If you want a show-stopping vegetarian dish for an upcoming holiday party, this is it. Vegetarian pâté is new to me—I might not be old enough to have experienced it in its heyday, which I’m guessing was the eighties, and I admit I’ve never thought to look up a recipe—but I now understand the appeal. It’s such a striking addition to a feast, such a validating reward for some hard work in the kitchen, and it’s delicious, too, sliced up into thick, cold slabs and smeared on crackers or bread.
Jeanne Lemlin’s Simply Satisfying is a book I’ve had in my kitchen for a while now. My friend and editor, Matthew Lore, loaned me his copy of the first edition, which was titled Vegetarian Pleasures, published in 1986, and one of the recipes I found there inspired the corn soufflé in Vegetarian Entrees that Won’t Leave You Hungry. Then I had the pleasure of working on the photo shoot for this recent reissue (with photographer Cara Howe and stylist Maria del mar Sacasa), in which the title changed to Simply Satisfying, and sampled many of the recipes firsthand.
I wanted to get this post out to you sooner, since I have such a perfect recipe for exactly this part of the year. I’m sorry that I didn’t. It’s both an easy cocktail party dish, and a DIY food gift—a blog post that really delivers! I made this Easy Onion-Apple Tart for a party I threw this week and found it appealing on many levels. There’s a cheap and readily available cast of ingredients, and the flavors and textures are rich and succulent, respectively.
Also—and this even surprised me—it can be a sneaky vegan appetizer that no one will even stop to wonder about. I was shocked when I learned, while preparing to cater a party a few years ago, that Pedridge Farms Puff Pasty is actually vegan. It’s not organic, and it’s quite a processed food, but it is vegan. (Other brands aren’t, so check the ingredients if this concerns you.) One time I added a dusting of Parmesan just before putting it in the oven, and I’m including that option below in case you’re interested, but I really don’t think it makes or breaks the dish. Continue reading