Saturday, March 3, 2012


Spackle, sand, prep and prime the walls.

Stare at the paint chips day and at night, move them around the room, so that you see it in different light, and stare at them some more.  Then go buy that paint.

Tape the walls and paint the crown molding, baseboards and windows, using a couple of coats, and let it dry thoroughly. Then tape the trim and cut the paint in along the edges and corners. You could also paint the walls and then the trim, but I like to do it this way because it is more of a hassle to deal with accidental drips on a freshly painted wall.

Second doubt the color: Will it be too yellow? 

Hold your breath and roll the color out. 

Don't forget to paint the switch and plug plates.

Pull the tape off right away, and then go around and touch up any uneven or misaligned areas with a small flat brush. Check every inch of it. This is really important! Remember this is the dining room, where you'll be sitting with your family and guests, after spending many hours making some fabulous meal,  and while they're talking and telling hysterical jokes all you'll be thinking about is that little spot in the corner above the china cabinet where the wall paint doesn't meet the trim paint just right.

Stumble off of the ladder and go clean your brushes before you do anything else.

Go back, have another look at it. Panic. Second, third, or fourth doubt the color again.  Remind yourself that the color will change as it dries. Tell yourself that it will look great tomorrow.

When you go to bed, don't forget to lose some sleep over it, as there's nothing like a little middle of the night fretting.

Get up in the morning and look at it and think about it, and try to decide if you want to try another color before you move all of the furniture back in its place. 

So, is it oo yellow? How about the ceiling? It will need a fresh coat, too. Should it be lighter? I'm inclined to keep it; it's  Valspar Laura Ashley Deep Cowslip 2, and is different with the new wall color, Deep Cowslip 3.
What do you think? 

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Clearing the walls,
unloading the cabinets,

and sliding them in, to paint the walls a new color! 
I'll post more pictures as I go along, and post more recipes when I'm all done. Promise!

Monday, December 26, 2011

BEEF BURGUNDY, or BEEF STEW IN RED WINE, How I made it for the last party

Beef Burgundy is an old fashioned beef stew in red wine, and one of the first things I learned to cook.  It is an every-day kind of stew, but also and a great recipe to make for a party, as it can be made in advance and it gets better after a few days. It also freezes well. On party day, it can be warmed in a crock pot, or in the oven, leaving the stovetop free. Like any soup or stew, it can be different every time you make it, but it is always good.

Here’s how I made it for a lovely progressive dinner we had recently with our dear friends from the “original neighborhood”. Usually I will add the carrot whole, and remove it when I remove the bouquet garni (and eat it with lunch the next day), but sometimes I'm in the mood for carrots¸ so I diced the carrot and left it in. Sometimes I add garlic, too, but not this time (not in the mood for garlic). And adding a ham hock isn’t traditional, but ham hocks make just about anything better, so I like to add one if I have one around.
No pictures of the beef burgundy, but here we are with our salads!
There are recipes all over the place for beef burgundy, so it might seem silly to bother posting it here, but my friends requested it, so here’s the strategy, formula, and technique. The proportions are more or less, give or take. Multiply or divide as you wish

BEEF BURGUNDY, or BEEF STEW IN RED WINE, How I made it for the last party.
Serves @8 (I made twice as much for party of 13, with some left over)

4 or 6 T olive oil

Beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into ½ - 1” cubes, about 3 lbs
Flour for dredging

¼ lb pancetta or bacon (smoky not sweet variety), finely diced
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
1 small carrot finely diced

2 T Cognac
2 T tomato paste
1 - 2 quart beef broth (homemade is best)
½ bottle red wine, not sweet or light – think petit syrah, pinot noir, or Chianti
1 smoked ham hock

1 bay leaf,
3 sprigs thyme, (dried: 1 tsp)
2 sprigs marjoram, (dried: ½ tsp), all tied together into a bouquet garni with a kitchen string

pearl onions, 35 or 40, if fresh, blanched and peeled, or use frozen pearl onions
mushrooms, lots, at least 20 oz, sliced and sautéed in butter or olive oil until lightly browned

Heat 2-3 T olive oil on medium heat in a large heavy bottomed soup pot*. Turn heat to medium or low and add pancetta or bacon, for a minute or two, until edges start to brown. Add onions, cook for just a minute, and then add carrot and cook for another minute or so. Remove from pan.

Season beef with salt and pepper. Dredge lightly in flour.

Add another 2-3 T olive oil to pan and heat briefly. Add beef, and brown, a few pieces at a time so that they are not crowded and have space around them, on medium to low heat. Remove from pan and brown remaining beef in batches. Take your time and keep the heat pretty low. A dark brown crust will form on the bottom of the pot. This is good. Try not to scorch or burn it, though.

After all of the meat is browned and removed from the pan, keep the heat on low. Add Cognac and deglaze the pan, scraping up some of that brown crust on the bottom of the pan. Add tomato paste, stir it in, and then add about half of the beef broth a bit a time, stirring it in and scraping the bottom of the pot.

Return the beef and the carrot, onion, and pancetta/bacon mixture to the pot. Add wine, ham hock, and herbs. Turn heat to very low, and cook, uncovered, for several hours, at least two. I usually cook it on the top of the stove, but you can cook it in the oven at 300, or transfer it to a crock pot. Stir it every once in a while, and add more beef broth or water if it seems to need it.

After about two hours add onions and mushrooms, and cook for at least another hour until the flavors come together and it thickens slightly.

You can serve it right away, but it will be better if you cool and refrigerate it, and reheat it in a day or two.

Before serving remove ham hock and bouquet garni (or bay leaf if using dried herbs). Salt and pepper lightly, to taste.
Serve with egg noodles, rice or potatoes. If you’re on a diet or watching the glycemic index, beef burgundy is just fine on its own, without any starch.

*If you use a thin pot, you’ll have trouble with burning. If you don’t have a heavy bottomed pan, brown the onions, bacon, and carrot, remove from frying pan. Then brown the beef, as described above, in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Deglaze the pan, stir and scrape up browned bits, add a cup or two of beef broth, cook for a minute or two, and then pour it all into a deep soup pot or crock pot, and proceed with recipe.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CHARCUTEPALOOZA 12: SHOWING OFF. Do we do that? Brian’s Never Perfected Ever Perfect Pizza.

Here we are at the twelfth instruction from Mrs. Wheelbarrow on the final Charcutepalooza challenge: “Create a menu, a meal, a dish, a platter. We challenge you to create a celebration.”

This, of course, would be pizza. I know that for a lot of people, pizza is everyday and don’t bother to light a candle boring, something you order when you come in late or can’t think of what else to eat, but for us, pizza is a celebration. You see, in his younger life, Brian was the proud proprietor of a Santa Barbara pizza joint, Pizza Express, and though the business didn’t last long, the lifelong love of pizza did. Over the years, Brian has made pizza for all sorts of occasions – for football parties, for visitors from out of town, for all of the kids’ birthday parties, and once for his family’s neighbor Kelly, who requested “Brian’s pizza and homemade peach ice cream” when she was dying of cancer.
Ever the perfectionist, Brian is critical of each pizza that comes out of the oven, evaluating how it could be better, though anyone who ever tastes it says that it couldn’t be better.

Finally, we figured out a way to make Brian’s pizza better: top it with home made sausage and home cured meat!

For this Charcutepalooza pizza celebration, we took the pizza in two different directions. 

One was sort of Italian, with pancetta, Mr. Cavataio’s Italian sausage and thickly sliced lonzino. 

The other was spicy and smoky, with chorizo, andouille sausage, smoked chicken, and tasso ham. 

Both had tomato sauce and a mix of fontina, assagio, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. 

We passed fresh garden arugula and thinly sliced lardo at the table.

When you make and eat pizza, it’s a joyous experience, especially when you’ve got home cured charcuterie to top it with.


This is the old pizza dough recipe that Brian wrote out for me many years ago. You can make it the same day, but if you can make it a day ahead and let it rest in a cool place, it will be better.  Nowadays, he will often just use the Cook’s Illustrated Best Recipe- it is nearly the same as his, their 24 hour recipe works well, and as Brian puts it, “it’s a good recipe”.

2 Dough Balls

4.5 cups flour (high gluten is best)
1.5 cups water, warm
1 tsp sugar
½ cake yeast (1.25 tsp)
1 “glug-glug-glug” of olive oil (about 2 T)
1 tsp salt

Combine water, yeast, sugar, and oil in bowl and give it a stir. Mix in dry ingredients slowly, and add salt last.
It is best if you have a mixer with a dough hook, but can be done by hand. Mix until dough ball comes together in a unified mass. It should be fairly sticky – if it’s too dry it will split when you try to stretch it.
Completely oil the inside of two small mixing bowls, divide your dough in half, and knead each into a ball that has no seams. Coat dough ball with oil from inside of bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, sealing the edges.

Place in a cool place for 24 hours. A cool garage or refrigerator will do. The next day let it come to room temperature before you stretch it. (If you’re in a pinch for time, you can just let it rise on the counter and make it the same day, but it really is better if it rests for a day).

When you’re ready to stretch your dough, sprinkle some flour on the counter. Take your dough ball and rotate it in one direction with one hand as you press it with the other, forming it into a thick disc. To stretch, lift the dough, cupping over the backs of your hands (fingers curved), and, as gravity pulls the dough down, slide it around on the backs of your hands so that it stretches evenly. Let gravity do the work. Flip onto pizza pan (or curl if you’re cooking it on a pizza stone). We usually put it on a wire pizza pan, and then put that on the pizza stone, and if we ever cook it directly on the stone, we put it on parchment paper and then slide it onto the stone. We do it this way because Brian has found that in a home kitchen, without the high heat of a commercial oven, it is very difficult to slide a pizza directly off a peel.

I’m experimenting with whole-wheat crusts, too, but haven’t perfected it yet.
It didn’t make the light, stretchy dough I’d like, and this time the dough was a little dry. It had to be rolled out with a rolling pin, and was a little more brittle than regular dough, though it didn’t taste bad. Here’s how I modified his dough: instead of bread flour, I used 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour, 1.5 c barley flour and 1 c oat flour, and 1 tsp gluten. Look for improvements on this in the future.

Swirl an even layer of sauce on your pizza, cover with obscene amounts of cheese, and then 
whatever toppings you like, keeping in mind that super finely sliced onion on any pizza is a must. Be sure that your oven is preheated and very hot, as hot as it will go, probably 450 or 500. Bake for about 10 minutes, check at 8 minutes, but gauge it by the cheese, which should be starting to brown and bubbly when the pizza comes out of the oven.

The tomato sauce has evolved, too, with minced onion replacing the added sugar, and a splash of wine or vermouth.

1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
1.25 T sugar
.5 T Basil (or less)
.5 T Oregano (or less)
3 medium cloves garlic
.5 tsp pepper

Heat and cook until flavors come together.


Saute 1 small onion, minced finely in some olive oil. Add minced garlic and a splash of red (or white, or vermouth, or even red vermouth), then
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp salt
.5 T Basil (or less)
.5 T Oregano (or less)
2 medium cloves garlic
.5 tsp pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes

Cathy Masey, daughter’s mother-in-law, kindly shared her father’s recipe for Italian sausage, and the most adorable picture of Aaron at the age of four making sausage with her dad. This sausage recipe is dynamite, and I highly recommend it. It’s a simple recipe, but the flavors are balanced, and it works well in any recipe. It has become my favorite, go-to Italian sausage recipe.


5 lbs pork
1 lb beef
2 T salt
4 tsp black pepper
.5 tsp red pepper
1 T parsley
1 T fennel
.5 – 1 c water to mix seasonings in

So ends the year of meat. It has been a lot of fun to participate in such an outrageous activity, and to share the experience in this blog. I’ve stretched my already far flung boundaries, and ventured into culinary territory that I may not have explored without Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s gentle prodding in her monthly challenges.

One of the nice things about it has been that we have had a consistent and plentiful supply of meaty goodies in the freezer, ready to go, to make whatever it is that I’m cooking taste better. It is nice to have it around, to pull out and use in this and that, on an ordinary day. One of my favorite “side effects” of Charcutepalooza was not even a meat, but smoked tomatoes (try that in your coulis!) and smoked salt (try that on anything!)

Back in the spring, when I got that miserable lab work back from the doctor, I almost dropped out of it. I’m glad that I didn’t, because rather that ruling it all out, I’ve learned modify recipes slightly, to use this kind of meat more as a seasoning than as a main ingredient, so I can enjoy it and still  keep the cholesterol in check.

And there was something uplifting about joining in with other just-that-kind-of-crazy types from around the country (and the globe!) and doing this kind of activity together. It gave it another dimension, and it was so nice to be connected in that way to each other. I enjoyed occasionally dropping into the Tweet room, and spent many pleasant hours visiting my fellow Charcutepaloozians’ blogs. Over the course of the year there were some who let it go, but also many who kept with it. I’ve been touched, impressed, and inspired by these people and their blogs. I’m thankful that they were inclined to share their experiences with me and look forward to checking in on them from time to time.

It is kind of sad to be coming to the end here, but I feel like I’ve just started. It seems like just yesterday that I was figuring out how to set up a blog, and I still haven’t created a proper index for it. A few months ago, when I was browsing through other Charcutepalooza blogs, I came across a food photography class that was being taught up in Frederick, so I spent a wonderful Saturday at Frederick Foodie’s cooking school with food photographer Andrea J. Walker, learning about how much I need to learn in the realm of food photography.
And as far as charcuterie is concerned, there is always another piece of meat to cure. I think I’ll try that duck proscuitto again, oh and I really want to do a ham, could I do a country ham?, and maybe some pepperoni too. Come to think of it, that pizza would have been better if I’d have bothered to make my own cheese…
With food & love,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

CHARCUTEPALOOZA 11, CURING: Lardo and Lonzino, or the Fat and the Lean

One time Jack referred to Brian’s bresaola as the “old meat hanging in the basement”, and little did he know how good that old meat would become. Over the past few years, Brian has gotten the bresaola thing down, each one more mind-blowingly delicious than the last. He’ll present these little plates of perfectly seasoned cured beef, so thinly sliced that they’re translucent and they melt in your mouth. Usually they’re served in the classic way, with some of his garden arugula, large curls of shaved parmesan cheese, and a few drops of lemon juice, but I always try to eat an unadulterated slice or two so I can taste just it.
 So I was just slightly intimidated by this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge. What on earth could I make that wouldn’t pale in comparison to Brian’s bresaola? I figured I might be safe trying something that we’d never eaten before, so we wouldn’t know just how good or lousy it might be. I figured that pork is a pretty safe bet; you can’t go wrong with it. And Lonzino, a pork loin cured in the same way as bresaola, might even be ok on the new eating plan. But then I remembered a nice piece of milk-fed pork fat from the Amish farmer that was in the freezer, and thought it might be interesting to try curing two opposite cuts of the pig, the lean loin and the pure fat, and to compare them, even though I’ve been working really hard to be more like Jack Sprat and less like his wife!

For the Lonzino I used Hank Shaw’s, of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, recipe (great site, by the way), and followed Ruhlman and Polcyn’s guide for the lardo.

First the meat & fat got a good covering of salt and spice.

Into the refrigerator they went for a few weeks, being turned every once in a while.

Then they were wrapped and tied.

And they went to the basement to hang out for awhile. The little bathroom down there, with lights off, a humidifier, and a towel at the door is the best place for this.

The Lonzino was brought up and rubbed with brine and/or vinegar a few times to keep any nastiness out.

It didn’t take too long, and they were ready to go.

How do they compare?

The lardo is, well it’s ok.  Maybe it would be more interesting if you were to rub it with a fresh batch of spice before wrapping and hanging.  Maybe a thicker slab of fat would be better. Brian thinks it needs a glass of wine alongside it. I’m wondering if maybe Mrs. Sprat is losing her taste for fat.

But the lonzino, well the lonzino is another story. The texture is right, and the seasonings peek through in just the right amount. I wish we had a few fresh figs to go with it. Lonzino on bread is super, and lonzino on a slice of apple is sublime.


Both of these meats are just fine on their own, but also good with a mild cheese. This spread, made with mild ricotta, roasted garlic, and a hint of lemon, is just right for a sliver of lonzino.

Drain 1 c ricotta cheese and 3 T yogurt in a cheesecloth lined colander for at least a half an hour. It should be fairly thick and dry.

Meanwhile, slice off the top end of a head of garlic, and roast it in a medium oven for about 20 or 30 minutes until it begins to turn golden.

Pop the cooked garlic out of its skin and whir, along with the drained cheese yogurt mixture and 2 – 3 tsp olive oil, in a food processor until smooth.

Stir in grated zest of one lemon, 1 tsp of lemon juice, a pinch of hot pepper flakes if you like, and salt and pepper to taste.

With the lonzino I like the mildness of the ricotta, but you might want to try one of these variations: try with cottage cheese, drained, or farmer’s cheese. Goat cheeses are nice, too, but may have a stronger, more tangy,  flavor. Drain according to the wetness of the particular cheese you’re using. Fresh herbs, of course, are always nice mixed into a soft cheese; try chives, chervil, and thyme, or whatever other combination you like. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Although we’ve dabbled in charcuterie for the past few years, over these ten Charcutepalooza months we’ve still tried to stretch ourselves, trying to make new things in new ways. But this is the month we tried something entirely new. Chicken Galantine. What the heck is that? It is a sort of a chicken meat loaf that is poached in a gelatiney broth, chilled, sliced, and eaten cold. It’s lovely and light, and I was even able to tweak it so that it’s still on the eating plan!

It is a fairly healthy recipe to begin with, so to bring down the unhealthy fat, all that I had to do was to replace the added pork fat with frozen olive oil, as I’ve done in the past with sausage making. Now I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to convert those of us who are in the Great Cult of Pork Fat to consider Chicken Galantine or any kind of sausage made with olive oil, but, really, it’s not bad! 

For this I used the recipe from Rhulman and Polcyn’s Charcuterie, which looked like a fine recipe and differs from the other recipes I’ve seen that it uses Madeira instead of brandy.

The first thing you do is strip the skin off the chicken in one piece. Then you cut the meat off the bones, and use those bones, along with chicken feet, to make a slow cooked broth. The chicken feet are what will make your broth an aspic. I can’t ever put chicken feet in a broth without remembering the year our cute little neighbor child, Laura, told me about giving her dad chicken feet for his birthday, saying she gave him chicken feet “so that he can cook with it”.

Next, you make a forcemeat with the dark meat, shallots, garlic, Madeira, and some of the chicken liver if you like, running it through the grinder and adding a bit of fat, in this case frozen olive oil. It may not be necessary to freeze the oil, and it may blend in just as well as a liquid, but I’ve been freezing it anyway with the idea that it might incorporate better if it’s been frozen.
The meat and fat mixture gets ground again in a food processor with some cream and a few egg whites. I cut back on the fat again by using 1/3 the amount of light cream instead of heavy cream. You then fold in your garnish and seasonings: I added sliced and sautéed mushrooms, pistachios, a pinch of Spice Parisienne*, truffle salt, and some finely chopped fresh marjoram, thyme, and winter savory.

This mixture, with some seared breast meat running down the center is then wrapped in the chicken skin, bound with cheesecloth, poached in the aspic, chilled, sliced, and served with some kind of a sauce. (I know, I know, that chicken skin isn’t so good for you, and neither is that cream, but I just couldn’t resist! I did peel it off after it was poached and chilled).

*To make Espices Fines (Spice Parisienne)*, mix a teaspoon each minced bay leaves, white pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and mace with ½ teaspoon each ground cloves, minced sage, marjoram and rosemary.

This Madeira sauce is inspired by a wine sauce recipe from Mary Margaret McBride’s 1957 Harvest of American Cooking, which uses sherry, lime, and currant jelly. Wine jelly can be made with any type of wine, and Marsala would be similar to the Madeira in this. For this, simply jell the same base with either gelatin or pectin. Apple pepper relish is also nice with the galantine.


For the base, simmer all ingredients until reduced by about a third, and then strain:

2 shallots, minced
½ c grape or apple jelly (use a non or low sugar type, the kind that is naturally sweetened with fruit juice. If you only have regular jelly, you may want to use less so that its won’t become too sweet)
a few sprigs each of marjoram, savory, and thyme
1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed slightly
dash of cayenne
½ - 1 tsp salt
½ c water
1-2 T lemon juice
½ c Madeira

For the sauce, mix ½ tsp arrowroot or corn starch with ¼ c water and mix into strained sauce. Heat, stirring or whisking, over medium low heat until it begins to thicken, and cook for another minute or two. Serve at room temperature.            

For the jelly, you can either jell with plain gelatin, which you use right away, or with pectin, which can be canned. For gelatin, which will make it more of a gelatin than a jelly, dissolve 1 packet of gelatin into 1/3 c water until dissolved and stir into strained sauce base (without the corn/arrowroot starch and butter). Chill for several hours until firm, and use right away. To jell with pectin, which will make it more of a jelly, use a low sugar type of pectin, like Pimona pectin or freezer jam pectin. Measure the sauce base and use the amount of pectin recommended for the quantity of liquid you have. Add the pectin to the sauce base, and heat, stirring, until it becomes glossy.  Pour into warm, sterilized jars, cap tightly, and process for 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate after opening.  You can also use approximately ½ c. apple pectin made from young apples instead of Pimona or freezer jam pectin.


1 c minced apple, green, honey crisp or any other firm, tart type of cooking apple
½ c minced onion
¼ c minced of your favorite red pepper, as mild or as hot as you like. I use a hot Thai chili. (HLC, skip the pepper and use an extra ¼ c onions for a nice apple onion relish).
1 c apple cider vinegar
3 T brown or turbinado sugar, or honey

Put onionapple and red pepper and cider vinegar and brown sugar or honey in a heavy saucepan and heat to boiling point. Lower heat and cook until thickened slightly.  Can be canned; process 10 minutes. 
And now, for a laugh, check out the Blog Breakdown Pie Chart cartoon from The New Yorker, September 26, 2011 issue.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CHARCUTEPALOOZA CHALLENGE 9: A Paté Revival - Small Pate en Croute, with Chicken Livers, Duck Livers and Pork Confit

OK. It’s a sinful, soulful food, paté is, and it’s not on my eating plan, as it tends to be high in fat and cholesterol, and as I have a tendency to eat an awful lot of it. But it is on Charcutepalooza, so I welcomed the excuse to break with said eating plan. I’ll repent by swimming extra laps and eating a slew of seaweed salad!

Though it can be extravagant, as it is when made with foie gras, it can also be humble, as when made from scraps of leftover this and that. I always like the idea of making something with whatever you happen to have (that’s the "how we live our lives" part), so I dug into the freezer to see what I could find. No pork liver - how ever could I have let that happen? - but there was some chicken and duck liver that would do. No pork pieces, but there was bag of fat scraps cut from various pieces of pork. There were also a few pieces of veal in there, but I’m not about to give them up when the season for Veal Stew with Lemon and Cream (also not really on my eating plan either – more laps and seaweed for me!) is just around the corner. I did find a little bit of ground veal left from something or other that would do instead. Though I’m sure some would say that to make a proper paté I should grind it all from the start, I’m also sure that there have been plenty a fine paté made from pre-ground meat, back in some other day before there was a Kitchen Aid mixer with grinder attachment in every kitchen

In this recipe, I use the aspic and the crust from a recipe for Raised Pork Pie, posted on food52 by luvcookbooks. It is simple yet rich and flavorful, and one of my favorite recipes I’ve tried from the site.
The center of the paté has a layer of sliced duck liver on top of a layer of pork confit. Now confit isn’t necessary for the paté, and it may even be overkill. You could certainly just layer small pieces of raw meat into your paté, grind it in with the veal, or even leave it out altogether. But for this paté, I liked the way the confit blended in seamlessly, soft enough to slice through and spread, but still retaining its character.

Small Paté en Croute, with Chicken Livers, Duck Livers and Pork Confit
Makes about 1 ½ c paté for 1 c in pastry for the day after tomorrow, and about  ½ c plain paté for supper tomorrow.
This paté en croute is a three to four day recipe. On day one you start the broth, render fat for the crust, and glean bits of pork from that fat, and then bake it for the confit. On day two you reduce the stock further, creating aspic, chill it again, and you also make, bake, and chill the paté. On day three you pour aspic into the paté, chill it again so that the aspic can firm up, and finally at the end of day three or on day four you may slice it up and at last enjoy it. That’s why it’s nice to have a little plain paté to whet your appetite in the meanwhile.

Day One:

Get started on some pork broth for aspic: You’ll only need about ½ to 1 c for the paté, but make a good sized batch so that you have lots left over-you can freeze it to have around to add amazing flavor to beans, vegetables, soups, etc. Take a few pork bones, with some meat still on them, place in a large pot and cover with water. Add an onion, cut in quarters, and bring to a simmer.  For the Raised Pork Pie, luvcookbooks has you add a carrot stalk, a bay leaf, and some thyme, oregano, and peppercorns, and you can do this too, but for pate I prefer the aspic made with just an onion. Turn heat as low as you can get it so that it continues to release steam, but is not bubbling away. Cook the broth like this for several hours, until reduced by 2/3, every once in a while skimming off any gunk that comes to the surface. Remove bones, strain and chill broth.

Render some pork fat: put a few pieces of pork fat (about 6 or 8 oz.) into a small saucepan with and add cool water just to the top of the fat. Put the heat on very low and cook uncovered for a few hours until the fat comes apart and becomes mostly liquid. Remove any still solid pieces of fat, and at this point, if you’re a sloppy butcher as I am, you’ll be able to poke through the fat and the pot and pull out any little pieces of meat that were left on the fat. Strain and chill the pan liquids. When chilled, remove the fat and ad any liquid at the bottom to your pork broth. (Alternatively, use purchased lard for the crust and a few small pieces fresh pork – butt or fatty chop- for the confit).

Make the confit: if you’re using meat and fat from the rendering process, put the meat scraps and fat solids in a ramekin with a bay leaf. Place in a baking dish filled with water to halfway up the side of ramekin, cover with foil and bake in a 300 oven for an hour or so. If you’re using fresh fat and meat bake for two or three hours, until it is super soft and pulls apart with just a fork. When it’s cooked and still warm, spread some of it onto a piece of bread or cracker, sprinkle with salt, and eat it right then and there, standing barefoot in your kitchen. Chill the rest.
Get ready for making paté:  freeze your grinder or food processor components, discs, blades, and bowls.

Day Two:

Reduce Broth, Making an Aspic: remove pork broth from refrigerator and remove fat. Return to large pot and simmer, continuing to skim until it is reduced to just a few cups of liquid. It should be slightly thick. Strain again and refrigerate. It should firm up to a jell, but if it doesn’t,  just blend in 2 tsp plain gelatin dissolved in ¼ c water.

Make Paté: First, in a small bowl, marinate 6 oz veal cut into 1” pieces and 1 oz pork backfat cut into 1” pieces (or 6 oz ground veal and 1 oz minced pork backfat) with 1T Cognac. In another small bowl, combine 3 oz chicken livers, 1 minced shallot and 2 T Cognac. Refrigerate veal mixture and liver mixture for at least an hour.

Make a panade by heating in a small pan 1 ½ T rendered pork fat with 1 ½ T water. When it is melted together, add 3 or 4 T flour (fine or cake flour is best, but regular flour is fine too) and stir, over low heat, for a few minutes until it comes together in a ball. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.

Saute marinated chicken livers and their liquid in 1T butter just until they are browned slightly on the outside, but so they’re still squishy soft to the touch. Add another tablespoon or two of Cognac, ignite, and let flame burn out. Cool to room temperature. Mix up the pate. If you’re using chunks of meat and fat, run it through your grinder, along with the chicken livers and panade, using a medium or large disc, one pass if you want a coarse pate, two if you would like it smoother. If you don’t have a grinder, you can pulse it all in your food processor, but don’t turn it to a paste. If you're using pre-ground meat you could either run it through the grinder, pulse it in the processor, or mix it up by hand, take your pick. Mix in ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp Espices Fines (Spice Parisienne)* or allspice, 2 T cream and a pinch of pink preserving salt (not necessary if you don’t have it, but it will help to keep your paté a nice pink color when cooked). Fry up a little piece, taste, and adjust seasonings. Slice 6 oz duck or chicken liver lengthwise.
*To make Espices Fines (Spice Parisienne)*, which is much preferable to allspice, mix a teaspoon each minced bay leaves, white pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and mace with ½ teaspoon each ground cloves, minced sage, marjoram and rosemary.

Make Crust: heat 1/4 c rendered pork fat or lard and ¼ c water. Add ¾ tsp salt and then stir in 1 to 1 ¼ c flour. Stir until just combined. No need to chill this dough; you can roll this out right away. I roll it between layers of plastic wrap.

Assemble and Bake Paté: preheat oven to 300. Line a 1 c ramekin, tin, or pate form with foil or plastic wrap, (optional, but helpful if you want to remove it from the ramekin to serve it), and then roll out crust, and line pan with the crust, reserving a piece of crust for the top. Next, line the crust with a layer of very thinly sliced pork backfat. Put down a layer with about a half a cup of the veal and liver mixture. Cover with a layer of pork confit, and “paste” it down with a teaspoon or two more of the veal and liver.

Cover evenly with a layer of sliced duck or chicken liver, sprinkle with salt, and finish with another half cup or so of the veal and liver mixture, followed by another layer of thinly sliced fat. Top with a few bay leaves if you like, fresh are better if you have them, and cover with top crust.

Cut a 1” hole in the top crust and remove. Cover loosely with foil and place in a baking pan. Place in preheated oven and fill pan with water to halfway up the paté pan. You can also make it free-form on a cookie sheet, wrapping the pate like a present, covering loosely with foil, and baking without water.
Bake for about an hour, remove foil, brush crust with beaten egg, and bake another 30-40 minutes until browned nicely.

Remove from oven, let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate.

If you’ve got leftover ground meat mixture and sliced liver, grease a small ramekin, fill with veal and chicken liver mixture, and top with sliced liver. Brush with some rendered pork fat or oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake in 300 oven for 30 or 40 minutes. You can eat this right away, warm or cold.
Day Three:
Fill Pate with Aspic: Warm a cup of the jelled broth and put it in a pitcher with a good pour spout. Pour a bit of the broth into the pate through the cut hole in the top crust till it fills to the top. Wait a few minutes until it has absorbed, and fill again. Continue this many times, until the broth is no longer absorbed into the paté. Chill thoroughly, at least several hours, so that the aspic can jell. Slice and serve with some sort of pickle.

Pickled Watermelon Rind is my absolute favorite pickle to serve with this, as the seasonings reflect the seasonings in the paté, and it also has a bit of sweet to play off the bit of salt in the paté. This recipe, from The Philadelphia Cook Book of Town and Country, by Anna Wetherill Reed, (NY: Bramhall House, 1963,) with sliced lemon and preserved ginger, is fabulous.
Spiced Melon Rind

Cut off all green and pink from rind of 1 large watermelon. Weigh prepared rind and soak overnight in brine made with 2T table salt to every1quart water.

Drain and cook rind in fresh water until tender and drain again. For each 2 lbs prepared rind, boil together 4 ½ c sugar, 2 c water, 1 lemon, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, 2 c vinegar, 1 stick cinnamon, 1 tsp whole cloves, and 1 tsp allspice berries, and pour over rind and add ¼ c preserved (candied) ginger, sliced. Cook about 5 minutes until rind becomes clear and translucent. Pack in clean sterilized jars, fill with syrup and process at once. (Reed has you use plain preserved ginger and remove it before processing, but I prefer to use sliced candied ginger and mix it in with the rind).

I promise, this is one of the best watermelon rind recipes around, and it is so good with pate!

A last note on paté.

The general consensus is that it doesn’t freeze well, which is true. It looses its soft  and smooth texture when frozen.  But it can be revived and reinvented into a very nice spread, and you won’t need to waste any of your lovely paté. Be sure to freeze what you won’t be eating right away, while it is still fresh. When you’re ready to thaw it, do so in the refrigerator. When your paté has thawed, whir it up, fat and all, in your food processor with a little cream, or ideally some of that pork aspic you made, or a little of both.

You can add some fresh thyme, savory, paprika, and a pinch of salt to perk it up. It’s not the pate you made in the first place, but it ain’t half shabby this way.

And a Confession:
I burned the top of that pate!

And simultaneously undercooked the bottom crust!

Thinking I should get with the program and start testing my pate temperatures with a thermometer, I pulled it too soon, thought it should be a little browner on the top, turned on the broiler, and then got distracted!
So the top got scraped, brushed with egg, and re-browned.

Later when I removed it from the mold I saw that the bottom crust was underdone, so it went back into the oven again, this time bottom side up, and then it was returned to the ramekin for the pouring of the aspic.

A pate revival, but still, be sure your sins will find you out!