Posts tagged poultry
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

chicken liver pâté

chicken liver pâté

All right, I’ll get quickly to the point here. If you are celebrating Christmas, you are probably either traveling to your celebration destination or cooking a meal and preparing for the festive holiday. This is for those of you in the kitchen who might be looking for a quick appetizer that makes you look like a three star French chef, while your guests ooh and aah, and you feign hard work and great kitchen skills – this is for you. You can thank me later, but first go and see for yourself how easy and awesome this is.

chicken livers

I will warn you now that this requires three (that’s 3!) sticks of butter which is probably why it tastes so amazing and luxurious. When I served this at book club, the ladies dove right in – a sign of great success. You can make this tonight and serve this during the cocktail hour tomorrow. When you pour the warm pâté into the dish where you will serve it, don’t worry that it might seem too liquid – it will set, I promise. If you are having a bunch of people over, it might work to chill the pâté in several small dishes that you can set around your apartment or house.

i know raw liver - EW!

Or, if you are running short on small gifts to hand out, these make perfect homemade gifts. Pour the pâté into a small jar, affix a double layer of wax paper with a piece of twine or ribbon and attach a gift tag. And in an instant you have a thoughtful and luxurious gift! An appetizer that doubles as a gift too? Now that’s holiday cooking worth spending a few minutes on!

Wishing everyone celebrating Christmas a wonderful and festive holiday!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

chicken soup with matzo balls

chicken soup with matzo balls

I meant to post this earlier this week – KS was sick this weekend and I made him this chicken soup. But then I came down with a horrible stomach bug on Wednesday and could do no more than sleep while trying to shake of a fever. Now that I’m better, I have to share this chicken soup recipe with you before it gets way too hot for chicken soup. Because this was KS’s favorite soup to date and besides the porcini mushroom soup which I can’t speak highly enough of, this might be mine too.

Everything in the soup just worked, the flavors were deep, developed, perfect. It possessed a thick heartiness to it, and filled your belly with warm, comforting, familiar flavors. I call it my everything-but-the-kitchen-sink soup. I put a lot of various things in it and it does take some time to make, but it is totally and wholly worth it.

the WHOLE chicken this you skim and toss... eww.
turnip parsnip

Don’t forget to skim the frothy part of the broth when the whole thing boils for the first time – for that I’ve included a rather unappetising picture of the froth – so you know what it looks like and are compelled to skim it ever-so-vigilantly.

matzo meal floating in the soup

I would also steer you in the direction of buying a whole chicken, rather than chicken parts. I’m convinced that there’s something magical in the proportion of white meat and dark meat and it makes the broth just right texture wise. It’s just as simple to pull the bones out of a whole chicken as chicken parts – when it’s so fully cooked it’s falling off the bone, the whole process takes mere minutes. Besides, when you get a whole chicken, you get the neck, the giblets and the tiny chicken liver – and aren’t those the best parts?

chicken soup with matzo balls

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Friday, April 18, 2008

chicken piccata

chicken piccata

There comes a point at every Passover when I begin to grow tired of the traditional dishes, the gefilte fish starts looking revolting, and no matter which way you slice it, all I really want is a bagel, or a bowl of pasta, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; simple and gratifying,. They are all humble foods, honest and filling, and I miss them terribly. The eight days begin to seem interminable. What can I say – I like my leavened starches!

But truth be told, I doubt I would miss any of those things, if I could take the entire week off and just focus on Passover cooking, if I didn’t have to balance it with a 12-hour workday. I could get creative and just spend my days creating holiday appropriate dishes. I have always wanted to host a Mediterranean seder, serving some Italian and Greek-inspired dishes. Maybe a roasted rack of lamb, or a branzini.

chicken piccata

Oh, but there’s also my version of chicken piccata. I’ve deviated a bit from the traditional way of making it in that I roast my chicken with all the ingredients. Perhaps that’s an insult to the traditional method of preparation, but I like my way better. Sautéed chicken always leaves me a bit lackluster, but roast chicken – now that’s a whole different story altogether.

I also find that on a night when you come home from work, tired and hungry and with a laundry-list of to-do items around the apartment, this version is fantastically easy to put together and not worry about until it’s time to pull the chicken out. With the exception of a singular trip to the oven to turn the chicken breasts over, you are free to buzz about your home, tidying up, paying bills, folding laundry, or simply kicking back on the couch with a glass of wine, watching Seinfeld reruns. The latter happens to be my preference, but somehow errands get in the way.

parsley

By omitting butter from the recipe here, you magically transform this every-day dish into kosher-for-Passover dish. I should do a bit more research, but I believe capers are permitted to use during the holiday. Everything else in the recipe, lemon, wine, garlic, olive oil, salt, are permitted for Passover use.

So there you have it, an easy-peasy Passover recipe that isn’t gefilte fish. How fabulous is that? And I dare say that most of these ingredients should already be in your pantry, save perhaps the capers, but those are easy enough to locate. And maybe adding another dish into your Passover repertoire will make the week go by a bit faster. And before you know it, you’ll be enjoying that bagel or that bowl of pasta all over again!

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

chicken liver and onions

Among many things we quickly discovered about America when we first arrived is that you could buy chicken liver by the pound in plastic containers. In addition to its abundance, it was also shockingly cheap, which worked to our advantage because we were just as shockingly poor. In Russia, the only time you could get your hands on chicken livers would be by buying a chicken, which came with all of its entrails and a few feathers here and there, that you’d be responsible in plucking. This rarity, of course, made it sheer delicacy and would be preserved only for the children’s consumption. They would be the ones with the highest nutritional need, and chicken livers are a great source of iron and hemoglobin.

For me, however, chicken livers meant gagging and disgust – it was one of my most abhorred foods. My mother would fry up some onions, dust the chicken livers in flour and salt and fry that up as well. The resulting dish was then placed before me and my mother, standing akimbo in the kitchen over me, would oversee the torturous and seemingly interminable feeding process. I would, of course, eat the onions and then poke around at the liver. The meal would always end in tears, with my mother finally losing her patience and snapping; and me, scared and nauseous, wailing over my plate.

raw livers

I don’t mean to paint my mother a monster – she certainly was trying her best to make sure I had as much good, wholesome food as possible; and has taught me how to make some of my favorite dishes. I think that I was a very picky eater in my childhood and could pretty much drive the most patient of people crazy. Chicken liver, back then, was my arch-nemesis.

not the most appetizing shot, i know

I don’t know when my palate changed and learned to love chicken livers, but it does now. And I was excited to find out when KS and I started dating, that I found another chicken liver fan as well. I showed him how we made it in my family and he turned around and made the preparation even better. His secret, while the chicken livers are cooking, to periodically add a tiny bit of the flour mixture to places that have become “un-coated” with it. The result, a crispy outside, delicately textured, almost buttery taste. Nothing goes better with it than a plate of freshly fried onions, a tiny dash of good balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

peppers stuffed with chicken and eggplant

green zebra tomatoes really are the best

A small confession here: this write-up, from start to finish took me a week. It’s pretty sad and shameful that I couldn’t muster enough time to get this out earlier, but this week has been out of control with work, events and last-minute outings. While it’s been fun eating out and traipsing around town, I’ve neglected to post. I’ve cooked absolutely nothing this week, sadly enough as last night took KS and me to Pio Pio on the UES (incredible chicken!), Wednesday night to the Soho House for a special viewing of Michael Clayton (I heart Tilda Swinton!), Tuesday night to a local Sushi joint and Monday was our leftovers and snacks night! So there you have it. No time spent in the kitchen and we’re at Friday. Am I cooking tonight? Highly unlikely! But anyway, the pictures from the dish above were inspired by watching Top Chef that afternoon (I’m so so hooked now!) and so after I made the peppers, I fancied myself a skilled plater – and as you see above, I failed miserably, as I’m certainly lacking a certain je me sais quoi when it should come to plating food well. That and it looks too deliberately arranged, which now that I think about it, drives me crazy. But I regress – onward with the recipe…

dill makes everything better

I don’t know about you, but green markets make me go gaga. It’s like I have to buy everything and KS has to remind me that I can’t have everything at the market, I have to select a few ingredients and commit to them. And I have to agree with him – working long hours leaves little time for elaborate meals with lots of perishables.

IMG_0330 IMG_0328

And so I have to go with a game plan and if I don’t, I wade around aimlessly and KS has to set me straight. Last Saturday was no exception, except, we were in a rush to get to the Cloisters and I discovered on top of rushing and disarray that my trusty Nikon D70s was not cooperating! I fantasized all week about doing some fall photography on the weekend, and, alas, we had to make do with a point-n-shoot, which really delivers disappointing results compared to the SLR version. But the camera is working again (there’s some weird fluke about having to reinsert the image card again) so that is a good thing!

hello, gorgeous! greenmarket booty

While wandering about the market, I spied these beautiful peppers in a big, colorful pile. And it wasn’t so much their look as it was the aroma that wafted through the air, flowery and woodsy at the same time – the smell of fresh, ripe peppers – I had to grab a few. We had already purchased a few items here and there – a few apples, some chorizo from a grass-fed animal farm, a bunch of dill, which inevitably we always wind up throwing out a portion of because we can never eat it quickly enough. [And now – a suggestion and plea to herb vendors – for the love of the green guys you’re growing, please make these bunches smaller! I’d rather pick up several different bunches through the week, but have them be fresh, then throw out a portion of the wilted bunch, because the herbs, as you probably know, do not, at all, keep well!]

mmm... falafel glowing with promise
hot sauce on top gyro & pita

The next day, after our culture-infused trip, a sighting of scary squirrel, and some damn good falafel from West Village, I got to work on the peppers. There was little doubt what I was going to do with them, and while you can make lots of different dishes with peppers, I longed for the ones of the stuffed variety. In Russia, we used to mix ground chicken and seasoned rice together for the stuffing and finish off the dish with a dollop or sour cream (what Russian dish can do without it?) But I wanted something slightly different than the traditional recipe of my childhood – and used bulgur wheat, ground chicken, carrots, onions, tomatoes and pretty long eggplant. I have to say that with this recipe, I may not miss my childhood stuffed pepper dish for awhile.

Continue reading peppers stuffed with chicken and eggplant.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

roast chicken thighs with apples

these ain't no wordworth's daffodils

With the spring upon us, oh wait, not that was just my imagination because it’s still THIRTY something degrees out and I can’t seem to get it together. My mind screams “Spring! Clean! New! Plant!” but when I go outside, I feel the need to wrap my scarf tighter, zip my coat my all the way, and dig for the gloves in my pockets. Spring this is not. And no matter how many times they tell me the rhyme about April shower and May flowers, the only resulting sentiment is that of utter aggravation – just the other day there were snow flurries. Snow, people. In April. Eh?

We had dinner at friends’ apartment last night where I was reminded (I had to be reminded, figures) that my birthday was less than a month away. Gah, I thought, at this rate, we’ll still be digging ourselves out of snow – no wonder my birthday wasn’t even a fleeting though in my mind.

And so while I am tempted to cook everything that is green and verdant and new, the temperatures being what they are, force me to make warm comfort dishes. I just can’t help myself, when I stare at the contents of the refrigerator; I think potatoes, roast chicken, warm and cozy. And so I follow my stomach’s cravings, which are not at this point in time, a crisp salad or a lovely spring vegetable dish. It’s simple and solid and so pedestrian almost, that you wonder, why write about it? Why write about something as everyday as roast chicken? Haven’t we seen enough roast chicken recipes out there to last us a lifetime and with spring right around the corner (or we should so hope), shouldn’t we, in anticipation, be reading about things like, say, um, radishes? ;-)

the world's most perfect roast chicken

Yes and no. On the one hand, few things scream as little edge as a roast chicken (or chicken parts) as the case may be. But if I told you just how amazingly good this dish is, I promise you, this is the only way you might want to make your chicken for awhile. At least that’s what my friends say who’ve asked and received the recipe. It’s good, it’s simple, it’s comforting, but something makes it feel more gourmet and elevated than just an every day meal. I’m not exactly sure which ingredient does the elevating, but one of them certainly works its magic.

the world's most perfect roast chicken

Until spring finally emerges in truth and stops hiding behind frigid days, I’m sticking to my guns and cooking all that comforts me and KS. Chicken, stews, roasts (last night was a leg of lamb with baby potatoes and asparagus – the asparagus was maybe to entice the spring to come out of hiding, with the lamb firmly reminding us of hearty, wintry dishes). And I’m happy to turn it all around so long as we get some sun and warmth.

Bring on the May flowers, I say.

Click below to see the recipe!

Continue reading roast chicken thighs with apples.