Saturday, February 7, 2009

Making do with what you have

Aru mono de maniawaseru

My beautiful and generally cool net friend Angie sent our online group a cookbook one Christmas. It was a collection of recipes posted online by people in the group. One of the recipes was for a cream cheese based mushroom pate, but it called for things that were kind of hard to get here. Like plain white mushrooms (available sporadically, and pricey when so). And chicken stock (you can't get it canned here. I make my own, but I keep it frozen in ziplock bags, and it's kind of hard to thaw just small amounts). So I tried using what I can get easily, and I got pretty good reviews when I took it to parties. I'm taking this to the Okra Palace for their housewarming party tomorrow.

Mushroom Pate

100 g (4 oz) cream cheese
200g (8 oz) any kind of mushrooms (original recipe calls for ordinary mushrooms, I use shimeji or shiitake or maitake, whatever is in the fridge)
1 thin or 1/2 fat green onion
1 clove garlic
3 T butter
80 ml (1/3 cup) white wine (original recipe calls for chicken stock)
1 sprig thyme
2 t lemon juice
2 t Worscestershire sauce
1/2 to 1 t salt (to taste)
freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Finely chop mushrooms (i use a food processor) and sautee in butter for about 2 minutes. Finely chop green onion and garlic (again, food processor for me) and add to mushrooms and sautee for another minute. Add white wine and turn up heat to high and cook until it stops looking watery. After the mushroom mixture has cooled, combine well with softened cream cheese, thyme leaves, lemon juice, Worscestershire sauce (I just toss everything into the same food processor), and salt and pepper to taste. This will make about one cup and you can either put it in a silicone mold overnight and serve as a pate, or put it in a bowl and serve it as a dip. Either way, it should sit in the fridge overnight to let the flavors merge. I like it with whole wheat crackers, but it also makes a rather sinful chip dip.

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