Monday, August 31, 2009

Making Bread Crumbs: When bread is hard enough to kill

We've all gone through this. You buy a beautiful long baguette with the best intentions of using it. You leave it in it's store packaging on the counter over night and the next day it feels like a red wood trunk.

You've got stale!

Your first instinct is to go, "Mother @#$%!" and throw it out. STOP! Calm down. Have some dip. This can be fixed.

What you'll need:
  • stale bread
  • garlic powder
  • parsley
  • basil
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
Note: All the herbs should be dried. The parsley may be fresh, especially if you like some green showing.

Step 1: Grating on the nerves? Could be.

There are 2 types of people who you find in a kitchen. Besides the ones that know and don't know what they're doing. You have the "I'll make do-ers" who will use whatever tools they have at hand, can find, can make, can stea..I mean borrow from a neighbor. They'll use the family dog to whip cream if they could get away with it. Then there are the "Gadget Freaks" who have QVC on speed dial. You can find any kitchen gadget known to man from the Slap Chop to the more ridiculous Penguin Tea Timer. So this is it huh folks? We need a plastic penguin to make tea for us?

Any way, my point is, a good number of you will have either a box grater or a cuisinart food processor. It's easier using a food processor. Take your stale bread and see if it's possible to cut, break or slice it into smaller pieces so that you can fit it in the food processor. Make sure you have the sharp blade attachment on the processor. Add the bread and pulse until all of it is in and all crumby. You may have some chunks left over that just don't want to grate. That's fine. Now you have bird food.

For the box grater, don't cut the bread. Use the coarse side of the grater with the biggest holes and rub the bread against that until it's all crumby. Watch your fingers!!! I grated part of my thumb into a pizza because I wasn't careful. Yeah it hurt. A lot.

Step 2: Herb Me Baby One More Time

After you have all of your bread crumbed, put it aside in a Tupperware. I like the Rubbermaid ones. Add the herbs and seasonings to the bread crumbs. Now, how much of the herbs and seasonings you add depends on the amount of bread crumbs you made. I would start with about a tablespoon for the herbs and a teaspoon for the seasoning. It's not really something you can do to taste, but it's a good rule of thumb. Take notes, look at the bread crumbs. If it looks a little under herbed, add more. Be careful with the salt! You can always add more later if it's not to your taste, but too much salt in anything can cause health problems and make food inedible.

Close it in the tupperware, shake it and keep it in the fridge. Remember that these bread crumbs have no preservatives. It shouldn't stay longer than two weeks in a very cold fridge in a bone dry tupperware.

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