Mushroom Rolls

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You'll find this recipe in: 
The White House Chef Cookbook
By: René Verdon
New York, 1967

The Original Recipe:

MUSHROOM ROLLS (12 to 14 rolls)
12 to 14 slices white bread
softened butter
½ pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
additional melted butter

1. Remove the crusts from the bread slices and roll the slices to ⅛-inch thickness with a rolling pin. Spread the surface of each slice thinly with softened butter and set them aside.

2. Sauté the mushrooms until tender in 2 tablespoons melted butter with the curry powder and lemon juice. Add the salt, pepper and cayenne.

3. Spread about 1 tablespoon of this mixture over each slice of buttered bread. Roll like a jelly roll and fasten the ends with food picks. Place on baking sheets. Brush lightly with melted butter and bake in preheated oven (425˚F.) until lightly brown, about 15 minutes.

My Experience:

  • This recipe uses a 227g/8oz package of mushrooms.

  • I melted the butter for sauteeing and brushing at the same time in the frying pan.

  • My loaf of bread was rather small, so I prepared 16 slices. I only had enough filling for 14 small slices of bread, probably because I was too generous with the mushroom filling in the beginning. Stick to the suggested 1 tbsp of mushroom filling per slice.

  • The bread didn't remain flat for long. It almost instantly poofed back up and refilled with air! I re-rolled the bread slices several times as I made the recipe.

  • I brushed the bread with melted butter both times the recipe suggests adding butter to the bread. Now that I read the recipe again, I notice that Chef Verdon meant that you should spread softened butter on the bread with a knife before adding the mushroom filling. No matter, the most important thing is that a lot of butter ended up in the rolls!

  • I added some of the mushroom juice to the bread when I was making the first few rolls. These rolls were by far the most flavourful of the batch, but they were still mushy when they came out of the oven.

  • I placed some of the rolls the the rolling edge down on the cookie sheet, and some of them with the edges up. There wasn't a difference between how well they stayed together after they were baked (none of them unrolled). The rolls with the edge facing down did have a tidier look and the rolls with the edge facing up had a little jaunty swoop on the top.

  • The recipe doesn't specify if you should serve it warm or cold, so I tried the Mushroom Rolls at both temperatures. They taste better warm, but are still good cold.

  • I put all the cut-off crusts in the freezer. I'll use them up the next time I make a turkey stuffing, bread crumbs or bread pudding.

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I remember one morning in 1981. I had just turned 6 years old. I am the youngest of four children, with my sisters & brother eight, eleven and twelve years older than me. Needless to say, those days I was generally awake well before anyone else, and was constantly being told that I was up too early and had to go back to bed . Or at least, that's my memory of my early childhood mornings!

But this particular morning, I woke up to find that nobody was sleeping in their beds. I came downstairs to find everyone in the living room in their pyjamas, wrapped in blankets, with breakfast in front on them on TV trays. They were watching television together.

I remember being very confused by their strange behaviour. The first thing I remember about what was on the TV was a lady in a giant white princess dress. Everyone tried to explain to me that it was a wedding that was happening in England, and it was happening so early in the morning because England was very far away and time was different there. They also tried to explain to me who was getting married – Prince Charles and Diana Spencer. That morning, I probably learned for the first time about the existence of England, time zones & the British Monarchy.

I think I remember the ceremony, people riding in carriages, waving to the crowds, and also everyone gathered on the balcony together. I'm not sure. These memories could also have been gained later on from all the times that I saw clips of that day being replayed. What I certainly remember is the feeling of togetherness with my family and knowing that I was taking part in a special event. I loved the excitement of a break in our usual daily routine and the very exciting fact that we were eating our breakfast on TV trays in the living room, which was normally quite against the rules!

Fast forward about 37 years to this morning. I was awoken by my cat Rhonda at 6:30, who was sitting on my chest, purring loudly and licking my face. I didn't plan to wake up early this morning to watch the wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, but I did, thanks to my furry alarm clock.

I watched the ceremony stretched out on the couch in my living room, while drinking coffee & snuggling with my cats. Having breakfast in the living room is the rule in my household, because I make the rules these days. Steve was still sleeping upstairs, but thanks to facebook and instagram, I knew that I wasn't alone taking part in this collective event.

I was tickled to see my friends' pictures of the food they prepared to celebrate the occasion.  Have a look above at some delectable food photos courtesy of my friends' Instagram accounts. In these pictures, I see ideas held by Canadians & Americans about British food. There are also memories waiting to be made along with the food on the plates, just like were memories nestled among my juice and cereal bowl on that TV table 37 years ago.

I didn't know that I'd be taking in the royal festivities this morning, so I didn't prepare any food especially for it. I did, however, make these Mushroom Rolls a few days ago and they've been waiting in the queue since then to be added to my blog. When I saw everyone's Royal Wedding smorgasbords this morning, I knew I was going to have Mushroom Rolls on my blog by the end of the day. They'd be perfect for your next British Tea, or as an appetizer at your next celebration.

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