Monday, August 15, 2011

People's Hearts and Pig's Pied

People's Hearts and Pig's Pied
I can not believe it has been another month!
This blog has not only been my personal challenge, but often time my connection with my family and friends on the east coast. I work crazy hours and often the call home never gets placed. Having the unconditional love and support from those in my life set the pillers to my life endeavors. Though often my endeavors are misunderstood, hence, “unconditional.”
When my Aunt Emily in her fast - talking, thick, Long Island (New York) accent tells me, “You know I read your blog thing. Your mom forwards the link every time you have a new one. I love it, but stop putting those kinds of pictures up. You know - with the Chicken IN the package, then the Chicken OUT of the package, enough with that! Why don’t you start putting something nice that people would like? I want to see pictures of people - I don’t care about mushrooms.”
I don’t know about you but I could not help the roaring laughter that followed. The kind of laughter that seizes every muscle in your body and resonates in your belly. I was laughing so hard my eyes swelled up in joy and when it was all over, every muscle in my body was pleasantly exhausted.
She’s right! We cure, we brine, we butcher and we’re excited to document it! We’re weirdoes, yes!
In her infinite wisdom she brought me 360 degrees back to the understanding that it’s about people too. It’s about the farmer – the age old family techniques – and knowing that we are not alone in our passion!    
Who knows what she’ll have to say about a terrine made out of pigs feet!

Tonight’s Menu:

Graham Cracker Liver Cherry “Cheese Cake”

Terrine de Pied  

I know the “Cheese Cake” sounds crazy.  However, my idea was a direct adaptation from a dish that my professional chef - friend, Kingsley Fuller made. Kinglsey’s was a warm Espelette pepper graham cracker foie pie. Deliciousness and decadence at their finest. Both are wonderful.

The Crust:
12 Graham Crackers
2.5 oz Butter, melted
¼ c Fine Sugar
1 T Brown Sugar
¼ t Fine Sea Salt
1T Quatre-espices (Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Clove)

The Chicken Liver Mousse:
4 oz Chicken Liver, purged by water
½ Sweet Walla Walla Onion, julienne
3 Cloves Garlic, micro-plane grated
1/3c Madeira
1c pork stock
3 sheets Gelatin
2 c Cream, whipped

The Cherry Topping:
1qt Bing Cherries, de-stemmed & pitted
1 T Sherry Balsamic Vinegar
1.25 sheets Gelatin
1 t fine Sea Salt

Start by making the crust. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Place all of crust ingredients into the robo coup and pulse until the contents look like wet sand. Spray your molds with cooking spray and press the mixture firmly into the bottom of individual ramekins. For this step I used a tamper to pack the crust firmly and flatly to the bottom. Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown and then cool for at least 20 minutes.

Pulse the de-stemmed and pitted cherries in the robo coup about 10 times. Transfer mixture to a strainer lined with cheese cloth, allowing the cherry juice to drip to a container. Once all of the juice has been collected, place half of the juice in a pan on the stove and reduce by half. Bloom the gelatin in cold water until pliable. Whisk the gelatin into the reduced cherry juice until it’s dissolved. Whisk the reduced juice with the remaining cherry juice.
Add the vinegar and salt. Keep in warm spot or over a low flame

Saut̩ the purged Chicken Livers in oil and butter. Once a caramelized fond appears in the pan then add your onions and garlic. Cook until aromatic and caramelized Рbut not burnt! Deglaze the pan with the Madeira and reduce by a third. Add the pork stock and reduce again by a third. Bloom your gelatin in cold water until pliable then whisk into the pan.

While the pan is at a light simmer, start to whip the cream in a kitchen aid or by hand. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Pass the mixture through a chinoise until there is a smooth texture. Fold equal parts whipped cream into chicken liver. Pour mixture on top of the crust into the ramekins. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator until the mousse is set – about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

After the mousse is set, dispense the cherry liquid over the top of the ramekins and return to the refrigerator to set up again for about 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to eat, you may try un-molding your ramekins or serving them, ‘as is’ to guests.


The Terrine de Pied I made straight forward. I followed suit and brined the pigs’ feet in a mixture of cider vinegar, water and spices. I used the same tarragon, thyme, peppercorn, and garlic mixture to simmer the feet for 4 ½ hours. I didn’t have a traditional terrine mold so I opted for a bowl. You don’t have to be a Los Angeles plastic surgeon to notice what my terrine resembled once un-molded.

Another eventful challenge with familiar surprises!