With all due respect to lyricist Edward Kleban, the food that has been on my mind for weeks have been tomato sandwiches. Since giving up my garden to Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter Rabbit (and their extended cousins) a few years ago, I’ve relied heavily on the farmer’s market and my co-op for local veggies in the summertime. And when my calendar turns to August, that means tomato time.
Forget my favorite rye or the more healthy whole wheat, I want my tomato sandwich to be on soft white bread, so soft, the tomatoes soak through with its juices. And my sandwich is simple, just tomatoes and basil and if I don’t have basil, just bread and tomatoes will do. Before taking my usual Sunday walk, I put the dough in the oven to rise; since it was a lazy morning, I put it in for a second rise, but that probably isn’t necessary. This made a small loaf, a very small loaf, but it was delicious. No leftovers, as I made tomato sandwiches for friends on a lovely afternoon at the lake.
Helpful Kitchen Tip: If you are working with any sort of dough, be it bread, pie, pizza, cookie, basically anything with flour, when you’re done with bowl, soak it in cold water as opposed to hot or warm. Despite what you’d think, cold water gets it cleaner more quickly than hot water. I read this in a magazine years ago and it works!
My homemade bread sometimes doesn’t rise like it should as you can see from the photo. It was a bit on the “small” size height-wise, but frankly, I didn’t care; I got my tomato sandwich on homemade white bread and I was a happy eater!
White Sandwich Bread
Many, many years ago (the envelope the recipe is written on is from 1991!), I took down the basic recipe for white, rye, and whole wheat breads from my mom. I grew up with only homemade bread, but was one of those kids who longed for store-bought bread and cookies. Can you imagine?! The recipes I copied were for four loaves each and this is my version for one loaf.
1 envelope of yeast (equals 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of oil or butter
1 Tablespoon of sweetener ( I used maple syrup, or you could use honey or sugar)
About 1 1/2 cups white flour
1. In a mixing bowl, add the water, sugar, and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir, and let it sit until it turns foamy, about five minutes.
2. Add the salt, oil or butter, and sweetener. Stir, and add 1 cup of flour. Stir, and add a little bit of water to make a dough. Keep adding flour and water until the dough becomes shaggy so you can start kneading it. Knead it until it makes a nice, soft dough.
3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let it rise for about an hour. (I always set it in the oven.) Punch down, knead again, and let it rise for another hour. (*I think you can skip this step if you like, just let it rise longer when you put it in the pan [Step 4].)
4. Upon the final rising, punch down the dough, knead, and form into a loaf. Place in an oiled bread pan, and let it rise one last time, about an hour. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is hollow when you tap it.
Got More Tomatoes?
This soup is one of my favorites, and I wrote about it a couple of summers ago, Creamy Tomato Soup with Grownup Cheese Points. This is a perfect soup to make if you have a few too many tomatoes in the garden!
A New Take on Corn on the Cob
I love corn on the cob and the usual butter, salt, and pepper is a delicious and simply way to dress it. But here is something different to try next time you have have a desire for something new. For four ears of corn, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan, and add the juice from one-quarter of a lime and a tiny dash or two of cumin. Mix, and pour over the corn evenly, and top with freshly ground pepper and a little bit of salt. This gives the corn a spicy, zippy flavor!