Time to give this much loved recipe a vegan make-over. Even revered vegetarian creator, Mollie Katzen, has updated her original recipe for Mushroom and Cheese Pâté. I look at her new version and still feel my arteries clog a bit and wonder why I never cared about the coating of Butyric acid scented grease I kept wiping off of my lips hours after I ate this pâté.
Never mind all that, we loved it then and now we can love it again. I choose to call this veganized version:
Mushroom Cashew Pâté
14oz extra firm tofu
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt, divided
4 tablespoons Earth Balance stick
3 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon minced dry dill
Black pepper and cayenne to taste
3 tablespoons vegan dry white wine
1/4 cup wheat germ
8 ounces softened Tofutti cream cheese
Pre-heat oven to 400°F
Start by making a batch of tofu ricotta; in a food processor, blender the tofu, cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and 1 teaspoon of the salt until thick and creamy and as smooth as you can get it. Transfer ricotta to a large glass bowl and cover but don’t bother cleaning out the food processor. You will eventually blender the rest of the ingredients and a little ricotta won’t hurt them.
In a large and heavy skillet, begin cooking the onions in the earth balance over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
After 5 minutes, when the onions are soft, add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt, dry mustard, dill, black pepper and cayenne. Stir well and cook over moderate heat, stirring intermittently, for another 5 minutes.
Add wine and stir. Cook 5 more minutes.
Sprinkle in wheat germ, stirring the mixture as you sprinkle. Cook 1-2 minutes more and remove from heat.
Cut the Tofutti Cream Cheese into the hot mixture.
Using the same food processor you made the ricotta in, blender the hot mixture into a purée. Transfer it into the large bowl with the ricotta and stir them together until completely mixed.
Bake the pâté in a 1 1/2 quart casserole that has been greased with some earth balance stick. The top will get much darker than the rest but it doesn’t take away from the overall pâté in texture nor flavor. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. Allow it to chill well in the fridge before serving over greens, with dip-ables, on toast, you name it! Depending on how firm it is, you can slice it or serve it in mounds.
Jim’s note on the top of the page of our old cookbook expressed how much we loved this recipe. Upon serving it for lunch, I asked how it compared. He said, “It’s just like I remember!” I think he is forgetting how greasy the first was and enjoying just what I had hoped for; it veganized all of the best things from the original recipe into a new a healthier one.