25 Oct 2012
Vegan MoFo 2012 – Dipping back into Veganomicon
A new recipe from a vegan classic
I just couldn’t let Vegan MoFo pass without taking a fresh look at recipes in the classic cookbook, Veganomicon. Turns out there’s a whole chapter I’ve left unsplattered!
What can I say about Veganomicon that hasn’t already been said? Praise has been heaped on this cooking tome and for good reason.
Written by two vegan super-chefs, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, Veganomicon includes over 250 recipes, spanning from healthy to indulgent, quick to fancy-pants. It isn’t called the ultimate vegan cookbook for nothing!
Veganomicon was one of my first purchases when I went vegan and was my food bible for a while. Through it I was introduced to new vegan staples like chia, quinoa and nutritional yeast (or nooch) just to name a few.
I’ve made so many things from this book and while I won’t list them all, here are just some of my tried-and-true favourites:
- Quinoa salad with black bean and mango
- Baja grilled tacos
- Roasted portobellos (oh so versatile)
- Chickpea cutlets
- Red lentil and cauliflower curry (double figures now)
- Spicy tempeh and brocolli rabe with rotelle (almost a love affair with this one!)
- Green pea and lemon risotto with roasted capsicum
- All the biscotti.
Unconsciously though there always seems to come a point with cookbooks, where I stop looking for new dishes and just rotate through those that work for me.
So as I went through Veganomicon with fresh eyes, it turns out there’s a whole chapter in that’s bereft of food splotches and pencil marks. I haven’t made a single thing from the ‘Snacks, Appetizers, Little Meals, Dips and Spreads’.
Shame on me! Time to change this.
I thought the mushroom pâté sounded interesting. I was a bit curious too as it contained tarragon – a herb that I usually have an aversion to. At first, I considered omitting the tarragon, but decided this would be a good opportunity to challenge my tastebuds.
Walnut Mushroom Pâté
The ingredients included olive oil, yellow onion, garlic, thyme, tarragon, salt, pepper, half a kilo of chopped mushrooms, toasted walnuts, cannelloni beans, balsamic, vegetable stock.
I often cook batches of different beans and freeze them in snap-lock bags. I was glad that recently I’d made some cannellini beans and just pulled them out to defrost while I got the other ingredients prepared.
I had toasted some walnuts earlier and left them to cool while I chopped up the onion, garlic and mushrooms.
The onions were sauteed in olive oil until translucent and then the garlic, herb and all the mushrooms were added. The mushrooms needed to cook down relatively slowly for about 12 minutes.
Everything smelled pretty good by this stage and I wasn’t being put off by the tarragon yet.
As the pâté was going to end up being a very smooth dip, I decided to just use the Vitamix instead of pulling out the food processor as the recipe recommended.
I ground the walnuts for a few seconds in the container and then added the cooked mushrooms, beans, balsamic and just a little vegetable stock.
Using the Vitamix worked really well for this recipe. The dip was blended to a super-smooth, creamy state in minutes.
After transferring the still-steaming dip to a bowl, I obeyed the recipe instructions and refrigerated it for the flavour to develop.
I served the Walnut Mushroom Pâté the next day with carrots sticks, celery and wholemeal pita bread for dipping.
While my husband wasn’t particularly raving about it, I thought this pate was delicious, especially on pita bread.
The flavours were just so unusual and complex – sort of sweet, savoury and earthy. Had I not made this dip, I’d have a hard time guessing the ingredients. I certainly would not have picked the tarragon so I’m pleased it didn’t overpower the taste.
This pâté would indeed be a winner on the dip table and I ate loads of it! I know a few ‘other’ pâté lovers so I’m definitely going to make this cruelty-free version for them when we have get-togethers.