Hi there! Today I am taking a break and let Pawel show off his skills ūüôā Zapiekanki (or mushroom & cheese melts) are one of his favorite dishes that he prepares for us when we crave comfort food or just want to indulge. Or when we don’t have much time to cook. Enjoy! ~Monika

I was given a privilege to write a guest post here! Since this would be my first one please do be patient with me.

The topic for today will be Zapiekanki. It is a very simple dish, quick to prepare, but very tasty (at least¬†for me, but I am biased ‚Äď why? This will follow). What I am going to describe is a backbone of the dish¬†and then I will try to describe a few variations on that tune.

So basically what you need, for that mentioned backbone, is a baguette, some mozzarella, white mushrooms and a place where you can assure high temperature, say 360 F (for example an oven will do it).

The algorithm (recipe) is as follows: cut baguette into chunks (about 3 inches long, but that is not that important), then each piece cut in half (see picture if my words are not descriptive enough).

Then take hats of white mushrooms, clean them up and shred. Then take mozzarella and shred it too (or buy shredded one). Do that in one big bowl, as for the pieces not to fly around the kitchen. Then mix everything up and that is it.

The next thing: put that mixture of shredded mushrooms and cheese on pieces of baguette, shove it into the oven for 10-15 minutes and that all!

Enjoy! Eat with whatever you feel suitable. I use mainly ketchup or nothing, add some black pepper.

Before: Zapiekanki Cheese Melts

After: Zapiekanki - mushroom cheese melts

On the After photo do not they look like a one happy family?

That would be all for The Backbone, but let me give you some variations:

Variations will be in a form of questions / answers ‚Äď some people see options better this way and can¬†improvise on their own:

Q: Does it have to be that plain?

A: Of course not! I would encourage to experiment and put whatever you like on the baguette. Some things fit better beneath the cheese/mushrooms mixture, some above. For example: I love to put ham (thin slices) underneath (see photos). I would put sometimes slices of tomatoes too, but be careful as tomatoes will get very hot and you can easily burn your tongue or lips. On top I would put olives for example. It is almost like combining ingredients to your favorite pizza!

Q: Does it take long?

A: Of course not, I prepare all of that in probably 10 mins + oven time.

Q: What’s your favorite combination? (well, probably no one would care what my favorite combination is, but I’ll answer anyway)

A: I like ham inside and plain version. There are two reasons for that: I love ham, I love plain zapiekanki.¬†The first reason does not need much explanation ‚Äď I love the taste of delicate ham, very thin slices,¬†mmmm… The latter reason is connected with my childhood and I will describe it in more words maybe¬†less for your amusement (although that too) but rather for myself, so I can recall that time again.¬†When I was a little boy we had a small store with french fries and zapiekanki (I am not even sure they¬†had anything to drink there, but then I did not care about that). French fries were also delicious, but¬†the post is about zapiekanki. So zapiekanki were available for a small amount of money and they tasted¬†sooo good. They were of course plain, as ham was a good which was not available so freely in that time,¬†and I have not heard about olives then even. Just cheese and white mushrooms. Every time I prepare¬†that dish I recall those good times when one had time to go to school, do some chores, and then play¬†with friends outside, play football (soccer, that is) till the late evening, when one barely saw the ball.¬†And then, in between those good active times kids were going to buy zapiekanki, as a wonderful reward¬†for all the good and active time. Another perk of that time was that with all this running one did not¬†have to worry he would gain a pound or two. What a wonderful time… I would write maybe more but it¬†gives me good feelings but also a few bad ones, as I know this time will not come back But hey, being¬†a grownup has its perks too (feel free to respond in comments telling me what is good about being an¬†adult and being responsible, as I am blank at this very moment).

Q: Any other tips (aka dirty tricks) how to enjoy the preparation or eating?

A: Ha! That is a great question (I praise my own questions, I apologize). The feast starts at the very¬†beginning of the preparation and ends after all zapiekanki are eaten! Why? Because: when you are¬†preparing you can have a piece of cheese which is too small to grind (my excuse, you find your own)!¬†Then of course the mixture of cheese and white mushrooms is also quite good (although I was told not¬†to eat too many raw white mushrooms)! That is a very enjoyable part as well ‚Äď c‚Äômon, the bowl needs to¬†be clean, right? And then, after zapiekanki are eaten you go back to the kitchen and you see that there¬†are melted pieces of the mixture laying on the parchment paper! Ha! That is a feast after the feast!

That is all folks, hope you did enjoy the story behind some of that and do let me know if you would be interested in me having an another guest post here.

PS. One more fun trick: if you have some bread or baguette which is a bit old or dry do spread some butter on top of them and follow the recipe! That is a great way to enjoy an old loaf of bread!



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