Monday, June 21, 2010

Three Spice Liver Pâté -The Daring Cook's June 2010 Challenge

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice. I chose the Three Spice Livger Pâté and french bread to go with it. The Pâté was easy to make, but I had a hard time getting pork belly to get grinded up in the food processor, so next time I'll chop it up finely first. The house smelled so good when it was baking and my mom couldn't wait to eat. My bread turned out ok but didn't look pretty and I don't have any pictures. Both tasted great, but I made it in a loaf pan I still have a lot left over. Next time I'll halve the recipe. Fun Challenge in deed!

Three Spice Liver Pâté

1 lb / 454 grams pork liver (or beef or combination)
1/2 lb / 227 grams ground pork
1/2 lb / 227 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cinnamon
1/2 tsp / 2 ml coriander (ground or crushed)
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cumin
3/4 tsp / 3 ml salt
1 tbps / 15 ml coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
2 tbps / 30 ml cognac
2 bay leaves
1 package of bacon
Preheat oven to to 350ºF (180ºC).

Cut liver and pork fat into small pieces and add to food processor. Add ground pork, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grind until smooth.

In mixing bowl, incorporate the meat and liver mixture with the cognac and eggs.

Line bottom of baking or ceramic pan with overlapping pieces of bacon. Place a bay leaf on the bottom and then fill with meat/liver mixture. Cover top with another bay leaf and then overlapping pieces of bacon.

Place in oven in the larger baking pan and add enough water to cover 2/3rds of the pan containing the meat/liver mixture. Bake for about 1-1.5 hrs.

The pâté will contract and the juices will be on the bottom. Allow to cool and soak up the juices. Remove any excess bacon and discard the bay leaves.

French Baguette
yield: Three 16" baguettes

1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup / 240 ml flour

1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.

Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.

Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15" log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.

Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they've become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8" vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

Bake the baguettes until they're a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2", and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Manila Clams in Blackbean Sauce

I am a seafood lover...especially when they are live and fresh. I found these live Manila clams from my local Asian market today and bought about a pound and a half. The tip for picking good clams is to pick the ones that are completely closed. Also, they should open when they are cooked and the ones that don't open are bad and should not be eaten. Clams can be cooked many different ways but I like clam soup and stir fried clams in blackbean sauce. Here is my easy recipe:

1.5 lb Manila clams
1 TBS finely sliced ginger
1 TBS blackbean sauce, see pic
1/2 C Cooking wine
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4-1/2 C water
pinch of salt
green onions for garnish (optional)

Heat up the oil in a wok and add the ginger. After 30 sec or so add the clams and the rest of the ingredients. Stir fry till the clams open. Can cover and steam to cook quicker as well.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grilled Scallops with Basil Stuffing

This is one of my newly found favorite seafood recipes. I made this for iheartcookingclubs and I picked this Mark Bittman's recipe for this week's "Herb Garden" theme. We have been cooking with Mark Bittman for sometime now but I havn't had a chance to participate till now. This recipe is so delicious, quick, and easy. I wanted to find larger scallops but these worked out just fine for me. The sweetness of the scallops and the tasty herb stuffing goes so well together and I will be making this again and again. Here is the recipe:

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds or more large sea scallops

Mince the basil, garlic, salt and pepper together until very fine, almost a puree (you can do this in a food processor, but it really won't save you time or effort). Mix in a small bowl or cup with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

Make a deep horizontal slit in the side of each of the scallops, but don't cut all the way through. Fill each scallop with about ? teaspoon of the basil mixture; close. Pour the remaining oil onto a plate or pan and turn the scallops in it. Let sit while you preheat a gas grill or start a charcoal fire; it should be very hot before grilling, with the rack about 4 inches from the heat source.

Place the scallops on the grill (don't pour the remaining oil over them, as it will catch fire), and grill 2 to 3 minutes per side, no more. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

The basil stuffing.

Stuffed scallops.

I did mine in a cast iron skillet on the stove instead of grilling to save time.

Browned and ready to eat scallops.

Delious!!! I was thinking how wonderful this would be if paired with the right wine.....