Chicken Liver Pâté

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Chicken Liver Pâté a true classic and you're either a fan of its buttery, decadent and fantastic flavor, or you've never dared to touch the stuff. As with all food, you have to try it at least once! I made this with my mentor awhile back but was shocked at how simple and easy it was to prepare. Its also a filling and a tasty snack in these cold winter months.

Chicken livers tend to be dirt cheap as they are usually considered a scrap, though I like to use a butcher whose quality I trust, and if you find one of the good ones,  may even simply just give them to you. This recipe is malleable and you can play with the flavors as you like. Changing the alcohol, using a sweet Italian wine or vermouth or changing the spice mixtures...Once you understand the way the liver behaves you can really make it your own. Enjoy this pâté simply with crackers or baguette or take your sandwich to the next level and substitute it for mayonnaise. Pâté is also one of those wonders you can make ahead and store in the fridge for a week or freeze for months. 

Chicken Liver Pâté

adopted from Jacques Pépin

1/2 pound chicken livers, trimmed

1 small onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 teaspoon herbes de provence

1 teaspoon dijion mustard

1 bay leaf

salt to taste, roughly 1 teaspoon

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, quartered

2 teaspoons Cognac/Scotch

Fresh pepper to taste 

In a medium skillet, combine chicken livers, onions, garlic, spices and salt. Add water and simmer. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 minutes until livers are just pink in the middle. Remove from head and let stand for 5 minutes covered. Remove bay leaf and transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse till combine. With machine on add butter until combine and season with cognac, salt & pepper and process till smooth. Place in desired terrine or ramekin and cool in fridge until firm. You can also seal the pate with fat such as schmaltz or butter, or with a gelee. 

Spring Time: Fiddlehead Ferns

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Watching springtime roll into the Delaware Valley is truly a sight for tired winter eyes. Pale greens, pinks, purples, and florescent yellow litter the rolling hills of Bucks County. One of my favorite evolutions in the landscape is the budding heads of the whimsical ostrich fern, better known as fiddlehead ferns. These curled little nuggets of peppery sweet goodness are immense in my parents neck of the woods. For the past two weeks I have been religiously checking the usual locations of these magnificent spring treats, coming up with nothing but more and more anticipation.

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This past week brought in a spastic weather change and a soon following downpour. I knew fiddles were on their way. Today I wandered into the woods and lo and behold my beauties were awaiting me! I scrambled, filled my pockets and ran home. I diced up some shallots, garlic and butter, add a touch of white wine, and I tasted spring for the first time this year.

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If you live in the Philadelphia area, you can probably find some ostrich ferns in your local woods. Look for clusters of reddish brown peels with bright green spirals of green. I often find them in loose and wet soil, in shady areas. If you're a newb to foraging, please please please, don't go pulling random ferns out of the ground if your not sure what an ostrich looks like. Do some research and you should be able to spot the little guys. If you are not the foraging type, you can sometimes find fiddleheads at speciality stores. Expect to pay a premium, but it is oh so totally worth it.

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Sautéed Wild Fiddlehead Ferns

3 tablespoon butter

2 shallots, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups well washed fiddleheads

Splash dry white wine

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a pan melt down butter, add shallot, cook till translucent, add garlic. Add fiddleheads and wine, and cook for 3 minutes. Enjoy your taste of the season!