Because I am so busy with various different things ranging from writing, playing in church and the bossa nova band, working, studying, trying to get some exercise and spending quality time with Renata, I hardly ever cook on Saturdays. After all, we are always out doing something and we spend very little time in our Staten Island apartment (something that doesn’t happen on Sundays, our official sit-down dinner night) and end up eating out.
Sometimes, however, I do enjoy making a quick meal – really a snack – before we head out for whatever the activity might be. My basic rule is that it has to be something easy but also flavorful, and I also have to be mindful of not making a mess in the kitchen, since we are about to head out the door and there is no time for really cleaning anything – thus creating yet another source of trouble.
Snacks that are part of my list are black bean burgers, quesadillas, Cuban sandwiches (using turkey ham instead of pork), zapiekanka, burritos or other simple concoctions that can be prepared without making a fuss. One regular of sorts is a recipe I found on the sorely missed Gourmet magazine years ago, which consists of creamy sautéed mushrooms served on warm toast with a slice of turkey or chicken breast. Though it is a bit more labor-intensive than other snacks might be, but the result is quite delicious
Creamed mushrooms over toast
(Recipe from Gourmet magazine, originally published in the 1950s)
- 8 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts discarded
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 lb. mushrooms (preferably small), trimmed and halved
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon Maggi or Bovril seasoning, or to taste
- 8 thin slices turkey breast (3 oz.)
Arrange bread slices on a baking sheet and spread with 2 tablespoons butter. Toast in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, and then sauté mushrooms in 2 batches until liquid from mushrooms is evaporated and mushrooms are browned, 6 to 8 minutes, adding 1 1/2 tablespoons butter for second batch. Transfer as cooked to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over moderate heat, then whisk in flour and cook roux, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Add milk in a slow stream and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Whisk in sour cream, salt, pepper, and Maggi seasoning, and then stir in mushrooms. Cook over low heat, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. (Do not let boil.)
Arrange a slice of turkey breast on each toast and top with mushrooms and sauce.