So there's this place in Houston called The Hobbit Cafe. [It was The Hobbit Hole when it was located in an appropriately hobbit-like old house, but it moved well before my time.]
It's quaint. There are Lord of the Rings drawings and posters and figurines, most of which are at least 40-years old, and the food is great and mostly healthy-ish... and named after LOTR characters. Back when JG and I lived in Houston, we'd go there fairly often and split a "Gandalf"... a toasted sandwich of sliced avocado, mushrooms, and swiss cheese on whole-grain bread, served with a side of shredded carrots [though this was before I was particularly interested in healthy eating and we usually subbed potato chips for the carrots.]
Spike." We'd never seen it before but promptly went to the grocery store and found it with the rest of the spice blends. [It turns out it's like the MSG of hippie food, created by a natural foods advocate circa 1925 named Gayelord Hauser, whose dislike of white bread might have been greater than mine.] It was indeed the key ingredient to recreating the perfect Gandalf at home.
homemade buns -- the other day, and as the slices popped out the sides it brought back memories... so I picked up another avocado on my way home from work yesterday [there's one grocery store on the way that always has acceptable if not great avocados] and we made paninis for dinner on leftover buns. In tribute to the Hobbit Cafe, I also made my spicy carrot slaw to go on the side [it's so easy and surprisingly good]... and it really was a much better meal than with chips.
Recipe: Mushroom-Avocado Sandwich: The Gandalf
The restaurant doesn't [or didn't] press them panini-style, so feel free to do it in a pan, grilled cheese-style, or stick it in a toaster oven or under the broiler. You need the cheese to melt to keep the mushrooms on the sandwich during consumption.
2 slices whole grain bread
1/2 avocado, sliced thin [or mashed]
~4 oz mushrooms, sliced thin [I used baby bellas]
1 slice Swiss cheese [one with more assertive flavor is best]
Layer bread with mushrooms and cheese, sprinkle Spike over the avocados, then layer those on top of the cheese. Top with bread and heat using your desired method. [See header]
Serve immediately with Spicy Carrot Slaw. [I added a minced shallot this time, it was well received.]