Sunday, December 3, 2017

Finding My Groove | Eggplant, Salami + Gouda Sandwich

Having a baby and not wanting to cook came hand in hand. There were many things that I wanted to do in the little time I had when I wasn't carrying my child like, and I say this in all seriousness, showering. It took me a while to get back into it away from the cooking I had to get done for work every single day.  

We were faced with an issue at home. Do we really want to eat what I cooked for work? Do we just order in or do we find that little reserve of energy we had left to actually throw something together in less than a half hour? In the first year of our child's life, I don't think we really enjoyed any food. It was all for survival. We ate late, we ate crap but we ate.  

Things slowly started coming together. I started showering more often. I began looking less sallow. My cooking for work became routine and we started cooking things we wanted to eat; and it all began with soups, salads and sandwiches. Endless combinations, fulfilling flavors. Quick to eat and fun to make. Next time you find yourself in a rut, make a sandwich. This recipe was developed for Frico.    

Rustic Eggplant, Salami & Gouda Sandwich 

2 slices of gouda cheese

6 slices of eggplant 
3 cloves of garlic
4 slices of salami
4 large button mushrooms, sliced
4-6 fresh mint leaves 
1 cup of deseeded Kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
A handful of rocket leaves
1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 thick slices of bread
1/4 cup of olive oil 
Black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Blend the Kalamata olives with garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil until smooth then set aside. 

Heat a frying pan then pour in the olive oil. Pan-fry the slices of eggplant after seasoning with salt and black pepper until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil then sauté the mushrooms in the same pan, seasoning with salt and black pepper. 

Toast the bread then coat with a thick layer of the prepared olive tapenade. Add the rocket leaves, slices of gouda, fried eggplant, salami and sautéed mushrooms. Top with mint leaves and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve. 

Note: this can also be assembled and toasted in a panini press. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Where I've Been + Mushroom Rice

How long is a long time? When I finally find time alone with myself I interrogate blogger me, "Isn't it time you update your blog, Sarah?"

Every week this happens; and as each passes this long time extends. A week, a month, a year. But what happens when you almost don't feel how quickly that long time went by? I'll tell you what happens. You get stuck; you have an excuse but then you have none.

My last blog post exhausted me. By then, my round belly extended past my newly pudgy feet, themselves resembling nothing of what I know my feet to be. My bum would have to be pushed back by bending my ever-expanding hips to make room for the plate in the overhead shots I'd have to take. I was stuck with a deadline - a deadline to deliver forty pasta recipes for a client and one baby for us. 

My joints were creaking. My pelvis was loose. My cravings had never been so real and I hadn't cooked so much pasta in my life. There was just no room for blogging. I was unable to move without having every fibre of me groan for relief and I truly looked like Michelin Man minus the power of Michelin. 

Soon after, our baby arrived (hooray!) and I crazily took on even more work. Why? Because it afforded me the ability to work from home without having to do either of the options I didn't want to do: 1. Leave my child to someone else, anyone else. 2. Bring her into restaurant kitchens and meetings about restaurants' lacking menu options.

So I worked alone and I worked from home thus becoming a stay at home mom who operated on minimal sleep and copious cups of coffee (well, as many as I was allowed to consume while nursing).  

Cook in the morning, take photos of said cooked item while my child threw onions, lemons or whatever else prop I was using AT ME; then later edit and write recipes at night without sneaky little hands trying to pull out my laptop keys. Memorable times.  

My situation lately has shifted. I have more time for myself in the morning and so I have more time to share what I've been up to. Now, I don't have enough time just yet to create recipes especially for Buttered-Up these days but it's good enough for me to be able to share some of my work with you. So, let's begin! Here's a recipe that was created for Knorr. 

Mushroom and Onion Rice

You'll need: 

200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons of ghee
1 onion, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
1 cube of Knorr vegetable bouillon + 3 cups of hot water or 3 cups of broth
1.5 cups of basmati rice
½ teaspoon of black pepper
Salt to taste

Dissolve Knorr’s vegetable bouillon in the hot water and stir. (Leave this step out if you're using real broth.)

Melt 1 tablespoon of ghee in a large pot.

Sauté the sliced mushrooms on high heat for 3 minutes then set aside. In the same pot, melt another tablespoon of ghee and cook the onions until they caramelize and reach a deep golden color.

Add the mushroom to the caramelized onions then add the prepared stock/broth and sliced spring onions. Stir on low heat for 2 minutes until the onions release their color into the stock.

Add the rice then season with salt and pepper. Allow the rice to reach a rapid boil on high heat then lower the heat and cover the pot allowing the rice to cook for 20-25 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered pot on the stove for another 10 minutes. Serve.

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