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Meatless Monday Mushroom Loaf

Posted Feb 14 2011 12:00am

“I don’t need music, lobster or wine,
Whenever your eyes look into mine;
The things I long for are simple and few A cup of coffee, a sandwich, and you.”

~ Billy Rose, American showman and lyricist (1899 – 1966)

And that sandwich… Well, it should be really, really good.

When we’re trying to think of sandwiches, sometimes our brains get stuck in a mode where all we can come up with are the components of what we took to school in our little tin boxes, right down to the Fritos.

Breaking out of the box, and thinking about flavors that are a little more sophisticated, mushrooms come to mind. They are almost always on my celebration table, even if that celebration is just for me. Put them on a crusty roll and nothing else matters, except maybe the little French pickles (cornichons) that seem to have disappeared…

Mushroom Loaf or Pâté
Makes 1 (10-ounce) loaf
Time: 15 minutes active + 20 minutes in the oven

½ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ pounds white mushrooms, about 6 large
½ cup cashews or ¼ cup prepared cashew butter
½ teaspoon Mrs. Dash or other salt-free herb blend

Soften the onion in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms and sauté until richly browned and any released moisture has been reabsorbed.

Meanwhile, if using whole cashews, place them in a food processor and process on high until they form a very thick butter.

Add the mushroom mixture and Mrs. Dash or herbs to the cashews and process very briefly until the mixture becomes a fairly smooth paste, but not totally pureed.

At this point, the mixture can be used as a pâté without further cooking. If, however, you would like a product that can be sliced, please proceed:

Preheat oven to 350° F and oil a mini-loaf pan, measuring about 5 x 2 ½ on the bottom.

Spoon the mixture into the mini-loaf pan, pressing into the corners and smoothing down the top. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and allow to cool to room temperature before removing from the pan. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.

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