Mushroom and Ricotta Breakfast Slider

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Yesterday, I did something out of character: I actually did hardcore grocery shopping. By hardcore I mean I had a list of things to buy, an even longer imaginary list of things to cook, and the palpable desire to just cook at home.

The sad, peculiar truth of my 2012 was that most of the time I only cooked when I was in school, and then resorted to various fast food takeaway when I got home. At the back of my head I thought about convenience, and….yeah, that’s about it.

Over the holidays I developed a few cravings that haven’t been curbed yet. I’d consider that a good thing because now I can say that I have the gumption to cook. I feel inspired not to resort to Chowking delivery, my default go-to website when the hunger creeps in. (Don’t worry Chowking I still love y’all)

Essentially one of my favorite meals as of the moment is the sandwich. My dad loves sandwiches more than he loves rice. When I was home for the holidays, he would toast a few slices of loaf bread, cook scrambled eggs and sear the ham I made and eat everything for dinner. When I got back from vacation, more than once I found myself thinking of eating a sandwich for dinner. I thought about what I would put together, what flavor combinations would work, and if a splash of maple syrup would make any multi-decker even better.

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Warm bread that’s crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, crisp salad greens, sautéed fresh mushrooms and ricotta cheese. This combination has been rolling in the fields of my imagination for a few days now. This was the first of many excuses I told myself why I desperately needed to go to the grocery. I just had to have it for breakfast today and I did. I can’t believe breakfast got me this excited to wake up. It’s uncanny because it’s really not me. Brunch is usually the first meal of my day for as long as I can remember.

Maybe that’s a good thing – how I’m developing new habits. I don’t know how long I can sustain this feeling but if it would get me back on a revitalized track to eating healthier, blogging and cooking more…then by all means, lez do thiz.

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Mushroom and Ricotta Sliders (serves 1 – 2)

  • 2 – 3 small pieces pan de sal, sliced in half
  • salad greens, washed, enough to fit in one layer on the bread
  • 3 – 4 pieces mushrooms (I used fresh button and shiitake), sliced
  • ricotta cheese, as needed

In a pan, add 1 tablespoon canola oil over high heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the sliced mushrooms and saute for around 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble: place the salad greens on top of the sliced bread, then the mushrooms and top with the ricotta. Top with the other half of the bread to make 2 – 3 sandwiches or make open faced sliders so you can have 4 – 6 pieces.

Grilled Cheese Pandesal Sandwich

Look away if you’re dieting, or believe that a person should stick to the 2000 calories/day mark, because what I made today, isn’t just 2000 calories. I’m not a dietician (though I did get really good grades in Nutrition when I was a sophomore in college), but I just know, these grilled cheese sandwiches are heavy and loaded.

Butter/margarine + (cheese * 3)  + bread = lots of calories.
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But don’t fret, If you’re like me, you won’t make it to two sandwiches. I surprised even myself. A bite or two will satisfy you, eating a whole sandwich is practically a foodgasm. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that these are pretty good. This isn’t really about a recipe, more of a technique (says Chef John of Food Wishes who I got this from). He calls it an “Inside-and-Out Grilled Cheese Sandwich” because, apart from the melted cheese filling, he goes the extra mile by sprinkling grated cheese on the frying sandwich and it consequently melts to form this really great tangy crust. God, I’m hungry again.
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This is the inexpensive (read:cheap) version of his sandwich because it uses three local ingredients: margarine, pan de sal and the run-of-the-mill grocery cheese (like Eden).  Of course, just because the ingredients may have been scaled down to cheaper proportions doesn’t make it any less tasty. By all means, since this is more of a technique, throw caution to the wind and splurge.
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I wouldn’t recommend making this a daily habit, but on the day that you do decide to make this (seeing as the ingredients you probably have lying around in your fridge and pantry already), well, consider it a special day.
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Inside and Out Grilled Cheese Pandesal Sandwich (adapted from Food Wishes)

  • Grated cheese (whatever cheese you have lying around, but Chef John advocates cheddar)
  • Pandesal, sliced in half
  • A few tablespoons butter or margarine (DO NOT USE STAR MARGARINE, because it’s too salty; use butter/margarine with a more mellow flavor)
  1. Heat a few tablespoons of butter in a nonstick (only use nonstick) pan over low to medium heat.
  2. Place the pandesal, two cut pieces at a time with cut/inside part facing upward. Flatten it a bit with your spatula.
  3. Generously sprinkle grated cheese over one piece. Then top with the other piece.
  4. Gently and generously sprinkle additional cheese on top of the sandwich. Add more butter to the pan if needed.
  5. Carefully flip the sandwich so the top with the cheese is now frying at the bottom. Flatten it a bit more with your spatula to evenly brown the cheese crust.
  6.  Repeat the process of sprinkling with cheese, flipping and frying so the lightly browned crust forms on both sides.
  7.  When sufficiently browned, remove from heat and serve immediately. Enjoy!