Category Archives: Fresh Herbs

Skinny Tortilla Soup…A Hominy Story

1 cup is less than 2 Weight Watcher points but you don't need to be watching your calories to appreciate a yummy bowl...or two!

1 cup is 2 Weight Watcher points but you don’t need to be watching your calories to appreciate a yummy bowl…or two!

I’m a soup girl. I could devote an entire blog to my soup creations. I could eat a bowl of any soup any time of day. There is something comforting to me while I have a large pot steaming away all day while I go about other chores, visiting the pot to add an ingredient, give it a stir or to simply taste its progress.

Though a mystery to my Mom, as I was not a fan as a child. I would turn my nose up to anything considered a soup or stew opting for a PB&J instead. I’d pout, make terrible faces and whine until she would cave and excuse me from my bowl.

Despite that I deserve paybacks from my own children, to my pleasure, they too, share my (Now as an adult) love for bowls of anything soupy.

This recipe really got its inspiration from a blog called http://www.skinnykitchen.com/recipes/youll-love-our-heavenly-chicken-tortilla-soup/ I of course added my own twist, but truly, this was the base recipe I used for my own

First, before I continue onto my recipe, let’s get a little lesson on Hominy. These corny nuggets are what really make this the BEST Tortilla Soup ever!

Why Hello, Hominy, welcome to my kitchen.

Why Hello, Hominy, welcome to my kitchen.

According to Wikipedia, Hominy consists of dried maize kernels which have been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization….okay, lesson over…just know this stuff is really cool…indians used it too…so it must be magic!

Here it is, the healthy, yummy, lick your bowl clean recipe:

Ingredients for Skinny Tortilla Soup

1 large or 2 small chopped onions

2 stalks celery sliced

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 corn tortillas chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon quality cumin (more to taste)

1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder (regular is fine too)

1/2 teaspoon smoked spicy paprika (offers a really nice smokey spicy flavor, I found mine at Penzy’s)

3 TBS tomato past (save the rest of the can in a ziplock baggie in your freezer for later use)

1 15oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes juice and all

1 Can green chilis, drained

1 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can Yellow hominy drained and rinsed

2 cups of cooked lean chicken

Juice and zest of 1 lime plus more for garnish

In a large stockpot sweat your onions and celery in a bit of EVOO for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and chopped corn tortillas. Sweat for another couple of minutes. Add spices, tomato paste, broth, tomatoes, beans, chilis and bring to a slow bubble. Turn back heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Add hominy, and chicken. Simmer for another 10 minutes taste and adjust seasonings. I believe I ended up adding more chili powder and cumin. Just before serving, add the zest 1/2 lime into soup and juice of whole lime.

Garnish with cilantro, baked corn tortilla strips and a wedge of lime

Baked Corn Tortilla Strips

Simply cut 2 corn tortillas into strips, spray sheet pan with cooking spray, lightly spray tops of tortillas and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees until edges begin turning golden, about 10 minutes or less.

Chicken Cordon Bleu – Ohh la la!

Not many dishes can compete for the presentation award as rolled and stuffed meat! With a bit of time, you can impress and appear to be a master chef with this Chicken Cordon Bleu and  cream sauce recipe.  I found I was able to assemble the chicken ahead of time (a few hours), cover and move on to the rest of my meal plan (or in this case, attend to a sick 5-year-old)

Recipe makes 4
4 chicken breast trimmed of any visible fat
4 slices smokey deli ham (no honey ham here)
4 slices swiss cheese
Dijon mustard for brushing on chicken
2 eggs beaten
splash water to thin egg wash
Italian bread crumbs (or plain) for coating chicken

Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, pound chicken to about 1/4 inch flat, careful not to tear. Salt and pepper both sides, brush the inside of the chicken (the side that doesn’t look as pretty) with Dijon mustard, place slice of ham and cheese on chicken and begin to roll. Secure with toothpicks. Dip in egg wash and coat with bread crumbs. Place rolled chicken onto baking sheet or 9×13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. At this time, you can immediately bake or store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest before slicing.

Cream Sauce:
2 Tbs butter melted in a heavy sauce pan
1 cup white wine, I used Sauvignon Blanc as I like it to drink also
2 TBS bouillon powder
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 TBS corn starch whisked into a bowl with the heavy cream
2 TBS fresh herbs chopped, I used parsley so not to compete with the flavor of the sauce, but thyme or rosemary would be great too

Heat pan and melt butter, add wine and bouillon powder bring to a boil reduce by 1/3. Slowly add cream and cornstarch, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add fresh chopped herbs. Pour over sliced Chicken Cordon bleu. Sauce is also wonderful over steam vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli.

Baked Ham with Honey Dijon Glaze

Baked Ham with Honey Dijon Glaze, just may replace your traditional Holiday Ham

It’s mid-October and already time to begin thinking about our holiday plans. Just yesterday, Dad and I sat in my dining room (he came to hang up a shelf, Thanks Dad!) enjoying his first cup of Chai with me. This spicy, warm and creamy tea seemed to inspire a discussion about the upcoming holidays. As we leisurely visited and sipped our Chai, I found that little voice in my head saying “Sheri, you need to try out some new recipes to treat the family this year”.

After all of these years, Mom has perfected the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. There is comfort and warmth when we enjoy these time-tested traditional family dishes. We work together in the kitchen as if performing a well-rehersed dance. I treasure these days, full of pride as my role in the kitchen has graduated from prepping the vegetables to a true partner, one to be consulted or trusted to actually make the mashed potatoes.

Okay, so back to the ham. My shopping place had a great price on bone-in smoked ham. I got a 6 1/2 lb piece for about $8.00. A steal, as I knew it would produce many meals for my family. I already planned to save the bone for Split Pea Soup and Ham for later. I quickly bought it and it sat in my fridge for 2 days, taunting me! See, I’ve never had to make the Ham, Mom always had that dish mastered, decorated with the pineapple, cherries and cloves and some years a honey-baked one that was presliced. Since this one was pre-cooked and simply only needed to be heated, I shouldn’t have been intimated, but a large piece of meat can do that!

I went to the trusty web for inspiration. What I found was a ton of sweet glazes using orange juice, pineapple juice, lots of brown sugar and often cloves. I do not prefer these super sweet sticky glazes, or sugary crusts. A bit discouraged, I was about to resolve to simply heating the smoked ham as was. Then, it dawned on me! A while ago, I made Honey Dijon Pork Chops that my kids and I raved over! I knew I would utilize many of the flavors I’d used with the pork chops as they were savory and had the perfect amount of sweetness; the ultimate combination. The result was, what is now, our favorite ham recipe. This perfectly juicy baked ham with its beautiful golden crust, is a blue-ribbon winner! Mom, we just may have a new Holiday Ham recipe.

So began the creation of what I consider to be possibly the very best ham I have ever eaten (sorry Mom!).

Recipe:
1 Bone in smoked ham already cooked
1 cup white wine or apple cider
1-2 cups chicken stock
Fresh herbs if available (I used a few sprigs of fresh thyme and sage still on stems)

Glaze ingredients:
1/2 cup Apple cider
1/3 Cup Dijon Mustard
1/3 Cup Honey

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.Unwrap ham, carefully trim off excess fat, taking care not to cut into meat. Make diagonal score marks into the tough outer layer of ham. In a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the ham and cover tightly, place on a rack (I have a rack about 1/2 high) in roasting pan. Pour in broth, wine (or cider) placing herbs around ham in liquid. Cover and bake.

Now it’s time for a bit of math. For every pound of ham, plan to bake 15 minutes. I had just over 6 pounds of ham, so I figured about 1 1/2 hour plus about 5 more.

After the ham was getting cozy in the oven, I leisurely began making the simple glaze. In a small sauce pan, whisk all ingredients together and heat over medium heat. Careful not to let it burn, stir occasionally and allow to gradually thicken. After about 20 minutes or so, it should have the consistency of tomato soup. If not, let cook down longer. Keep on low simmer stirring occasionally when desired results have been obtained.

During the last half hour of cooking time is when you will begin basting your ham with the glaze and a basting brush. Remove from oven, bast liberally, return to over with lid off. Repeat 2 more times every ten minutes.

Remove ham from oven, bast one more time and let sit on cutting board or serving plate for 10 minutes before carving. I’d had high hopes of using the juices in the bottom of the roasting pan for a sauce, but found it too salty from the ham. The wine and herbs perfume the ham perfectly and keep it so juicy it didn’t need a sauce anyways. Don’t forget to save the bone for Split Pea Soup and Ham for another day.

Split Pea Soup with Ham – The way Grandma Would Make it if she had access to Ma’s Garden

Get out the stock pot, as soup season has begun!

We love our homemade soup! With all of its liquid goodness, my boys and I enjoy a big bowl of homemade soup and crusty bread. The season officially begins when I pull out my giant stockpot and make a batch of Split Pea Soup with Ham. I crave it all spring and summer, but with the warmer weather, it’s just not the same. Serve this with a thick piece of fresh baked Free Form Artisan Bread.

Although there are many “quick” soup recipes and crock pot recipes, I am a true believer, that soup must be given the love and respect of simmering for many hours. This is an endeavor that takes love and patience. Soup days are also days I plan other home projects, such as laundry, paper work, blogging and phone calls. One does not have to be a slave to the stove as much as you have to visit it periodically to stir, taste, and occasionally add an ingredient. I consider soup to be the perfect food. It usually has a protein, carb, veggies and herbs. It’s everything good in one pot, and how I trick the boys (and myself) to eat vegetables they may not try otherwise.

Earlier in the week, I made a Baked Honey Dijon Ham with the bone in. I removed most of the leftover ham from the bone, leaving some meat around it, put into a large plastic bag to use later. I don’t always have a ham bone like this to make my soup, so often I will purchase ham shanks to use instead. Here it is, My Spilt Pea soup with Ham that I’ve made more than any other recipe as it’s simply a family favorite.

Recipe yeilds…lot’s of soup

Ingredients
2 1-lb bags of dried split peas, sorted and rinsed
1 ham bone (from 5-7 lb ham with some meat still intact) or 2-3 lbs of ham shanks.
2 quarts of Chicken broth (I used 1 quart of store-bought and 1 quart of homemade I had defrosted from the freezer)
Water (as needed throughout)
2 stalks celery sliced
1 large onion diced (I used a Vidalia)
2 TBS garlic finely diced
3 bay leaves (remove before serving)
2 large carrots quartered and sliced
3 TBS fresh herbs (I used a combination of Thyme and Sage, but savory and parsley are good too)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Sea Salt to taste
2-3 chicken bullion cubes (optional)

After you’ve sorted out your peas (I pour them on a large baking sheet so I can easily pick out any unwanted discolored ones) rinse well under cold water in a colander and pour into large stock pot. Cover with water (about 1 inch above the peas) and bring to a boil for 2 minutes, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. This is preparing the peas. There is also an overnight option, but I just prefer to use this method.

After an hour has passed, pour in broth and add ham bone (or shanks). All of the peas and bones should be covered well with liquid. If needed, add water (I often have to add some water throughout cooking process). On high heat, bring to a soft boil. Meanwhile, begin chopping onions, celery and garlic. Add to soup and bring down temp. to a high simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

After simmering for about an hour, add carrots and water if needed. Simmer another 45 minutes still stirring occasionally. Then, add fresh-cut herbs, simmer another 15 minutes or so. Remove ham bone or shanks with thongs and let cool on cutting board until able to handle. Remove meat and cut into little pieces. This process can be a bit tedious, but is worth it for the final result. Return meat to soup. This is when you begin tasting and adding salt and pepper to taste. Carefull with the salt as the ham adds it own, so add slowly, taste and adjust. Personally, I have been known to throw in a couple of chicken bullion cubes in place of the salt as it adds extra flavor and contains salt. Keep adding water as the peas absorb liquid and it evaporates during the process.

Soup is very forgiving and gets better the longer it simmers. Like a tomato sauce, it only gets better the next day. Freeze leftovers in individual servings for quick defrosting another day as a quick hearty lunch or dinner.

If you happen to have a dog, or your neighbor has a canine friend, send the bone for a special treat!

Fishwich with Lemon Caper Sauce – Not your Typical Catch of the Day

4 fillets of Sea Star Cod (or other mild whitefish) about 4 oz each
2 TBS Seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup Panco Bread Crumbs (japanese bread crumbs)
3 eggs
splash milk (to thin out egg mixture)
EVOO (such as Mezzetta)
Arugula (about 2 cups loosely packed)
4 kaiser buns or buns of your choice
Roasted Sweet Red Peppers from a jar, enough to top 4 sandwiches (Mezzetta is the brand I used)

Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 TBS Non-Pareil Capers (such as Mezzetta brand) lightly chopped
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 TBS fresh Dill (use dried if fresh is not available)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients for sauce in a small bowl, cover and chill while preparing fish.

Set up your dredging station. 1 shallow bowl with beaten eggs and milk, one bowl or plate with just flour, and one with just Panco bread crumbs. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel the 4 fish fillets. Sprinkle with Seafood seasoning on both sides and lightly coat with flour. Shake off excess. Quickly dredge in egg mixture then in the Panco bread crumbs, set aside on a plate and repeat until all of the fillets are coated.

Heat enough EVOO in a large heavy frying pan to fry fish (about 1 cup depending size of pan). When oil is hot, test by tossing a pinch of flour in oil, if it sizzles, it’s ready. Carefully place fish in pan and fry until it is a golden brown, turn and finish the other side (about 3-4 minutes each side depending on how thick your fish is). When fish is cooked, remove from pan and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Meanwhile, begin assembling your sandwiches. Spread a layer of Lemon Caper Sauce on both the top and bottom buns, place a layer of arugula on the bottom buns, then fish, then a layer of Roasted Sweet Red Pepper and top with the other half of bun. Viola! A fishwich full of flavor and style.

Ma’s Garden

Delivery from Ma's garden, including her fresh picked garlic, basil, thyme, parsley,sage, savory and rosemary. The flowers were nice too!

Goodies from Ma's Garden and the farmer's market

Ma's Garden

Doesn't get any better than this!

My Ma can grow! She can grow everything and anything that Michigan will allow. She taunts me with amazing and homegrown produce…feeding my creative taste buds. She delivers ingredients that would make an experienced chef drool. I am now finding myself challenged to utilize the amazing ingredients she has gifted me so casually! My Super-Gardener has my attention and admiration! In the picture, from upper left to right: Dill, Sweet Basil, Oh so Wonderful Radish, a bowl of Michigan Blend Greens (and a bit o’ radish),
Sweet Basil, Cilantro (I love you mom, as I know how you grew it just for me!), More Michigan Blend Greens, Rosemary, Thyme and Savory…Where does one begin? Fish, Potatoes, poultry, beef, salads, marinades…Know…I have taken a moment to taste each herb and vegetable alone…my tounge danced and my brain raced! Can I cook fast enough to give these perfect ingredients the respect they deserve? Organic labels, watch out! You cannot begin to touch Ma’s Garden!

Honey Dijon Pork Chops

succulent and juicy Center cut pork chops with a sweet and savory Honey Dijon Sauce. Served with grilled corn on the cob and Dijon Butter with Thyme for Green beans. A meal to impress!

These are absolutely the BEST Pork Chops I’ve ever eaten! Tender and flavorful, but its the sauce made with honey, Dijon mustard, wine, fresh sage and thyme that makes this a dish impressive enough to compete with your favorite restaurant! I would happily pay for this dish at a fine dining establishment and walk away knowing I just got my money’s worth.

I was inspired at the grocery store when I found some beautiful center cut boneless pork chops. The next aisle had sauces and marinades. Lawrey’s Honey Dijon marinade caught my attention. I picked it up, then sat it down. Why couldn’t I make my own? I have honey, I have Dijon in the refrigerator. After a couple of days of playing with the recipe in my head, my mom brought over some fresh Sage and Thyme from Ma’s Garden. With my plan pulling together, all that was left, was to pick up a good bottle of white wine. Here is probably my most impressive dinner yet, I hope you enjoy!

Recipe yields 4 servings

Ingredients for Honey Dijon Pork Chops

4 center cut pork chops cut about 1 1/2 inch thick (bone in or out)
EVOO
Sea Salt and Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste
2 Cups white wine
1/3 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Honey
2 TBS fresh Sage or 1 TBS Dried Sage
1 TBS fresh Thyme or 1/2 TBS Dried Thyme

In a large good quality frying pan, heat 2 TBS EVOO on high. Drizzle more EVOO on both sides of the pork chops, salt and pepper both sides and place into hot pan. Sear the first side until it gets golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn and repeat on the second side. Remove pork chops and lower heat to Med-high. Add 2 cups of white wine, honey and Dijon mustard. Whisk together in pan, getting the yummy brown bits off the bottom. When mixture comes to a boil, add fresh herbs, give a stir, and then add pork chops back into pan. Cover tightly and simmer for about 30 minutes or until chops are tender. When chops are done, remove to a plate. Bring the remaining sauce to a quick boil and whisk until it thickens to a sauce (not a thick gravy). Pour sauce over chops and Serve with Grilled Corn and Dijon Butter and a serving of Thyme for Green beans.

Directions for Dijon Corn

Grill 4 corn cobs (you may steam or boil if desired)
The last few minutes of cooking time baste with mixture of 2 TBS soft butter and 2 TBS Dijon Mustard. If you are steaming or boiling you corn, remove from heat and baste with brush the Dijon butter mixture.

Quiche

Left: Ham, Spinach and Cheddar Cheese. Right: Ham, Swiss, Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Rosemary


It’s my day off and the kids return to school next week. They were kind enough to let me sleep in, but when I awoke, they were already asking me what I was going to make for lunch. It was only 10am but I suppose their breakfast cereal was quickly dissipating in their stomachs. Luckily, I have a plan.

My grocery store, Plumbs, had double pie crust on sale for only $.99 this week. I of course eagerly added this to my cart as I was on a budget this week. Who am I kidding, I’m always on a budget. My menu is usually centered around what is on sale.

Today, I pulled the pie crusts out of the freezer and began the very quick process of making Quiche. Once you have a basic recipe, the options are endless! I made 2, since my oldest had a friend over and teens can  sure eat a lot. The first one was pretty basic, I used ingredients that I knew the kids liked, although, I successfully managed to add spinach. My second one, was more for my taste and included spinach, swiss cheese, roasted red pepper and Rosemary.

So, what exactly is Quiche? I decided to educate myself as it was happily baking in my oven. The following information was found on Wikipedia:

In French cuisine, a quiche (English pronunciation: /ˈkiːʃ/) is a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Usually, the pastry shell is blind baked before the other ingredients are added for a secondary baking period. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables, or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked. Quiche is generally an open pie (i.e. does not contain a pastry covering), but may include an arrangement of tomato slices or pastry off-cuts for a decorative finish. Quiche may be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, depending on local customs and personal tastes.

Yup, just what I thought. So, here is a basic recipe for Quiche. Let your imagination and taste buds create your own version, or use mine

Ingredients for 1 Quiche

1 Frozen pie crust (or make your own if desired)
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, gryue, etc..)
1/2 cup cooked meat (ham, bacon, sausage are common)
1/3 cup spinach (thawed and squeezed of juices, or canned and squeezed of juice. Fresh is wonderful too)
Up to 1/3 cup Additional chopped veggies, such as sautéed onions, roasted red pepper, mushrooms sliced. Careful not to add too many vegetables, as it can make the Quiche runny.
1 Tsp Fresh herbs (optional) I used Rosemary, but Parsley, Cilantro or Thyme would be nice too.
4 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, place pie crust in oven to pre-bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Place meat, veggies and cheese in crust and pour egg/milk mixture over combination. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and finish baking for about 35 minutes or until eggs are set. Cover the edges of crust with aluminum foil if it begins to brown too much. Let cool for at least 5 minutes, slice and serve.

1 pie yields 6 servings

Easy Baked Meatballs

 

Roll mixture into 1 inch balls

How many times have you been at a potluck where there is a crock-pot of frozen meatballs in BBQ sauce? For me, too many times! They don’t taste right to me, I’m not even sure there is real meat in there! My children really enjoy spaghetti and meatballs. I have, in the past, made complicated mixtures that are fried, turned often and leave me a slave to the stove for at least 30 minutes. Relief at last! I have an easy solution to your meatball fears! Let’s just mix and bake. Toss them with your favorite pasta sauce, I recommend Roasted Tomato and Green Pepper Pasta Sauce or add to a BBQ. Even better, put on a skewer and quickly grill with pineapple, green peppers and onion basted with BBQ sauce. 

Note: Make extra and freeze. Can be quickly defrosted, save yourself some time on another night!  

Recipe yields about 24 meatballs 

Ingredients: 

1 lb of lean ground beef
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp dried parsley ( 1 TBS if using fresh)
1 tsp dried chives (better yet, fresh, then 1 TBS)
1 Egg
3 splashes Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste 

Mix all ingredients by hand and make into 1 inch balls. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and place into a pre-heated 425 degree oven. Bake for 10 minutes, turn meatballs, cook an additional 8-10 minutes. Toss with your favorite sauce or eat plain. Yummy!

Roasted Tomato and Green Pepper Pasta Sauce

Once you've made this sauce, you'll never go back to the jar again!

  

Oh how the bounty of fresh produce keeps spilling over into my kitchen. I was given a bag of fresh Roma tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes and some Green Peppers at work yesterday fresh from her garden. Oh how happy I am! Every since I made my Creamy Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup I have been eager to use my new-found roasting method in a pasta sauce. I saw a recipe on a co-bloggers post that has really inspired me, Two Guys with an Appetite, I encourage you to visit as they have some great ideas too! This is how I made my Roasted Tomato and Green Pepper Pasta Sauce.  

Please note: If you are trying to increase your and your childrens vegetable intake, this is the sauce for you! Hidden carrots, less salt and no sugar, and no preservatives make this a wonderful recipe for your family. Please consider making a double batch as this freezes very well!  

Recipe yeilds about 3 Cups Sauce  

 4-6 servings of pasta and sauce  

Ingredients  

7-8 Roma Tomatoes halved and not seeded
1 pint of cherry tomatoes halved
1 med-large red onion peeled and cut into chunks
2 Sweet Green Peppers seeded and cut into chunks
5 Garlic cloves peeled
2 Carrots peeled and sliced about 3/4 inch
1/3 cup quality EVOO
1 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Basil
Sea salt and Pepper to taste  

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees  

Place all veggies and Garlic onto a large jelly roll pan. Pour EVOO all over and add seasoning. Toss to coat with your hands (your best kitchen tools). Turn Roma tomatoes cut side up and roast in oven for about an hour. Turn garlic and onions about 3/4 way through cooking time.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend on high until you have a chunky sauce. Add a bit of EVOO if desired. Sauce should be thick, not watery.  Add to a medium sauce pan and simmer on low until hot again, serve over your favorite cooked pasta and toasted Italian Bread from Jimmy John’s. They sell a whole loaf of their bread for only $.27 out the door! Brush with a little EVOO, Sea Salt, Fresh Ground Pepper , toast in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes, turn and finish toasting for about another 8 minutes. For a garlic toast, rub, while still hot with a peeled garlic clove.