I've been racing back and forth between Santa Fe and Santa Barbara quite a lot lately, which means there are many half-used food items in my fridge or pantry or cupboard at any given moment. And since I have officially decided to make 2010 the year of making everything from scratch and to not waste anything, the situation has led to some unexpected culinary treats. Here is one of the most simple solutions - turning stale bread into delightfully flavorful (and useful!) breach crumbs -- and you also get to use whatever herbs you have in the bottom of your crisper drawer too!
Using a stale half loaf of rosemary lemon bread from a local bakery that we left in our bread drawer all week, and some fresh sage, rosemary and thyme that was left in the fridge, I was able to put away two loverly pint-sized jars of breadcrumbs for later use over potatoes au gratin or a homemade soup.
Just cut the bread into 1" cubes and place in a large bowl.
Chop all of the herbs into tiny, confetti-like pieces
Sprinkle bread cubes with salt and pepper to taste and all the herbs
Drizzle all ingredients with a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and toss by hand until bread is well coated but not too moist
Place herbed cubes on cookie sheet and bake in a 350 oven until slightly browned and crisp
Allow cubes to cool, then pulse in a bowl of a food processor until they become crumbs
Store in an airtight jar (like a canning jar) for up to two weeks or freeze until you need to use them.