Monday, 3 December 2012

Rabbit Pate

My mom and I had a dinner party a while ago. She got two rabbits, and we cooked them for the party. The rabbits came with their innards: liver, kidney, heart; I saved them, and froze them...

All in all, it was about 150 grams of offal.

Since Thanksgiving was coming, I decided to make something I've been dying to make for a while - Pate. It's very rich, but thanksgiving is a holiday all about decadence so I figured it might be a great team player with all the other dishes. After reading some online recipes, I discerned that many recipes put equal parts offal and pre-cooked meat into it. Apparently, this is to diminish the metallic taste that offal can give off. Anyway, after combining a bunch of different recipe ideas, I came out with a REALLY good rabbit pate...

Keep in mind though, this is no where near healthy.


150 grams rabbit innards (liver, heart, kidney, etc.) I wouldn't use brains in this though. Too gummy.
150 grams cooked rabbit or chicken or turkey meat
75 grams room temperature unsalted butter
1 shallot
5-6 cloves garlic
About 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles
8-10 fresh sage leaves
1,5 tablespoons gin

Saute shallot and garlic on medium low heat until caramelised. Cool it down to room temperature(ish)
Boil water, drop in rabbit innards, cook for about 4-7 minutes (if you've just taken your rabbit innards out of the fridge, go for the 7 minutes. If they're at room temperature, go for 4 minutes)
Slice the butter into chunks, and put it at the bottom of a food processor
Add generous pinch salt, some ground pepper, the cooled shallot, cooked rabbit innards, and everything else.
Turn on the food processor.
Blend to a paste.

When I tasted mine, it tasted too much like the cooked chicken meat, so I added a little more butter, more rosemary, more salt, and more gin. Who DOESN'T like a boozy pate? :-)

I whirred it again and when I was satisfied, I put it into a bowl lined with plastic wrap, and then into the fridge.
The fridge firms up the butter again, so when you take it out for eating (at least 3 hours, ideally overnight) the pate slices like...meat butter. Which is essentially what pate is.

Mine came out with gorgeous floral notes of rosemary and sage, and a bit of juniper twang from the gin. It was honestly WAY better than I thought it would be.

Some recipes called for a tablespoon of heavy cream. I might try this next time, but I didn't have any in the house when I made my pate, so I just used butter. I would probably cut back on some butter and use some cream instead, if I were trying it this way...

Monday, 26 November 2012


I love cooking.

Thanksgiving is a fun but frustrating holiday for me - lots of cooking, but I have to stick to tried and true favourites. As long as my family is with me, there shall never be a vegetarian (or fish based) thanksgiving. Although when I have my own home...

One of my favourite things to do after thanksgiving is to boil the turkey carcass and get some delicious stock and bitties of turkey that literally fall off the carcass after boiling for several hours. Leftovers are where I can shine. Ginger maple squash soup? Check. Turkey pot pie? Check. Pho? Check.

I love making Pho from leftover turkey because it completely transforms a quintessential bit of Americana into something unrecognisable from its original form, but still DELICIOUS.

If you make your own stock, great. If you need a tip, here it is:

Boil Turkey carcass in lots of water for many hours. 
Strip meat from bones

That's all.

for the Pho!

Simmer about 8 cups turkey stock with:
1 inch piece of ginger cut into "coins" 
9-10 thick stalks of cilantro (save the leaves for later!)
9-10 thick stalks of mint (save the leaves for later!)
9-10 stalks of THAI basil (save the leaves for later!)
half a lime (skin only)
one white onion cut into quarters or eighths

At the end, add about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce.

I took several ladles of stock and put it into a small saucepan.
In that saucepan, I cooked pho noodles. They're just thin rice noodles, like this:

I separated the noodles into two bowls
Then, I warmed up two big heaping handfuls of cooked turkey in the same broth.
I put that over the cooked noodles in the bowls.

I topped all that with thinly sliced white onion, thinly sliced green onion, and the reserved cilantro and mint leaves.
Then, I took the broth (which was boiling/simmering) and ladled it over everything. 

One can add the thai basil and bean sprouts as desired.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Walnut and Garlic crusted Cod with Mashed squash and plantains

I am terrible. I haven't written here in forever.

I made this lovely dish a couple of days ago though that I need to write down because it was so good, I don't want to forget it.

1 filet of cod
heaping handful of walnuts
Smoked salt (I have this lovely applewood smoked salt) Other salt is fine too :)
2 large cloves (or 3 medium cloves) garlic

1/2 cup roasted squash
2 ripe plantains, sliced and steamed until soft
1-2  tsp (give or take a little)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup plain yogurt
pinch salt
1/4 tsp cumin

Assorted Veggies (green beans, broccoli, etc)
at least one or two handfuls of cilantro
4-5 cloves minced garlic

My inspiration for the veggies was Portuguese: they make almost everything with a huge hit of cilantro and garlic. I love it.

For the cod? My mom always puts a bread crumb topping on her fish which I find boring, and it gets soggy afterwards too. Yuck.

Pulse walnuts, garlic, and salt in food processor til you get small crumbles.
Sprinkle on top of cod.
Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. Broil on high for about a minute to get a little char on the crust.

After steaming plantains and roasting squash, combine all in large bowl.
Add yogurt.
Add spices.
Puree with immersion blender.
If it's too thick, add some water/soy milk/milk

Sautee veggies and garlic together.
Turn off heat and throw in cilantro at the end and toss.

My mom is not a very adventurous eater. I thought she'd hate the squash/plantain mix. The squash was from our garden, and the plantains had been forgotten in our fridge for several weeks (maybe even a month?). She absolutely LOVED the mash.

The thing about this dish that makes it a winner is the flavors hitting the palette...

The bitter-ish salty crunch of the walnuts and garlic smashes against the slightly sweet, tangy plantain squash mash. The cilantro provides a fresh smack against all of it. Ah! Just writing about it makes me want to make it again.

I'll take photos next time :) Sorry!

Friday, 11 September 2009


Oh my god I love figs. I hate how expensive they are, but fortunately, we're entering fig season!

Most fig recipes that are savoury combine figs with prosciutto. I never saw the huge draw of prosciutto. I think it's a bit dry, honestly. But I like the idea of something uber salty going with the sweet figs, so I decided to pair it with caviar. It's fairly easy to buy caviar here in the Czech Republic, but I know it's a bit more difficult in the states. I was so excited by this salad that I forgot to crumble goat or blue cheese over it, but it was delicious as is.

All you do is tear up some mild and spicy salad greens, mix them with some green onion tops and/or leek rounds, slice some figs over it, and then spoon some caviar over that. For a dressing, I just drizzled some balsamic over. It was fabulous. The crunchy salt of the caviar paired beautifully with the sweet and soft figs. Definitely try it with some goat cheese, I wish I had!!!

With the camera flash
Without the camera flash, close up
Big view

Friday, 4 September 2009

Bad bad bad...but now good.

Hi there.

Yes, I've been terribly terribly bad about blogging, it's not good. I've made some awesome things too! A granola bar with no eggs, no sugar. A leek and blue cheese quiche. A RIDICULOUS amount of really yummy salads!

My first blog after my brief hiatus, will be about what I made last night for dinner. My mom was here for a month and we cooked and went out to eat a lot. Hence, I have gained a couple of quite obvious poundage. *sigh*. It's mostly because of the insanely good wine and beer we have in this country, but I'm sure the large lunches and dinners didn't help much either. So last night I committed to healthy and seasonal.

My mom has family friends that live in a tiny village outside of Plzen, Czech Republic. One of the older ladies always picks and dries mushrooms, and gives them to us as gifts when they come. One kind has a delicious woody, earthy smell. The other kind, smells kind of fishy and pungent. This time, my mom received as a gift the fishy pungent ones. I've put these before in a potato soup, and I seriously thought that they ruined the soup. I was determined to try again, and decided to pair them this time with some asparagus I had. Asparagus have a nice assertive flavor that I thought would counter the mushrooms. I also changed the way I cooked them:
When I used them for soup, I just threw them in. This time (as you'll read below) I did something different.

White Asparagus with mushroom, onion, and garlic
1/2 kg white asparagus

1 small onion
handful (about 1/3 cup) dried mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Boiling water
Salt and pepper

grated Edam cheese (about 2 heaping tbs)


Cut the icky ends off the asparagus

Cut the asparagus into 2 inch long spears

Place in baking pan, and roast on high heat, shaking pan occasionally to make sure all sides are lightly browned

Place mushrooms in bowl, cover with b oiling water

Squeeze out mushrooms, and put them in a hot nonstick pan

Sautee on high heat

Add the mushroom water, and let the mushrooms absorb it

Add some more water, and let them absorb again

Throw in the onion, and turn the heat on low

Let the onion brown a bit, and slice the garlic into thin slices while it does

Toss in the garlic and saute a bit more

When the asparagus is done, take it out, and pour the mushroom onion garlic mix on it

Put the pan back on the stove, and pour more water in, scraping up any residue on the bottom

Let the water reduce til it just barley covers the bottom of the pan

Pour the water sauce over the asparagus with generous amounts of salt and pepper and toss in the roasting pan with the cheese.

The roasting pan also has some bits on it, so by pouring the water sauce in, you can quickly scrape those up too. Also, the heat from the pan melts the cheese. Mmmmm.

Mushroom and onion and garlic sauteeing goodness.

Finished product
So yum.

Friday, 26 June 2009

More Dessert...

I have a friend in Prague this summer who just spent her last year in London. I've been dying to bake something, but only if I have someone to share it with. I asked her what, if anything, I could maybe bake. Cookies? Brownies? Cake? She told me about this place called Ben's Cookies in London that apparently has the most amazing cookies. They're soft (not really crunchy) and they have some amazing flavors, including ginger and dark chocolate. Well, I had some ginger left over in my fridge, so decided to try it out!

Instead of using my standard Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, I decided to do a search for "Buttermilk cookies" Why? Because I know that when you make a cake with buttermilk, it is UNBELIEVABLY moist and soft. Also, I have 2 containers at home and wanted to use them before they went bad.

Ideally, I would have used candied ginger as well, but I was too lazy to go out and find it, so I stuck with powdered and freshly grated. Doing the buttermilk cookie search, however, was the best idea EVER. I am a complete convert and will use this recipe as a cookie base from now on. These cookies are AMAZING. But, if you like a crunchy cookie, then don't make these. You won't be happy. If you like soft, cakey cookies, then get thee to the kitchen ASAP and make a batch! They are to die for!

Buttermilk Cookies (with ginger and chocolate chunks, see note at bottom)
(adapted from Buttermilk Cookies, from

125 g (1 stick) butter

120 g (1/2 c) packed, dark brown sugar

60 g (1/4 c) white sugar

1 tbs freshly grated ginger

1 tsp ground ginger

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract
360 g (1 and 1/2 c) flour

1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
80 g (1/3 c) buttermilk
200 g (7 oz) chopped bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (300 F)

Cream butter, sugar, and gingers together til light and fluffy
Beat in egg and vanilla

Add flour, baking soda, and salt while alternating with the buttermilk

Stir in chocolate chunks
CHILL dough for about 10 minutes in a freezer
Spoon rounded teaspoons onto a greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet
Bake for about 15 minutes or until cookies don't look wet on top.

NOTE: You can modify the flavors too if you like! I made another batch the next day, and used 200 g white chocolate chunks and about 100 g chopped roasted salted peanuts. Mmm mmm!!!


Thursday, 25 June 2009

Time for dessert...

The abundance of produce here, as I mentioned before, is amazing when summer comes. I went to the open air market the other day and bought a big container of red currants. For the US readers, a red currant has a taste a bit like a cranberry. Sweetish sour, but unlike cranberries, you can just eat red currants straight. What did I do with my currants?

First, I froze two icecube trays of them. I mushed some berries, left some others whole, and put them in the individual icecube slots. Then I poured a bit of water over it all, and froze them. I plan on putting them in vodka or soda water!!

Then, I wanted to really showcase the currants, so I decided to make a not too sweet pie dough, and put in the currants. Any pie crust recipe will do, but what I did was grind up some almonds, and replace about 1/4 c. of the flour with those. It added a delicious nutty taste, and the fat from the almonds added moist richness to the dough.
Then, I pressed balls of the dough into a muffin tin, about 1cm up the sides, to make little tartlet shells. I baked in a 350 (170 C) oven for about 20 minutes, and then popped the shells out. After that, I heaped red currants into the shells, sprinkled some sugar over them, and baked them at 350 for about 10 minutes.

With the leftover currants (yes, I still had more!!!) I combined them in a saucepan with chopped peaches, a sprinkling of sugar, and a tablespoon of light cream. I simmered on low heat for about 45 minutes, and then put it in a container in my fridge. I'll probably use it as a jam, or as a filling between biscuits.