set a new timer, missed when the timer went off, remembered about twenty minutes later, exclaimed a word I won’t repeat here, rushed to the oven, and found . . . my croutons were just fine. Simply a bit more crunchy than I usually make them. Hurray for a slow oven.) The croutons keep in a closed container on the counter or in the fridge for several days; I imagine that they’d keep for months in the freezer, but they never last that long here.
This morning, while I was at the coffee shop working, I started pondering what to make for lunch. Then I remembered my croutons, and my idea developed rapidly from there. Mmmmm.
2 cups of lettuce, preferably mixed types
8-10 grape tomatoes, sliced if desired
1/4 cup croutons
2 slices of crispy bacon, crumbled
1/4 of an avocado, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
Layer salad ingredients on a plate. Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Shake well, and pour over the salad. Consume with abandon.
A few other foods I want to try making soon:
Jamaican Veggie Patties
Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos
Roasted Carrot Spread
Millet Hamburger Buns
Early Summer Vegetable Salad
Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake with Chocolate Pudding Frosting
Shrimp Tamale Casserole With Three Sisters Black Mole (only I probably won’t use shrimp since we only eat it when we’re at the coast)