Smooth and Creamy Chicken Liver Pate

Super rich and creamy chicken liver pate.

Super rich and creamy chicken liver pate.

I haven’t blogged for so long that I forgot my password.  And truth be told I originally wrote this back in September of 2012 but am just now getting around to adding a picture.  This is my favorite pate.  I had a pate at a great restaurant and I really liked it.  It was a little different than what I’ve had before and it got me playing in the kitchen with it.  I have made this so many times now and this is the first time I have written the recipe down.  This is not for those with a fat phobia.  It has a stick and a half of butter in it.  I’m telling you that I alone can polish off a pound of chicken livers in a couple days all by myself and you should know that I don’t like liver.  I guess I should say I didn’t like liver because I love this.

Here is what you will need.

1 cup cream sherry

1 small onion finely chopped

10 whole allspice berries (are these things berries?)

5 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

10 whole black peppercorns

fresh nutmeg (just a few grates over the microplane)

2 bay leaves

1 – 1.25 lb of chicken livers (the worst part of this recipe is removing all the connective tissue)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 stick of salted butter

salt to taste

approximately 4 -6 T melted butter (I like to use Kerrygold pastured butter for this part because it tastes better and the color is so rich.)

Serve with plain rice crackers and a fruit only (no sugar) jam or jelly

In a large saucepan add the sherry, onion, cinnamon stick, allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves and cloves.  Simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes while you clean the livers.  Then add the livers and ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg.  Cook about another ten minutes, covered, over medium high heat until the livers are just cooked through.  Don’t overcook them as it makes them tough.  By the time they are cooked through most of the liquid as reduced.  Remove from heat.  Here comes the tedious part.  You have to go through and remove all the allspice, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and the cinnamon stick.  This is why its a good idea to count them out before you add them so that you can make sure you get them all out.  Add the livers to a food processor or Vitamix.  Turn it on and add a stick of cold butter one tablespoon at a time while it is running.  Turn it off intermittently to scrape down the sides.  Let it run for at least 5 minutes depending on how effective your food processor is.  It won’t take that long if you are doing it in a Vitamix.  Add salt to taste.  It should end up being completely smooth.  Then pour the pate into three or four ramekins.  Smooth the tops and cover with the remaining melted butter.  This will seal it and it will keep in the fridge for a week but I can tell you that it won’t last that long.  (Incidentally it also freezes well.  Defrost it in the fridge.)  Let it set in the fridge overnight covered with plastic wrap.  My favorite way to have this is in big wedges on a plain rice cracker topped with a tiny dot of jam or jelly.

Crunchy Paleo Cranberry and Seed Crackers

Paleo Cranberry and Seed Crackers

Paleo Cranberry and Seed Crackers

 

Have you been looking for a good grain free cracker that is crispy and crunchy like a cracker should be?  Me too.  I like my previous crackers very much.  They were almond and flax based and very tasty.  These crackers however are completely different.  No almonds in sight.  They are very crispy and crunchy and will stand up to being heavily smeared with goat cheese.  I served these at a dinner party last weekend to a bunch of non paleo, gluten eaters and there wasn’t a crumb left over.  I think that speaks volumes.  I got the idea for this after making Carol’s Gluten Free Seed and Nut Bread.  I made it exactly as written which is a rare thing for me and it was amazing.  I got thinking that it reminded me of a GF cracker I had this summer in Whistler, BC.  These crackers are the best GF cracker I’ve ever had but they are not grain free and the only variety that is GF is impossible to find in stores which I personally think is a mistake on their part.  So with Carols bread recipe and that cracker in my head I came up with this amazing little cracker.  This is 100% exactly what I wanted it to be.

1 cup sunbutter (as in peanut butter made out of sunflower seeds instead of peanuts.  Trader Joes carries it.)

3 eggs

2 T coconut oil

2 T honey

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 T chia seeds

1/2 cup dried whole cranberries**

12 unsulfured dried apricots diced to about the size of the cranberries

1 cup whole roasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a standard sized loaf pan with coconut oil then line the pan with wax paper.  Cut off the paper that hangs over the sides of the pan.  This doesn’t have to be pretty.  It just helps the loaf pop out easily.  With a hand mixer combine the sunbutter, eggs, oil, honey and salt.  Mix in the tapioca and chia seeds.  When that is well mixed hand stir in the apricots, cranberries and pumpkin seeds.  Put the batter in the pan and smooth out the top.  Bake for 45 minutes and cool.  Slice the loaf as thinly as you can.  I cut each slice in half so that they are smaller.  Line a cookie sheet with parchement paper.  Lay the crackers out on the pan.  Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes or until they are lightly browned, dry and crispy.  Let them cool completely.  They become more crunchy when they are cooled.

**I have used dried cherries in here too.

Asian Slaw

Yes, those are peanuts in the picture.  No, I don’t usually eat those.  Sunflower seeds are a better choice.  The second time I made this I did have sunflower seeds and used those.  I liked it better.  I came up with this idea after eating at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.  I get the same salad every time I go there.  Their version likely has soy in it and now that I think about it probably wheat because they use regular soy sauce.  Hmmm and I wonder what they sweeten it with.  I know it isn’t honey… Crap!  The restaurant also adds daikon radish, shrimp and BBQ pork (and does not have the seaweed in it).  I want to try that at home too but that will require some pre-planning.  Does ayone have a good recipe for Vietnamese BBQ pork??   This salad is sweet and salty and was whipped up in 10 minutes.  I almost didn’t post this recipe.  I realize that most people don’t keep Thai basil and arame in their house as a staple. I don’t expect this to be a very popular post.  However, this is currently my favorite salad and if you happen to have access to the ingredients I highly recommend it.

Asian Slaw

Half a head of green cabbage – shredded

1 english cucumber with the skin on – quartered and sliced

fresh Thai basil – handful

fresh mint – handful

big pinch of dried arame (seaweed)

sunflower seeds as a topping

Dressing

1/4 cup EVOO

3 T Braggs liquid aminos or coconut aminos

1 T sesame oil

1/4 cup unsweetened rice vinegar

3-4 T raw honey

Soak the arame in room temperature water.  It softens in just a few minutes and doubles or triples in size.  Next make your dressing.  Combine all ingredients in another bowl and whisk together until well blended.  In your food processor using the slicing blade shred half a head of cabbage.  You could do this by hand too if you are less lazy than I.  Then slice your english cucumber lengthwise into quarters and feed it through the food processor (or slice by hand).  Very coarsely chop the Thai basil and mint.  Add cabbage, basil, cucumber, mint and arame to a large bowl.  Mix everything together.  Dress the salad as you need it.  The dressing keeps well in the fridge.  Top with a handful of sunflower seeds.

This post was shared at http://www.realfoodwholehealth.com/2012/01/fresh-bites-friday-january-27-2012/

Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Pate

Ok, I’ve been MIA forever and now I come back with this?! I suspect that I will lose several followers. Sorry. (Hi!! to all my new ones!)  I must tell you though that I have been firmly in the “I hate liver” camp my whole life. I understand completely if you just click on by. I get it. I do. I have been reading over and over in so many places that liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods available. (Here is some info on calves liver.) And it’s cheap. For those reasons alone I have been making an effort to try liver again. My first try was beef liver. I prepped it, soaked it, fried it with bacon and onions. Still, it was liver. It was bad. I took one bite and that was the end of it. I just couldn’t get it down. Hats off to those of you who can. The taste was almost tolerable but it was that texture. Ugh! I had given up when I read that some people who hate beef liver like chicken liver. So maybe it was worth trying. I made chicken liver pate. Most, if not all, of the recipes I came across had butter in it. Mine had to be dairy free. The first time I made it I was pleased. I actually liked it.  I’ve been a closet pate maker and consumer for the past 6 months. Now I am stepping out of the closet and sharing with you my recipe. I’ve tweaked and fine tuned it. And I must say, it is pretty damn amazing, despite the unappetizing picture! Really. It is. I promise. Please try it. You won’t be disappointed.

Chicken Liver Pate

2 T bacon fat
1 lb organic chicken livers, trimmed (yes, this part I hate)
1/2 large onion, chopped
3/4 tsp sea salt (I like salty things. If you don’t, scale this back a bit.)
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground sage
 1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup cream sherry 
1 very fresh organic egg (optional)

In a large saute pan heat bacon fat. (You do save your bacon fat don’t you?) Add chopped onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken livers, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, bay and cinnamon. Saute on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes until onions are well cooked. Add the cream sherry and increase heat to medium high. Simmer until nearly all liquid has reduced. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and process until pate is very smooth. If you like a softer more spreadable pate like I do add a very fresh egg and process again until well blended. If you have concerns about raw eggs or can’t get anything but a store egg just skip it.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.  Serve cold with celery sticks or my Grain Free Rosemary Almond Flax Crackers.

This post was entered in Monday Mania over at The Healthy Home Economist 8/1/11.

My Morning 8 Ball – Squash “Pancakes”

Paleo Pancakes

Paleo Pancakes

Several weeks ago I signed up for my first CSA (community supported agriculture). A CSA is a wonderful thing. (If you are in the Phoenix area, this is the one I use.) I have been so impressed with everything about this. Once a week I pick up a large paper bag filled with 8 different things. It is mostly veggies and occasionally some fruit. Everything is organic, local and SUPER fresh. Another reason I am loving this is that I am receiving things that I normally wouldn’t buy or even think to try. One week there were dandelion greens in the bag. I had never tried them before and for that matter have never seen them for sale anywhere either. We tried them and liked them. It’s been fun for me to figure out what to do with the variety of foods I receive each week. Last week I received a squash I had never seen of, nor heard of, before. It’s called an eight ball squash. The first time I made them I stuffed them with a meat/veggie mix and covered them with a vegan “cheese” sauce. It was pretty good but not blog worthy. I got more of those squash this week. On a whim I came up with this. It was so incredibly good! My very picky four-year old said, “they don’t look very good but they are YUMMY!” I was honestly stunned. She ate 3 of them! They are simple, low carb and very satisfying. I fried these in lots of bacon fat which added a lot of flavor to a relatively bland veggie. You save your bacon fat, right? That stuff is like gold! Since most people probably don’t have eight ball squash lying around you could use yellow squash, grey mexican or zucchini too. They taste very similar. I served them with a Vietnamese style dipping sauce. These savory pancakes are low carb, GAPS legal, grain, soy, dairy, corn, and gluten free.

See mom, here is another grain free breakfast!

Eightball Squash Savory Pancakes

2 eight ball squash (navel orange size)

6 eggs

1 tsp celtic sea salt (to taste – I like salt so beware)

freshly ground black pepper

1 T coarsely chopped fresh basil

bacon fat or fat of choice

Vietnamese Style Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup preservative free fish sauce

juice of 1 lemon

2 T water

freshly ground black pepper

Slice squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Then with a veggie peeler, peel the skin off. Cut in large chunks and place in food processor. Pulse briefly to a coarse chop, then add eggs, salt, pepper and basil to bowl and process again until well combined. In a preheated cast iron pan add 2-3 T bacon fat. Then scoop egg /squash mixture out in 2-3 T heaps. Fry on med – med/low until eggs are set and the bottoms are browned. Carefully flip. They are quite tender so you really need a lot of fat in the pan so they don’t break apart due to sticking. Cook the second side until browned. Remove from pan to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up any extra drippings.

While you are frying the rest of the pancakes mix all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl.

Serve together while pancakes are still hot.

This recipe has been shared at Monday Mania 6/6/11 @ The Healthy Home Economist.

Almond Flax Crackers

Almond Flax CrackersI miss crackers. Sometimes you just need something crunchy and something to dip that is still grain free. I have made almond flour crackers before but I used my own homemade almond flour. They tasted great but they broke easily and were very tender, almost soft. I think that had something to do with the fat content in it. This time around they were perfect as I used store bought almond flour. They were super quick and easy to make and were crunchy, not soft or crumbly. I ate them with my homemade chicken liver pate and they were exactly what I was craving. Here is what I did.

Almond Flax Crackers

2 cups blanched almond flour (I used Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour)

1/4 cup ground flax meal

1-2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 egg white

sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325. Mix everything together with your hands. If the dough is a bit dry and won’t quite hold together you can add 1 tsp of water at a time until it just holds together. When everything is well mixed and the dough sticks together transfer it in a ball onto a piece of parchment paper. Press the dough down to flatten it a bit then cover with a second piece of parchment paper and roll the dough out until it is uniformly to the desired thickness. If the sides crack apart just push them back together a bit. Carefully transfer the rolled cracker onto a large cookie sheet. The flattened dough should take up most of the sheet. Score with pizza cutter into small squares. Sprinkle the tops of the crackers with a coarse sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes. Check for light browning the crackers. If they are not browning yet bake in 5 minute increments until they are. If they are not baked enough they turn out a bit soft. If they are too brown they don’t taste as good. When they are done leave them on the cookie sheet to cool completely. They firm up and become crispy once they are cool. When cool break them apart and store in an airtight container.

Trail Mix

The never ending search to find snacks the kids will eat and that I can feel good about will likely never end. I made this trail mix this week and it is a winner. My six year old has taken a bunch of it each day to school and the container comes home empty. It makes me happy. For me, it was breakfast today. See mom, breakfast is possible without grain! 😉

Trail Mix

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

3/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds

1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

sea salt to taste

cinnamon (maybe 1/2 tsp) *use more or less depending on preferences

nutmeg (maybe 1/4 tsp)

1 1/2 T melted virgin coconut oil

1/4 cup honey (more or less to taste)

1 T vanilla

1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix everything together except the honey and the vanilla. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread nuts with spices and oil on baking sheet. Bake for 2-3 minutes. While that is baking mix honey and vanilla. Then pour the honey and vanilla mix over top of the nuts and mix well. Put nuts back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Every 2-3 minutes stir nuts. Watch that they don’t burn as they can burn quickly. When most of the honey mix has reduced they are done. They will still appear wet when hot but when they cool the honey hardens and dries. Add cranberries or other dried fruit when still hot and mix well. Allow to cool before serving.