Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chopped Liver or Pate'?

It's all in the attitude....and the preparation. this is not a Kosher recipe, it is however delicious.

Even the humble chicken liver can be made into a spread that will rival those expensive duck and pork preparations at the deli or gourmet store. This creamy rich spread will make you feel like a million bucks and can be served at a holiday party with pride.

1.5 lbs of chicken livers
2 large onions
1/4 lb of butter
Salt and Pepper
Sherry or port
A little oil for cooking

Chives, or red onion for garnish.

Rough chop your onion and brown it in a pan, while the onion cooks wash and trim your livers. remove connective tissue and bits of fat with a pair of kitchen scissors, salt well on both sides. Remove brown onion from the pan and get it very hot and sear the liver. Leave without stirring and then carefully turn. I like them a little rare in the center, but you can cook to well done and it will still taste great.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry or port and put everything save the garnish in the food processor. Pulse, scape, pulse again. The butter will melt into the liver and the texture will become creamy and velvety. Add a little pepper and taste, then add more salt if needed. Spread generously on small toasts or black bread and garnish.

Serve as a first course or a passed party food. Only you will know the while thing cost about two bucks.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lobster Risotto plus Vinho Verde (Green Wine)

Trust me when I tell you any night of the week can be a romantic night if you have the right food and wine. Don't wait for Valentine's day or even the weekend. Lobster prices are at an all time low right now. I often get them from my fish man in Chinatown but Fairway had lobster in the tank today for 4.99 a pound. When was the last time you saw a lobster at this price? I grabbed one. About a pound and a half the creature was.

Like so many things the lobster did not reveal itself to me until I began to prepare it. I did a two minute boil in heavily salted water with a splash of vinegar. This does not cook the lobster through but makes it easy to crack and get out of the shell which is all you want for this recipe.

I cracked her (roe inside) pulled out all the meat and put the roe sack in very salted water and refrigerated it all.

So I had this shell, and shrimp heads in the freezer, what could prevent them from becoming a stock. Into the pot they went along with an onion and a little more salt. I let it all simmer and do it's thing for a couple of hours and then strained it and reduced it to one measly cup, but a flavorful cup it was.

A risotto it had to be.

  • The meat from one lobster prepped and chopped
  • 1 cups aborio rice
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 4 finely chopped shallots
  • 1 finely chopped garlic clove
  • chopped parsley
  • Large pinch of good saffron
  • 1 cup white wine (Vinho Verde)
  • 1 cup lobster stock
  • 1/8 pound butter
  • A good splash of cream
  • salt
ALWAYS remember when cooking risotto the liquid is an estimate, it may take a little more or a little less, you just keep stirring and watching.

Crush the saffron into the wine and warm in a pan.

In your risotto pan saute the shallots until they softens and add the garlic. When it becomes tender add the rice and the time to stir has begun. Slowly add the lobster stock and the wine as you stir, wait until the rice absorbs the liquid to add the next bit. You keep this up until the rice is chewy tender, but NOT mushy. Incorporate the butter and cream and lobster and taste for salt, salt if needed and serve. If you were lucky enough to have the roe, garnish with the roe and parsley.

We had a Vinho Verde which is a wonderful little white from Portugal. I am not the biggest white wine drinker, but this one packs a flavorful appeal and with lobster...a great pairing. The sweetness of the lobster and the richness of the cream and butter along with the nice acid of the wine and that slight apple flavor.

Lobster Risotto on Monday is the way to start your week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Saturday October 10th Inwood Farm Market

As part of my Greenmarket support I will be at Inwood this Saturday October 10th at 11 a.m. I will be doing 3 dishes with the food in season.

For those of you in NY, just take the A train to the end of the line. From Broadway and 211th take a left on 211th and the market is at the top of the hill.

If any of you have never been to Inwood you are in for a treat. It is one of the most beautiful parts of Manhattan. Green space abounds. Bring a backpack for your veg and go for a walk in the woods after the demo.

Fall vegetables are really wonderful to cook with and this Saturday we learn how to not be afraid of root vegetables. If you know what to do with a turnip it can be pretty awesome.

Speaking of fall I got an e mail from a reader complaining about the price of leeks. She has been craving potato leek soup but the price of the leek is too dear. I played a bit and came up with a Spanish onion version that is very soul satisfying.

3-4 cups of diced unpeeled potatoes (1 lb.)
8 Spanish onions peeled and very thinly sliced
2 quarts water
1 Tablespoon salt (give or take)
1/4 pound butter
olive oil
3 tablespoons minced chives or parsley

Melt half the butter and some olive oil in a large pan and slowly saute the onions until they are soft and begin to caramelize and turn pale brown. Add the water and potatoes and salt, cover and simmer for about an hour. Test to see if the potatoes are done and then take a masher or immersion blender and either mash to desired texture or blend, but not too much, unless you really want a puree. I like it a little chunky. Stir in the rest of the butter and top with the chives or parsley and some freshly ground black pepper.

Good enough for your Parisian friends.