I needed a quick dinner tonight and we don’t keep any “fast food” in the house. One of my favorite, recently reintroduced, standbys comes from Italian Two Easy, which seems to be out of print. It is from the same author as Italian Easy. I don’t remember what the recipe is called in the book, but we call it Italian Bread Dish.
All you need is a loaf of bread, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and salt (additional seasonings are optional). I first discovered this when I check out both of these Italian cookbooks from the library when we lived in Milwaukee. Rob was so busy in school and Henrik consistently dismantles the house (still an issue today) when I try to cook alone, so I work hard to vary our yummy, quick prep meals. Until a couple weeks ago I hadn’t made this meal since we have been in Portland.
The tomatoes in our garden tanked last summer, which is why we are working with Your Backyard Farmer this year, and I have been avoiding all canned foods because of BPA (except Eden Foods, but even their tomato cans still contain BPA). I splurged recently on a couple glass jars of Lucini tomatoes and tomato sauce (though there is more than likely BPA in the lid liner—at least there is less in contact with the tomatoes). So, I just extracted this recipe from my memory and it has been a huge hit again.
Slice the bread into 2” cubes and brown them in the olive oil. I usually add the garlic (sliced so that it flavors everything, but I can still pick out the pieces and keep them out of Henrik’s bowl) about ½ way through so that it brown and have a soft, roasted flavor. Once the bread is browned (golden or darker) on all sides add the tomatoes. The Lucini tomatoes have basil leaves added and I think the original cookbook recipe did call for some Italian spices. The crushed tomatoes do not have any added salt, so a little sprinkled on top (except Henrik’s) finishes off the dish. It is quick and delicious.
We started with a simple green salad with lettuce and celery leaf from our garden and finished with homemade vanilla ice cream, which I started once I got the bread in the pan. It finished about the same time as the bread mix and was the perfect consistency when we were ready for dessert.
The salad was garden fresh, the tomatoes tasted almost summer fresh and the Strauss whole milk and whip cream made the most amazing ice cream. Henrik was at a class in NW Portland late this afternoon and Rob met me there after school. Rob and I walked up to Ken’s Artisan Bakery for a loaf of their Country Blond for the bread dish and a slice of their Chocolate Pound Cake to compliment the ice cream. Good ingredients made this meal great.
Here is some urban beauty we enjoyed on our way to and from Ken’s. Hope some beauty, whether to see or taste, is in your future.