It’s warm by the woodstove so I was curled up earlier with a good book when I found this little Danish proverb this morning: “Even crumbs are bread.”
It got me thinking. While I love the “oohhs and aahhs” over a beautiful meal, sometimes I forget that it’s the little things that really tip the scale.
Croutons are a great example of that. A salad may have an incredible wow-factor but a good crouton is worth diving into someone else’s salad bowl for. Magic happens when croutons are set afloat on squash or potato soup.
Crumbs may be even smaller but they can raise the status of an ordinary dish. Say, for example, macaroni and cheese. Sure, it has that creamy goodness to die for, but who doesn’t covet the crumb topping? (My kids nearly went to war over them more than once when they were growing up.)
Heading into 2014, I’m thinking about the small things that really add to life. I want to appreciate them.
We all have things to offer but I’ve noticed a tendency to write little things off as too small or insignificant to make a difference. This year, however, I’m not holding back and I hope you won’t either. Who knows, maybe the little things we have to offer will tip a scale somewhere…for someone…or even for us!
If you made the no-fail-anybody-can-do-it focaccia then you’ll appreciate these ideas for using up the leftovers. (although I’ve been known to make a focaccia for the sole purpose of turning it into croutons and crumbs when there are no leftovers!) The herbs already on your focaccia will make everything unspeakably delicious!
I’m still Keeping it Simple so these are no fuss recipes! As with all things in the kitchen, feel free to use what you have, make substitutions, and let yourself be creative! There was a beautiful focaccia posted on Kneading Life’s Facebook page by a reader. Why not post your pictures and comments, too?
Cut focaccia into 1/2 – 1 inch cubes (depending on what your preference is) and place on a large baking sheet. Start with about 5 cups of cubes (modify toppings as needed) It’s nearly impossible to make a mistake with proportions…just keep tasting as you go!
Mush together any combination of the following:
tsp of chopped rosemary (I can never have enough of this!), parsley, oregano and/or sage
clove of crushed garlic (optional) (or a sprinkle of garlic or onion powder)
Stir what you’ve chosen into 1/4 cup of olive oil and then pour over the bread cubes
Use your clean hands to coat the cubes as well as you can. You can add another drizzle of olive oil over the top of the pan and sprinkle with a tablespoon of parmesan cheese if you’d like, too. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if needed.
Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes (till crispy and lightly brown)
Be cautious when they come out of the oven. They’re more addicting than potato chips and you may not have many left by the time you’re ready to serve them.
We store ours in a quart jar in the fridge. If we have lots of extras they go into the freezer in plastic bags and we pull them out when we want to make a quick crumb topping for mac and cheese or need some crumbs for meatloaf. Just whirr them up in the food processor. It really doesn’t get any easier than that!
Need just one more idea for focaccia leftovers???
Don’t make your cubes into croutons. Just cut them up and serve them with a nice dip. It’s a twist on that Rye Dip Bread Bowl that seems to find its way to every major celebration, but this one is even better! I used a basic sour cream dip recipe with some dried garlic and dill from our garden. YUM!
I hope you’ve kept what’s been useful from 2013 and let the rest go! There are big (and little) things ahead in 2014 for all of us! Happy New Year!