Thursday, 28 June 2012

Portobello mushroom breakfast sandwich

As hard as I might try I cannot escape my night-owlish tendencies. As far back as I can remember I would push the "bed-time limit" trying to stay up late and for as long as possible; once being forced to bed I would read books through the night or lie awake in the darkness imagining myself in an endless network of fairy-tales and stories. Not unlike other children my age, waking up in the morning was a nightmare.

In high school, I was often late for class due to staying out late working and having an irrational need to hang out with friends all night whom I would see first thing next day at school. In the summer, I would sneak out with my friends and we would roam the neighbourhood, loiter at the 24 hour coffee shop and creep through parks on our bikes or on foot. It was often a race to get home into bed before the sun, and our parents, would rise for the coming morning.

I followed the same pattern in my first years of university but as I became more serious about succeeding in school I switched from staying out really late with friends (I even stopped working) to staying up impossibly late with my books. But it did not matter how late I studied, I always felt the need to wind down after a late night study session. Usually I would have something needlessly unhealthy to eat while watching late night TV or films. Sleeping was never something I wanted to do; only something I had to do.

This behaviour of mine never changed. Unless I knew I had to wake up extremely early the next morning, I would not even attempt to fall asleep before midnight. Trying to break the cycle and getting to sleep early was (and still is) a miserable experience of me lying awake, mentally tallying the passing minutes, trying to keep still, trying to clear my mind, trying to convince myself that falling asleep feels rewarding on mornings woken to without struggle.

My nocturnal habits were accommodated greatly during my PhD studies where I was free to start the day when was convenient for me. Mike and I would often work late at school, catching the last bus home from campus around midnight. I was in a state of bliss during my thesis writing where I was most productive in the wee hours of the morning, getting to bed shortly before the crack of dawn and waking well into the middle of the day. If it was up to me, this is the pattern I would live by today.

But alas I now have a job where my boss is at work at 8:30 am every morning and I am doing everything I can to similarly adjust. I find running in the evenings helps tire me out, but I have trouble accommodating an evening running schedule into regular meals and my 9 - 6 job. 

My sister bought me some melatonin which is supposed to help readjust my circadian rhythm and teach my brain to be tired earlier. So far it has been helpful but it makes me feel drowsy in the morning if I take it too late. Also, there is a rebellious part of me that does not want to go to bed earlier even though I need too. I could take the melatonin at 8 pm and go to bed at 10 pm but so far I have not.

Even though I am not a morning person I love breakfast. For many years I regularly ate breakfast type foods for supper and after late-night study sessions. In high school I loved McDonald's breakfast sandwiches (blasphemy I know!) but could never get there before 10:30 am due to the whole staying-up-all-night thing. I compensated by constantly making breakfast sandwiches for myself at home and to this day still love a good breakfast sandwich.

I got the idea for this recipe whilst searching for some stuffed portobello mushroom inspiration and stumbled upon this. I snuck some sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro and parmesan into the bottom of a portobello before breaking in an egg and sliding it into the oven. While the mushrooms cooked I smeared some ripe avocado onto a fresh slice of farmers market bread, tossed in some spring lettuce mix and then sandwiched the cooked egg and mushroom between this and a second slice of bread.

I cooked this for 20 minutes but felt the egg was overdone so I would propose this strategy for my next attempt: cook the mushroom first for 5 - 10 minutes before breaking in the egg and cooking another 10 - 15 minutes. I think having the mushroom hot before adding the egg will allow the bottom of the egg to heat up right away and give the mushroom enough time to roast without having to over cook the egg.

Portobello mushroom breakfast sandwich

2 portobello mushrooms
2 eggs
4 sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp cilantro or basil, chopped
4 slices of artisan bread or 2 English muffins
3 tbsp soft avocado
Small handful of lettuce

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Remove the stem and ribs from the portobello mushrooms.
3. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro and grated parmesan to the inside of the portobellos.
4. Place the portobellos into a baking pan.
5. One at a time, break open 1 egg into a cup and then gently pour 1 egg into 1 mushroom. Try to place the yolk in first (you may need to use your hand or a spoon to hold back the egg white) and then pour the egg whites around the mushroom. Put in as much egg white as will fit into the mushroom without it spilling over.
6. Place the baking pan with mushrooms into the oven and bake eggs for about 12 - 15 minutes, depending on how hard cooked you like your yolks.
7. Remove mushrooms from oven.
8. Spread about a tablespoon of soft avocado over 2 of the slices of bread and top with a bit of lettuce.
9. Add one baked mushroom and egg to a slice of bread with the avocado, close the sandwich with a second piece of bread and eat like a sandwich.

1 comment:

  1. Man, my parents would've flipped if they ever caught me staying out all night like that. :) Baking eggs in mushroom caps is a great idea--especially with the avocado. Must try!