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Easy mushroom breakfast sandwich and chickpea salad

I swear Christina and I are going to start to update this more regularly. (CC: You can blame me.  The only things I have been doing are working, staining my blazers with avocado from my breakfast sandwiches, and letting Laura feed me. And also camping out in front of the Supreme Court.)

Today, you can learn about a salad that changed Christina’s life and taught her never to doubt me, and what to do if you have leftover mushrooms from your cookout.  (CC: Clearly, each blog post will have an instructional purpose for me.)

Christina generally gets pretty (extremely) psyched about the food I make for her. But one time, I told her I was making a salad, and she did not seem excited. Not disappointed, either, but not excited. But I turned that frown upside down with this recipe. It’s super delicious and has some protein, which is good because people always seem really baffled about how vegetarians get protein.

Chickpea salad with an avocado dressing:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Several handfuls of baby spinach (if you wanna throw some arugula in there too, I would respect that lifestyle choice)
  • Half a red onion, diced
  • 3-4 radishes, thinly sliced and quartered
  • 1. Throw that ish together in a big serving bowl and mix.

1. For the dressing, I adapted this recipe for creamy avocado pesto from Oh She Glows.

  • 1 avocado (cut it in half, then slice and dice it and squeeze it out)
  • A handful of chopped fresh cilantro
  • A pinch of cumin
  • A splash of olive oil
  • A splash of water
  • A smaller splash of lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper

2. Smash up the avocado with a fork (it will be even easier if you do it after you add the liquids) and mix it all together. Then toss it with your salad.

Marinated mushroom breakfast sandwich:

Suppose you marinated a bunch of Portobello mushrooms for your cookout, but then some fools didn’t show up to your cookout. Save those tasty morsels! They make for a hearty and super delicious breakfast. This is also super easy.

  • Two pieces of the bread/roll of your preference
  • 1 marinated mushroom (in the marinade from the last post)
  • Half an avocado
  • 1 egg
  1. Reheat the mushroom in a skillet on the stove on medium heat. When it’s good and hot, toss it on one of your bread slices.
  2. Slice up the avocado and squeeze it out onto the mushroom.
  3. Crack an egg in your skillet and fry it up (or scramble, if you prefer.) To cook it more quickly, cover it with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil.
  4. Put the fried egg over the mushroom and avocado, top with your second piece of bread, and enjoy.

Christina’s Corner:

I recommend these refreshing meals with a side of some more summer music. Five years ago, your go-to summer jam would have been “Paper Planes” by M.I.A.

This summer, check out “Collard Greens” by ScHoolBoy Q featuring Kendrick Lamar. We saw Kendrick Lamar this year at Sweet Life (my favorite mini music festival) and, to be honest, I wasn’t really impressed — especially considering how many festivals booked him for the summer music season. But there’s something a little different with this single, and more collaborations like this will have me leaning in and turning the volume up.

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Grilling for people who are disinclined to eat meat

For most Americans, I feel like grilling is a term that immediately brings meat to mind. My dad has a long and honorable tradition of cooking meat on the grill, from the Memorial Day burger to the Thanksgiving turkey (it has had the occasional tendency to catch fire, but the part that wasn’t charred black was surprisingly still good.)

This summer, my first one as a vegetarian (well, occasional pescatarian, but close enough,) I set out to reclaim the grill for my people. My people being my girlfriend and me.

I decided to start with the classic grilled Portobello mushroom burger and some grilled corn. And as it turns out, they were both super easy. The key to making your grilled goodies really awesome, I think, is giving them a good marinade/glaze. Or anyway, that’s what I did, and it seemed to go over well.

 For the mushrooms:

  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Maple syrup
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Whatever other spices you have around that tickle your fancy
  1. You’re going to want more olive oil than balsamic, and just a splash of maple syrup (or, if you don’t have any, some sugar or even molasses. Although why you would have molasses on hand and not sugar or maple syrup is beyond me.) You just want something a little sweet to undercut the acidity of the vinegar.
  2. Mix all these things together in a dish that is big enough for you to fit a Portobello or two into it. Then you want to marinate the mushrooms for a few minutes on each side.
  3. While they’re marinating, fire up your grill. If you have a charcoal grill, this will involve loading it up with charcoal and lighting it with matches or a lighter. If you have a gas grill, it should have lighting instructions, but they will probably involve using a knob that has a picture of a flame above it. If you’re not sure, consult someone who has used it before (or the Internet). Don’t set yourself on fire, please. The grill might take a couple minutes to get hot. That’s fine. (Christina’s comment: Apparently, turning on the gas does not count as lighting the grill.) Just marinate those mushrooms some more.
  4. Once the grill is hot and your mushrooms are well marinated, toss them on the grill. (You may want to set some aluminum foil on the grill first, for easier clean-up later. You won’t get the cool grill marks, though.)
  5. The mushrooms will probably take about 5 minutes a side. Poke at them with a fork if you’re not sure. You want them to be soft enough so the fork goes in pretty easily.
  6. Serve them hot off the grill as they are, or on a burger bun with lettuce, tomato, and red onion. Graciously accept praise from girlfriend’s family and/or your assembled friends.
Not the corn we made — but I swear it looked the same.

Not the corn we made — but I swear it looked the same.

For the corn:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder (or, lacking that, curry powder is also good)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Mix the above ingredients together, then spread the mixture onto the corn with a small brush or even a paper towel, if you have no brush.
  2. Wrap each ear of corn individually in a square of tin foil. Be sure to poke holes in the foil with a fork to let heat escape, or else you’ll end up with popped corn instead.
  3. Then just put the corn on the grill. Again, about 5 minutes or so a side should cook it pretty well, but check that the kernels seem like they’ve gotten soft to make sure. If not, just cook them longer.
  4. Depending on the quality of your foil and the size of the holes you poke, some of your corn may turn out blackened. That is totally normal and fine and I think pretty tasty. But if you’re not into that, just wrap your corn tightly and try to keep your steam holes small.
  5. Take them off the grill and serve.

Christina’s Corner:

 Having a cook-out without music is lame. At least in my opinion. What? Do you want to hear the sounds of nature or something? (Okay, that is one excuse I will allow). My go-to summer albums are Best Coast’s Crazy for You, Young the Giant’s self-titled album, and Santigold’s Master of My Make Believe. Basically, I just want to have fun. Turn these on for background jams while you enjoy the afternoon which is (hopefully) free of sunburn and cicadas.