Sometimes you just get in the culinary groove, and thank the Great Gods of Grub when the recipes continue to flow easily and smoothly, like ganache over ice cream. This past week was one of those weeks for me. You know, the kind when you attempt to recreate an old favorite without gluten, eggs, dairy or refined sugars, and the results exceed your expectations–on the first try! Or when you have a sudden brainwave to combine your favorite nut butter with your favorite veggies, resulting in oven fries that have changed people’s lives (okay, probably not really, but blame Angela– that’s what she said). Or what about when you peruse the contents of the fridge to scrounge the last remaining remnants of a bag of raw almonds, raw pumpkinseeds and a half a lemon; you decide to combine them with some of the overabundant fresh herbs in your garden, a bit of this and a bit of that–and come up with one of the best darned raw pâtés you’ve ever made?
It does seem sometimes that the rest of life is merely an interruption in your cooking and blogging, doesn’t it?
Although my desk was piled high with student papers to mark (inevitable as the semester draws to a close), I couldn’t very well stop eating, now, could I? So in between bouts of reading, circling mis-spelled words with a red pen, and inking comments all over the assignments, I cooked up a few things so the HH and I wouldn’t starve. (“Mum, that’s very dog-like of you to say that. We thought we were the only ones who felt like we were starving if we hadn’t eaten in the last 20 minutes.”).
First up was the final version of a Rustic Peach and Mascarpone Tart on Oatcake Crust that I’d been working on for a while. This time, it all came together–tender, biscuit-like crust; rich, luxurious “mascarpone”; and juicy, mouth-watering glazed peaches. I was so tickled with it that I even submitted it to an event at one of our national newspapers, and last Saturday, was chuffed to see this (I posted the original photo on my Facebook page):
[Yes, that's supposed to be a sketch of moi. Basically, that's why I entered the event--to get my own "Gastrosketch"!!]
The tart success was followed by an amazing appetizer (hint: it involves quinoa); a new favorite ice cream (hint: you won’t find it at Baskin-Robbins); a whack of recipes from the cookbook in my next giveaway post (hint: next week!); homemade hemp milk (hint: Hippie-dippy!); and, of course, this incredible pâté, which I consumed one morning for breakfast, rolled in raw collard leaves, like so:
The spread is also great on rice cakes, crackers, or perched on a baby carrot for a high-protein midafternoon snack. The key to its ethereal creaminess is avocado. And while I’ve created many a raw veggie pâté in my day, I’ve never thought to add avocado to the mix. Yes, it does amp up the fat content considerably; but it also lends a velvet smoothness to the base of the spread that, combined with the bits of texture from the veggies, nuts and seeds, elevates it beyond the usual mix of this sort. And pumpkinseeds are actually a great anti-candida food since they are anti-parasitic (not to mention oh-so-important for all the prostate glands out there, gentlemen.).
I realize that the kitchen muses may not deign to visit me every week, so I’m always happy when I experience that kind of creative success in the kitchen for a few days running. And even though the food processor and VitaMix may now grow silent for a few days, I can still enjoy the results of last week’s experiments this week–while I sit at my desk, marking essays.
Creamy Raw Almond and Pumpkinseed Pâté
Feel free to switch up the herbs in this fresh, raw pâté. I loved dill the most, but if it’s not your thing, use parsley or cilantro instead.
3/4 cup (135 g) raw natural almonds, soaked in room temperature water for 6-8 hours, or more (if soaking more than 10 hours, refresh the water and store in the refrigerator overnight)
1/2 cup (75 g) raw pumpkinseeds, unsoaked (dry)
1 large clove garlic
1 large carrot, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh leafy herbs, unpacked (I used a mix of parsley, basil and dill; cilantro would be great, too)
meat of 1/2 small avocado
1/4 tsp (.5 ml) fine sea salt, to your taste
1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini (sesame paste)
juice of 1/2 lemon, or a bit more, to taste
water, if necessary
Drain and rinse the almonds; drain again and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the pumpkinseeds and blend until they break up and appear finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy, with a few flecks of color from the carrot and herbs remaining; if the pâté is too thick, add water a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached. It should be thick, but spreadable.
Transfer to a container and store in fridge until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups/480 ml. Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Suitable for: ACD All Stages, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, vegan, low glycemic.
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© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs