Chopped Liver with Prunes and Marsala

Here’s the thing…I have posted a chopped liver recipe before, but back then, my blog was a little bland. A little unspecific. And, probably, extremely ill edited. So, I thought it warranted a repost. After all, this most perfect union of meat, fat, and onions can’t really be posted enough, can it?
Okay, you can stop staring me down. After this year, I won’t post it any more.
Chopped Liver

Ingredients:
2 lbs. chicken livers, rinsed in a colander until the water runs clear
4 onions, sliced
1/4 lb. chicken fat (Or 1/4 cup ready made schmaltz)
about 15 pitted prunes
1/3 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper, to taste

1) Put the chicken fat in a pan over medium low heat. You want the fat to melt very slowly, so it doesn’t burn. This is called rendering the fat and will result in crispy skin(gribenes), and liquid gold(schmaltz). If the liquid starts to turn golden brown or give off a strong aroma, turn down the heat immediately.

2) When the fat is melted (about 20 minutes), remove the gribenes and pour the onions into the pan.

 3) Turn the pan on medium high and really fry those onions. You don’t want a golden brown color, you really want a darkly caramelized and fried color. This will likely take at least 25 minutes.

Chicken skin sexy photo shot break…these would be great crumbled up over hot popcorn…okay, now back to the recipe!

When the onions look like above, take them out of the pan to drain on a paper towel, but leave the pan on the stove.

 4) Dump the chicken livers into the pan, and…

saute them until they look like this – a rather unappetizing grey. It will take around 15 minutes. You know you are done when you cut into the largest liver and the middle is just BARELY a pale pink. This isn’t the time for rosy red livers.

 5) Put the hot livers in your food processor.

 6) Add your prunes.

 7) As you start the processor, drizzle in your wine…

 and your cream.

 8) When the pate is smooth, put it in a large bowl. Add a hefty amount of salt and pepper (the liver REALLY needs a good amount of salt),

 and the onions.

 9) Now mix with a spoon and taste, taste, taste! Is it too bland? Add more salt. Too acidic? Puree up a few more prunes with some cream and add the puree to the dish. Too sweet? Time for some more Marsala. When the liver tastes good to you, wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to overnight. The flavors will really develop over this time.

 10) Serve. 
This is rich – like, Warren Buffet rich. Some people dig it on bagel chips, but I prefer mine with celery sticks and endive spears – some crisp, clean vegetable that really showcases the decadent nature of the meat. This is not overtly liver-y. It is really rather mild as far as pates go, thanks to the prunes and cream. The onions add a chewy, crunchy element and the Marsala adds a tang and depth that only alcohol can truly give(don’t worry, the heat of the liver cooks the alcohol in the processor). This is just so great. Anyone who has never had chopped liver will like this. Anyone who has ever had chopped liver will LOVE this.

And forget what I said above. I am totally going to post this recipe every year. It’s just that great.

I Love Tator Tots and Alcohol

I know, I know, I said the last post would be my last one of the week. But I wanted to include a few miscellaneous shots of food and drink that really deserve a spot on the blog. 
Foods for Which I am Thankful:
Cheesy Tots from Big Daddy’s
Fluffy, crispy, perfectly greasy tator tots covered in a blanket of mild, melty Cheez Whiz. 
Burrata-Anchovy Toast from D Bar
This tiny bar next to Donatella offers elegant cocktials, a dark, romantic atmosphere, and the ability to order anything off them menu form Donatella to be delivered to you at the bar. These crostini are the perfect accompaniment to an herbal cucumber martini: perfectly toasted bread, creamy burrata cheese, and a mild, slightly salty anchovy topping the whole thing. 
The Drinks at Mulberry Project
This unmarked bar in Chinatown offers you the chance to create your own bespoke cocktail based on an alcohol of your choice and the most seasonal ingredients at the greenmarket. My summery choice included slightly dry prosecco, sweet peaches, and savory charred rosemary. Be warded that no matter how much you love your drink, you won’t be able to order it twice – the bartenders insist on making you something new each time. Best to get reservations, and be warned that jeans and flip flops are not allowed (found that one out the hard way).
Say what you will about the rest of the food being sub par and the service being apathetic at best, but there is nothing like bellying up to the bar at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, ordering a dozen of the freshest oysters in town, and people watching. I dare you to dine there and not feel like Don Draper
99 Cent Pizza (slathered in vinegary hot sauce)
Really? Must I say more than this?
The only thing left to say is Happy Thanksgiving.

Maison Du Chocolat Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is…
Yes, I realize how tiny that is, so I will let you know that the winner is commenter #8…
FEISTY FOODIE!
Feisty Foodie, let me know your address and I will get you your fabulous chocolates post haste! Thanks to everyone for all the commenting and retweets!

Las Vegas is for Foodies

Let’s do a recap on a Las Vegas trip I took recently…
And in the meantime, check out this article about gross candy that I recently wrote…seriously, that poop candy is the stuff of a 12 year old boy’s dream. 
Or my dad’s. 
Meanwhile, my dreams go something like this:
 Bollinger Grande Annee Champagne. Rich, toasty, yeasty, rather aggressively bubbly. Goes with everything, especially Fritos. And foie. 
 Dessert at the Wicked Spoon. The service left something to be desired, but the (unpictured) homemead ice cream was smooth, deeply flavored and tasted creamy, not icy or milky. And that thing on the far left? That is a chocolate covered Kit Kat topped with malt balls. 
Yeah, that reaction you just had was my reaction to: Awesome. 
 Homemade Potato Chips with Maytag Blue Cheese Sauce at Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill. I have had many iterations of blue cheese and potatoes, and this is my favorite in the WORLD. Fresh potato chips, unsalted so the unadulterated, earthy taste of the potato shines through, pairing with the funky, creamy, stringy, melty blue cheese sauce. My mouth is watering. Oh no, wait…I actually just drooled. More on this to follow…these. are. perfection. 
 Lotus of Siam Sour Sausage. I have always said that I love Thai food, but realized after eating here that I had never REALLY eaten Thai food. Sorry, Pam Real Thai, but I hadn’t. These flavors were so subtle and harmonious, and the heat was so in conjunction versus in competition with the mildness that it…well, it blew me away. Sour, meaty, sweet and crunchy…let’s just say I ate a lot of sausage that night.
That’s what she said. 
And…oh yeah…
This happened. And I’m glad it did, because we did a LOT of eating in Sin City, and that extra money came in handy!

Veselka – A Diner Worth the Schelp to the East Village

You know when you visit a place that you want to be great, but it just lets you down?
This is NOT one of those times.

Veselka is a well known Ukrainian diner/restaurant in the East Village that has been heralded for everything form its cheeseburgers to its borscht to its huge dessert menu. With a no-reservations policy, wait times can be long, but on Memorial Day Sunday, there was nothing to worry about! Our party of 5 was seated in 15 minutes at a peak time of 11 am. 
I love being in the city when everyone else is getting sand in their food at the beach.
I’m antisocial like that.
If you order a breakfast special(you can also order a brunch special, breakfast a la carte, a daily special, lunch or dinner items, and probably a partridge in a pear tree), you will recieive a tiny glass of orange juice.

Told you it was tiny. And it looks almost insulting next to the normal sized cup of coffee. Then you take a sip.
Wowee, zowee! This is a sweet, tart but not sour, and just LIGHTLY pulpy shot glass of juice. I felt healthier and more vibrant just with one sip.Is it just me, or have most restaurants been serving orange juice that tastes like battery acid? This was utterly fabulous, and sorry if I am waxing poetic about juice, but…well, I just don’t drink a lot of juice.
I know, I know…I don’t drink juice AND I’m antisocial. So shoot me.
2 Scrambled Eggs, Potato Pancake and Toast

This was just delightful. Delicately scrambled eggs, creamy but not watery, perfectly mild next to the vinegary, hot hit of Tabasco I added.

Standard wheat toast – good but nothing amazing. 

But oh yeah. There was this:

Potato pancake. WHOA! I thought we made good latkes…and we do…but I tend to dislike restaurants’ versions, finding them too greasy or salty or mushy or…well, you get the pictures.
These passed the test with FLYING colors!
With a texture similar to McDonald’s hash browns, the exterior was well browned, with an thick crust that audibly crunched when my fork broke through it to the creamy, well peppered insides. This was everything that you want a potato dish to be, texturally and taste-wise.
Let’s put it this way…next time I am getting a plate.
I also sampled the excellent corned beef hash and garlicky kielbasa (Ukrainian sausage) that was peppery but not spicy. Perfect for breakfast.
You know what else is perfect for breakfast?
Carrot cake.

This frosting was a little sweet for my taste – I like a cream cheese frosting that is richer than it is sweet-but the cake was excellent. Moist, redolent of cinnamon and nutmeg and loaded with walnuts. A bit heavier on the icing and lighter on the sugar would have just catapulted it over the top.
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Yeah, this is basically as good as it looks. 
3 layers (1 each)of white, milk and dark chocolate mousse, fluffy and sweet, over a deeply flavored dark chocolate cake base, slightly bitter to contrast with the mousse’s sweetness. The white mousse was the sweetest, the milk was luxuriously rich tasting and the dark was the most subdued, acting as a grounding flavor for the other mousses. Breakfast dessert…I could get into that. 
And you should get yourself into Veselka. Good service, good prices, GREAT food! I will definitely be back for their pierogies and other Ukrainian specialties.
Aww, who am I kidding…I will be back to try the cheeseburger too.
Because it’s really great to find a place that lives up to the hype.

Veselka on Urbanspoon

Philly Food Giveaway Winner!

Okay, just in time for the holiday weekend, the big winner is…
MARY!
Mary, please send me your address so I can send you your sweets!
Everyone, thank you so much for entering! There will definitely be more giveaways in the Fritos and Foie Gras future!!
Now, have a fun and relaxing holiday weekend…unless you don’t deserve it…in which case…
Bake some cookies and send them to me!

NYOysterLovers Meetup at DBGB

Sorry, previous best friends. 
You all are OUT. Because I am now BFFs with the people in NYOysterLovers. It is a Meetup group that is solely comprised of people who love these briny bivalves. I love oysters, but don’t know a damn thing about them. Or, I didn’t till I came to an awesome meal put together by the organizers of the group.
 Chef Jim Leiken of DBGB put together a 4 course oyster-stravaganza, featuring different types of oysters, all cooked, which was another different prep for me. Sure, I have had fried oysters and oyster stew, but usually I eat them raw. This was new and thrilling and…well, let’s just get into it, shall we?
 Shigoku Oysters in a Lemongrass Veloute and Hackleback Caviar. These west coast oysters were small, and by far the most similar tasting course to the raw oysters I usually enjoy. Clean, briny, a bit acidic and the perfect counterpoint to the salty caviar, herbal and creamy veloute and creamy, sweet leeks. The lemongrass was an amazing counterpart to the oysters, giving them an earthy backdrop. The oysters were airy and small, perfect for beginners. Chef Leiken told us this was straight off the menu from his days at http://www.danielnyc.com/Daniel, and his classical French technique with Asian sensibility positively shone here. 
Wild Maine Belon Oyster with Black Bean Sauce and Ramps. There are only 5,000 a year of these French oysters harvested in Maine – that’s right – only 5,000. That is how rare they are, and, honestly, how delicious. The only way to desire this would be minerally. It is SO clean yet solid, a bit denser than other oysters and has that rich, iron-y taste that only liver usually has. This is an oyster for oyster or offal lovers – it is assertive and incredibly delicious. Served with salty black bean sauce and pungent ramps, I really couldn’t have imagined a more delicious bite of seafood. At once familiar yet incredibly new and foreign, it was a slap in the face to any other oyster, and the star of the night.
Nini-Moto Oyster and Sweetbread Vol-Au-Vent with Crayfish, Chicken Oysters, Mousseron Spring Peas and Sauce Americaine. This, while incredibly rich and perhaps to the liking of someone who did not love oysters, was my least favorite dish of the night. I thought that the taste of the oyster was unpleasantly muddy tasting and overtaken by the buttery crawfish and creamy sweetbreads. The peas were delicious, as was the sauce – in fact, it was all delicious – but was more about the cooking technique than the actual taste of the oyster.  The puff pastry was a little soggy and tough on the bottom, but, them – isn’t puff pastry always that way? This was not the biggest winner for me, although the sweetbreads were totally amazing tasting – meaty yet light, and without a trace of the off-taste that offal can tend to have.
Whole Roasted Peking Duck with Pacific Oyster and Sourdough Stuffing and Local Asparagus. 
This BLEW MY MIND! The oysters here were denser, meatier, and almost fattier tasting than the other oysters. They seemed more buttery and substantial than their East cast counterparts, or even other West coast oysters. Pairing them with the slightly duck was perfect and made them seem meatier while bringing out the duck’s more salty, oceanic notes. The breast of the duck was a perfect, juicy medium and the confited leg was sticky-sweet and rich. The stuffing itself was perfectly moist, like slightly stale bread that one dips in the drippings of a pan of chicken fond. The asparagus was an incredibly fresh note, a burst of spring on a rather heavy plate – can’t beat local asparagus. 
In fact, you really can’t beat the NYOysterLovers Meetup! Julie, who runs the group, was sweet and passionate, and everyone there was an avid oyster lover who shared their knowledge and favorite oyster restaurants in the city. Chef Leiken was incredibly kind and knowledgeable as he came to the table to explain every course, and the service was nothing short of exceptional. I would come back to DBGB anytime to experience the normal menu – because, let’s face it, this meal was anything but normal!

The Port Authority Farmers Market

This is a post for those of us who live in Midtown, otherwise known as no-man’s land. There are VERY few great purveyors of produce here, and if you want anything really locally grown or organic, you usually have to schlep to Whole Foods at the Time Warner Center.
 I mean, it isn’t just like you can shuffle past the families with 2,000 kids and the men wearing FUBU jackets muttering “Lord BLESS yo motha,” and enter into some sweet little farmer’s market selling unique and high quality products, year round rain or shine.
 PSYCH! You totally can!
The Port Authority Farmer’s Market features a few farmers year round. 
Every Thursday, from 8 am to 5 pm, you can buy assorted fruits, veggies, eggs, and usually even locally made wine! Today, there was…
 A bounty from Prospect Hill Orchards in upstate New York, that ranged from apple cider…
to every sort of apple you could imagine…
 to the really good stuff. I mean, I could have eaten every pastry in this case. I have tried the apple cider donuts before, and they are perfect. Dense, wheaty, sweet yet tart, with a real apple taste. Nothing cloying or heavy, but a REAL apple cider donut that is more breakfast than dessert. 
Although, of course, I would be happy to eat them for dessert.
 Broadway Acres was there, with its assortment of goat cheeses, including a nutty Romano and a mild, grassy feta.
 The best was the creamy chevre style goat’s cheese with cheddar cheese powder and horseradish. I just love horseradish’s nasal-clearing properties, especially when mixed with the tangy cheddar and mild chevre. Clearly, I bought some.
 Katchkie Farm is always here, and thank Heaven for THAT! They have the most tender lettuce, the sweetest tomatoes and the freshest herbs. But they only have them when they are FRESH. Katchkie would rather just not show up than sell something that is not at its peak. Luckily, that never happens, since Katchkie is a year round farm and produces seasonal veggies year round. Today, along with their spicy and delicious salsa, tangy tomato jam and garlicky pickles…
 they were also selling freshly made soup, sandwiches and coleslaw…
 As well as (among other produce) pea and sunflower shoots! I tried the sunflower shoots but they were a bit bitter and acidic for me. I liked the soft, fresh tasting pea shoots that were sweet like peas but with the gentle texture of arugula. It just exchanged the peppery bite of arugula for pea’s mildness. A huge case of this cost $4. And I mean HUGE. I picked up a tomato and some bread at the grocery store near me…
And piled those pea shoots high on multigrain bread with onions, avocado, mayo and tomatoes. There was really nothing else that would taste as summery, as satisfying, as crunchy-creamy-herby-delicious as this combination.
So, get yourself to Port Authority, Midtown!

A Fritos Day in London Town

Pip pip cheerio chaps!
Yes, I am going to London this week, so the blog is taking a brief hiatus. But fear not, because next week, Fritos and Foie Gras will be back with reports on Indian food, Cadbury’s candy bars, and fish and chips.
See you next year!!

The Delicious Life

The last few weeks have had some delicious and random eats, so I thought today could be a quick recap of all the deliciousness:
random Japanese wafer cookie that tasted kinda like those cookies you used to get at Hebrew School break…not that great but impossible to eat less than 17.
My sister made a Trader Joe’s boxed gingerbread cake.  I suggested she add cranberries and cream cheese frosting.  I am a genius.  HIGHLY recommend this mix.

Delicious wings at the bar of Film Center Cafe.  Spicy but not searing, saucy, with strong blue cheese dressing and crisp veggies.  

Peanut Butter cookie from Once Upon a Tart.  Excellent.  Crisp, nutty, not too sweet, and plenty rich.  Would have been great with nutella spread on top!

Salsa tasting at Cafe Frida. Outstandingly delicious salsas, ranging from bright to smoky, from mild to HOTT!, and from tart to almost sweet and spicy.  Really a great selection, but too small a portion from the price.

Passionfruit martini from Kittichai.  Lovely surroundings, friendly bartender, fair prices.  And the drink?  Well, one more of them and I would have probably ended up with a tattoo saying “pad see eu” on my arm.  That strong. That good.
Pumpkin cake with cranberries and cream cheese frosting from Magnolia Bakery.  This was FAB!  Intensely pumpkin-y with cinnamon undertones, tender cranberries, and that sweet, rich frosting.  Really so outstanding.  I could not have improved upon it.  Moist, tender crumb.  Enough frosting.  GREAT combo of flavors! Ummm…did I say I came up with the idea for cranberry and cream cheese for my sister’s cake?  i meant Magnolia Bakery did.  😀

Malaysian food from Betel at the Malaysian Food Fest at Grand Central Terminal.  This fair was really fun!  Lots of little Malaysian bites for low prices, and shockingly not too crowded.  The wagyu braised beef was a huge hit with our crowd.  Star Anise, coriander, and other spices were stewed with this top grade beef until the protein melted on my tongue and warmed my belly.  I have never had Malaysian food before, but I will be going to Betel to try out a whole dinner there! 
Sasha clearly liked the beef.  But then, what red blooded American girl doesn’t like a good mouthful of beef?  You know what’s coming next: That’s what she said.
Betel on Urbanspoon
Magnolia Bakery on Urbanspoon