Saturday, April 12, 2008


I will die an early death of worry-induced hypertension. Or should I say, I was meant to, but physiologically in the creation process, the wires became crossed and I am perpetually in a state of such low blood pressure that I should wear a medic alert tag. So, I have no physical proof to offer regarding how very much time I spend worrying but it is far more time than I spend sleeping.

There are a couple of things I have stopped worrying about, though. The first is whether anyone agrees with me and the second is whether I agree with anyone else. Life is just like that, right? We can all disagree, those are our foundations and part of the ideals my husband takes part in protecting on behalf of this nation. In this house, we don't just talk about defending the idea of freedom, someone gets out of bed everyday and does something about it. I can write to you today because of the commitment of so many men and women for a word seeming so small, but so vast in meaning: Freedom. And I am so grateful to them.

You are free to say and think whatever you like. You are free to eat whatever you want, and by the same token, to refrain. Maybe you are not a meat eater. I was not one in college for a week but it was not conscientious; I was on the Ben and Jerry's ice cream diet. But maybe you are, say, a vegetarian and you are coming by or you are reading at home and you are hungry and tired of me and my ragu (skirt steak shamelessly cooked for hours in milk and cream) tomfoolery. Then I have just the thing. Both for people who do not eat meat but are not vegan, and those who do not eat liver, from which a traditional pate is made.

There has been a recipe of now-unknown origins kicking around in my files for at least a few years. It is called "Vegetarian Pate". So old, the paper is looks quite warn. I finally dug it out and did something about it exactly per the recipe but, it was without the kind of punch I wanted it to have: It tasted like old-school vegetarian food, the kind before flavor became easier to acquire. I worked on it a bit and now, I love it. I have been eating it for breakfast like butter on warm crusty bread for the last two days. It makes a fabulous replacement for butter, both exciting and maybe a little better for you (just a little). And the original recipe made a very large amount, so it is also going out with crackers and fruit before dinner this evening.

I hope you enjoy it while savoring your vast and hard-won freedom.

Mock Pate
adapted from recipe of unknown origin

Makes 3 cups of a spread or dip

While this recipe benefits from being from refrigerated overnight, it is still great when it comes off the processor blade. One could easy remove the soy and replace it with a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese and since the egg/ bean/ nut base is relatively neutral in flavor, swap or change any of the flavors to suit. The original recipe called for all ingredients but the red onion to be processed, but I wanted a smooth pate and so, all the ingredients went into the processor and it made a very smooth pate-like spread. You may wish to keep the onions whole, in which case, you will add them after the processing is complete.

5 large eggs, hardboiled, peeled, and halved
1/4 pound string beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup red onion, diced
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons light Hellman's mayonnaise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the red onion and cook 8-10 minutes until soft, translucent, and beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.

In the bowl of the food processor, combine the eggs, raw string beans, walnuts, mayonnaise, soy, olive oil, hot sauce, garlic powder and cooked onions. Pulse until a spreadable consistency is achieved.

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