It’s kind of a mind-boggle to think that after years of stable Houston living with my feet growing more and more firmly entrenched in this city, I will soon be traipsing through London, Paris, Portland, Wisconsin and northern California over the course of a few short months.
I stayed up late booking tickets last night and suddenly everything is so real. In the matter of one click, trips in theory became real money slipping out of my bank account, blooming thoughts of sunscreen, wedding cakes, bug spray, and how on earth I’m going to make room in my carry-on to bring back ALL the French salt and cocoa powder. Speaking of which, tips on any/all of the following are most welcome:
- comfortable but not ugly walking shoes (what do I walk around Europe in, peeps?)
- does the U.S. have rules against bringing European butter into the country?
- how to dress for a Midwest wedding
- what to do in Portland (and London and Paris for that matter. Get us off the beaten track pretty plz.)
- how to ward off mosquitoes for good
I’m beyond excited. (Like this beyond: !!!!!(@*#&(*!!!) Every year, I get excited for what is to come, but so far 2014 has been knocking it out of the park. It’s blowing winds that seem especially laced with promise and potential—and most importantly, action.
While I dream about high tea, apple tarts from Poilane and wandering Europe with my cousin, exploring farmer’s markets in Portland, watching Erik’s sister get married (and meeting his entire extended family) in Wisconsin and wandering back home for an annual family + friends camping trip that I’ve skipped too many years in a row…I’m busy eating toast.
Yep, toast. A special toast made mostly out of flax seeds and not much else. This “focaccia” impersonator rose to much fame and notoriety among the low-carb crowd at least a few years ago, but since I haven’t heard about it in awhile, I thought it was time to bring it back.
Typical recipes for this call for about 2 cups of ground flax and 5 eggs which is a LOT of flax and eggs and creates too much bread for me to feasibly eat while it’s still fresh. So this is my new go-to recipe: a scaled-down version that is easy to double, triple, quadruple, etc. It yields the perfect amount for several breakfasts—about 5 small muffins worth. A double batch is great baked in a standard loaf pan, cut into 8 squares.
On my toast (from top left, clockwise):
- avocado + lime + salt + egg
- plain yogurt + salted candied bananas + cinnamon
- kale + cheese + red pepper flakes
- banana + peanut butter + honey
- in crouton form
- jelly + egg (my new fav!)
- mango + tahini
The chief distinctive quality of this bread is the rich nuttiness–when toasted, it’s pretty much toast nirvana. It earns its focaccia title from its airy, bump-riddled open crumb–it leans towards being a slightly drier and crumblier bread, which is why I like to slather it with yogurt/nut butters/melted cheese/runny egg–they just fill in those nutty crevices so nicely. It sort of reminds me of the world’s biggest, softest cracker, in a good way. AND after a few slices, you won’t have to eat for another 5 years. But seriously, this stuff is like pure fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s so filling and expands in your stomach like nobody’s business.
After eschewing bread for most of my college years, every time a bite of toast (especially delicious, healthy toast) goes into my mouth feels like cause for a celebration. And I like my celebrations to be cheesy, chocolate-y, zesty, buttery and yogurt-filled, don’t you?
I love these brilliant toast ideas, but here are some others if you run out of ideas:
- goat cheese + chocolate shavings + orange zest
- butter + garlic powder + onion powder + parmesan
- salsa + melted cheddar
- sweet potato + almond butter + cinnamon
- jam + brie + almond meal
- greek yogurt + balsamic strawberries + lime zest
Toast, traveling…I think we’ve got most of the bases covered. All that’s left is this guy.
Gluten-free Flax Focaccia
- 6.5 tablespoons flax seed meal
- ½ teaspoon baking powder slightly heaped
- scant ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar slightly heaped
- 1 egg
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, whisk together the flax, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the egg, oil and water until thoroughly combined. Immediately pour into greased muffin tins or onto a greased baking sheet. (If using a baking sheet, just spread the mixture as thinly or thickly as you like--it doesn't need to stretch across the entire sheet.)
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the bread looks browned and the top feels firm to the touch.
- To turn into croutons, chop up the bread into chunks and toast in a skillet with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and rosemary over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until crispy.