Food & Drink

August 20, 2014

The Cowgirl Chef: Dinner? It’s toast!

For a versatile dinner that comes together quickly, keep your options open.

What do you make when you’re salad-weary but still want to eat something light — and you’re not in the mood to cook a meal for the family after a long day at work (and perhaps shuttling the kids around, too)?

Toast! Or tartines if you happen to be in France. Bruschetta in Italy. Call it what you will, an open-faced sandwich can be the holder of whatever you’re in the mood for. Quick to put together, these toasted creations allow you to be in and out of the kitchen before you know it.

The great thing about tartines (which sounds so much more appealing than “open-faced sandwiches”) is they make as much sense for a family as they do for a single gal like me. There’s little, if any, waste, and they can be made at the last minute, an especially good thing when you’ve already got too much on your proverbial plate.

My favorite go-to dinner when I’m really out of time? Smashed avocado on toast with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and a drizzle of pistachio oil, which takes this rather mundane-sounding combination into a whole other world. (Yes, pistachio oil is a bit pricey, but it’s worth every penny — if you can’t find it, try hazelnut oil. It’s lovely, too.)

Growing up, my dad sometimes (OK, rarely) made dinner, and when he did, it was always fried egg sandwiches. Just eggs, fried in butter, served between two pieces of toast. Every time I make this — a slimmed-down, open-faced version — I think of my dad and me sitting at the kitchen table with this very simple sandwich, made with love.

Which is what eating together is all about, anyway. We don’t have to get all fancy or complicated. Sitting down without anything but each other and what’s on the plate in front of us. No phones, no photos, no Instagram. Imagine that.

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