Friday, June 14, 2013

Edible DIY: Bring on The Veggie Pate

I was a vegetarian for ten years and some of these years I lived in Canada's cultural capital, la belle ville de Montreal. It was here that I first ate at a vegetarian chain restaurant (Le Commensal) and discovered veggie pate. Once I found this salty, vegetable-based spread in grocery stores it became my default meal of choice: veggie pate spread on St. Viateur bagels with slices of tomato and arugula if I could get it. Le Comemensal pate ingredients are all pretty simple: sunflower seeds, onions, carrots, potatoes, salt, lemon juice, and spices. Though not gourmet, they're certainly pronounceable.

After leaving Montreal it was years before I encountered veggie pate again and that's probably a good thing as I'd eaten enough of it not to miss it. That is, until this winter at a Vancouver farmer's market when I came across Pate Pastiche which takes the old familiar recipe and cranks the gourmet-o-meter up a few notches.

Do not pass Pate Pastiche's sample table by !
They refer to theirs "seed and grain pate", it is gluten-free and vegan, and they make several delectable varieties including sunshine tomato, forest mushroom, and market herb. It took me much too long to choose which to take home, but, after sampling all the varieties, I settled on their squash and sage because it is reminiscent of my old university days standby, only smoother and, well, more grown-up - just like me.

Every spring the winter farmer's market closes in my 'hood and they set up for the summer at a more remote location and so, as my pate supply is now a drive away, I've begun making my own. It is remarkably easy and the results have been excellent though not quite as perfected as Pate Pastiche. Below is my current best recipe though I'm on the hunt for variations!

Veggie Pate 
Mine turned out just like this Montreal food stylists.

1/2 cup unsalted, unroasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds

2 garlic cloves

1 large onion
2 potatoes
1 large carrot

1 celery stalk

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce or Braggs
2 tsp your favorite herbs - basil, oregano, celery seeds, sage, thyme, etc
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 pan (for thicker bricks) or a 9x13 pan (for thinner slabs).

Grind up the seeds in the food processor with the blade attachment until they are ground but not pasty. Remove and set aside.

Next, blend the garlic and, once finely chopped, replace the blade with the grating disc. You can leave the garlic in the processor. Grate the onion, potatoes, carrot, and celery.

When complete, empty the processor, place all the grated veggies in a bowl, and switch back to the all-purpose blade. Now put the ground seeds and the grated veggies and all other ingredients in the food processor and let it run for a couple minutes until everything is well blended.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes. Let it cool before loosening the edges with a knife and flipping the pan to remove the pate.

I divided mine into four pieces and froze three.

Excellent served as an appetizer, on sandwiches, or with cheese and crackers.