Some of you know that my mother, Shirley Bernstein passed peacefully in Florida at the age of 91 on October 30th. I was with her. As family came to visit Shirley – mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt – we told stories. As most families do, we talked quite a lot about family gatherings, which always revolved around food. My mother gave me permission years ago to say that she was not a good cook. She was amazed at my enthusiasm for time spent in the kitchen and my career as a cooking teacher and author. My mother’s chocolate pudding, always from a box was lumpy, her jello creations had thick skin and her attempt at brownies – well, think burnt chocolate matzo and you’ll have an idea. What she did extremely well were big composed salads and chopped liver.
I gathered some family and close family friends in my small apartment last weekend to commemorate my mom, who everyone called Grandma Shirley. Food was always the main player in our family gatherings and this was no different. What I knew for sure was that I had to serve my friend Liz Hoffman’s unbelievable Mock Chopped Liver. Everyone loved this vegan version. (I’d made a double batch and it was all eaten.) Because I was so interested in the stories I heard about Mom, I forgot to take a photo of the lettuce-lined bowl of the spread I put on the table. Try it. You’ll like it! This is the easiest, tastiest and as it’s oil-free, healthiest of the mock liver spreads I have tasted. Let me know what you think!
Liz Hoffman’s Mock Chopped Liver Spread
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup dried lentils
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 large carrot, coarsely shredded
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon red miso
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the water, lentils, and salt in an open 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium, and cook uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender but still firm.
- Grind the walnuts in the food processor until almost smooth.
- Add the shredded carrot, onions, brown rice, miso, soy sauce, and pepper to the walnuts in the processor. Drain and discard any excess liquid from the cooked lentils and add them to processor. Process for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to an attractive lettuce-lined serving bowl or platter and garnish or serve chilled.
Keeping: Refrigerate in a covered container for up to a week.
Serving suggestions: rye bread, crackers, celery, endive leaves