Like many of you, I am preparing for D-Day…Thanksgiving. Most years, we go to a friends house and have a fantastic meal with 8-10 people. Everyone brings something so it’s not a chore for any one person. This year, because it’s been one of those years, it’s just Craig and I. I would like to do something nice, but not the big involved dinner since it’s just the two of us. But noooooooo….heaven forbid he doesn’t get his turkey. And, for the record, a turkey breast or store bought cooked turkey will.not.do. Nope, I’m looking at a day in the kitchen making the turkey and at least 3 side dishes. He’ll help me clean up (maybe), but cooking the feast is all on me.
But I have a plan. My plan is to make a couple of filling Thanksgiving appetizers a couple of days in advance. By doing this, I’m hoping that he’ll fill up on them while I’m cooking and I can get away with making 1 side dish (which will have to be mashed potatoes…with raw onions on the side) and a salad. So I’ve been going through all of my recipes and trying to come up with two appetizers to have on hand. They’ve got to be something I can make in advance and one must be healthy and the other maybe not so healthy. (Update: Check out Amy’s site for more appetizer recipes.)
I’ve got a recipe for our neighbor’s world famous pate, but while it is fantastic and can be made ahead…it’s not exactly at the pinnacle of good for you. Still, I couldn’t get the thought of a pate out of my head. When I looked for some other pate recipes, what I kept finding was that each pate recipe was more fat laden than the previous. So I went the vegetarian route and created one that doesn’t taste healthy, but is. Craig has already tasted it, and has given it his royal approval. (He doesn’t know I plan on making more and having it out with some cheese and crackers while I cook.) Since I know he really likes it, I am guaranteed he’ll be eating so much, that he’ll be pretty full and my plan will work.
Sometimes you’ve just got to take one for the team. You know, hanging out with some of his neanderthal friends or spending time with his creepy uncle Tim who you try to avoid at all costs. Or, like making a huge dinner when it’s only going to be the two of you. But doing these things, as much as you dread them and don’t want to do them, really goes a long way in his mind. While he may not verbalize this to you (do they ever verbalize things?) he knows that you didn’t want to do it but because he asked you to, you did.
Makes 1 1/2 Cups
- 1 Pound Steamed and Shelled Chestnuts
- 1 Ounce Dried Porcini, or Wild Mix Mushrooms (about 1 cup)
- 1 Medium Fennel Bulb (sliced and roasted with olive oil)
- 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Mushroom Water (water from reconstituting mushrooms)*
- 1/2 Medium Onion (roughly chopped)
- 1/2 Lemon (juiced)
- 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
- 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/16 Teaspoon Ground Cloves (optional)
Place mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15-30 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft. Drain mushrooms in a cheesecloth lined strainer.
In the bowl of a food processor add all ingredients, except mushroom water. Pulse several times to chop ingredients. Being careful to leave sediment in bowl, start adding mushroom water to ingredients. Keep pulsing until ingredients reach the consistency you desire. You will need to scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined and uniformly chopped.
Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight. This pate tastes best if it has time for the ingredients to meld together overnight.
* You could use a combination of mushroom water and marsala wine to this pate for even more flavor.
Sauteing the mushrooms in olive oil will deepen the flavor even more.