I had a ton of fun with a touch of playful sculpture! The result is two tasty appetizer pâtés that become one very striking yin-yang presentation with an underlying philosophical Taoist message: a balanced approach to the opposites that occur in everyday life.
This is such a fun appetizer to put on the table along with a basket of crispy rice crackers and some spreading knives. The first time I served it, I watched people’s reaction and noticed people were very reluctant to dig into it. They stood there admiring the creation and calling others to the table to look at it–but no one dared touch it. It seemed no one wanted to be the first to mess it up.
That’s when I realized I needed to give them permission. Without a word, I picked up a cracker and a little spreading knife and purposely made a mess of sliding the knife into both colors to serve myself a heaping portion.
After that little bit of showmanship, the two patés were quickly devoured, with plenty of mmmmmms and yummmms uttered among the cluster of devotées.
You can serve the paté with whole-grain crackers, toasted pita wedges, or even slices of cucumber or turnips, or even jicama. Be sure bring a couple of little spreading knives to the table.
If you don’t feel inclined to put your sculpting talents to the test, you can simply put the two patés into separate bowls and bring them to the table along with crackers Alternatively, you can spoon the patés into leaves of Belgian endive.
The recipe is one of the tasty appetizers in my Vegan for the Holidays Cookbook.
Makes 3 cups; 10 to 12 servings
YIN-YANG THANKSGIVING PATE
1 1/4 cups chopped carrots
1 1/4 cups chopped red bell pepper, about 1 large pepper
1 cup raw or roasted cashews or macadamias
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- TO MAKE THE CARROT PATÉ, put the carrots, bell pepper, cashews, lemon juice, ginger, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a food processor and process for 1 minute, or until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl.
- Transfer to a small bowl and wash and dry the processor work bowl. The Carrot Pâté makes about 1 1/2 cups,
Mushroom Walnut Pâté
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
- TO MAKE THE MUSHROOM PÂTÉ, cook and stir the mushrooms, onion, garlic, and water in a large skillet over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is transparent and the mushrooms are softened. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning. There should be at least 1 tablespoon of liquid remaining in the pan.
- Transfer the mushroom mixture and the remaining liquid to a food processor and add the walnuts, yeast flakes, lemon juice, and salt. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the work bowl. The Mushroom Walnut Pâté makes about 1 1/2 cups.
- TO ASSEMBLE THE APPETIZER, remove 1 tablespoon of each pâté and set aside. Spoon the remaining mushroom pâté onto one half of a dinner plate. Using the back of a spoon, form one half of the yin-yang symbol.
- Spoon the remaining carrot pâté onto the plate, next to the mushroom paté, and form the other half of the symbol. Complete the presentation by placing the reserved tablespoon of each pâté into the widest portion of the opposite color. Smooth the edges to form a complete circle.