I don’t usually write about my failures in the kitchen – after all, who wants to try a recipe that didn’t work? However, at the risk of sounding cliché, I’m learning the slow lesson that life is not always about the end result, but about the process that one went through to get there.
Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.
Daring Cooks always post on the 14th of the month, but I made this attempt over two weeks ago. So it appears a little out of order if you remember it was just last week that I had a miraculous find of guar gum in a natural foods store. This attempt happened before I had guar gum and before I found gluten free bread mix. We were charged with making baguettes, and after finding an awesome gluten free baguette recipe to try, learned that it would not happen without xanthan or guar gum. So, I took one of my sandwich bread recipes, and made a go without any binding agents by adding in some extra eggs and playing with the ratio of flours a bit. I have also since learned from one of my favorite gluten free chemists that gelatin or agar agar should never be used in baking, because they turn the products too brittle. I guess when making pitas or pizza dough it hasn’t been a problem for me because they are pretty flat to begin with, but for a crusty bread, brittle is definitely not a quality I’m looking for.
Unfortunately, playing with flour/liquid ratios in baking is tricky business, and when the ingredients are already quite pricy, one really has a limited number of tries to allow themselves to work on this. I tried anyways. After rising though, it was apparent that this dough had the air trapping ability of a rock – in fact, it even looked like a rock. I knew there was no way this was ever going to turn into bread, so I ended up making mini flatbread rounds out of it during the 2nd “rising time” (if you can call it that). As a flatbread, it’s not bad. As a yeasted bread, it’s a TOTAL failure.
So, while I don’t have a new gluten free bread recipe to share, I can share the lesson that I learned. Gluten free breads NEED a gum as a binding agent. They need it like I need an espresso in the morning in order to function. They need it like I need my internet to not shut off randomly during the day when the router is in the apt. two floors below me and if those tenants don’t happen to be home at the time I’m sunk unless I make the commute into back work after just leaving the place. Yes, I know that last sentence is a run on. My very life is a long run-on at times. Though now that I have the proper ingredients, I will be trying that baguette recipe I found. I just haven’t had time yet!
For the pâté, I kept it pretty simple, combining smoked salmon, garlic and cream cheese, and then wrapping it in a mustard/chive & dill pesto. I own no dishes that could mold anything, so I rolled it into a baguette shape and sealed it shut in some plastic wrap and placed it in my fridge. After 24 hrs it still hadn’t set. There are gnomes in my fridge, they turn the dial up to max temp. when my husband and I aren’t looking. Seriously, every time we go into the fridge the dial is turned up, and we are both turning it down. No idea how it keeps getting turned back up! As a result, nothing in our freezer freezes and our fridge is not a proper temperature for storing much of anything, let alone allowing a pâté to set. So if you are looking for something quick that you can throw together, this smoked salmon pâté is awesome! If you are looking to fulfill the requirements for this month’s Daring Cook’s challenge, it’s a total failure. These were the mandatory requirements:
-You must prepare one pâté recipe listed below (exceptions are allowed for participants with food restrictions, and vegans may choose their own substitutions) and one bread recipe of your choice.
– Your pâté has to 1) be baked or refrigerated (or both) for a significant amount of time, so that 2) you have to be able to unmold it onto a serving dish. This is to avoid the possibility of someone puréeing a bunch of vegetables, putting the mixture in a jar, and calling it “vegetable pâté”: that is not a pâté, that is a spread.
So in the end, my pâté is no better than a food processed spread that anyone could make in 10 minutes, exactly what I was supposed to avoid. Oh, and my pâté is not one of the recipes listed. I think I’m probably the worst at following directions in all of the Daring Cooks!
If your fridge actually gets cold though, I highly recommend this smoked salmon “pâté”. It would be great on top of baguette slices, or even crackers, and a tasty party appetizer if you have company over. Again, no cooking required, so perfect for summer!
8 oz. smoked salmon
4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 batch chive & dill pesto
2 tbs. mustard
1. Purée smoked salmon, cream cheese, and salt together until homogenized. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into a long shape like a baguette (this is a little messy). Then cover entire roll with plastic wrap, twist the ends to seal it and keep in the fridge for 15 minutes to keep it cold.
2. Remove from the fridge and unwrap. Mix pesto & mustard together. Gently press a layer of “pesto” all around until you have covered the entire roll. Then re-wrap and place in the fridge at least 2 hours for it to “set”. Though if you are quick you can probably just skip this 2nd chilling step and serve immediately.
3. When ready, remove from the fridge, slice with a clean sharp knife, and enjoy!