Monday, August 11, 2014

Vegan Pate of Red Lentils, Carmelized Onions and Herbs

Fresh herbs add immense interest to this vegan pate but if you don't have them, substitute a mixture of dried ones, such as herbs de Provence, adjusting the amount to personal tastes. Above, a few dewy fresh herb clippings from the Cafe Drake HRV gardens.

Our recipe has been freely adapted from Annemarie Colbin's classic cookbook The Natural Gourmet. Here's how we do it: begin by rinsing well 1 cup red lentils and bringing to a boil in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Skim any foam that accumulates upon boiling, reduce heat to medium, cover and let cook for 20 minutes. From time to time check on the lentils, stirring from the bottom to prevent burning. When all the liquid has been absorbed and legumes are falling apart, mash further with a wooden spoon off the heat. You're going for the texture seen above, a rough puree.

We'll get several things done while the lentils simmer. 1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 2) Oil two small (miniature) loaf pans and then sprinkle ALL OVER with panko bread crumbs. 3) In a skillet over medium heat, in 2 T. olive oil, saute 1 minced onion, 1 clove of garlic (ditto minced) and 1-2 T. each fresh basil, oregano and thyme. Cook until the onions are nicely browned and remove skillet from heat. Let's talk variations: as mentioned above, use dried herbs in place of fresh if needed, reducing the amount of dried herbs by at least 50%. You could also use a regular loaf pan pre-heat the oven - and cook the pate - at 375 degrees. Any sort of dried bread crumbs will suffice; panko is not essential to the recipe's success.

Now add the cooked onion mixture to the cooked red lentils. Also add 2 T. panko bread crumbs. Stir in 1/2 t. salt, a splash of tamari or soy sauce and a splash of white wine, sake or vermouth. Mix very well and pour into prepared mini loaf pans. Tap the pans firmly against the counter and try to spread the top out as evenly as possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pate is set. Allow to cool completely before unmolding gently with a butter knife.

Cover the cooled, unmolded pate and place in the fridge to chill, at least 2 hours, before serving sliced.
Cafe Drake HRV plated the pate with cornichons and grainy mustard. A sweet pickle also makes an excellent garnish.

Our red lentil pate was part of a snack supper enjoyed with our friend KP after her darling pup Dolce's playdate with Arabella:

A whimsical dining room arrangement of flowers from the Cutting Garden.

The table was set with the colors of Late Summer.


Our version of a Caprese Salad includes homegrown tomatoes, shaved red onions and two types of basil from the herb garden. The black specks seen above are Hawaiian Lava Black Salt.

Kristin contributed a fruity Riesling and the orange, velvet soup she has perfected - Cream of Curried Carrot with Toasted Sesame Oil.

We also nibbled on Cauliflower, Red Pepper and Dill salad, wheat crackers and house-made Garlic Dill Pickles.

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