Yay! Hi there friend! Thanks for stopping by. Today we talk of bread. Sweet French Baguette to be exact. Between this bread, Miyoko's butter and Violife cheddar, yes, I'm going to have to up my exercise routine. Big time!
The other night we ordered some delivery Chinese food from a local joint. I informed the person on the phone, which I knew to be the owner, that everything I was about to ordered needed to be both vegan and gluten-free. I gave her my order, and again reminded her that all needed to be gluten-free and vegan, in fact I told her maybe 4 or 5 times total. She reassured me that everything was as it should be. You know where I’m going with this right? Well the ordered arrived, and everything was ok, not great. But within a couple hours, that ‘gluten’ migraine set in. Ahhhhhhh! That really made me angry. And you know why? Well, of course that the restaurant failed big time in taking care of me, was careless or less than truthful, and my head really hurt! But what really got my goat was that for the price of that headache, I could have actually eaten something tasty with gluten it in, like French Bread!!!
Yes, I love and have missed terribly my long lost old friend, The Sweet Baguette. Even when I am in a supermarket, I often walk over to the bakery section and sniff the French bread. I have not tasted its sweet goodness in like decades man! I often want to buy and eat it anyway, but luckily my husband knows the pain and more pain associated with my gluten intolerance so he always reminds me…no French bread! There was this one brand of French bread we got a couple times that was gluten-free before we went vegan, but it kind of smelt like farts. Yes, farts.
Shall I tell my love affair with bread, and French bread in particular? Ok! It started as for me as a kid. Being an immigrant to this country, my school lunches were always ethic food. Nutritious and delish, that did not matter. All the kids made fun of my 'weird to them' food and it made it even more difficult to fit in. Hence,+
I begged and pleaded with my mom to give me sandwiches for my school lunches. You know, like Wonder bread with some Oscar Myer like the rest of the children. Kids, right? Well, after continuous begging and crying, my mom finally gave in. What I got was a little sweet French roll, with some lettuce and a slice of salami (sorry piggies, I did not know better then). Oh I was so happy! Even though kids were still like “what kind of bread is that?”, at least it was still a sammie and I felt saved. Ahhh French bread to the rescue!
That brings us to lunch at Ike’s Place. We had sandwiches for the first time a few weeks ago there. When I bit into my sandwich, it was the bread that was the star of the show. I couldn’t believe it. I was eating French bread again! and the lovely cashier, Talia, informed me that the bread was from none other than our own Mariposa Bakery in Oakland! I had tried their baked goods before when I was only gluten-free and they were ok, not the greatest. And remember, being a baker and a dessert connoisseur myself, I am extremely picky about my baked goods. Nonetheless, this bread was amazing! So, the day after we went to Ike’s I was on the computer checking out Mariposa’s website. And I was so excited that they offered online ordering and delivery. I rechecked the ingredients and purchased 3 orders of the French bread which was six rolls.
Two days later our bread arrived. I was so excited! I opened the package and was a bit disappointed in the packaging. The rolls were wrapped in plastic bubble wrap, but not even fully wrapped. There were no cold packs in the box and the plastic around the bread did not cover the rolls completely, leaving it far from airtight. I took them out of the plastic, wrapped them in parchment paper then put them in a big air tight container and placed all but one in the freezer. I took one roll out, and frankly it seemed stale. I wasn’t too worried however. I knew you could bring back to life almost any baked good by heating it up. Plus, since it doesn't have artificial ingredients to keep it fresh, it is bound to dry up a touch. I look forward to actually visiting their bakery so I may get a fresh ready to eat roll! Back to now, we were having pasta for dinner, so the first thing I made with the bread was garlic bread!
Butter (room temp)
Garlic cloves chopped/minced
I cut the bread length wise, smeared it with my favorite butter (Miyoko’s) and added the chopped garlic on top. (For the picture I was out of garlic and used garlic powder, definitely not as good, I'd wait until you have fresh garlic.) Put it on toast in my toaster oven, let it get a little crunchy and it was done in minutes. I barely let it cool before I chopped into it….
A freakin +!!!
I knew what I was making the next day with this bread! Sandwiches!
Sautéed sliced mushrooms
Lettuce (cut up like strings)
Cheese (Violife Cheddar)
Dirty sauce form Ike’s (mayo, butter, garlic powder, mustard)
I cut the bread in half then lengthwise. I put the sauce all over the insides and toasted the bread. I heated up the mushroom and onions, and then remembered to add some cheese slices to the bread. When the bread was nice and toasted, I took it out, added the mushrooms and onions on one side and the cold veggies on the other. I totally overloaded the sandwich! How does Ike’s get it so perfect? I don’t know. Nevertheless, it was a completely tasty sandwich, though very messy.
One last recipe idea I was looking forward to eat and share with you…. it’s kinda funny. When I was in Jr. high, I took my first, of many, French classes. Our teacher, who I loved and feared almost equally, was Madame Murphy. To this day, my favorite teacher. The end of our first week in class she brought for us a treat. She passed out some French baguettes, we each took a big piece. Then she proceeded to give us each half a Hershey’s chocolate bar. We were confused. She told us to open up the French bread, put the chocolate in it and eat it! Whaaaaa? We all thought that was weird, but she was the teacher, so we did as she asked. And what do you know? Dang if it wasn't good! We all loved it! She told us this was an originally French dessert, kind of like a chocolate croissant (which I had never had at that time). How easy and tasty it was! And to this day, when I have a hankering for a chocolate croissant or even just a quick chocolate dessert, this recipe makes the grade.
I myself call it Le Chocolate Frenchie, cause it's still not what I consider a croissant, it's kind of it's cousin.
Le Chocolate Frenchie aka Original Chocolate Croissant
I took out some French bread, cut it and half, then length wise. I smeared some butter on it and put it in my 350 F preheated toaster oven. Meanwhile I took my chocolate bar and used a regular old cheese grater to grate it. I took the bread out of the oven when it was almost ready and a little crispy. I sprinkled the chocolate across the top of the bread. I then put it back in the now off, but still warm oven. It took less than a minute for the chocolate to melt. I took it out and used a knife to smooth over the chocolate. I let it toast a bit and took it out. I waited for it to cool a bit and went for it! It was almost as I remembered. The chocolate I used wasn’t sweet enough. So, I sprinkled a little powered sugar on the it. Yes! There it was! Next time a sweeter chocolate, or maybe just powdered sugar in the chocolate I already have. Either way, I’m pretty satisfied.
So a big thank you to the good folks at Mariposa. They truly have done a great job with this bread. I even had to argue with a few people on Facebook, convincing them that the bread IS vegan (I mean Ike’s carries it people! Pretty sure they HAVE to make sure it’s vegan when they are selling it to the masses. Geez.). Well believe or not folks, it’s gluten-free and vegan, and most importantly tasty!! Yes!! Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Make lots of good stuff with it, it’s worth your time and every penny.