Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Eats & Mushroom-Pecan Pâté

The road trip theme is once again eclipsed by more local events. I hope to get one or two more road trip posts up, but today I'm talking family feasting. 

We celebrated Thanksgiving at my mom's place and shared dinner with her and one of my brothers. Mom and bro ate some unmentionables, but we brought our own main course, our own gravy, and the pies. My mom is such a sweetie, she made all the side dishes vegan.

The salad above was really lovely, mom made a raw cranberry salsa and stuffed some anjou pear halves with them, a nice dish. The sweet, soft pears went nicely with the crunchier, more tart cranberry salsa.

Our main course was based on the Portabella Wellington recipe from the Cafe Flora cookbook, which is a mushroom-pecan pâté, layered with braised leek and portabella mushrooms, then wrapped in puff pastry.

In my version, I used crimini mushrooms for the pâté, and instead of the portabellas, I used a layer of maple-cranberry sauce (find Laurie's delicious recipe here!) and maple-roasted kabocha squash. Ground flax and nutritional yeast  stood in for the eggs and cheese in the original recipe. The leeks are braised in white wine, and add a very nice mild allium dimension:

My brother said they looked like pop tarts, lol, and that's exactly what I thought of too as I put them together. These were about 6-inch pastries, and one of them is plenty for a meal. They are nice because everyone can eat one, or half of one, as an extra side dish. I have to say, these were delicious, and were also very popular with the non-vegans at the table.  

Here's the mushroom-pecan pâté after baking:

Not exactly eye candy, but it's rich and super tasty. And, as the cookbook guides, leftovers that don't go into the Wellingtons are excellent in sandwiches. The pâté can be made a day or two in advance. 

Pecan-Mushroom Pâté, based on Portabella Wellington recipe from Cafe Flora Cookbook, by Catherine Geier and Carol Brown

1/2 pound crimini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced,
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tbsp chopped, fresh thyme / or use herbes de Provence (I used both, probably 1 tbsp fresh thyme and 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1.5 cups lightly toasted pecans, chopped into small bits
3 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Grease a bread loaf pan and line with parchment/baking paper. Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor, until finely chopped...maybe 4 or 5 pulses.

Saute the onion over medium heat until translucent, add the garlic and chopped mushrooms and saute for another ~8 - 10 minutes. Add the sherry and the herbs to deglaze the pan. Continue cooking until most of the sherry has evaporated, add salt and pepper to taste and fold in the chopped pecans, ground flax/water mixture, and the nutritional yeast. 

Put pâté into the lined loaf pan and bake for ~45 minutes. Allow to cool completely, then chill in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting pâté into slices. 

For the braised leek, just clean and chop one large leek and saute in olive oil until the leek begins to caramelize, then add 1/4 cup white wine and allow to cook for another ~ 10 minutes, or until most of the wine is evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

For the squash,  brush 1/2-inch slices of kabocha, or other winter squash of choice with maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste and roast in 350F oven until tender.

Here's another delicious side my mom put together, roasted yams with apples and pecans:

And mom's yummy rolls:

We did imbibe quite liberally, and I think I must have had a little too much wine, because all the photos of the plated dinner came out somewhat blurry:

Blurry or not, it was quite satisfactory. The gravy is a rich red wine gravy, but any kind of gravy that suits your fancy would be good with the Wellingtons in my opinion.

Road trip resumes soon, (hopefully).

Happy Weekend! 


  1. That looks like a wonderful meal, Rose! Your holiday dishes all look so gourmet. It's also very nice that the sides were all vegan; I can't imagine my mom doing that (although she did enjoy the vegan dishes we made together this week, so maybe one day). But as soon as I saw those cranberry pears, I thought that those might be a perfect way to use up the cranberry relish I have left over. Hmmm... thanks for the idea!

  2. my meal is put to shame!!! all i did special was make bisquits in the shape of farm animals.

    the table setting is beautiful! im so glad you all had fun! its nice when your family makes sides vegan:) thank you for taking the time to snap pictures, i didnt think that they were blurry, and im not drinking anything:)lol

    i need to make that pate!

  3. WOWZERS! That all looks amazing. I've bookmarked the Portabella Wellington recipe!

  4. What a beautiful meal. I love the wellington idea.. the layers of flavor and textures must have been so delicious!

  5. Oh my, Rose, does this all look spectacular! We had a Tofurky this year because Mike loves them so much (I think they're meh), so I'll have to convince him to try a Wellington recipe next year. That's right up my alley!

    Your mom rocks for making so many delicious vegan dishes. Yum!

  6. They do look like poptarts! haha! classic! Those rolls look amazing!

  7. Those are some fancy pop tarts! I love the way they look, and can only imagine the wonderful flavor. The whole meal looks elegant and delectable.

  8. Your meals looks fabulous. I love it when family members make an effort, and it looks like you are blessed with those that do. I especially love anything mushroom, so you got me with that dish!

  9. Wow, Rose ~ I still feel full as a tick after our own hearty chow-down on Thursday night so I didn't think any food would look tempting for some time, but you managed to make me salivate with these photos of your gourmet feast! I love the idea of the pretty cranberry relish-stuffed pears. Funny, I'd just put pears on next week's grocery list, and now I may have to double up! And your "poptarts" (lol) are the most elegant I've ever seen. :-) They're almost too pretty to eat, but knowing what's in them - especially the mushroom-pecan paté - would have convinced me to devour one anyway. I'm so glad the maple cranberry sauce worked well with these!

    The red wine gravy sounds delicious too! Even if it did make your photos come out blurry. ;-)

    Looks like you inherited at least some of your culinary talents from your mom! I'm glad you enjoyed a fun holiday together, and hope you're getting to relax now and enjoy some leftovers!

  10. Wow...what an impressive spread! I wouldn't know where to start if I had of eaten with you. Everything looks and sounds wonderful!
    The pastries do look like pop They sound delicious!
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

  11. Jessica

    It's wonderful that your folks enjoyed their vegan meal! I'm sure your mom is becoming more open to it all the took my mom a while, but now she doesn't even bat an eye about it. I hope you like the cranberry stuffed pears! What's not to like right?


    Your farm animal biscuits rocked and could never be put to shame! I'll tell my mom you liked her table settings: you can always tell if I'm at my mom's because of nice things like matching plates and tablecloths, which do not exist at my house! :D

    Thanks! If you make the Wellington recipe, let us know what you think; puff pastry always make a meal more indulgent, and is good for a special
    holiday meals.


    The Wellingtons are a cool idea; I've never had a non-vegan one...or any one until now...and the original recipe calls for a layer of mushroom over the pate, but I thought there was enough mushroom already and went with some other veggies.


    Thanks, and the Wellington idea is really versatile...I'm sure you'd come up with a really delicious combo...I'll let my mom know she rocks; she'll like that! :)


    They totally do, and we got a good laugh out of it too! :)


    Yes, posh pop tarts aren't too bad! Puff pastry can make anything look elegant, I think. :)

  12. BlessedMama

    I have to say, my mom is really a sweetie, and she's open to sharing vegan meals with us, so yes, it is a blessing! If you like mushrooms, that pate won't disappoint.

  13. Laurie

    Fancy pop you think that could catch on? Honestly, puff pastry makes anything look fancy...and it's not exactly health food, but I think of it as a holiday indulgence. Really, they are quite rich, so a little goes a long way.

    I agree, the cranberry-pear salad is inspired, and so in season now too!
    My mom is quite a dab hand in the kitchen. :)

    Thanks! Glad you liked the fancy pop tarts! They were fun to put together. Happy rest of the weekend to you too! :)

  14. Your "fancy pop tarts" look rich and indulgent! Perfect for a special occasion feast like Thanksgiving! They really are pretty and appealing, and I can only imagine how very, very tasty!

    So what does your mom put in her cranberry salsa? I'm thinking that cranberry relish recipe of Jill Nussinow's that I blogged would go well in this dish too, since it's also tart and even has a pear in it!

  15. Laurie

    I think the cranberry relish you posted would be perfect for the pear halves, especially, like you say, because there's pear in it! I asked my mom, and she said hers was just cranberries, oranges, and sugar, so very close to your recipe but without pear...and I'm sure I'd like the maple syrup version better!

    My mom cooked the pears, so they wouldn't turn dark as they sat at the table, but I think they would be really nice uncooked, and maybe just a sprinkling of lemon juice and/ or a tad pinch of salt to keep them nice and fresh looking if they're not going to be devoured immediately. :)

    Thanks again for all the Thanksgiving recipes you posted...the maple-cranberry sauce is a keeper for me, and I've got the whole month of December to make all the recipes that sounded so yummy, but haven't had a chance to make yet!

    Happy Sunday!

  16. Yes! Rose with too much alcohol...brings her photography skills down to our level. :)

    Such fancy, creative dishes. The pears are darling. I'm so glad you have a mom who was gracious in making vegan side dishes.

  17. Incredible! I think I would just make the Wellingtons with the Mushroom Pate (the day before) and forget the Leeks & Kabocha. I don't want to risk pushing myself over the proverbial edge again. Did you make your own puff pastry?

  18. Jenny

    Lol, the alcohol was a convenient excuse anyway!

    And I have to give my mom a lot of credit for being supportive, she really is a sweetie.


    The wellingtons would be good w/o the you say, it's a lot of food. And no, I didn't make the puff pastry; I used Pepperidge Farm stuff.

  19. Wow, your mom's salsa and Jill's relish are really close! I'll bet either of my posted cranberry sauce recipes would go great with the pear halves (don't tell Jill, but I do like the maple cranberry version better!) ;-) And thanks for the tip about keeping the unbaked pear halves fresh looking should they sit around a while before being hoovered. Little chance of that happening with us, but since this would be a lovely dish to serve at a future Thanksgiving (or Christmas) gathering and we'd have to exercise more self control at such a public event, your tip might be quite useful after all! LOL

    You're so welcome for the recipes I shared, I'm really happy that the maple cranberry sauce was such a hit (I'm making another batch of that myself today!) and that you found a others you want to try. I didn't make a dent in all the participating Vegan MoFo blogs, but even I gathered up several new recipes. I don't think December will be enough, I bet I'll be trying out new goodies well into the new year! :-) Anyway, you're always sharing so many awesome recipes that it's nice to be able to reciprocate now and then! xoxo

  20. P.S. Jenny's observation that alcohol + your photography = our photography was too funny! Cracked me up, too! :-)

  21. wow!!! that is AMAZING. what a feast. I love love love the look and sound of your "pop tarts." I would love to eat something like that. My mom does the same thing... she makes her unmentionables, but she also makes all the side dishes vegan, which is awesome.
    Happy post-holiday!

  22. Laurie

    I think you guys exaggerate a little on the photos front: you guys take awesome photos! They always make me hungry anyway! And I agree, I'll be trying out recipes from my list well into the new year too! Bring on the deliciousness!


    Thanks as always for your fun comments, and happy post holiday to you too! Very cool that your mom is supportive with the vegan sides too! Let's face it, moms are just sweeties!

  23. Wow what an amazing dinner! The Portabella Wellington is my favorite. What a beautiful dish.


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