Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Wonders of Stale Bread

Can you remember the last time you bought that baguette or loaf of bread and forgot to tie it up tight? Chances are air got to it and it became no longer bread, but more like a brick. My bet is that you pitched it into the trash as soon as you found this out as well. But what you really threw out was opportunity. Conserve what you have. It’s all about going “green” these days, but often only when convenient. People fail to realize their ability to stretch their ingredients further, even when they think they’ve surpassed their limit. Take stale bread for instance, as long as it’s not moldy, the crumbs offer a plethora of possibilities.
So don’t donate a potential dinner to the ducks! Find a use for it. Feeling a little discouraged with “crumby” ideas? Here’s a few to start you off:
8 Ideas For Stale Bread
  1. TOPPING: Make a crunchy topping for macaroni and cheese, potato casseroles, etc.
  2. SALAD: Toss with olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, tuna and fresh parsley for a light lunch salad. You can also try adding things like: red wine vinegar, some baked chicken, feta cheese, lime juice etc.
  3. FRYING BATTER: Crush the bread into fine powder, mix with garlic powder, salt and pepper and other spices to use for frying chicken or fish.
  4. MEATLOAVES/MEATBALLS: use stale bread crumbs as your starchy substitute for crackers, etc.
  5. CROUTONS: Use as croutons on salads or soups.
  6. STUFFING: Add chicken broth, celery, onions, seasonings to create a wet stuffing.
  7. BREAD PUDDING: *don’t want bread to be like a brick; somewhat soft inside
  8. FRENCH TOAST: *don’t want bread to be like a brick; somewhat soft inside
And here are two recipes that I tested and tried in the recent days:

Bread Crumb, Tomato, and Tuna Salad
½ tomato, chopped
1 c albacore tuna
½ t garlic, minced
Less than ¼ c fresh parsley
Squeeze of lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 c stale bread crumbs – try to make into cubes
¼ c olive oil
  1. Add all ingredients into a container that has a lid. Add the bread crumbs last, and then drizzle the olive oil over the bread crumbs.
  2. Put on lid, shake ingredients so that flavors distribute and mix.
  3. Refrigerate after – best when cold.
Makes about 2-3 cups. NOMS: 7.5
Crunchy Gouda Mac and Cheese
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 c milk
½ c Gouda cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 c macaroni pasta
1 T Herbs de Provence
2 c bread crumbs
2 t garlic powder
¼ c parsley
Salt and pepper
2 T butter, melted
** Or make your own Herbs de Provence: rosemary, thyme, tarragon, basil, oregano, savory, chervil [optional: mint and lavender]
  1. Make pasta according to directions on package, drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Over high heat, in a saucepan, make a roux: melt butter until nearly browned. Add in flour. Make paste.
  4. Lower heat to medium. Add in milk. Stir constantly until thickens.
  5. Add Gouda cheese, melt.
  6. Mix pasta with cheese, add Herbs de Provence in large ceramic baking dish.
  7. In mixing bowl, mix together bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper and parsley.
  8. Add the bread crumb mix on top of the macaroni and cheese.
  9. Pour melted butter over top.
  10. Bake for 25-30 min, until heated through and topping is browned and crunchy.
Makes 3-4 servings. NOMS: 9

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