Pitter Pâté

23 Jun

We have fallen head over heels for veggie pâté to serve with cocktails. So very farmers’ market fresh and a nice break from heavy cheese in summer months.
Here are some pâté recipes that benefit from summer’s bounty: carrots, green beans, eggplant, peppers, mushrooms. The list is limitless.

ZESTY WALNUT HUMMUS
½ cup (125 mL) toasted walnuts (we used more, and turned our hummus into pâté)
1 can (19oz, 540g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup (50 mL) canola oil-based Italian dressing (we happened to have Newman’s Own Parmesan & Roasted Garlic dressing which was amazing)
½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper

Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
In a food processor or blender puree walnuts, chickpeas, salad dressing and pepper together until smooth.
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EGGPLANT WALNUT PATE
1 large eggplant
1 cup walnut pieces
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, peeled, grated and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F. Pierce the eggplant with a fork in several places and bake until very soft, about 45 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, grind the walnuts in a food processor until very fine, and set aside.
Remove the eggplant from oven, slash to let steam escape, drain off any liquid, and scrape the pulp into a food processor with the ginger root, garlic and olive oil. Process until smooth.
Add the ground walnuts and allspice, and process until smooth.
Season to taste with the salt, and hot pepper sauce. Spoon into a small loaf dish and chill several hours or until firm.
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WHOLE FOODS MUSHROOM PATE
2 tablespoons butter
6 shallots, finely chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method
Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Add rosemary, parsley, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 minutes longer. Add mushrooms, cream cheese, bread crumbs and mustard. Mix well and remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add eggs and stir ingredients to combine well. Butter a loaf pan and fill with mushroom mixture. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool before unmolding.

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