Balsamic Mushroom + Thyme Toasts + Exciting Update!!!

I've been on a mushroom hiatus since about May. Looking back on it now, I'm kicking myself. They're just so meaty, savory, and satisfying, and are really a powerhouse of a vegetable, packing in 3 grams of protein per cup (that's a lot for a vegetable!) and giving you your daily dose of Vitamin D when the winter skies have other plans.  I've been pressed for time and portability for my lunches lately, but with the chilly temperatures salad just won't fit the bill. Enter: toast, my most favorite quick meal vehicle of all time. I came home from Thanksgiving with an abundance of thyme and hummus that my grandmother brought home from our trip in Alaska and froze to give to me. Pause: side street story time.

I was quite the jet-setter this past summer. I spent a week each in 3 of my very favorite places: Seattle, Alaska, and New York. While in Alaska, I stayed with my wonderful grandparents, who live in an RV up there on the Kenai every summer to escape the Texas heat. They've been doing this since I was 5, and over the years I have fallen madly in love with summers in Alaska. It had been quite a few years since my last visit, and boy, did we have big plans for this trip. Hiking and fishing all day every day, cooking extravagant dinners featuring the catch of the day every evening, and lots of wine. Upon my landing, we headed straight to Costco, and loaded up on cases of wine, hummus to snack on (like...a LOT of hummus) and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to cook with. The next day, we set out to hike the Russian Falls, a daunting but very worth-it hike, when you find yourself across the river from a brown bear catching salmon as they jump upstream. I had just received my Canon T6i the month prior to this trip for my birthday, and my grandparents were very insistent that if I should see any opportunity for a photo-op, they would be happy to pull over and let me do my thing. I bit my tongue for most of the hour drive to the Falls, but when we passed a little inlet with crystal blue waters backed by lush green mountains and filled with fishermen and families canoeing along the stream, I couldn't contain myself. "STOP!" I squealed. My grandparents pulled off to the side of the road, which steeply dropped off into a ditch, unbeknownst to my adventurous grandfather, who wanted to hike down to the bank to get closer to the water. I hadn't even opened my car door, when there was a loud thump and I looked up to see...nothing. Where did my grandfather go?

Oh no.

Long story short, one hour-long car ride to the ER, several days of waiting, and 5 or 6 bottles of wine later, my grandparents received word that they would need to fly home to Houston so that my grandfather could have surgery on his badly broken foot. We were all crushed, but my grandparents knew they should listen to the doctors so that my grandfather could properly recover. We also had a very pressing matter to take care of...what were we to do with all the FOOD we bought? We tried to consume or give away as much as possible during my last few days with them in Alaska, but I did leave wondering what would become of the 10 lb. bag of carrots and the 3 tubs of hummus.

You can imagine my surprise when at Thanksgiving, my grandmother pulled 3 tubs of hummus out of the freezer, excited to share with me that a) the hummus hadn't gone to waste!!!! and b) hummus freezes and thaws well...who knew?!

So basically, that was a very long and roundabout way of me telling you all that hummus freezes therefore you should never throw out an excess of hummus and also that after Thanksgiving I had a lot of hummus to eat through, and also a shit load of mushrooms because I bought 3 cartons in a subconscious attempt to compensate for the 7 months I have spent without them in my life.

Back to the mushrooms. And toast. This number has all of the components of a umami, textural experience that you will savor every bite of. Thick, fluffy toast, slathered with a healthy layer of smooth, rich hummus, a bed of steamed kale (or not) for extra greens and nutrients, and finally, the star players: mushrooms sautéed in garlic powder and olive oil, with some fresh thyme tossed in at the last minute, and drizzled with a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of flaky salt + red pepper flakes to finish it off...oh my GOSH you guys. For a quickie on the go lunch...this really does feel gourmet. For the past week I've had it every. Single. Day. Sometimes for breakfast too. I really do have a lot of mushrooms and hummus to use up...

Balsamic Mushroom +Thyme Toasts

(Serves 1):

  • 2 slices of toast of your choice (I am currently loving the Promise GF Multi-grain Loaf)
  • 4 tbsp plain (or roasted garlic might be nice) hummus
  • 1 small handful of kale, chopped into small pieces and steamed until just wilted
  • 1 c sliced mushrooms of choice
  • 2 tsp olive oil for sautee-ing
  • garlic powder
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of flaky sea salt + red pepper flakes

ethod to the madness: toast your bread. a small skillet, heat oil. add mushrooms and toss to coat in oil. add garlic powder and toss with mushrooms so that the garlic powder is evenly distributed. remove the thyme leaves from their stems and mix into the mushrooms, continuing to sautee until mushrooms are cooked through.

o assemble: layer 2 tbsp. hummus onto each slice of toast, and top with half of the steamed kale, mushrooms, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sea salt +chili flakes each. enjoy slowly, reverently!


Oh yeah. I mentioned that I also had exciting news to share with you guys. I almost forgot ;)

For the rest of December, Juice Society will be offering my Chai Golden Latte as one of their featured menu items! 5% of proceeds will go to Conscious Kitchen, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate and work hands-on with children to teach them the importance of eating wholesome, healthy foods. It is a cause I truly align with and I am so excited to have been given the opportunity to not only share my favorite nourishing, delicious tonic with you all but also to give back to an organization that is doing so much for our society as a whole. Starting today, stop in to Juice Society if you are in the Austin area and order your Golden Latte!!