This meal was intense! And delicious. I know, I know–we are horrible people for eating the livers of baby cows. At least we’re using the whole animal efficiently! I love to try the livers of animals. My favorite I’ve tried so far is rabbit liver. It was like meat butter. Don’t worry, we don’t eat this sort of stuff very often, otherwise we’d be speeding down the heart-attack highway.
CRANBERRY, PORT & PRUNE REDUCTION
First, Blake worked on a cranberry, prune and port reduction sauce. Prunes get a bad rap for being affiliated with your grandparents bowels, but Blake has always been partial to dried fruits. In this case “Dried plums”–as they are usually described today–were a perfect way to beef up the natural rich fruits of the port.
- 1/2 cup frozen cranberries
- 1/4 cup prunes
- 1/2 cup port
- Dash of salt
- 2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
Blend first three ingredients in blender on high. Add to small sauce pan. Cover and reduce on a medium heat to about 1/2 volume, stirring occasionally. Stir in the yogurt and cook for about two minutes more.
VEAL LIVERS & ONIONS
- 1 package veal livers
- 1/3 white whole wheat flour
- pinch of sea salt
- freshly-ground pepper
- 1/2 a large white onion, sliced into thin rings
- 1 tablespoon butter
While Blake worked on the sauces, I went to town on the meat. I love cutting up, spicing and cooking the meat. I let Blake do all the delicate-mixing-of-flavors cooking, and I just cut up the dead animals and put a “scald” on them, as my Cousin Hunter would say.
First, slice an onion in half and then cut it into thin rings. Warm up a cast iron skillet or other skillet and melt the butter. Add the sliced onions to the pan and cook on high until they are slightly browned (about 1 minute), then lower heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or even longer until the onions are super soft and a warm brown color all over. I like to cover the onions during this slow-cook process to aid in the softening.
While the onions are cooking down, take the veal livers from the package, rinse them, and gently pat them dry on some paper towels. In a small, shallow bowl, whisk the flour, salt and pepper together. Dredge the veal livers in the flour mixture and let rest on a plate until the onions are done.
Remove onions from the pan to a plate and turn heat up to medium-high. Add a little more butter or some olive oil if your pan is dry, then lay out the veal livers in the pan to fry. Watch them closely. They cook very quickly! What you are looking for is just slightly brown with pink edges. Some bloody pink liquid will come out a bit, but this is a good thing. Don’t cook all the cuss out of them!
Turn as soon as the side down is lightly browned, then cook for just a tiny while longer. The livers will firm slightly and curl up a bit at the edges, but will still have a pink aspect and just a light brown tone when they are done. This cooking process only takes 3-5 minutes total, so stand over it with your spatula and keep a look-out.
ENGLISH MUFFINS WITH HORSERADISH BUTTER
- 1 English Muffin per person
- 1 tablespoon horseradish per muffin
- a pat of better per muffin
Easy as pie! Easier than pie, really. Just knead together some butter and horseradish with a knife, then spread it on halved English muffins and toast them in the oven. I like to use the broiler, but you could toast them in the main oven area at about 450 degrees if you desire.
STEAMED GREEN BEANS AND CARROTS
- Green Beans (with ends snapped)
- Carrots (peeled)
Directions: steam them, duh! The end. Delicious. You can put a little butter on them if you want, or drizzle some olive oil with a bit of sea salt and cracked peppercorns.
BEET & GREEK YOGURT SAUCE
This has become a staple in our house. This sauce can also be punched up by adding a half cup of bleu cheese–an idea borrowed from the stuffed pasta LeCreole made for awhile (where Blake worked). Beets are great for you and are so sweet it curbs your desire for hip-expanding desserts. The recipe goes a little something like this:
- Two medium beets–peeled, rough cut, and rinsed thoroughly
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- two cloves chopped garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
Sauteé veggies in a large pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until onions are clear and beets give a bit when poked (about 7-10 minutes). Keep stirring occasionally. You may also de-glaze the pan with a little red wine, scraping all the sides to get the yummy crusty bits.
Next add 1/2 to 3/4 cups Greek yogurt and an ounce or two of water to a blender. Add the veggies incrementally, using the ice crush function to grind up the par-cooked beets slowly. You are looking for a consistency somewhere between really loose whipped potatoes and really thick alfredo. From here variations are endless, but those are the basics.
This was our last meal to speak of in our Baton Rouge apartment. It was nice to take what we had learned in the last three years and apply it to some foods that we have always loved. We will miss the produce markets and 12 month growing seasons in Louisiana, but we look forward to the farmer’s markets and meat-and-threes in Kentucky.