Books for Cooks

Barbara Burke


"Toast: 60 Ways to Butter Your Bread & Then Some," by Jesse Ziff Cool (Chronicle Books, 2003, $16.95, softcover)

Star Star Star

‘Toast’ offers
bread-and-butter recipes

Toast is not likely to replace white rice as the starch of choice in Hawaii, but it does have a few advantages over the sticky grain. It takes only a few minutes to transform bread into toast. Most toast recipes are easy to eat on the run. And, there is great variation in the flavors and textures of bread used for toasting, such as slices of focaccia, bagel, rye and whole grain.

In "Toast: 60 Ways to Butter Your Bread & Then Some," author Jesse Ziff Cool offers recipes for breakfast, appetizers, sandwiches, main courses, sweet toasts and desserts. Her recipes range from a simple Sweet-Spice Cinnamon Toast to a sophisticated Egg and Fennel Salad on Toast with Caviar.

You wouldn't expect toast recipes to be complicated, and these are not. The directions are straightforward and easy to follow. Each recipe offers suggestions for choosing suitable bread types, and some recipes even have make-ahead tips.

The recipe categories are color-coded, which, along with the exquisite photographs, helps give the book an artistic flair. Several sections present the ingredient lists in pale colors, however, and they can be difficult to read unless you are under direct lighting.

In the following breakfast sandwich recipe, you can hard-cook the egg yolks or leave them slightly runny, letting them ooze into the crusty toast. Any salty meat, such as ham, bacon, prosciutto or smoked turkey, works well. Bread suggestions for this dish include English muffins, sourdough, rosemary and whole grain.

Summer Breakfast Sandwich

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large tomato, cut into 4 slices
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 eggs
1 green onion (both white and green parts, thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
8 bread slices or 4 English muffins
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the tomato slices and season with salt and pepper to taste. Crack 1 egg on top of each tomato slice. It's OK if some of the egg runs off the tomato.

Sprinkle the green onion, thyme and cheddar cheese on top of the eggs.

Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until done to your liking. Top the eggs with the avocado slices.

Toast the bread. Place 1 slice on each of 4 plates. Using a spatula, transfer 1 tomato slice and 1 egg onto each slice. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and then top each with another slice of toast. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve. Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional information per serving: 480 calories, 31 g total fat, 10 g saturated fat, 250 mg cholesterol, 20 g protein, 32 g carbohydrate, 580 mg sodium (without adding salt to taste).

Rating Scale: StarStarStarStar Best in its class / StarStarStar Highly recommended / StarStar Recommended / Star Not recommended

Barbara Burke is a Hawaii-Pacific University instructor who teaches and writes about food and nutrition. Contact her at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail her at:

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