Homemade gifts in thirty minutes or less!
This is a ‘next morning’ technique to transform something from a compost-bound discard, into an savory, crunchy, wonderful treat. Use up what’s left of a baguette after a dinner party to make these toasts, and serve them at your next gathering or bring a packet of toasts as a special homemade treat. They are easy as can be to make. And they are so good that there have been times I have not waited for leftover bread, but made a special trip to the store to buy a baguette and sliced it up fresh in order to make these.
Baguette toasts are easy to make, and these tips will make it even easier:
1. Make the toasts on a day when you are free. They require careful watching and must be removed from the oven at the right moment. Do not try to make these an hour before your guests arrive; you will be preoccupied with all the other details that need attending, making it possible that you will have an inferior result. The day of the event, crisp them in the oven for a few minutes.
2. Use a soft-crusted baguette for ease of slicing. The super-hard and chewy crusts are very, very hard to slice, and since you have to slice the baguette into very thin slices, you will get really tired with a hard crust.
Slice the baguette into very thin rounds. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the flat plate and spread it with your fingertips to distribute it evenly over the surface.
Place rounds on the plate and quickly rub them briefly in the oil, then put them on the cooling rack, laying them side by side without overlapping. Drizzle more oil onto the plate as needed. When the rack is filled with rounds, lightly sprinkle with salt as evenly as possible.
Place in oven at 300 for 15 – 30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your slices and the freshness of the bread. Check frequently and remove from oven when they turn golden. Taste one fresh out of the oven, and you will experience an amazing burst of crispy, warm, olive-y and slightly salty deliciousness.
It’s really amazing how some incredibly, unbelievably delicious foods are made out of almost nothing! Store in cellophane bags, and for gifting, add a label or tag.
Guidelines for Simple Gifts:
• Plan ahead. Think about and decide what you want to do well in advance so you can do the shopping portion of the giftmaking along with other errands. Have all materials and ingredients on hand when it is time to make the gift.
• Packaging. Pretty packaging makes any gift special. Arm yourself with a supply of small boxes or cellophane bags and ribbon. We also recommend having your own personalized tags or labels on hand. Use generic wording so they can be used on a multitude of items. For example, mom’s tags and labels say “with love from Grammie.” With no reference to what the item is, they can be used on anything!
• It is not the item itself that is special; it is the idea that you think enough about a person to prepare something personally for them. Sometimes your gift doesn’t even have to be handmade; but hand-assembled. Follow this monthly series and you will see examples of both.