Where I work we do trainings at retreat centers. Beautiful, restful retreat centers in places like Sonoma. Being beautiful and restful, these places are more often than not, run by hippies. And the food is glorious. Because fresh ingredients and hippies got together like peanut butter and jelly, if the peanut butter were hand picked and organically raised and the jelly came from foraged berries picked by woodland fairies.
ANYWAY, of the best things at the retreat center, and the easiest to replicate is a carrot-cashew pate. This pate is incredibly flexible allowing for so many variations in flavor and ingredients.
Here’s the basic recipe:
1/2 cup of nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc)
1 pound of carrots cut into large chunks (about 1-2 inch pieces)
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup of a green herb (can be scallions, parsley, cilantro, basil)
1/4 cup more olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons of something acidic (can me lemon/lime juice, any type of vinegar)
Soak the nuts overnight or if you are in a rush, boil the nuts for about 3 minutes and let sit for another 15 minutes). Reserve 1/2 cup of the water from the nuts. Roast the carrots in the olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until the carrots are a bit browned and soft. Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blend. If it looks too chunky and not smooth enough (it should be the consistency of pate), then add some of the reserved water.
Indian Style – add a teaspoon of curry powder to the carrots, use lime juice as the acid and cilantro and scallions as the green herb
Italian style – use red wine or balsamic vinegar as the acid and basil and a bit of rosemary as the herb
Spanish style – add a pinch of paprika, use sherry vinegar as the acid, and parsley and scallions as the herb