Friday, December 28, 2018

Georgian Bean and Walnut Pate

Georgian Bean & Walnut Pate is full of flavor and truly healthy vegetarian dish. It is not only a great choice for festivities as vegan option for your guests, it is a smart choice for your everyday menu.

Blog's Category: Finger Food, Healthy, Holidays, Hors D'oeuvre, International, Vegan, Vegetarian

Georgia is a beautiful country in Kavkaz region, one of the former republic of USSR. Rich culinary traditions, amazing cuisine were always one of the most popular everywhere on a territory of former USSR. One of the less known Georgian dishes was Pkhali. Pkhali is, essentially, finely chopped or ground vegetable, seasoned with red wine vinegar, spices, fresh cilantro and generous amount of ground walnuts.  As a vegetable it can be spinach, beans, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms. This pate (pkhali) recipe made of red kidney beans.

Pate can be served in a variety of ways - on crackers, by itself, on a toast, or, as here, on a slice of roasted sweet potato.

Traditionally, Georgian pate, pkhali, is garnished with pomegranate seeds. If you've got sour pomegranate then it would be perfect for this!

If you don't like sweetness of sweet potato, use a regular potato. See below how to prepare roasted potato rounds.

Georgian Bean & Walnut Pate (Pkhali)

For about 15 pieces:
  • 1 can Dark Red Kidney beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 4 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 4 tbs olive oil (flavorless)
  • 1 tsp khmeli-suneli (or ground coriander)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped

For garnishing and serving:

  • 2-3 sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and sliced in 1/2" rounds
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • some salt
  • 2 tbs pomegranate seeds

- To roast potato, preheat oven to 420F, mix potato slices with olive oil and salt. Roast until fully cooked, with golden-brown patches. Remove from oven and let it cool down completely before use it for pate. 

- In a food processor, quickly process beans with vinegar and olive oil. Do not over-process, it should be somewhat chunky. Transfer beans in a large bowl.

- Put walnuts and garlic in a process and process until medium-fine grains.

- To the bowl with beans, add processed walnuts, all spices, salt and cilantro. Mix well. Taste. Add some vinegar, salt or pepper, if needed.

-  To serve, place roasted (cooled) potato rounds on a serving plate. Scoop pate with a disher-scoop (or just a spoon) and place on a potato slice. Top with a pomegranate seeds.

- Enjoy your healthy creation!



Friday, December 7, 2018

Japanese Kabocha Squash Soup

I couldn't praise enough this recipe for a squash soup. Made of the best of a squash family, kabocha squash, this soup has just 4 ingredients and a ton of flavor. Everything is beautiful about this soup - look, taste, nutrition, texture, simplicity, name it.

Blog's Category: Effortless, Healthy, International, Soups, Vegetarian

So far, butternut squash was my favorite among all winter squashes, mostly because its easiness of handling - easier to peel, easier to cut, etc. Now, I think my love goes completely to kabocha squash. Just now I realized unique sweetness, texture, flavor and color of this type of squash.

This particular recipe is really great and most likely is going to become my default choice for creamy squash soup. Try it, I'm sure you will love it too. Even my husband, notorious hater of all those vegetable-shmegitable creamy soups, liked it a lot.


Sure, this soup can be cooked using any kind of winter squash, and most likely still will be good. Although I insist on using kabocha squash - discover for yourself this beautiful, packed with nutrition and flavor, vegetable.

Japanese Kabocha Squash Soup

For about 5 servings:
  • 1/2 medium size (about 10") kabocha squash, peeled and cut in 1" pieces
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 2-3 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
- In a pot, melt butter and cook onion, stirring, on a medium heat, just until soft, about 3 minutes.

- Add squash, add water just until covered, bring to a boil, then switch to low and cook covered for about 15 minutes until squash is completely cooked and soft.

- Using immersion blender, blend soup into smooth and creamy soup. Add salt and cream, continue to cook stirring on a medium high and remove from heat just before it starts to boil. It's done!

- Enjoy!

- * Don't forget to check out pictures below and some useful comments there :)



 Test squash if it's done ...

 Poured some leftovers into individual glass containers. I'll take one tomorrow to work for a lunch. By the way it would be a great breakfast as well, I know in Japan people eat porridge for a breakfast. I remember my dad, in Ukraine, sometimes had soup for a breakfast as well.

Soup turned out a bit thin, but I like it like this, it still very creamy. See how nicely it covers a spoon?