Saturday, May 10, 2014

Cassava Bread French Toast . . . and Grilled Cheese

For those of you in the U.S., cassava bread is not readily accessible unless you live near a grocery store with good international or latino selections.  However, I feel it my duty to pass on any easy and inexpensive gluten-free substitutes because so many gluten-free options cost an arm and a leg.  And cassava bread is the one cheap, local gluten-free bread I can get here.  It's just dry and choky unless you do something with it (I guess unless you grow up with it--I have Dominican friends that can pick this up and just start chewing away, but to me it tastes like stale cardboard).  Drizzling it with olive oil, baking it, and finishing it with some salt and garlic powder makes a delicious toasted side dish with a meal.  But after two years here I have perfected two more creative uses for this yuca-based "bread":  french toast and grilled cheese.  I found these lovely thin small rounds of cassava, and they are key to my success.

Grilled cheese took a little while to figure out, because it took me a while to think of sprinkling the bread with water to soften it (you just can't get it soft enough with butter alone).  Once I figured out that trick, and was very generous with butter, I found the grilled cheese to be pretty simple.  Any grilled cheese is helped by adding arugula (which they sell here, thankfully) and some sliced turkey.

The french toast wasn't really working well until I started using the super-thin cassava bread a few months ago.  I soak them in the milk and egg for about twice as long as you'd have to soak regular bread, and it tastes delicious.  Of course, it doesn't hurt to drizzle it with the chinola (passion fruit) honey they sell here.  :)

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