A Toast to Toast

July 16 – July 22, 2018


Monday:                              Herby Zucchini and Peas with Semolina Porridge / Avocado Toasts


Flowers, Casa Stuarti

Tuesday:                              Business Trip

Wednesday:                      Return from Philly and Rotisserie Chicken with zucchini and brocolli

carnitas on cucumber

(Forgot to take picture of Tacos – here’s the app we made the next day with leftovers)

Thursday:                            Ground Pork Carnitas


Friday:                                  Poached Salmon with Sour-Cream Herb Sauce

ricotta panna cotta

Saturday:                             UFR’s Birthday Cookout

Apps:  Ricotta with Crudités and Crostini

Grilled Chicken Chemuin, Grilled Steaks, Grilled Corn, Caesar Salad,

Ricotta Panna Cotta with Nectarines / Klondike Bars

Mushroom tahini toast

Sunday:                                Mushroom, Tahini and Poached Egg Toast / App:  Cucumbers al pastore

A slice of fresh country bread toasted, with a nice pat of Irish butter and a few flakes of sea salt, accompanied by some rich French-press coffee and a dot of cream, may be the finest way to break fast in the history of the planet.  But, of course, you can handle that on your, without a recipe.  So let’s try something a bit more complex.*

*This general idea – that of substituting something more complex for something easily understandable – has been employed by teachers of poetry and philosophy for several centuries.  That is why Kant is the subject of more undergraduate courses than Saint Augustine or Aristotle, and why T. S. Eliot keeps popping up in literature curricula while Shakespeare is beginning to fade.

On Sunday, Barbara, Billy, Emily and I had a light dinner of sautéed mushrooms and shallots and a poached egg atop a piece of toasted sourdough spread with a whipped mixture of tahini, olive oil and lemon juice and sprinkled with some sprigs of dill and parsley.  This was to counteract the feast we had the night before to celebrate UFR’s birthday – but it was also because we kike to end Sunday night with something pleasant, to fortify ourselves for the week ahead.  As it turned out, we had something more than pleasant.  So much more than pleasant that we’d like to share it with you.

I’ll just add that the Ricotta Panna Cotta with Nectarines and Honey, which served as UFR’s cake, was a really fine dessert – but it’s for a special occasion and the toast below is for a quick mash-up for dinner any time.


(adapted from “Slow Food Fast,” WSJ, 4/28/18 – a recipe from Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling of Botanica Restaurant in Los Angeles)

Here, I’m going to suggest a rather serious adaptation.  Instead of using the tahini mixture, I suggest you use a mixture of garbanzos, olive oil and lemon juice.  Emily and Heather may well have access to fresh tahini or make their own.  But I have to use Tahini from a jar and, while I find good quality jarred Tahini a fine ingredient in many recipes, its prominence in this particular recipe lends a slight bitterness to the dish.  It is still delicious, so I offer you both alternatives below.  But I think that my substitute provides a richer taste to fortify you for the coming week’s travails.

Timing:                                                                 30 minutes

Ingredients:                                                       Serves 4

4 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1 cup tahini (or two cans of garbanzo beans, drained)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped (we used ½ of a large clove)
½ cup lemon juice separated into ¼ cup portions
6 cups of mushrooms diced (about 10 ounces of mushrooms – do not skimp, mushrooms cook down a good bit)
2 shallots, minced (we used 3 sizable shallots – we like them)
½ tablespoon sumac with extra for serving [this spice is available in most supermarkets, today – substitute lemon-pepper or some lemon juice and paprika]
4 eggs
½ cup of chopped dill and/or parsley (the recipe calls for mint – use that, instead, if you like)
4 thick slices of country bread, toasted


Dice mushrooms and mince shallots – set aside


In a blender or food processor, combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, a generous pinch of salt and either the tahini or the drained garbanzos.  With the motor running, drizzle in the ¼ cup of lemon juice.  If using the tahini, drizzle in ¾ cup of water.  If using the garbanzo beans, you will need very little water, if any.  You want a light, fluffy spread.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high (closer to medium, if you’re using a high-btu burner).  Add the mushrooms and let sear on one side (don’t stir) for 3 minutes.  Stir in the shallots and saut  about 3 more minutes, until soft.  Season with the sumac, some salt and the remaining ¼ cup of lemon juice.

Fill a medium pot with about 3 inches of salted water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.  One at a time, crack 4 eggs into a small bowl, then slip into simmering water.  Poach eggs until whites set but yolks remain soft, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain.

Spread toasted bread with the whipped tahini or the garbanzo bean mixture.  Place a poached egg on one end and season with salt, sumac, and olive oil.  Spoon the mushrooms and shallots over the rest of the toast and scatter the herbs on top.

A minerally white wine, good mineral water, or a good bitter beer is perfect with this dish.