As Faithful Readers (and anyone who has ever met me) will know, I love food. I love to eat it. I love to cook it. And I love to play around with it, by which I mean that I love to come up with new and interesting ways to eat and cook it.
I’ve been playing around with food ever since I was a little girl. I used to head straight to the kitchen after school where I’d invent some snack or other (more often than not involving, among other things, toast and a stick of butter). My philosophy was then, as it is now, that if you put together a bunch of ingredients that you like, you’ll probably like the result (there have been some sensational fails, such as the infamous orange juice omelet – on toast with butter – but it usually works out). I have refined this philosophy over time to include the following codicil: if you fry it, melt cheese and/or chocolate over it, it will be delicious.
My Book Club met a few days back to discuss The Imperfectionists (fun novel, set in Rome at an English-language international newspaper loosely based on the IHT. Read it). Book Club revolves as much around the food that is served as the book that is discussed. I offered to bring an appetizer and it turned out so well I thought I’d share it with you.
I do so with some trepidation. Like most people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen (I think this is true) , I cook mostly by instinct. So I’m not real clear about measurements. Still, I think this mushroom slather would be pretty hard to screw up as long as you have a hardy food processor.
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
½ kilo (approx 1 lb) mushrooms
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil
thyme, salt and pepper
1 tub cream cheese
In your hardy food processor, chop the mushrooms until they are very fine. There is a thin line between finely chopped and mushy and you should try not to cross it. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and toss in the garlic and onion. Cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are very soft and all the liquid they have released has evaporated. That’ll take about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, drain the sun-dried tomatoes and chop them up in the food processor. Add them to the mushroom mixture. Then add thyme, salt and pepper to taste (see how I cheated on the measurements here?). Cook another 3 minutes. Turn off the stove and stir in the cream cheese. Continue stirring until it’s all melted into the mixture (see codicil above). Serve at room temperature on crackers or bagel chips.
It’s also great the next day on a sandwich on toasted bread with tomatoes and roast turkey.
Feeds a Book Club with a bit left over.