Sunday, September 27, 2009

gruel on toast

The terrorists did not, in fact, win: It's late September and we're still eating tomatoes. Later this week I'll be frying up some of the green ones,

and this weekend the yachtsman and I made one of our favorite summer dinners, probably for the last time this year: a fat, juicy heirloom tomato, sliced and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, then sprinkled with a little feta or goat cheese; and fresh corn, boiled and rolled in salty butter. Saying we "made" that dinner is an overstatement: we sliced and shucked it. The most effort of the evening went into a little shizzle I call walnut toasts, and really these are very little effort at all. So little effort, what I'm about to share with you should not qualify as a recipe.

Walnut Toasts
Adapted from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, my favorite cookbook for simple, delicious, vegetarian food, though I think a little part of the yachtsman dies every time he sees me pull it off the shelf because he knows he will be eating gruel for dinner.

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
a little less than 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
bread, sliced (2-4 pieces, depending on how big your bread is)
parmesan cheese, grated
s&p, to taste

See the rind on that cheese? Don't throw it away. When you've grated down to the end, wrap up the rind and throw it in the freezer; we'll be using it later on to make soup. Soup that goes quite nicely with walnut toasts, in fact.

1. Chop your nuts and place in a small bowl.

2. Heat 1 of your 2 tablespoons olive oil in a little pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until translucent, taking the garlic off the heat before it browns. Pour over nuts.

3. Add (less than) the other tablespoon of oil to nuts (you want the nut mixture to be wet with oil but not swimming in it) and add salt & pepper to taste.

4. Lightly toast the bread. For myself and the yachtsman I use whatever I have on hand, usually the same bread I make toast with for breakfast. But for special occasions on which I am serving gruel for dinner to unwitting guests, I use a fancy country bread.

5. Top the toasted bread with the nut mixture and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Pop in the toaster oven (or the regular oven if you don't have the toaster variety) to slightly melt the cheese.

This bread is presliced; when I buy nicer bread to serve to nicer people, I slice it a little thicker.

Walnut toasts are health food: Studies have shown that a diet rich in walnuts cancels out a diet rich in cupcakes. But walnut toasts are not hippie food; even the yachtsman likes walnut toasts, and he bought veal at the farmers market on Saturday. I'm pretty sure that walnut toasts are a super food, and they're definitely a super-easy-but-delicious food. If you have leftover chopped walnuts because your husband has decided to grill a sausage to go with his soup instead of eating nuts on toast, pop the nuts in the fridge and eat them the next day for lunch -- on toast sprinkled with cheese or with a spoon out of the bowl. To balance out all this nutrition, have a cupcake for dessert.

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