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Getting creative with toast and all its toppings
By Li Anlan

Toast is great.It's delicious and it invites creativity when it comes to toppings.

While Westerners have been enjoying toast for ages, it’s somewhat of a new trend in Shanghai's culinary scene.Artisanal bakeries are opening all over downtown,baking top-quality breads daily.

Whether it’s peanut butter and jelly,cream cheese or just butter,there’s always a good way to enjoy toast.Try out these ideas to add a little extra pizzazz to your toast.

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Roll It

If you have a little time in the morning, French toast roll-ups are worth trying.

This sibling to traditional French toast is only slightly more complicated to make.Take regular sandwich bread, white or whole wheat, cut off the crusts and flatten out with a rolling pin.

Then spread a thin layer of peanut butter and add your favorite fillings (like strawberries, banana, blueberries) and roll.

Dip the rolls in the egg and milk mixture and cook in a buttered frying pan until the color  turns golden brown on all sides.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar or drizzle maple syrup on top.

The idea behind French toast roll-ups is that you can improves and try everything your heart desires.These can also be served as a dessert or a finger food at a party.

The combination of nut butter and seasonal fruits is most popular, especially peanut butter  with bananas and Nutella with strawberries.

You can also opt for alternative spreads like cream cheese, almond butter,cashew butter,cocoa butter or chestnut spread.A slice of cheese also makes an excellent filling.

Stack It

A sandwich doesn’t always have to be a BLT or turkey with cheddar.Bruschetta,an Italian toast drenched in olive oil,is an option for a healthy and hearty meal.

There’s also tartine,a French open-faced sandwich that can cost 40yuan (US$6.5) or more,enough money to buy a loaf of good bread.

Tartine sandwiches are versatile and can be made with most ingredients.From sautéed mushrooms and avocado to kale and Swiss cheese,or ricotta and pear to smoked salmon and cucumber, you can try something different every day without repeating the same recipe for a month.

Lightly toast the sliced bread if you prefer a crunchier taste,add cheese (cheddar, Swiss, feta,  cottage cheese or anything you desire) or spreads like nut butter and honey,then drop a generous portion of vegetables,nuts or meat on top.

Use whole wheat or rye instead of white bread for a better texture and more fiber.A mix of ingredients add color and texture to any tartine sandwich.

The choice of ingredients also determines whether it’s healthy or not.

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Fill It

The very ordinary breakfast egg sandwich went viral a while ago when people starting putting a fried egg into a slice of toast instead of on top.

It has several names including “egg in the basket”or“egg in the hole,”and it’s now a breakfast classic.

On a cutting board,cut a square hole in the center of the bread and keep the square for later use.

Grease the pan with olive oil over medium heat, place the“frame”of the bread slice in the pan until it' s lightly toasted,then crack the egg into the hole and season with salt and pepper.

Cook until it's golden brown and flip to brown the opposite side.The cooking time varies depending on whether you prefer a runny or solid yolk.

The cut out square of bread can be toasted and used to dip in the egg yolk,or before you flip the sandwich,sprinkle some shredded cheese and put it back as a lid and cook until both sides are browned.

You can also add bacon crumbs or ham in the "basket".

These recipes can be cooked in under 10 minutes for a quick breakfast.

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