Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mushroom Pâté and Crackers

Mushroom Pate and Sesame Crackers

I'm really not a snack-in-between-meals type of person, but I do love having a meal of appetizers because there are so many different tastes and textures. Also, I love dips and spreads with crackers or bread because I'm a total carboholic.

I really don't make my own spreads or pâtés that often (why, I don't know), but flipping through the book, several stood out to me as "must make" recipes. This one, the Smooth and Savory Mushroom Pâté (page 19) recipe, being the first one on my list. What better way to eat this but with homemade crackers, so I also whipped up a batch of Whole Wheat Sesame Crackers (page 420) to go along with it.

The pâté recipe is super easy and quick (aside from cooling). If you like mushrooms like I do, then this is a great recipe since it showcases their earthy taste paired with creamy cashews and a tiny bit of sweetness from the savoury and the booze (optional). I made this recipe as is with only one exception. Instead of the optional brandy or cognac, I added in a splash of cooking sherry that I had in the cupboard. I tasted it before and after the sherry and it definitely added interest to the flavour profile but it is just as tasty without the booze. The preparation was really easy with the most work being to slice the onions and mushrooms. After that, it's just sautéing and then blending everything in a food processor. Mine was still a bit grainy since my processor isn't great but I like that it still has texture. I'm sure that if you had a Vitamix it would turn out completely smooth. Then into the fridge to chill.

While the pâté was chilling, I started on the crackers. What I love about this recipe is that it is so simple with ingredients that most of us have on hand. Okay maybe not the sesame seeds but I keep some on hand all the time for other dishes. The majority of the flour used in this is whole wheat flour so while you can mix this by hand, you'll want to use a food processor because whole wheat flour can be really stiff. While I was throwing the ingredients into the food processor I also threw in a dash of garlic powder for good measure. The dough came together in less than a minute. Now on to the hard part. Rolling the dough out really thin wasn't that easy for me. I may have needed to use a tiny bit more water or next time to increase the white flour as my whole wheat flour is pretty heavy. Regardless, I did manage to roll it out fairly thin (a little more than 1/4") and I scored the dough instead of cutting it out. After they were baked to a golden brown, I let them cool. The crackers were super tasty with the sesame seeds but because there is no leavener in it, they are a bit dense which I like. They've got bite to them. If you wanted it less dense, then decrease the whole wheat and add in more white flour.

But how were they together? Great! The earthiness of the pâté paired really well with the whole wheat texture and taste of sesame. I can see both of these items on my regular cooking rotation.

If you've never made your own crackers, give it a try. It doesn't take much time at all and best of all, they are inexpensive and no weird ingredients.

— Ms. Veganorama

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