Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Exotic Mushroom Pate (Page 16)

RECIPE #1058

  • Date: Thursday, November 26, 2009 -- 4pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Karen and Dave's House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Karen H, Dave, Brad, Deniz, Pete, Danae, Kenny, Gail, Eddie, Evelyn, Sandy, Jinx, etc...
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I made this pate as part of the hors d'oeuvres spread for Thanksgiving dinner. The Book warns that this recipe is "neither easy nor inexpensive" but I think it was worth the investment both of money and energy. (Actually, relative to a lot of things in The Book, this recipe wasn't really very expensive...) I would have made this recipe sooner -- mushrooms being one of my special gentleman's favorites -- but I didn't have a terrine. However, Alp sent us a wonderful terrine as a wedding gift (Thank You Alp!) so I had the equipment I needed for this dish! I started by buttering the terrine and lining it with parchment. I then soaked dried porcini mushrooms in boiling chicken stock. I drained, rinsed, and chopped the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid. I strained the soaking liquid through a coffee filter, then I boiled it to reduce it and added it to the chopped porcini. I cooked shallots and garlic in butter, then added some sherry and cooked them more. I put this mixture in a blender. Then I cooked sliced shitake and oyster mushrooms in more butter. I added some of the mushrooms to the blender, and the remaining mushrooms to the porcini mixture. I added heavy cream, toasted, ground almonds, and eggs to the blender and blended the mixture until very smooth. I added it to the porcinis, then stirred in some chopped parsley, thyme, lemon juice. bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. I poured the mixture into the terrine, covered it with foil, and set the terrine in a larger pan. I filled the larger pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the terrine. I baked it for almost an hour, then I let it cool and refrigerated the pate, still in the terrine, overnight. Before serving it I made the topping. I cooked shitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, and almonds in butter and olive oil. I let the mixture cool then seasoned with parsley, salt, and pepper. I then let the pate come to room temperature, and I carefully inverted it onto a platter to unmold it. I topped it with the topping and served it with some toasted baguette slices.

This pate was very tasty. It had a complex mushroom flavor, which was complemented nicely by the subtle notes of garlic and sherry. The topping was extremely delicious -- the almonds were a lovely complement to the mushrooms, both texturally and in terms of the flavors. I tried the pate both on the toasted baguette slices I made and on some store-bought crackers. It is definitely worth investing the time to toast your own crostini if you make this pate. It was delicious on the fresh toasts. My only complaint about this recipe was that I didn't find the texture of the pate to be completely perfect. The flavor was excellent, but the texture could have been a bit smoother. That said, many people enjoyed this (everyone except one of my special gentleman's cousins, who declared that it tasted like "cold meat loaf."). It makes a ton of pate, so it is a recipe most appropriate for a large gathering -- perfect for this holiday season!

The recipe is here.

And I am done! My students took their exam yesterday, my assistants and I graded them, and I computed the course grades. I have also answered at least 20 emails so far from students complaining about their grades. *sigh* They don't seem to understand that what is done is done. If they wanted a better grade, they needed to do better on the assignments and exams throughout the course! There is nothing I can do for them now... A friend of mine used to tell her students, "I will help you as much as you need up until you take the final exam, but once the final is over, my heart is closed to you." I always think of that at this time of the semester. It is exactly right -- I feel sorry for my students who have sad stories about why they need better grades, but it just doesn't matter. I can only give them the grades that they earned. I am told that many students learn from their high school experiences that begging, pleading, and/or crying is effective for getting their grades changed. It just doesn't work that way in my class.

Complaining emails aside, I am still feeling pretty good! The semester went relatively smoothly, most of my students did reasonably well, and now that I have submitted my course grades, the semester is over! Plus, mixed in with all the complaining emails I have also gotten a few nice emails from students who did better than they thought they were capable of, and are grateful. That's always nice!

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