Monday, March 7, 2011

Mushroom and Sunflower Seed Pate

One of the things I love is spreading things on crackers and toast and I have to admit that pate is one of my favorite foods, but I can't eat it all the time as it is so rich. So, I am always looking for other spreads that are healthier. I remembered that I once had a great vegetarian pate at a friend's party - years ago - that I just couldn't stop eating, but she wouldn't give me the recipe. It was made with mushrooms I know, but there were also nuts and if memory serves me right - they were walnuts. I didn't have any walnuts on hand yesterday, but I did have sunflower seeds and I am very fond of a sunflower seed spread made in Germany with chives in it. So, I decided to work on a recipe I came up with last year combining mushrooms and sunflower seeds. And, it turned out wonderfully this time with just a few tweaks - it needed a bit more butter so it now spreads better. It tastes great and would be ideal for a party - especially if you have vegetarian friends. And, if you want to make it vegan, just change the butter to a light vegetable oil - sunflower oil would be really good. I would spread it on little toasts and sprinkle a little extra fresh thyme or parsley on top before serving. I'm always happy when I create something new so if you try this recipe - please let me know if you like it as much as I do!

Mushroom and Sunflower Seed Pate

1 cup raw sunflower seeds
¾ lb mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed, cut into quarters
6 Tablespoons of butter (or oil if you want to make this vegan)
1 small onion, cut up coarsely
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme (preferably fresh)
1 teaspoon sea salt

Toast sunflower seeds in frying pan on stove, stirring constantly until seeds are lightly toasted. Remove to bowl to cool off. In Cuisinart, place onion and garlic and cut up until very finely minced. Melt butter in frying pan and put in garlic and onion to cook until translucent. While they are cooking, place mushrooms in Cuisinart and chop until fine, being careful not to puree them. Add to frying pan with thyme and salt and cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Place sunflower seed in the Cuisinart and chop into very small pieces and add to the mushroom mixture. Taste and check salt adding more if necessary. Place in small crocks and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Return to room temperature and serve with crackers.

Five Element Analysis

Mushrooms are clearly from the Earth Element by the way they grow and also because of their color. Sunflower seeds belong to the Water Element. The thyme brings in some Metal and so do the onions and garlic so that element is covered too. Serving it with wheat bread or crackers adds the Wood Element. All this needs to balance it is some Fire and that is present somewhat as it is an appetizer but to increase the fire a little more - wine would be really good with it!

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