There is always a potential battle waiting to be waged over a freshly baked loaf of Val's homemade bread. The kids want at least two slices at breakfast smothered in butter. Then they want it for a snack and request to have it instead of dinner. When I see what is left of the whole loaf that my mother had just gifted to me hours ago, I search their faces accusingly while Rob murmurs under his breath, "I only ate a heel." Only a heel, indeed.
Val's bread is simple but it takes some patience and time to mix it, knead it, allow it to rise and knead and rise again. She bakes it to a perfect brown on top and slices it with an expert hand. I prefer her to slice our loaf as some people slice it way too thick, thus wasting it. And I will admit that I can make the cuts a bit lopsided in my rush to eat it all up.
But I am going to win tonight. No one else is home to argue over or beg and plead to eat the last remaining pieces. I slather them with some Lemon Garlic Aioli I found in the back of the fridge. (It never lasts that long so it can't be very old.) Top the sauce with various slices of assorted cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella and provolone and add some sliced cherry tomatoes (it's all I have), then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
The first step is to bake all this in the toaster oven. After the cheese has melted sufficiently, I heat up my black cast-iron griddle, drop down some dollops of butter and place the open faced sandwich on top of the melting goodness. I cook the sandwich halves until golden on the outside but leave them separate instead of making a real sandwich as to prolong my consumption of the last two pieces of Val's bread.
As for the remaining heel that was left in the bag? I ate it smothered with aioli and fresh basil as I created my masterpiece. Oh yeah, when they all get home and ask for toast with no regard to their mother's/wife's needs, they will know. There is going to be one hell of a fight tonight.