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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Three Ways to Use Stale Pita Bread

The other day we were standing before our open freezer, lamenting the fact that we couldn't squeeze any more food in. Clearly, it was time to use up some of our frozen reserves. So we pulled out the leftover package of whole-wheat pitas from the top shelf, only to spot another partial package of pitas behind it   . . . and another one behind that. Standing there laden with icy bags, we were forced to admit the uncomfortable truth: we are pita hoarders.

Fortunately, it's easy to use up leftover pita bread. Here are three good ways, all of which we are employing this week.

1. Pita Chips. We based this extremely flexible version on a recipe by Ellie Krieger. Whereas Ellie uses cumin and coriander, we had a hankering for garlic and smoked paprika. Any combination of spices and oil would work.

Spiced Pita Chips

3 big whole-wheat pitas, torn into chip-sized pieces and separated so there are no double thicknesses
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. crunchy sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the pita pieces in a good-size bowl. Mix the oil with spices and salt, then pour over the pita pieces, taking care to cover them as evenly as possible.

3. Spread the chips on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, tossing them around midway for even cooking.

2. Pita Croutons. We've written about these before. Like the chips, they can be coated with any spice or no spices at all. Like croutons, they add crunch and interest to a green salad.

3. Pita Toast. Chances are, your leftover pita bread is too tough to stuff with hummus or other sandwich makings. But you can still use it as bread, provided that you don't try to open it up. Cut a pita in half, run it through the toaster, and use the two halves as you would use two slices of regular bread. Or you could dip the crunchy pieces into hummus, tabbouli, or tuna salad.

Leftover stale pita bread may present even more opportunities than its fresh equivalent.


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