PALEO & WHOLE30 SHIITAKE & CASHEW PATE
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PALEO & WHOLE30 SHIITAKE & CASHEW PATE
Our Paleo & Whole30 lifestyles allow us to enjoy nuts. I love to incorporate nuts into my cooking because they add flavour, texture, and substance to almost every course within a meal, from appetizers to desserts. They are also a high source of protein and calcium! When living the Paleo, grain-free, or Whole30 lifestyle, be sure to hunt for sources of calcium because dairy is forbidden.
I use a variety of nuts in my homemade pestos. But beyond pesto, nuts have remained in the background of my culinary repertoire.
RECIPE NUTRITIONAL VALUE:
I used to be under the impression that nuts are high in fat and hard to digest, so should be avoided. But nuts have too much goodness to ignore. I once read that one almond per day is good for the heart and helps to prevent cancer. Research shows that 2.5 ounces of almonds per day that keep this muscle pumping. New research shows that if you eat this quantity of almonds per day for one month, your LDL cholesterol level will reduce by 9.4 percent.
Arginine is a heart-healthy amino acid – contained in almonds – that boosts nitric oxide, relaxing the blood vessels. This amino acid supports flexible arteries and healthy blood.
The vitamin E in almonds helps to reduce the risk of cancer. Getting sufficient Vitamin E in your diet can also potentially mitigate other risks, such as cataracts and Alzheimer’s, and it can slow ageing.
Almonds seem to have a right P.R. firm working for them. We find almonds incorporated into dishes and foods. But many other nuts are as good for us. This doesn’t justify raiding the refrigerator to place a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter into one’s mouth. Moderation is the key to eating and drinking.
Cashews are my favourite. A native of eastern Brazil, cashews are the seeds of the cashew apple that grows on the cashew tree. Contrary to popular belief, cashews have less fat than other nuts. About 75% of the fat within this seed is an unsaturated fatty acid called ‘oleic acid.’ Oleic acid is the same monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. And we know the benefits of olive oil!
Science now reveals that oleic acid is good for the heart. Research tells us that monounsaturated fat, when added to a low-fat diet, can help to reduce high triglyceride levels. Elevated triglycerides are related to heart disease.
Pistachios should be considered a superfood. Full of fibre and protein, they are low in calories and fat and contain a good source of 30 different vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including copper, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and B6. And like red wine, pistachios also possess phenolic compounds, an antioxidant. Have you heard of plant sterols or phytosterol? Well, pistachios possess this benefit, too. Plant sterols contain cholesterol-lowering properties.
I’ve always incorporated walnuts into my pestos, as their pleasant bitterness complements red wine. Like other nuts, walnuts are high in fibre, vitamins B and E, magnesium, antioxidants, plant sterols, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. Of all the varieties, walnuts contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
RECIPE TASTE PROFILE
The predominant sensations in this hors d’oeuvre includes nuttiness from the cashews and fattiness from the cashews.
DIRTY-BIRDY WINE PARTNER (FOR THOS FOLLOWING DIRTY PALEO & DIRTY WHOLE30)
So, there’s every reason to incorporate almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, and other nut varieties into one’s diet. Be sure to include a glass of wine, however. That’s my advice. I had to bring wine into this column, as its a great love of mine and it was my career (wine and food journalist, author) for over 2 decades.
For variety, consider nuts for appetizers when entertaining. Their weight, texture, and flavour can create extraordinary recipes that partner well with wine. Be sure to use unsalted nuts to keep sodium intake reasonable and to control the salt content of your recipe.
Make sure that you consider the weight, texture, and flavour of the appetizer featuring nuts when choosing an accompanying vintage.
Mildly flavoured nuts such as almonds and pistachios in appetizers complement white wines. Because nuts have a heavy texture and healthy fat, in general, choose full-bodied whites. Look for whites from warm climates with higher alcohol. Alcohol increases the viscosity (thickness) in wine, giving it a fatty mouthfeel. Or look for barrel-fermented and aged Chardonnays. Barrel fermentation adds loads of flavour and complexity that can stand up to the taste of nuts.
Your nut appetizer might be too heavy to partner with light-bodied, crisp, dry whites such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris. Pine nuts might be an exception to this rule if sprinkled sparingly on the dip or appetizer.
Cashews and walnuts demand reds. The heavy weight and earthy flavour of this appetizer demands a full-bodied, rich earthy red wine, such as Amarone from Italy. In the making of Amarone, the grapes are left to dry, shrivel and become concentrated. This process is called appassimento or rasinate (to dry and shrivel) in Italian and gives the resulting wine richness, depth and concentrated flavours.
In the summer, I like to keep a variety of homemade nut pestos on hand for last-minute entertaining. Spread nut pesto onto any Paleo or Keto toasted canapé or cucumber slice to create a stunning appetizer to partner with wine. I use fresh mint from my garden to make my pestos. When incorporated with lots of raw garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and strong-tasting nuts, the mint flavour subsides in the pesto. What is left is the ‘herbal’ flavour that blends nicely with all the other ingredients. Friends cannot tell the difference. I use fresh mint in place of basil because it multiplies and takes over the garden if not controlled. Therefore there is always available mint on hand when needed. I also avoid pine nuts because of their price. There are so many other delicious nuts that are reasonably priced, work in pestos, and complement wine.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 3
- Total Time: 18
- Yield: 4 to 6 1x
- Category: PALEO & WHOLE30
- Method: SAUTE
- Cuisine: BRUNCH, LUNCH, DINNER
- Diet: Gluten Free
1/3 cup avocado oil (if mushrooms are dried)
½ cup chopped scallions
1¼ lb shiitake mushrooms, chopped*
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
½ tsp cumin
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
¼ cup avocado oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 tsp fresh and finely grated lemon zest
2 English cucumbers, sliced
*If fresh shiitake mushrooms are not in season or you’re working on a budget, choose a less expensive wild mushroom (such as Portobello) and buy a small bag of dried shiitake mushrooms (2.5 to 4 ounces). Soak the dried mushrooms in the 1/3 cup of avocado oil, as the oil will absorb much of the exotic shiitake taste. Add the oil and hydrated. Add shiitake mushrooms to the sauté pan with the portobellos.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet on high heat. Add the scallions, mushrooms, garlic, curry and cumin. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a food processor, grind up cashews. Slowly add olive oil until it is a thick paste. Transfer nut paste into a bowl. Add mushroom mixture to food processor and puree. Transfer the mushroom mixture into the same bowl and fold them together. Cover pate with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavours to meld. As guests arrive, serve pate with cucumber canapes.
Pate can be made with any nuts of choice.
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