This month I offer you two marvelous patés that include as their main ingredient the magical walnut. Walnuts are from the tree nut family and have been cultivated for thousands of years. There are many varieties of this delicious nut but we are most familiar with the English variation. Ninety percent of our nation’s walnut production is grown and harvested in California, and exported all over the USA and the world.
The benefits of walnuts are their excellent nutritional value coupled with their flavor and crunch. They are a fine source of protein and are good for the heart and circulatory system. Although some of our population have to avoid tree nuts because of allergies, many find their anti-inflammatory properties as well as its Vitamin E content and currently popular Omega- 3 levels to be of enormous value in their diets.
Interestingly enough, this delectable treat is quite hidden from the eye in its original form and needs several techniques to get it to emerge from its protective shell. It is almost as if nature knows what a treasure is hidden in its covering and wants to insure its potent quality. We are fortunate indeed to have industriously mastered the art of cracking the nut, and thus enjoy its bounty. Remember to keep walnuts in an airtight container and refrigerate after purchase for up to six months to keep it at its optimal potency.
Both of these recipes are easy to prepare: just blend, refrigerate at least an hour or two to set the colors and texture, and then serve.
Give Peas a Chance
1 cup shelled walnuts
12 Ritz type crackers (healthy varieties are found in the natural foods markets)
1 large can organic sweet peas, drained and rinsed
or 15 oz. frozen peas (cooked as directed and water drained)
2 medium onions (chopped and sautéed in 1/4 cup sunflower oil) until well browned
1 tbsp. soy sauce (low sodium) to taste
Process all ingredients in the above order using a food processor and season with salt and pepper to taste. How smooth you want the texture is up to you. Serve as a dip or sandwich filling.
String Bean Pate
2 lbs. fresh string beans
1 large onion white or yellow
1/2 lb. mushrooms
1 cup walnuts
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. sunflower oil
Cut or break off the ends of the beans. Steam them for about 10-12 minutes until the color changes to a light green. Sauté the chopped onion, garlic, and mushrooms until nicely browned with some pieces becoming quite well done. Combine all ingredients without the steaming water and process until well blended. Note that the color will become darker with the refrigeration and the texture will harden, too. I like to serve this scooped with an ice cream server on a bed of dark green lettuce, with tomato, radishes, and a slice of onion. I like it with ketchup and red horseradish with whole grain bread or crackers.
Enjoy these Vegan Delights!