A Busy Host's Dream Appetizers: Savory Vegetable Pates, Terrines

Posted: April 02, 1995

Pates are savory combinations of ingredients packed into a loaf pan and

baked slowly or pureed and refrigerated, then served sliced or spread onto crackers.

They are the busy host's dream appetizer, since they can be made ahead. Plus, not much can go wrong with a pate.

Pates made from vegetables and grains are considerably lower in fat and

salt than those made with meat. But to get the rich flavor that pates deserve, you must saute the vegetables, herbs and other ingredients before baking or chilling the pate. This encourages the stronger flavors to emerge and blend.

Mushrooms, onions and garlic are important pate ingredients. Herbs such as parsley, chervil, sage, thyme, basil and nutmeg also frequent my pate recipes

because they enhance the flavors of stronger vegetables.

Each pate needs a binder to thicken the blend of ingredients and make them spreadable. The binder doesn't have to be extra flavorful on its own. Seasoned bread crumbs, cooked beans or rice, millet or low-fat cheeses work well.

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To make this vegetarian pate even more flavorful and exotic, use a mix of wild and domestic mushrooms.

MUSHROOM PATE

1/2 cup dry sherry or apple juice

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 scallions, including tops, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

Water, if necessary

2 ribs celery, minced

1/4 to 1/3 cup minced almonds or walnuts

1/2 cup minced parsley

1 1/4 cups rye bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 round loaf rye bread, optional

Pour sherry into nonstick 10-inch skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft but not browned. Add scallions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook five minutes, adding up to 1/4 cup water if mixture gets too dry.

When mushrooms begin to release moisture, add celery, nuts and parsley. Cook three minutes. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, rosemary, thyme, soy sauce, salt, basil and oregano. Puree in food processor if creamy consistency is desired. Do not process if coarse texture is preferred.

Stuff pate into hollowed-out round loaf of rye bread or pack it into decorative crock. Cover and refrigerate one hour or until ready to serve. Makes 20 servings.

WHITE BEAN AND LENTIL PATE

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1 small onion, finely minced

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils

1/2 cup canned cannellini beans, drained

2 eggs, beaten, or equivalent egg substitute

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Dash turmeric

Dash ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or as needed

Assorted crackers

Bring broth in nonstick skillet to boil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft but not browned. Add garlic and cook two minutes. Remove

from heat.

Mash lentils and beans with eggs in small bowl. Stir in sauted onion mixture and parsley. Add basil, paprika, nutmeg, turmeric, cumin and salt and pepper, stirring well. Add cheese and enough bread crumbs to thicken pate so that the mixture will form into a ball.

Lightly oil 2-quart loaf pan. Spoon in pate, smoothing top. Bake at 350 degrees until pate is firm on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool. Serve with crackers. Makes 20 servings.

This terrine takes a bit more work than the preceding pates, but the results are beautiful: sliced layers of dark green and bright orange.

STRIPED VEGETABLE TERRINE

1 pound carrots, chopped

1 to 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar

1/2 pound broccoli florets, chopped

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon whole wheat flour

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons honey

6 eggs, beaten, or equivalent egg substitute

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 to 1/2 cup rye bread crumbs or as needed

Lightly oil 5- to 6-cup terrine and line with wax paper. Set aside.

Use one steamer and the same steamer water for all three vegetables in the order that follows: Steam carrots until soft but not mushy. Drain well. Toss with vinegar. Set aside.

Steam broccoli until bright green but not mushy. Drain well. Spoon into a separate bowl, and toss with lemon juice, garlic and flour. Set aside.

Blanch peas by submerging in hot water in steamer pot 30 seconds. Remove and drain well. Mix in a separate bowl with the honey.

Puree carrots in food processor along with 2 eggs, salt and pepper. Add just enough bread crumbs to bind the mixture and make it spreadable. Spread in bottom of prepared terrine. Clean food processor and puree broccoli with 2 eggs and salt and pepper. Add just enough bread crumbs to make it spreadable. Spread evenly over carrot mixture. Mash or puree peas with remaining 2 eggs and enough bread crumbs to make it spreadable. Spread evenly over broccoli.

Place terrine in middle of 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Fill dish with enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of terrine. Bake at 400 degrees until terrine is puffed and tester inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Unmold onto platter. Discard wax paper. Cover terrine with plastic wrap and chill three hours before serving. Makes 20 servings.

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