Life Staple #1: Bread + Cheese + Vegetable
Whenever I’m in a rush for a tasty snack or a light summer meal, I follow the Italian simplicity principle and turn to combining a few quality ingredients with very little (if any) tampering. This simple recipe equation never fails me, so Bread + Cheese + Vegetable is often my go-to solution for an empty stomach, and certainly qualifies as a BME (Best Meal Ever).
Served hot or cold, on crispy crackers or crusty bread, stacked with hard aged, melted, or soft cheeses, and topped with fresh or cooked vegetables, this simple combo is also a lifesaver when friends drop by unexpectedly and you need to something to feed them. You can combine any ingredients you like, but here are some of my favorites.
Kalamata Olive and Rosemary Shortbread Crackers + Chevre + Roasted Beets (above)
Balthazar’s Pain de Seigle (toasted) + Manchego + Caramelized Onions & Fresh Arugula
Cheddar Pumpkin Seed crispy flat bread + Humboldt Fog Chevre + Crispy Roasted Broccoli & Ramps (below)
Whole Wheat Baguette + Melted Mozzarella + Primavera Sauce (below)
La Tropezienne Baguette (toasted) + Queso Frito (fried cheese) + Lemon Parsley Pesto
Nonna’s Saturday Morning Bread (fresh out of the oven) + Fresh Mozzarella + Garden Tomato Slice & Basil Leaf
I also use this recipe equation as the foundation for many of the finger foods I make when we have friends over for dinner or when we have Fight Night Poker parties. Sometimes I dress them up a bit by rubbing a garlic clove on the bread after I’ve toasted it, adding a spring of fresh herbs for freshness, substituting the ‘vegetable’ part of the equation with some type of pesto, hummus, or tapenade, or throwing a nugget of crispy prosciutto or bacon on top of the cheese.