Tag Archives: appetizers

Cashew-Mushroom Pâté

Made this tonight for the big game in addition to some other dips. We saw this recipe on the same site as the Seitan Piccata from the Vegetarian Times. We made a few changes, but it tasted really good! I’ve never had pâté but that’s probably because it’s usually spreadable liver of some animal or something. I never thought it could be made vegetarian! I’m not even sure this is really a pâté, but it tasted good which is what mattered.

One change we did was instead of baking the cashews, we just dry roasted them in a pan on the stove. I MIGHT have kept my eye off them too long – whoops – but it didn’t make the pâté taste bad or anything. The other change was that we didn’t use vegan margarine. We used normal unsalted butter. The recipe also called for curry powder but I don’t have any of that in the house. I just had garam masala so I figured that would be OK and it worked great actually!

Lastly, the original recipe called for 4 cups of sliced mushrooms since it served 12. We didn’t need nearly that much, so we just cut down on certain ingredients so it didn’t make quite as much.

The end result was really good! I’m glad we tried it. We paired ours with cracked pepper crckers, carrots, celery and pretzel thins.

Here’s what you need:
•2 1/2 8-oz. cartons of baby bellas, sliced (2-to-2 1/2 cups)
•1/4 cup whole cashews, toasted
•1/4 cup onion, chopped
•1 teaspoon minced garlic
•1 teaspoon garam masala (or curry powder if you would rather use that)
•1 tablespoon butter
•1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon cumin powder
•1 teaspoon cooking sherry
•1 1/2 teaspoons chunky peanut butter
Start by toasting your cashews either on the stove or on a baking sheet in the oven.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic salt, cumin powder, garam masala and cook through until the mushrooms are golden brown, tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Then add the sherry and cook another 1 or 2 minutes, or until all the alcohol has evaporated. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, add the cashews and peanut butter and pulse until smooth and creamy. Pour into a dish and refrigerate for 2 hours or more. Garnish with parsley and red bell pepper and serve with crackers or vegetables. Serves 6.

What snacks did you make for Superbowl Sunday?

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Oooh weee! Baked brie!

There’s a restaurant in town that probably isn’t frequented by too many Ann Arborites. I’m going to be honest. There aren’t a lot of things I love about this restaurant. They have your standard steaks, burgers, salads and what not, but it’s not super, brilliant food.

However…there is one thing on their menu that I absolutely have to order every time I go there.

Their baked brie appetizer is pure yum. I know it doesn’t sound like much. Like, “oooh..baked cheese..”. I’ll cry if you think that, though. Cheese is amazing. I know I’d be crying if I was lactose intolerant. Let’s not think about that, though. Happy thoughts.

It looked pretty easy to make at home, but I didn’t know the details of how I’d do it. Luckily, my coworker’s wife (Hi SKB!)  is amazing and told me a way to do it! So REB and I made heaven on a plate tonight.

Baked Brie, starring:
•1 round baby brie
•1 puff pastry sheet

Simple enough, right? You don’t know the half of it.

Take the puff pastry out of the packaging and let it thaw on a cutting board or on the counter for 40 minutes or so. You want it to be soft enough to work and unfold. If you try to unfold it and it cracks, it’s not ready yet. However, you can use some water or egg wash to put it back together. Isn’t that baby brie adorable?

Take the brie out of it’s cute little box, and unwrap it. Yes, this is unwrapped cheese. What you’re looking at is the incredibly smelly casing the cheese sits in. And I do mean smelly.

FACT: You can leave the casing on and bake the brie that way. The benefits? It keeps your cheese in tact in the pastry. But why would you want that? I prefer the cheese to have a mind of its own.

Cut the casing off around the edges. Be careful not to cut too deep or you’ll cut the cheese – hahahahaha. Ahem.

They look a little sad and mangled, don’t they?

Scrape it off the top. Ooooh texture! You might need to thinly slice the top to get the rest off, but that’s optional. The point is to get most of it off (if you want)

When you’re done, unfold the puff pastry sheet and place the brie in the middle. Take each corner of the pastry sheet and wrap up the brie. You can make it look all artsy-fartsy. I didn’t. True story.

Yeah, not pretty. But it smelled good already. The sweet smell of the puff pastry and the sharpness of the cheese…well it smelled sharp to me.

Flip the brie so the smooth side faces up. This is, of course, optional. I only did this because I didn’t want the cheese to be spilling out of the top. Try to seal up the dough as best you can so this doesn’t happen. I’ve seen recipes where you can leave it fold-side up. Your choice!

Place on a cookie sheet. I sprayed it with cooking spray so the pastry sheet wouldn’t stick to the sheet. You could also use parchment paper or place it directly on a pizza stone. I have a pizza stone, but didn’t think of this until after it came out of the oven. Next time…

Bake the brie at 350ºF for 30-40 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.

When it comes out of the oven it’s golden goodness and the ooey-gooey goodness is oozing out like heaven.

Transfer, carefully, onto a plate or serving platter. Isn’t is so pretty? I could cry. I won’t, but I could. I would have actually, but REB probably would have looked at me weird. Ahem.

Here are some things you can serve with the brie. What we had lying around was Melba toast, half a pumpernickel loaf, apricot preserves and fig spread. I ended up using the toast and the apricot preserves. The restaurant serves theirs with strawberry jam or preserves, but I love, love, love the apricot.

Yum! But wait! There’s more…

When you slice it, the cheese oozes out like a perfect volcano of flavor. As suggested above, if I had kept the casing on, I’m sure it wouldn’t have done this. I do not regret the decision I made. This was such an amazing sight.

Bon Appetit! And thanks to SKB for figuring how easy it was to make this!