Mrs. Schwindt's Mushroom "Steaks"

Ready to eat.
It's funny how, when I look at a recipe in my box, a whole story emerges.  The Mushroom Steaks conjure up a hot summer weekend when I was a bridesmaid for my friend Lynda.

For part of my school years, I attended college in  Massachusetts.  I still can't spell that state's name, although I mastered the spelling while I lived there.  While there I met and became friends with Lynda.  Eventually we became roommates for a semester and when Lynda became engaged she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids.  I was thrilled to be asked and agreed to be one of her attendants for an August wedding at her hometown in Maryland.

A few days before the event a van-load of college students, who were participating in the wedding, headed South.  The balmy South for me, anyway, because Massachusetts was the farthest south I had ever been. I found the Massachusetts climate quite hot in the summer compared to my native Newfoundland.  I don't remember much of the trip, except for most of it we drove on the interstates and it was like a ride on the outskirts one long city, broken occasionally by stretches of  lush green farmland. When we arrived at our destination and got out of the van I was hit with a blast of hot steamy air like nothing I had ever experienced.  We spent most of the weekend inside with short runs from air-conditioned buildings to air-conditioned cars trying to keep our hair was getting frizzy.  

As far as I can remember the wedding ceremony went well and I got back to Massachusetts and continued with my classes.  The one detail I remember much better than the wedding was the food served the day before the wedding.  Mrs. Schwindt, Lynda's mother, was a gracious hostess and prepared a lovely vegetarian meal for Sabbath dinner.  Two of the dishes she prepared for us stick in my mind.  One was a baked macaroni casserole that used dry pasta and the other was the Mushroom Steaks.  I enjoyed both dishes and have tried to recreate the pasta dish as I failed to ask for the recipe.  I did, however, ask for the "steak" recipe which she shared with me and I now share with you.  I hope for those of you who knew Mrs. Schwindt, and had the opportunity to share a meal with her, this recipe will bring back lovely, golden memories.

Marmite, thick and sticky.
The "steaks" for the most part use ordinary ingredients many people have in their cupboards except for the Vegex/Marmite.  Vegex is next to impossible to find in these parts so I always use Marmite which can be found in many large grocery stores in Canada.  I had to buy a new bottle and found it in the baking aisle of my local Dominion (Loblaws) store.  Marmite (and Vegex) is an autolized yeast extract, dark brown and sticky, very salty with a yeasty, almost beefy flavour.  If you can't find Marmite, use a beef or vegetable bouillon dissolved in the water.  It will give you the salt and flavour for this recipe.  For those of you who do not use canned soups, use your own gravy or sauce in place of the one given in the recipe.

Mushroom Steaks
2 eggs
4 ounce can mushrooms, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Vegex or Marmite
½ cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 ¼ cups oatmeal
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 bay leaf
½ cup evaporated milk
1 onion, chopped fine

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
½ teaspoon Vegex or Marmite
1 soup can water

Beat eggs.  Add mushrooms, chopped fine with juice.  Heat 1 teaspoon Vegex/Marmite, ½ cup water and butter together until Vegex/Marmite is dissolved and butter is melted . Combine all ingredients, excluding gravy ingredients, and let stand ½ hour.  Remove bay leaf.  Fry small, flattened patties in greased frying pan.  Arrange patties in baking dish. 

In medium saucepan heat the mushroom soup, ½ teaspoon Vegex and 1 soup can water together, whisking until Vegex/Marmite is dissolved and the soup is smooth.  Pour soup mixture over patties and bake 1 hour in 350 degree oven. Makes about 24 small steaks.

Chopping the mushrooms.
Mixed up and ready to fry.
Frying up in the pan.

Makes a wonderful dinner or supper main dish!

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