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Pastoral Onion Potato Bread and Rustic Carrot Pâté

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I considered going back to basics and entitling this post, simply, “Bread and Spread,” but decided against the too-generic descriptor (even though it does offer up a lovely rhyme).  But these two foods, when eaten together, really could inspire poetry (if you’ll forgive the extended metaphor), so I opted for my slightly rhapsodic title instead.  And besides, with Easter coming up tomorrow, “pastoral” seemed like the right choice.

I’ve been hankering after this Potato Bread ever since I read about it a while back on Johanna’s blog (and originally posted on Redacted Recipes). Johanna’s version of the recipe, bespeckled with little amethyst wisps of grated purple potatoes, was not only visually beautiful, but her post also described the bread itself–its taste and texture–as veritably irresistible. 

Now, I’m not a huge fan of bread per se (I rarely, if ever, eat sandwiches–though I made an exception for a Tempeh Ruben a while back).  If I do eat bread, I want it to be the dense, dark, whole-grain kind that originated in an anonymous Eastern European country.  This sounded like just the ticket, so I set about altering the ingredients to render them a bit more NAG-friendly.

onionbread4.jpgIn the end, I baked this bread three times (I forced myself to stop at three, because I also ended up eating most of each one!). Because the original recipe contained cheese, I substituted nutritional yeast to provide a similar flavor.  My first effort (right) contained a bit too much yeast, I’m afraid, and the sharp astringency was a little overpowering.  With attempt number two, I halved the yeast, but added diced avocado to emulate  chunks of soft feta cheese scattered throughout the bread (photo below). 

onionbreadslice3.jpg (Ehm, er. . . wouldn’t recommend this one.  I might try the avoca-cheese again in future, but I’d use much less and definitely cut the chunks very small; that way, it might just work). 

Third time was definitely the charm:  I introduced chopped roma tomato and subbed fresh dill instead of thyme.  Number Three (photo below) was, by far, my favorite.

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As Johanna attested, this bread was fantastic.  Even though mine isn’t quite as pretty to look at as hers, the moist, dense interior and perfectly balanced flavors of the green onion, cheesiness, and potato worked in agreeable harmony.  Each bite provided a slightly different mosaic of flavors, each with its own unique configuration and gustatory sparkle. I, too, had to stop myself from consuming too much of this delightful loaf at one sitting.

And while it was stellar all on its own, the bread also made a perfect base for a favorite spread of mine, Carrot Pâté. I created the latter recipe about five years ago (when I first started teaching cooking classes), as a way to veganize a fabulous pâté I’d been preparing for over 10 years before that (back when favorite recipes had to be clipped from magazine pages and preserved in file folders).   

Most of the carrots we consume around here tend toward the pre-peeled, miniature variety (aka “baby carrots”). Those are what we feed The Girls as treats, and, equally often,  as “dessert” after dinner.  And although Elsie adores the minis (and will even occasionally bare her teeth at Chaser for the culinary privilege), she turns her wet, black nose up with disdain at the regular, full-sized kind.  (Once, I ran out of the miniatures, and tried feeding her ordinary organic carrots. I took great care to cut them into strips approximately the same size as baby carrots. She examined my offering like a mortician views a corpse, let out a little contemptuous snort, and walked away.  Huh?)  Have you ever known a DOG that’s a picky eater? And not only that–this is a dog whose puppyhood was characterized by eating poo for dessert! But no; no regular carrots for this Prima Donna.

Um, excuse me, Mum, but if I might just interject to point out that the baby carrots are harvested much earlier in the growth cycle and are, therefore, significantly sweeter?  And also that you didn’t peel those big ones, either, Mum.  So they still retained all those little bumps and ridges on the exterior, which was rather irritating to my sensitive gums and teeth.  Just saying.”

carrotpateslice1.jpgAnd while it’s technically a  pâté, I actually prefer to eat this for breakfast.  With the sweetness of carrots and light, custardy texture courtesy of silken tofu, it’s a perfect morning accompaniment.  Along with the bread, you’ll be getting your morning serving of protein, veggies, and carbs, all in one delicious repast.  In fact, this would be an ideal pairing for a leisurely Easter Brunch, if you haven’t got your entire menu set already.

I thought this meal would be a great submission to Weekend Breakfast Blogging, which was created by Nandita at Saffron Trail and is being hosted this month by Mansi of Fun and Food.  The theme this month is “Balanced Breakfast Meals.”

(“Actually, Mum, I love this pâté even when you make it with “those” carrots. Pureeing the carrots makes them so much more palatable. So please feel free to share.“)

And to those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter, all!

Cheesy Onion Potato Bread and Carrot Pâté

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Cheesy Onion Potato Bread

adapted from Green Gourmet Giraffe

You will quickly become addicted to this hearty, moist, and filling bread–be warned!  I’ve included my own adaptation of the recipe here. 

1-3/4 cups light spelt flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 Yukon Gold potato, grated

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

5 green onions (white and light green part only), finely sliced

1-2 Tbsp. freshly chopped dill

1 small Roma tomato, chopped

1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds

1/2-2/3 cup plain soymilk, as required

1 tsp. grainy Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).  Lightly grease a cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.

In a measuring cup, mix together the flax, 1/2 cup soymilk, and mustard; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, sSift flour, baking powder, salt, and paprika.  Add the grated potato, nutritional yeast, onions, dill, and tomato and toss with your hands until all the vegetables are coated.

Pour the wet mixture over the flour mixture and toss with a fork until everthing comes together in “a sticky, shaggy dough” (at this point, if the dough is too dry, add the remaining soymilk).

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and shape it into a domed round. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning once around halfway through, until the top of the bread is deep golden and the loaf has a slightly hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.  Allow to cool before devouring.  May be frozen.

Vegan Carrot Pâté

If you consider carrots as mundane, plain-Jane, plebeian roots to be served only when drenched in sweet glaze or when playing second fiddle in a duo with peas, you’re in for a real treat with this pâté

1 pound (450 g.) carrots (about 10 medium carrots)

2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) olive oil
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) malt vinegar
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) light miso
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) dried thyme
1-1/2 c. (about 370 ml.) firm silken tofu (such as Mori-Nu)
2 Tbsp. (30 ml.) organic cornstarch
1/2 c. (120 ml.) chopped fresh parsley or cilantro 
Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a small loaf pan, line with waxed paper, and grease paper. Set aside.  (Note: You may also bake the pâté in individual mini loaf pans; simply spray each pan well with nonstick spray before filling). Cook carrots, covered, in lightly salted water until tender. Drain and cool.In a food processor, whir the carrots until well pureed. Add remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth and no traces of tofu remain.

 Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until a knife inserted in centre comes out clean.

 Let cool on a rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. To unmold, loosen edges slightly and turn out onto a platter. Remove waxed paper and garnish as desired. Spread on crackers or bread.

Makes about 16 slices (8-10 servings).

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13 comments to Pastoral Onion Potato Bread and Rustic Carrot Pâté

  • That bread looks and sounds amazing! Thanks for the recipe.

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  • YUM! I was drolling over the bread and then I saw the spread (hey! that rhymes!) & now I’m going nuts wishing I had THAT for breakfst instead of boring toast! & that potato bread! what a GREAT idea!

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  • Ricki, this is absolutely brilliant! I love this bread recipe right from the time I saw it on Johanna’s blog! your photos look so inviting I have to definitely try it now!! thanks so much for participating in WBB!:)

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  • Ann

    How lovely to see yet another interpretation of this recipe! You just never know what people will decide they need to try. 🙂

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  • aTxVgn,
    My pleasure! It was delicious, truly 🙂

    happyherbivore,
    Thanks so much for your comment, and for visiting the blog! I loved the rhyme, too, but didn’t dare put it in the title 😉 . I was quite intrigued when I first saw the recipe, too. . .definitely worth a try.

    Mansi,
    So glad you like the recipe! Always fun to take part in WBB. . .especially since breakfast/brunch is my favorite meal 🙂 .

    Ann,
    Thanks so much for your comment, and for visiting my blog! I have no doubt you’ll find many more versions of your bread floating around the blogs. . . it’s just too delicious to ignore. And yes, I just HAD to try it out!! 🙂

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  • That bread looks fantastic! So colorful, especially with the pate. I think it might be time for ME to try one of YOUR recipes!

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  • I am glad you loved the bread – it deserves to have many versions floating about the blogosphere. I am impressed with your diligence in finding a version that pleases you – the addition of tomato makes lots of sense – I still think about this bread and long to make it again but maybe next time there will be some tomato! And I love your pate – I am yet to make one that is baked but this looks like one I should try!

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  • Both the bread and the spread look amazing! Thank you for both of the recipes.
    I think I would like to try out that pate. Here in Germany one can buy a lot of vegan pates, but most of them are full of fat. Thank you for this great alternative.

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  • I thought I’d comment again with calorie write-up, cus I’m great like that (beats reading about the defenition of a gene…). I only bothered with the pate because in my experience–it’s better not to count calories in bread. Just enjoy!

    When made with 1 pkg light firm morinu silken tofu, divided into 10 servings:

    55.3 calories, 3.1g fat, 209mg sodium (8.7%), 4.6g carbs (0.9g sugars, 0.2g fiber), 2.4g protein

    Not bad at all! Just watch out for that sodium! For the record its virtually all from the miso, so if you’re really sodium-sensitive, maybe work on tweaking that.

    Since I haven’t made it yet, would it work well as a veg dip? I love my veg and dips…

    [Reply]

  • CCV,
    Thanks! I liked the rainbow effect, too 🙂 . And feel free to try something out–would love to hear how it goes.

    Johanna,
    I think this is the only baked pate I’ve ever made as well. But it seems to work in this case.

    Mihl,
    I think this would be a good alternative if you’re watching the fat. It’s very light in texture–as I said, almost like a carrot custard.

    Amanda,
    Thank you so much for the nutritional info! I had a feeling this was pretty low cal, given the ingredients. Whew! Now I don’t feel too bad about having so much of it for breakfast (though can’t say the same for the bread. . .). I’m not sure it would work as a dip, since it’s basically solid (about the density of a firm silken tofu, with a little texture). If you stirred it vigorously once it was cold, then I think you could dip into it. Just wondering: what program do you use for the analysis? Is it online? I’ve used NATS before (http://nat.crgq.com/mainnat.html) but not other ones.

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  • I mostly use ‘the daily plate’ which is really nice because it adds it up for you and is good for finding brand-name items. I always read the nutrition label to double check it makes sense though–sometimes people make typos or just put in the wrong number. (I used to calorie-count so I have a good idea of how much everything is worth anyway.)

    If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the site, you can add your own in–just find the nutritional info from “thecaloriecounter.com” (good for generic items like carrots) or “calorie-count.com” (good for brand name items) or go to the product’s website (obviously) or grab the product itself (even more obviously..) and put it in! Ta-da!

    Just be a member and put it in as what you ate “today” and it adds it all up–you unfortunately can’t use the “recipe” tool without paying.. but its really the same thing I bet; it probably just divides it by the servings automatically. 😛

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  • I love this idea! Thanks!

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  • Tirza

    I am inspired to go into the kitchen and make this immediately!

    Before I do however, I have a suggestion to replace the feta. I see that you use tofu, so I’ll share a little trick I learned.
    Crumble tofu so it looks about how crumbled feta would look. I happened to have a firm tofu with herbs in it so it looked very nice. If you used a very soft tofu, it might be too fragile to crumble. But you could try, and maybe it would have a “meltier” consistency in the finished product.
    Take a flatish container with a good leak-proof lid. Add enough water to cover the bottom about 1/4-1/2″ deep. Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar. Then dissolve enough salt so that it tastes way too salty. Place the crumbled tofu in this solution and let sit at room temperature for as long as you can. Or, if you can think that far ahead, put it in the fridge the night before. If the container has a leak-proof lid, you can turn it over once in awhile to make sure all of the tofu gets immersed in the solution. If you’re just using an open container, then gently lift and turn the tofu over with a pancake turner. Once it has soaked in that you can drain it and if you wish you can rinse it a bit. But salty is feta’s distinctive characteristic, so you might not want to rinse. I kept leftover tofu in the solution in the fridge for use in salads during the week.
    We all know not to eat a lot of salt, but a little now and then as a “garnish” might be acceptable. This ends up to be no more than pickles, olives or sauerkraut – OR feta would contain.
    Enjoy.

    [Reply]

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