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Cheese and Tomato "Toastie"

When my sister and I were little, we had a long commute to and from school. Our mom would always have a substantial snack of some kind waiting for us when we got home, and this "toastie" was among my favorites, right up there with the strange combination of piping hot chocolate and slices of grilled eggplant with miso, a combination that shouldn't work, but did.

Later in life I made it from time to time for my husband and it was one of the only dishes that he still enjoyed and asked for when he was reaching the end of his battle with cancer. For many years I didn't make it because I didn't necessarily wish to think about the memories that eating this might dredge up, in a perverse Proustian madeleine kind of a way.

Tonight I wanted one of these and it was just as delicious as I remembered and the memories were bittersweet.

Preheat the oven to 375,

While the oven is heating, cover a slice (or two) of your favorite bread with thinly sliced tomatoes and slices of your favorite cheese. You can add as much cheese or as little as your dietary intake conscience will allow you...I usually use a sharp Wisconsin cheddar, but Gruyère would work well here too.

The important part: sprinkle the top generously with your favorite dried herb (I used herbes de Provences, but thyme or oregano work well), salt and lots of white pepper.

Place in the oven on a foil lined baking tray and bake until the cheese is melting and the bread toasted. This will take a couple of minutes, just enough time for you to whip up a side salad to go with it.

Delicious dinner in under five minutes. Makes sense to me!


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