Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chicken Liver Parfait - A French Classic For The Hoilday Season


 The Holidays are ante portas and I have no idea why but despite of having organized everything in advance, there are still so many things to do.

We just came back from a short trip from Washington DC and enjoyed the Christmas spirit there a lot.
Gorgeous decoration at the National Art Gallery. 
Now we are back to Peru  and traffic is crazy these days in Lima, well, actually not only these days, it's ALWAYS crazy, but now worse than ever. If you want to learn more about Lima traffic, I recommend this video:  :)
But let's better concentrate on the Holiday menu. For me,it's a kind of therapy cooking.
As soon as I get in the kitchen and focus on preparing something creative and nice, I feel relaxed and at peace. Sorry, Dr. Freud , no need of a psychoanalysis.
And what about you?
Still looking for something special to surprise friends and family?
Chicken liver parfait is a classic for a festive table.
Elegant, easy to prepare and put together in no time at all, this dish looks like zou would have spent hours in the kitchen.
It's rich, silky texture will melt in your mouth and you won't regret a moment.
Here is what you need: 
300g butter, soft
1/2 cup of chopped onions
2 garlic gloves, crushed
2 spoonfuls of sage leaves
400g chicken liver, organic
2 spoonful Cognac
1 spoonful Madeira
 2 spoonful olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 slice of white bread to absorb the juices (optional)

Heat olive oil and butter in a large frying pan.
Add onions and crushed garlic and sweat them until soft.

 Then add chicken liver and sage leavesand cook with the onions.

 *Be careful not to overcook the chicken liver, to avoid that it becomes bitter.
The liver should still be slightly pink inside.
Add cognac and Madeira to the pan and cook for two more minutes.

 Season with salt and pepper. set aside to allow the mixture to cool down.
*In case the liquids have not quite absorbed, use a piece of white bread to absorb the juices.
It would be a pity to loose them, because all the flavors are there.*
Place the mixture in a food processor and blend.

 With the motor still running, add the remaining butter and blend until smooth and creamy.
Pass the mixture through a sieve pushing the liver through with a wooden spoon into a bowl.
This will discard all impurities.
Spoon into a terrine dish or a ramekins and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Top with orange slices and sage leaves.

 Place in the fridge and allow to cool down at least 2 hours.
Seal with clarified butter*

Instructions for clarified butter:
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan at low heat.

 on the top you will see a milky,foamy layer,on the bottom a clear yellow layer.

Remove the foamy, milky layer carefully with a spoon.

Then pour the clear layer carefully in a jug, leaving the milky layer in the pan.

Let cool down but not until soldyfying. Pour over the parfait to seal.

Store in the fridge until serving,
Serve with crisp baguette and mixed baby greens.
Tip: Chili Jam works great with it..
 For the recipe, click the link:  Chili Jam


Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Sweet Taste of Christmas - Austrian Vanillekipferl


When you are Austrian, Christmas and Vanillekipferl goes together like Thanksgiving and turkey, or coffee and cream.
One of my favorite childhood memory is the delicious smell of these freshly baked cookies, together with the aroma of fresh pine tree and the imaculate white of the first snow.
I know, I know, this sounds like the worst kitch, but it's just  the way it was and still is.
These recipe is known as well as almond crescents and has been passed on from generation to generation. Each family has a slightly different recipe and some "secret ingredients"
they will hardley reveal.
Vanillekipferl are an all time favorite, they are wonderfully light, litterally melt in your mouth and are quite addictive. Just try  for yourself and you will see..
Ah, and before I forget, when you prepare this speciality, try to get in the mood with some Christmas music, I promise theyKipferl will  taste even better like this :)

This is what you need:
A dash of cool Christmas music
110g almond meal
 70g powdered (icing) sugar
210g unsalted butter, cut into 1|\2 inch cubes
280g sieved all purpose flour

For the sugar coating:
100g powdered sugar
2 packages vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Quickly mix all ingredients

  to a smooth dough 

and leave it in the fridge for about half an hour.
Tip: Keep the dough all time covered in the fridge so it won't try out.
Separate the dough into several parts, keep one to work with and set the rest aside in the fridge.
Divide the dough in small portions ( I used a melon cutter)

,roll out every piece in your hand (about 3-3 1/2 inch long) and shape into crescents.

Roll out the dough to a about 1cm thick roll. Cut the roll into small pieces, formong crescent shaped cookies.
Arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. As they will grow when baking, place them at least 1/2 inch apart.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until light brown in color ( They should not be too dark)

Mix icing sugar and vanille sugar (reminds me of skiing!)

together and sieve, then toss the hot cookies carefully in the mix.

Uups,this one was too good to resist!

Store in airtight bcontainer or cookie box.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Taste Of Autumn - Pear Upside-Down Cake

Pears, often considered the humble cousins of apples, are one of the most versatile fruits and have a delicate aroma and natural sweetness, talents that makes them one of the shining stars of atumn.
They belong, curiosly enough, to the rose family, that gives them a quite aristocratic family background.
There is an enourmous verity of pears grown around the world, an estimated over 3000.!
Apart from sweets they make a wonderful match with cheese, specially blue cheese.
Pears contain antioxidants and anti- inflamatory flavonoids and are rich in diaetary fiber.
So enjoy this wonderful fruit not only for its lovely taste but also for its health benefits.

Here is another elegant way to prepare them, poached and served with orange butter and lemon zest.

Or, as a sophisticated appetizer,combined with blue cheese and crunchy Prosciutto.
 Roquefort Mousse With Poached Pears 

For the Pear Upside Down Cake 
You Need:
For the topping
4 Pears, cut in medium slices
1 spoonful butter
2 spoonful brown sugar ( I prefere to use little sugar, so the natural aroma of the pears is not overwhelmed.)   

For the cake:
1 pear, peeled and diced
250g  (8.8 oz.) of flour
½ teaspoonful of baking powder
125g  (4.4 oz.) of unsalted butter
120g  (4.2 oz.)of sugar
1/8l of milk

In a large skillet, heat butter at low heat until butter has melted.

Add sugar, stir gently until sugar has melted than add sliced pears and continue cooking until pears are slightly caramelized.
Set aside.

Arrange the pear slices in a greased baking pan.

-In a large bowl, combine  the flour, butter, sugar, eggs and milk.

-Mix with a hand mixer until  smooth and fluffy.

Cover pears with cake batter, smooth with a spatula.

Preheat oven to 220CBake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a thin knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove cake from the oven and place it on a cooling track.
Let the cake cool down for some minutes (not longer, otherwise the pears will stick to the backing pan), then run a knife around the edges of the cake.
Place a cake plate over the cake and, using hot pads, flip the cake carefully over.
Gently remove thecake pan.
Et voila!

Couldn't resist :)

Serve with a small portion of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Serves 8-10P
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