Monday, April 20, 2009

XTra Fancy VIP Family Dinner

Big News! I'm going back to California in 1 month. I'll have to change the name of my blog! I figured before I left should have some dinner parties (for me and my four friends. Where'd you all go?) Last week, I picked up $91.70 in paychecks from Perle, racking up a grand total of $156 in my bank account. What a load of money! So I called the friends, went to the co-op and spent $75. I felt a little more like myself, lugged my new foodstuffs home and started whipping some shit up.

Recall that Sara and I had an adventure preparing Ram's Testicles last week. Our intention was to prepare a similar feast for our friends and let them in on the secret ingredient only after they had licked their plates clean. But this week at the co-op there were no balls!

But there were livers and tongue.

So, on the menu goes:

Lamb's Liver Pate

Pate is really easy to make at home. Everyone should do it! To make a really simple pate, get yourself:

1 lb of chicken livers (or pig livers, or lamb livers, or beef liver, but beef is kinda gross)
2 anchovy filets
1 tbsp of capers
1 shallot (chopped up, of course)
like, uhh...a cup of Marsala or Sherry or other sweetish fermented beverage
some butter or olive oil - whichever YOU like better

Then just sautée the shallot, anchovy, capers, in the butter (or olive oil) and when the anchovy is dissolved, crank up the heat tops and throw in your livers (which should be rinsed and dried). Cook the livers til they're just browned a little, just for a minute, and then pour in the alcohol and simmer until the alcohol's reduced by half. It should look pretty soupy. Let this cool down and shplop it in your Cuisinart or blender, blend til smooth, and there you go!

Spread it on a nice crusty baguette with some Dijon mustard and you've just knocked up your fancy level, like, 12 points.

The lamb's liver I got was super strong (see photo, smelled bad), so I ended up tempering it out with a few chicken livers, which make a smoother, sweeter, less funky pate. I sliced up some red onions, dried figs, and prunes and simmered them down with balsamic vinegar to throw on top.

After some debate, Sara and I decided that the tongue was a little too fancy for our guests, so we put it in the All-Purpose Pickling Jar that Sara had used weeks back to pickle herring to save it for ourselves later.
On the side we had roasted beets with goat cheese and Vosgienne salads with frisee, poached eggs, bacon, and warm vinaigrette. By the time I got around to poaching the eggs, I'd had a bottle of wine and couldn't swirl my water right. They were breaking all over the place, but no one seemed to care.

For our main course, I found these little Guinea Fowl at the Co-op for 6$ each! They even came with gizzards, fingers and toes. I brined these in some salt water, pepper and bay leaves for about an hour, then tied up their little feets, shoved butter patties under their skin, sprinkled them in salt, pepper, and orange peel (simmer your orange peel in some water for 2 minutes to get the scenty oils flowing) and roasted them in the oven for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, we made a knockout sauce with orange juice, stock, a little leftover ball sauce (for the fat and the flavor), some orange marmalade, apple cider vinegar, a little red wine, and the plentiful pan drippings. They were divine! Super tender and juicy, crispy skin, and the sauce was savory, sweet, and rich. After we each got our turn to suck the remnants off the carcasses, dunked our bread in the leftover sauce, poured
more wine, and wished for more.

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