Poor Man’s Foie Gras


 pate

Foie gras has been the rage in food circles for years and has also caused rage by those against animal cruelty.  As you probably know, foie gras is made from fattened goose and duck livers.  By French law, foie gras is defined as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by force feeding corn with a feeding tube, a process also known as gavage.  Gavage-based foie gras production is controversial, due mainly to the animal welfare concerns about force-feeding, intensive housing and husbandry, and enlarging the liver to 10 times its usual volume. A number of countries and jurisdictions have laws against force-feeding, and the production, import or sale of foie gras; even where it is legal, a number of retailers decline to stock it.  Wild ducks and geese will sometimes gorge themselves on food when it is plentiful and they will develop a layer of fat in their livers. This does not happen very often but if you hunt ducks and geese around rice or flooded corn fields the chances of you finding a duck or goose with a fatty liver increases.  Make sure you check the livers when cleaning the bird.  If you are lucky enough to have shot one of these ducks you will be able to prepare wild foie gras.

Whatever your feelings are on the subject of force feeding geese and ducks to produce foie gras, there is a way to enjoy your duck livers from your hunt or even organic chicken livers that can be bought at the grocery store.  While this recipe is for Pate and not foie gras, it is a delicious alternative.  The recipe uses store bought organic chicken livers.  Chicken liver is full of fat soluble vitamin A, iron, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus and selenium.  It’s also high in cholesterol, but we know that cholesterol is a good thing to have in the diet. This recipe produces a delicious, rich flavored pate that you can eat straight from the spoon or spread it on a cracker, crostini, lettuce leaf, celery or a slice of toast.  If you cannot afford foie gras or your state, country or jurisdiction prohibits foie gras, this is an inexpensive way to enjoy a rich, buttery flavored pate.   I hope you give this recipe a try!

Traditional Chicken Liver Pate

Ingredients

ingredients

1 lb chicken livers;

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2 clove garlic, minced;

garlic

2 tablespoons bacon grease or 4 slices of bacon;

1 large onion, diced;

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3/4 cup butter;

4 tbsp chopped parsley;

5 tbsp cooking sherry;

wine

Salt and pepper to taste;

Technique

Heat a large pan to medium high heat and heat the bacon grease or fry the bacon for 3 -5 minutes..

Add the onion, garlic and 1/4 of a cup of the butter and soften.

Prepare the livers by cutting out the white stringy part.

Add the livers to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes.

Once cooked through, add sherry, parsley and salt, pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and pour mixture in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

chicken liver

Pour the smooth mixture in a serving dish.

pate

Melt the remaining butter and pour over the pate evenly.

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Cover and put in the refrigerator to cool until the fat hardens.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe for chicken Pate in PaleoLeap, http://paleoleap.com/simple-and-delicious-liver-pate-recipes/

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The New Wild Forage Cookbook


This is the new Wild Forage Cookbook!  Check it out, I think you will like it.  Available in both Kindlel and paperback.

KINDLE

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UCHFYMU

PAPERBACK

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1507711255

Smoked Utah Chub – Excellent!


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Alright, we have all herd the joke about filleting the carp on a board and then throwing the carp away and cooking and eating the board.  It seems that the aversion to carp, chubs, and other so called “trash fish” is only an American idiosyncrasy.  Millions of people eat carp and chubs and other less desirable fish in Europe and Asia.  These fish in Europe and Asia are not trash fish but are considered delicacies.

So why do Americans shy away from eating these fish?  Who knows, probably because someone once said that the carp they ate tasted like mud or worse yet, tasted like trash.  Maybe that persons review was spread around and became gospel.  Or, maybe it is because these fish are not brightly colored and sleek looking and people consider them to be inferior.  Whatever the reason, many people are missing out on a truly delicious tasting fish, especially if it is cooked properly.

The other day,  I decided to fish Scofield Reservoir.  Scofield has always been a Utah powerhouse when it came to fat, football sized rainbows.  But the reservoir has also been plagued with a Utah Chub problem.  People prefer to catch trout instead of chubs.  I happen to agree with them.  Trout are a lot more fun to catch and make a tasty meal.  It is common practice when people catch chubs to kill the fish and leave them to rot or they freeze them to be used for bait during ice fishing season.  I decided that on this trip, I would keep the chubs I caught and try different recipes to see if they were truly inedible or if their bad reputation was based on years of misinformation.

I caught 10 nice size chubs and brought them home.  I cleaned and scaled them just like I would a trout. I did not fillet them.  I put 6 in the freezer to be used for later recipes and kept four out to be smoked.  I took the four chubs and marinated them for 36 hours in a whitefish marinade that I have used over the years.  I usually only marinate fish for 24 hours but I figured that the chubs may be stronger tasting then regular fish so I chose a longer marinating time.

After 36 hours, I took the fish out of the marinade and rinsed them off, patted them dry and placed them on a paper towel for half hour.  After a half hour, the fish had a tacky feel that signaled they were ready for the smoker.  I placed the fish in my Smoking Tex electric smoker, and then proceeded to  place some hickory wood chips in the smoking box.  I turned the smoker to 175 degrees and let the chubs smoke for 4.5 hours.  When the time was up, I removed the chubs and let them cool for a few moments.

Now it was time for me to try these fish and see if they really were as awful tasting as their reputation made them out to be.  Chubs have a lot of bones but the smoking process allowed me to remove the bones quite easily.  After removing the bones, I was ready for my first taste.   I counted from 10 backwards and forced myself to put that first bite in my mouth.  Surprise! The chub tasted just like any other smoked fish.  In fact, the meat was white and moist and the hint of hickory smoke and marinade made the chub taste just like whitefish or even trout.  It was actually very good and I ended up eating the entire first fish by myself.

I am not claiming that chubs taste good because there is some kind of chub lobby that wants me to promote the chub.  I am also not pretending that this fish tastes good to save face for taking them home and trying to eat them.  These fish are very tasty when smoked this way.  The flesh is very good plain, on a cracker or mixed with some mayonnaise and capers and served as a dip.

I hope that fishermen that read this article will give the Utah Chub a try.  Instead of just using them for bait or leaving them to rot on the shoreline. I hope fishermen will start to take them home and try smoking or cooking them.  Smoked whitefish is a delicacy and smoked chub tastes very similar to the whitefish!  I will continue to try recipes on the other 6 chubs I have in the freezer and I will share them with you on this blog.

Utah Chubs are a problem fish.  However, if fishermen started to focus on them as a food source we may be able to help control the Scofield chub problem by eating them.

Bon Appetite!

The following is the recipe for the Utah Chub marinade;

2 quarts water

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp black pepper

Dissolve all ingredients in water, place fish in marinade and marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours.  Smoke for 4.5 hours  at 175 degrees.  Use hickory, alder or apple wood for best results.

Big Chub

Wild Forage September Dinner Menu And Recipes


Last week, I held my first Wild Forage monthly dinner party.  I shared with you the dishes I was going to prepare and promised the recipes.  The following is a copy of the menu and the recipes for each of the meals.    The dinner and the menu items turned out great and I recommend that you try some of these recipes in your own kitchen soon.

Endive and Walnut Salad – From Saveur Magazine

Vinaigrette

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. sherry vinegar

6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, peeled and cut into paper-thin rounds

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

4 large Belgian endives

6 oz. Comte cheese, cut into small cubes

1 cup wanults, finely chopped

Instructions

1.  Make the vinaigrette: In a large bowl salad bowl, whisk together the mustard and the vinegar.  Add the olive oil in a fine stream, whisking constantly until the mixture is emulsified.  Add the shallot and the garlic, whisk, and then season to taste with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

2.  Make the salad: Cut the endive into thin crosswise slices.  Add the endive, cheese, and walnuts to the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly.  Season to taste and serve.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with a Red Pepper Cream Sauce

I bought my wild mushroom raviolis at the store.

Ingredients

Wild mushroom ravioli

2 red bell peppers

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 cup green onions chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup fresh tomatoes diced for garnish

Directions

Pre-heat broiler. Lightly coat the red peppers with vegetable oil. Grill peppers under the broiler until the skin is blackened, and the flesh has softened slightly. Place peppers in a paper bag or resealable plastic bag to cool for approximately 45 minutes.

Remove the seeds and skin from the peppers (the skin should come off the peppers easily now). Cut peppers into small pieces.

Cook Ravioli as directed.

In a skillet, cook and stir the garlic, basil, green onions and red peppers in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, so that the flavors mix.

Stir in the cream and heat. Puree with an immersion blender to desired consistency.  Add the butter, and stir until melted. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add the wine & stir. Add the parmesan, and stir until melted. Add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Tip in the Ravioli & mix.

Garnish with fresh Tomatoes, parsley & parmesan

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Cannellini Beans – From Martha Stewart

Ingredients

1 large leek, sliced

5 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 small rutabaga, peeled and chopped

2 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

8 brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Coarse salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups cooked and drained cannellini beans

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Directions

STEP 1

Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss leek, garlic, rutabaga, parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, and brussels sprouts with olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

STEP 2

Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in beans.

STEP 3

Roast until beans are crisped, about 5 minutes more. Toss vegetables with 1 teaspoon vinegar and drizzle with oil.

Roasted California Quail with a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction – From Simply Recipes

Ingredients

4 whole quail

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt

1 celery stick

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup inexpensive balsamic vinegar

Directions

1 If you are working with frozen quail, either defrost overnight in the refrigerator, or place the package in a large bowl and cover with a couple inches of room temperature water for 20 minutes.

2 Pre-heat the oven to 450-500°F. Truss the quail with kitchen string. Cut off a length of string about 18 inches long. Cross the middle of the string over the quail’s legs and bring the string around to the front of the bird, making sure it holds the wings close to the bird’s flanks. Tie the string tightly around the neck.  Allow the quail to come to room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

 3 Pat the quail dry with paper towels. Coat the quail with the olive oil and salt well. When the oven is hot, arrange the quail, breast side up, in a small roasting pan. Use pieces of the celery stick to keep the birds upright while they roast. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove the birds from the pan and set aside on a plate to rest for 10 minutes, loosely tented with foil.

4 As the quail are resting, make the sauce by putting the roasting pan on a burner set to medium heat. Discard the celery sticks. Add the chicken stock and deglaze the pan by scraping all the browned bits off the bottom. Bring this to a simmer and pour into a small pot or sauté pan. Add the balsamic vinegar, increase the heat to high and boil down to a syrup. Halfway through the boil, pour any accumulated juice from the resting quail into the sauce. When the sauce thickens and will coat the back of a spoon, it’s ready.

Serve the quail with the sauce drizzled over everything.

Roast Quail with Balsamic Reduction (photo)
Quail pictures from Simply recipes

Warm Polenta Cakes with Blue Cheese

1 cup polenta

2 cups water

2 cups milk

2 tbsp butter

Kosher salt and fresh black pepper.

Directions

In a large sauce pot bring the water and cream to a simmer.  Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly.  When the polenta boils turn it down it a very low simmer.  Let the polenta cook slowly for about 20 minutes, whisking frequently to make sure it is not clumping.  When it is thick remove it from the heat. Stir in the butter.  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.  Pour the polenta onto a lined sheet pan and chill it in the refrigerator until firm (at least one hour).

To assemble:

1 cup crumbled bleu cheese

Chilled polenta

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Using a ring cutter, cut small cakes from the chilled polenta and lay them out on a lined baking sheet.  Top each caked with 1 tbsp of crumbled bleu cheese.  Bake the cakes  for 15 minutes or until the polenta is warmed through and the cheese has melted.   Serve immediately.

Wild Blueberry Crumble- From Wild Forage

The recipe for this dessert is located on this blog at https://wildforage.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/wild-blue-berry-crumble-recipe/

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Finger Food!


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I made this small open top sandwich appetizer tonight.  It was made on the hearth bread I cooked in the wood oven yesterday.  I think this would make a good party appetizer, or a great lite dinner with a glass of wine.  The ingredients are simple and delicious;

Ingredients

1. Fresh slice of hearth bread.

2. Two slices on vine ripened tomato from your garden.

3. Some mayonnaise.

4. Slice of good Brie cheese.

5. Drizzle of olive oil.

6. Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

Slather mayonnaise onto the slice of bread.  Place two slices of tomato on top of the bread and mayonnaise.  Drizzle olive oil over tomato slices. Place slice of brie cheese on top of the tomato slices.  Drizzle a little more olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  This is a simple but elegant and delicious recipe.  Try this recipe for your next lite meal or as appetizers at your next party.  Enjoy!

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