Daring Cooks Challenge: Pates and Bread

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Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

I almost categorically refuse to try offal. The exception is Braunschweiger (liverwurst), which I will occasionally eat a small amount of on a cracker. But I can't stomach the thought of eating offal pate (no pun intended there). So, fortunately, this month's hosts allowed for a vegetarian pate, and I gratefully made that instead.

This recipe for Tricolor Vegetable Pate is awesome. This would be a great appetizer to bring to a party. I think it would be a crowd pleaser. I could've eaten the white bean portion straight on its own, and think I may make it as a vegetable dip sometime (it's not unlike hummus). Greg loved the roasted red pepper-feta layer. The only problem with this recipe is that there is not enough pesto to make a full layer for a regular sized loaf pan. I would suggest doubling the recipe for pesto--if you end up with extra, it's definitely not the end of the world. Freeze the excess and use it later for pasta or bruschetta.

I was also seriously excited to have a reason to make french bread. I had no idea it would take so long. I give serious kudos to bakeries for having the patience to make them every single day. They require 5 hours of rising time alone! That said, they are not *difficult* to make. In fact, this was one of the easiest breads I've ever made. The dough came together beautifully, it kept rising awesomely, and it formed a log like nothin'. It just took forever. My only problem was that for once, I curbed my urge to check it's progress every 5-10 minutes, and let it go for the entire 25 minutes. It was slightly singed. Sad! So, I would recommend checking up on the bread before 25 minutes is up, just in case.

Thanks to Evelyne and Valerie for a delicious challenge!



Tricolor Vegetable Pate
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan

Line your pan with plastic wrap, overlapping sides.

White Bean Layer
-2 x 15-ounce / 900 ml cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained thoroughly
-1 tbsp / 15 ml fresh lemon juice
-1 tbsp / 15 ml olive oil
-1 tbsp / 15 ml minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
-2 garlic cloves, pressed

1. Mash beans in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bean mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan.

Red Pepper Layer
-7-ounce / 210 ml jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
-3/4 cup / 180 ml crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

1. Combine peppers and feta in processor and blend until smooth. Spread pepper mixture evenly over bean layer in prepared dish.

Pesto Layer
-2 garlic cloves
-1 cup / 240 ml fresh basil leaves
-1 cup / 240 ml fresh Italian parsley leaves
-1/4 cup / 60 ml toasted pine nuts
-3 tbsp / 45 ml olive oil
-1/2 cup / 120 ml low-fat ricotta cheese

1. Mince garlic in processor. Add basil, parsley and pine nuts and mince. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in ricotta. Spread pesto evenly over red pepper layer.

2. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 30 minutes before serving, put in the freezer.

3. To unmold, invert pâté onto serving platter. Peel off plastic wrap from pâté. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with sourdough bread slices.



French Baguette
yield: Three 16" baguettes

Starter
-1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
-1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
-1 cup / 240 ml flour

Dough
-1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
-1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
-all of the starter
-3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
-1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

1. Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.

2. Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

5. Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.

6. Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

7. Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

8. Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

2 comments:

Lo said...

Would it be wrong to wish that I'd done the veggie pate for this challenge? :)

I love, love, love the King Arthur bread recipe. The loaves were gorgeous and crackly with a beautiful texture. Next time I plan to add the salt, and I'm sure it will turn out absolutely delicious!

mangocheeks said...

Your vegetable pate is incredible. Very appealing to the eyes.

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