Friday, October 18, 2013
In an effort to make better, cheaper, lunches, my friend and coworker Anna and I teamed together to feed ourselves at work with minimal effort and funding. We pooled together ingredients for sandwiches, keeping it as simple and easy as we could, while also not skimping on deliciousness (because it's us, and we do not skimp on goodness, ever).
Our lunches usually involved a combination of cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers layered on a slice of toast, sometimes topped with a pile of fresh greens. If we were feeling indulgent, we'd add a fried egg on top, but what made our sandwiches truly amazing were what went underneath, either a smearing of fresh pesto or mushroom walnut pate, two very different but no less tasty condiments that elevated what was otherwise an everyday open-faced sandwich to a sublime lunch experience.
It was in fact Anna who made the discovery of the mushroom walnut pate. One day she brought in this innocuous little mason jar with a hand-written label, purchased from Thomas Lavers Cannery in Kensington Market. The pesto also hailed from this little cannery as well, but my feelings about pesto have already been articulated here.
This post is for the mushroom walnut pate that those lunches introduced me to. It was creamy, rich, and earthy, and spread atop toast beneath a few slices of sharp cheese, tomato, and cucumber, it managed to make my lunch memorable and enjoyable, rather than a rushed experience of shovelling food into my mouth as I stared at a computer screen. And so of course I had to set out to make it for myself, in what turned out to be a vast - vast - quantity. (Not that I'm complaining.)
It's almost surprisingly easy to make, with no odd or outlandish ingredients. Really, it's a tribute to your pantry and the ability of food to be both awesome and non-fussy (my favourite kind). I highly recommend it on your next grilled brie and roasted red pepper sandwich, or just with crackers and veggies if you, like me, arrive home tired and can only think of eating crackers and cheese for dinner, because you're an adult now, damn it, and you can eat whatever the hell you want. But at least this way, you can say you're eating classy crackers and cheese. Even if you're wearing your pajamas and lying on the couch with Netflix on. It still counts.