Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Parts: The Pâté

A day as crisp, jewel-like, and surprising as a pomegranate kernal drew ECG and me outside this morning.  We walked out our front door and into the arroyo.  The sky sang.







Following the trail of animals and other explorers, we wound our way down to the water, the small rivulet hidden from view from above by tall stands of mule fat and willow, hedged in by buckwheat.  Though we had walked many times down here, we'd never spent much time by the water.


We crossed a narrow part of the shallow water and walked along the edge, following it up towards the mountain and protected forest, a fire-grazed forest now closed to public access while it heals.

We spent a lot of time looking at the ground.





After an hour so, we realized we were far from where we started, and we had to figure out a way to get back across the water, preferably without dunking our shoes into mud and sludge.  Instead of being an annoyance, exploring a means to cross the water was a pleasure.  We considered hopping along strategically placed rocks, finding another log and dragging it over, or just wandering until we found another log bridge, which is what we eventually found.  All the while, we stopped whenever we saw anything interesting, in other words, frequently.



Today, the other side of the water was right where we needed to be.


Pâté with Pomegranate Seeds

I adapted this recipe slightly from Martha Stewart's recipe found here. I have made this a couple times before, each time trying to make the pomegranate gelée for which the original recipe calls.  But, it is extra work, it doesn't reliably set, and magazine-photo-shoot aside, it doesn't look as nice as it should, not nearly as nice as the delicious pâté on the bottom demands. So for a Thanksgiving appetizer this year, I threw the pomegranate gelée out and went for the real thing.  A generous sprinkling of pomegranate seeds over the pâté added something much better than the jelled juice:  it gave it extra explosions of tart-sweet to turn the smooth, savory spread into something different and more special.


You will need:

1 cup butter

3/4 pound chicken livers, rinsed and patted dry

1/2 pound crimini mushrooms

1/3 cup chopped shallot

3 large cloves garlic, smashed and minced

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

2 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 cup pomegranate seeds

Crackers or toast points for serving.


To make the pâté:

In a large frying pan on medium heat,mMelt 1/4 cup butter. Add livers, mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until livers are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, the wine, and thyme. Lower the heat a bit and let cook another 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very soft and the wine has reduced substantially.  Let the mixture cool enough to handle.

Transfer mixture to a food processor. Add the remaining butter and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt; process until smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a 7 inch souffle dish or other comparable dish, and refrigerate until cool, at least an hour.  Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top and serve with crackers or toast.

Not only is this a great appetizer, it also makes a fantastic breakfast slathered on a baguette on a cool morning just after Thanksgiving.

Finally, here is today's shot of "the big project:"


6 comments:

Sarah said...

LOVE the pictures of the ground... I do the same thing!

AmyR said...

I adore the photos of all the lovely textures! I spend a lot of time looking down and tripping over my own feet as a result.

Petrea said...

How I love that part of the arroyo! I feel like I know every one of those angles, and in fact I do. It's a delight to see it through your eyes.

altadenahiker said...

I saved the turkey livers just for this.

Christina said...

Sarah: Textures always attract me more than forms or light. I just keep going back to texture.

AmyR: Tell me about it! Luckily I can always tell if I need to tighten my laces.

Petrea: I'm flattered that you enjoyed the pictures. I'm always blown away but your photos.

AH: Oh my, you're gonna love it.

ann said...

What a wonderful sounding walk!! We did a similar thing this weekend, lots of dirt roads ending up at a beagling meet. It was fabulous! But it totally lacked pate, and for that I am sorry because your sounds *delicious*.

And the big project! I'm so excited for you!!! I can't wait to see the end result.