She said that my blogs were still good, informative, but I hadn't ripped anyone a new one in way too long. Mind you, it's not that I can't find targets, but I live in a small town and I do want to be able to go to school concerts without running into ex-friends whom I have excoriated. And it's not that I don't like them, but really, after all, if you can't cook, don't pretend that you can. I don't pretend that I am a chef, but my standards rise slightly above the Sandra Lee school of take-it-out-of-a-box-and-doctor-it-up. I also think that if you use disgusting ingredients to feed your family, you should keep it to yourself.
Which brings me to my boss. Now, you might find it ironic, (I certainly do), that I work part-time at a church. I am the secretary. My job as the church secretary is a welcome respite, a job in which they are always happy with my work, in fact they are delighted to have me. (As they should be. I am seriously underemployed in this job.) My boss, the pastor, is a really nice guy, with a sense of humor. He is easy to work for. But, you may ask, what does this have to do with cooking?
The pastor thinks he can cook. I have told him that I have a food blog. I have told him that on my blog I make fun of people who can't cook or cook stupid things. He has no self-awareness about his cooking choices. And that makes it really hard to make fun of him, because I wouldn't want hurt his feelings. Really, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I just want to lift you out of your dreary kitchens and bring some spark to your dinner table. And we have to learn from example, don't we? My good example, other's bad ones? I feel it is my job, my calling, to point out your shortcomings. And lift myself up as a role-model. (now, if you can't read those last sentences with a little humor, just go away.)
So, the other day, the pastor is chatting in the office with one of his colleagues who happened to drop in, and he mentioned that he had spent some time the previous evening with another friend. "We went back to my house and I whipped up some pâté." I raised my eyebrows. "Really?" "Yeah, I opened a can of spam and added some pickle juice and mayonnaise and we ate it with crackers." My eye started to twitch. My tongue started to bleed because I had bitten it so hard. I inhaled deeply to suppress my latent urge to sneer. I looked at him and said, "You're just begging me to make fun of you on my blog, aren't you?" He gave me a blank look and went back to talking about his late night feast with no realization that it was the spam pâté to which I was referring. I went back to typing. That is the kindest thing I have done in a month. But you can't say I didn't warn him....
In his honor, because after all, he is a good boss, I will make Chicken Liver pâté with Pistachios today and I will bring him a ramekin of it tomorrow. This recipe makes a lot. And it keeps for two weeks. The first two local people who comment will receive their own ramekin of this treat. If I like you.
2 sticks softened unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons melted
3 large shallots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 pounds chicken livers, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup dry Marsala
1/2 cup chicken stock
11/4 cups salted roasted pistachios, 1/2 cup chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the softened butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken livers, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning a few times, until firm, about 4 minutes. Add the Marsala and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer, turning the livers a few times, until the livers are light pink in the center, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the skillet mixture cool for 5 minutes.
- Transfer 10 of the livers to a plate. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a blender and puree. Cut the remaining 1 1/2 sticks of softened butter into tablespoons. With the machine on, add the butter and blend until it is completely incorporated.
- Scrape the puree into a large bowl. Cut the reserved 10 livers into 1/2-inch pieces and fold them in, along with the whole pistachios, parsley and thyme. Generously season the pâté with salt and pepper. Spoon the pâté into four 1 1/2-cup ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over each pâté to seal it, then garnish with the chopped pistachios. Cover the ramekins and refrigerate until the butter is firm, about 20 minutes
- The pâté can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.