I’m not one of those women. You know the type I’m talking about – the women that work full time, whip up a mean dinner, have an impossibly clean and tidy home, volunteer for their favorite local charity and seem to have boundless energy to accomplish all of the aforementioned tasks. Secretly, just typing all of those words made me want to crawl into my favorite sweatpants and retreat onto our super cushy couches under a fuzzy blanket. Oh wait, already there. To me, these women are straight out of Martha Stewart Land with their perky perfectionism and uber creativity. Maybe I’m jealous. Maybe I’m tired just thinking about all of that. And maybe, because of all of that, I’ve resisted the pull of the Martha magnet and all of her “good things.” Until now.
I’d been challenged. We were headed to a vegetarian friend’s house and I needed to bring something to contribute to the evening noshing that would appeal to everyone while being considerate of my friend’s dietary preferences. I wanted to wow. I hit up all of my favorite recipe sources, desperately seeking inspiration. Meh. I didn’t find any. After exhausting all of the usual suspects, I suddenly veered off of the usual path and for some reason, headed over to see Ms. Martha. Suddenly, there it was. Wild Mushroom Pate. Oh Martha, you dirty (jail) bird.
The ingredients immediately intrigued me – a mushroom medley, fresh thyme, scallions and sherry. Toasted nuts for crunch. Cream cheese as the binder. And then – oh baby – several dashes of hot sauce for a little something more. I hit print.
As the dish started to come together, the smell of mushrooms sauteing in butter began to fill the air. Soon enough, the thyme and sherry were in the pan, adding their own layers of flavor to the increasingly more complex mushrooms. Finally, the mushrooms reached a golden brown perfection and were added to a mixing bowl with the cream cheese and toasted nuts. In went the hot sauce and I dug in for a taste test. *Swoon* Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
Patience isn’t one of my virtues, and this bad boy needed to chill for 8 hours. That’s what they make freezers for. So, in with the ice cubes it went to chill for a couple of hours and then we were off to our evening event. My kind pals offered their “oohs” and “ahhs” as I carefully unmolded the pate. Knowing what I had tasted earlier, I couldn’t wait to dig in once the flavors had melded together. The crunch of the nuts played against the creaminess of the cheese and the tender mushrooms. The hot sauce dances around in the background as that something you just can’t quite put your finger on. *Swoon* Sorry, you’re just going to have to get used to that with this recipe. I guarantee you’ll fall for it too. Trust me, it’s a good thing.
recipe: adapted from Martha Stewart
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans on a baking pan. Bake for about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside to cool. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, melt butter and cook the chopped mushrooms, stirring occasionally until liquid has been released. After about 8 minutes, add scallions and thyme. Continue cooking until mushrooms release all liquid and begin to turn golden brown. Add sherry, and scrape bottom of the pan to release all caramelized pieces. Cook until skillet is almost dry, 4 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Chop the pecans into small pieces. Combine pecans, mushroom mixture, parsley, hot sauce and cream cheese in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Line a large ramekin, bowl, bread pan or terrine with plastic wrap, letting the wrap hang off of the sides. Add mushroom mixture and firmly press down, spreading mixture as evenly as possible. Cover the mold with the overhanging plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Unwrap the chilled pate and invert it onto a large serving platter. Serve with plain crackers, such as water crackers.