What WOULD Bekki Eat?

Well, I'll start with what I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't eat margarine. Or tofu. Or lowered-fat anything. Olestra is right out. Hydrolyzed, isolated, evaporated, enriched, or chocolate flavored "phood" won't pass these lips.
What will I eat? Real food. Made-at-home food. Food that my great-great-grandmother could have made, if she had the money and the time. And if she hadn't been so busy trick-riding in a most unladylike way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Iron Chef Duet!

It has been ages, felt like eons, indeed so much time has passed that it almost faded into legend... but Iron Chef Mom and Iron Chef Grill have returned! (Huzzah! The villagers rejoice!)

Now that my mom is living nearby, we have an additional source for Secret Ingredient inspiration. So tonight, for the first time, the two Iron Chefs teamed up for a historical battle against... well... no one, really. Perhaps it was against the Secret Ingredient itself. For tonight's was truly unique. Not a usual part of the American diet, although it certainly should be. Tonight's ingredient was... chicken livers. Nutrient-dense and incredibly inexpensive, liver of all sorts should be restored to it's once-a-week spot on the menu.

We decided to go with a vaguely Cuban theme for the meal.

The menu:

Grilled skewers with veggies and bacon-wrapped chicken livers
Grilled green beans
Fried chicken livers with onions on herbed, buttered white rice and braised greens
Grilled Orange Bananas Dean (an Iron Chef Grill original)
The wine: MiBal Tinto 2006 Ribera del Duero, 100% Tempranillo

The skewers
Cherry tomatoes
Chopped green peppers
Marinated halved button mushrooms (marinated in Worcestershire sauce),
Bacon-wrapped chicken livers

The chicken livers were marinated in this:

1/2 cup soy sauce (tamari in this case)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
a few dashes salt and pepper

The green beans were tossed with olive oil and salt, then grilled.

The fried chicken livers followed, somewhat, the Julia Child recipe from The Way to Cook. I breaded with half cornmeal, after seeing that in a few online recipes, and hoping it would help them be more crisp. It didn't work. But, here's what I did:

About 1 pound of chicken livers, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and freshly-ground pepper
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup white rice flour
several shakes each: chili powder, regular paprika, sweet paprika
3 tablespoons duck fat (leftover from our Christmas duck)
1/2 cup gently browned onions (recipe to follow)
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/3 cup chicken stock

Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper, then dredge in mixture of flour, cornmeal, and seasonings. Fry in duck fat over medium-high heat, a couple minutes per side. Top the liver with the browned onions, pour in the stock and vermouth, raise the heat, and boil rapidly, basting the liver with the sauce. Scoop liver over herbed rice (recipe to follow) and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Browned Onions

Slowly saute 3 cups sliced onions in 2-3 tablespoons of butter, in a covered pan, stirring frequently, until the onions are very tender- 15 minutes or so. Uncover the pan, salt lightly, raise the heat to moderately high, and let the onions brown nicely, stirring frequently- 5 minutes or so. Can be made ahead of time.

Herbed Rice

Stir herbed butter (or butter and fresh oregano, parsley, and/or sage) into prepared rice, about 1 tablespoon butter per cup of rice. For this dish, make a ring of rice on a platter, place braised greens in the middle, and top with the fried chicken livers and onions, including the pan sauce. Garnish with parsley.

Grilled Orange Bananas Dean
(as opposed to Bananas Foster, where all the booze is cooked off...)

The booze is NOT cooked off here, and is quite tasty. The original recipe can be found here, but this time he used Amaretto for half the liquor, and I really like the change.

The Judge, my mama, really liked it all. She preferred the fried chicken livers... as did the Grill Geek. I was really surprised to like both (I'd never had chicken liver before.) The flavor of the bacon-wrapped was awesome, but the texture of the fried was better. I'm hoping to have them again soon, but in a marinara sauce. We didn't get done in an hour (it's amazing how fast that first 30 minutes goes!) but we all declared it a "win" anyway.


~~Heidi~~ said...

That almost looks good. :) Sigh. Wish I liked chicken livers. Maybe I wouldn't be so unpopular in my own home (which is filled with people who eat such things as Braunschwager). Yech.

~~Heidi~~ said...

PS -- Your mom moved to Tejas? Congrats!

About Me

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Tejas, United States
I am many things... all at the same time. (No wonder I don't get much done!) I am a wife to a retired infantryman, mother of 3, stocker (and stalker) of the fridge, passionate fan of food, nutrition, ecology, coffee, wine, and college football. I love all things witchy and piratey. I often cook with booze. I feed stray cats. I don't believe in sunscreen. I don't like shoes and really hate socks. And I currently can't eat any gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, coconut(!?), or sodium metabisulfite (aw, shucks, no chemical snackies.) Sometimes even citric acid gets me. But only sometimes.