tomato-sunflower seed pâté recipe

time ::::


Children have a warped concept of time. There are twists and turns of our linear concepts, conflation of units, as well as compression and expansion of said units depending on what is happening at the time. The idea of “one second” to “one minute” can be very confusing, for instance.

“Mommy,” Peach may groan, “it’s taking soooooooo long.” A 20 minute drive to the much-anticipated first day of school may appear to be forever in her eyes. But when I give the same time frame for cartoon screen time, it seems too short. “Noooooooooo!” Peach or Grub may wail. “I just started my moooooovie!”

“Mommy, I want to stay for one more minute,” Grub says emphatically when we are at the park, possibly confusing the time for one hour. Eat and I often give units of time in “Doras,” meaning 30 minutes is about as long as an episode of Dora the Explorer.

“How long will it take to get [to somewhere fun]?” Peach or Grub may ask as we drive somewhere.

“Two Doras,” Eat or I would answer.

“When is Daddy going to be home?” Peach and Grub often ask this question while Eat is in the Democratic Republic of Congo getting up databases for the Ebola outbreak investigation (yes, really!). For that I do not have much of an answer except “many days.” There is usually a groan after my answer, stemming from the undeniable fact that a month of Mommy gets boring. The grandparents visiting abate this attitude a little.


As an adult, years pass like minutes and seconds, though with children the nights are long and the months are short. Kids’ sense of time is in the “now” and the immediate, unencumbered by grown-up cares and worries. I often find myself distracted too easily by the obligatory duties (paying bills, doing laundry, etc.), rather than the beauty of the little things. Even the things that seem mundane when you don’t have time or focus to inspect more carefully, like the play of light in dust motes, the visual swirl of air when I run my hand through it, they are lost. And for parents, there is a often forgetting, rather than a blissful ignorance, of this, as we navigate life with children. It’s that forgetting of much of the ups and downs of children, undoubtedly lost on aberrant sleep hygiene.

Which leads me to this forgetting and seeming compression of time. I first made this tomato-sunflower seed pâté months ago, loving it packed in crocks for lunch but promptly forgetting about it and my photos, fully diverted by work, anticipating moving (we weren’t sure where it was going to be yet but knew it would be happening in the summer), and general activities for the kids. Was it really three months ago that we moved across the country? Already?


Make this. Don’t forget about it. Enjoy the now.

Recipe slightly adapted from the wonderful my new roots blog.

One year ago: turtle cupcakes (Grub’s third birthday)

Two years ago: turbinado sugar cookies (Grub’s second birthday) and no-knead bread and croutons

Three years ago: plum kuchen and pimento cheese and pear galette (Grub’s first birthday)

tomato-sunflower seed pâté recipe
Recipe type: appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 1½ cups to 2 cups raw shelled sunflower seeds (I like 2 cups better)
  • 10-12 sundried tomato halves [I prefer the unsalted, dry (not oil-packed) halves. Check the ingredients and see if they are salted. If so, decrease the soy sauce and/or salt you add later.]
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice + zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • sea salt + pepper to taste
  1. Place sunflower seeds in a bowl and immerse in cool water. Soak for 4 to 8 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. Pour boiling water over sundried tomatoes and soak for about 20 minutes, until they have softened. Drain and reserve soaking liquid. Roughly chop and set aside.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached (smooth, chunky, you decide). For a creamy texture, Sarah recommends adding tomato soaking liquid one tablespoon at a time (I used about 2 tablespoons for the consistency I wanted).
  4. Store in an airtight container or pack into crocks (I used ramekins and covered with plastic wrap) in the fridge for up to 7 days. Serve with fresh raw vegetables or hearty bread/crackers.



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