Sunday, January 31, 2016

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Sometimes all you want is chocolate.
This is a simple, dairy-free, gluten-free, quick recipe to satisfy that chocolate craving and get on with your day. . .happily.




Homemade Chocolate Syrup 

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups white sugar (or 1 c. coconut sugar)

1 cup cocoa powder (I like organic, raw cocoa powder)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the water, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt together in a saucepan over low heat; whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir the vanilla into the sauce. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate until serving.

Enjoy over ice cream, mixed into hot milk or your favorite dairy-free beverage for cocoa, drizzled over waffles or crepes, or mixed into cold mild for homemade chocolate milk.

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Beef Liver Pâté

This recipe is modified from the by Liver Pâté recipe from ThePaleoMom. 
Thank you, Dr. Sarah!!

We are fortunate to be able to order half a local grass-fed beef each year to split with friends. The price per round is less than grocery beef, and it feels good to buy locally. A quarter cow will provide enough beef to feed my family for a year -- you just need a large freezer. We purchased ours through Local Brands Farm Co-op, who supports local farmers and ranchers by combining efforts to market local products. Their beef is succulent, and they're lovely people to work with.

When you order a half beef, you can specify which cuts you prefer and what organ meats to receive. I usually opt for everything but the beef tongue (ick.). But who knew a cow had such a HUGE liver -- what in the world do you do with 7 pounds of beef liver?? This recipe has enough herbs, sweet complexity and salt to mask the beef's gamey, "livery" taste.

We enjoy it served "smoked salmon style," spread on crackers or veggie slices with red onions and capers. I've heard that a slab of pâté mixed with a pound or two of ground beef make lovely hamburgers. I'll have to try it sometime.


Beef Liver Pâté
1 lb Liver
1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic
6-7 Fresh Sage Leaves (or 1 Tbsp dried Rubbed Sage)
1 Small Sprig Fresh Rosemary (2 tsp Dried Rosemary)
1 Bay Leaf
1/3 cup Dry Sherry or Cognac (I used cognac)
1 tsp Salt, to taste
1/8 tsp Ground Mace
3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (3/4 tsp Dried Thyme)
½ cup Cooking Fat -- tallow, coconut oil, or unsalted butter
     bacon fat (this tastes divine, but omit salt if you use bacon fat)
1/4c dark cherries (about 8 cherries)
2t  honey


Slice liver into 2” chunks and remove any vessels the butcher might have missed.


Line a 7.5″x3.5″ Loaf Pan with parchment paper (this is an optional step that just makes removing the loaf easier later; you could also use a glass or pottery serving dish).


Heat ¼ cup of your chosen cooking fat in a large skillet over medium high heat.


Add onion, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, sage, mace and garlic to the pan.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are well cooked (about 10 minutes).


Add liver to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned on the outside and still pink in the middle (about 3-4 minutes).

Add sherry to pan and bring to boil (you can increase heat to high if you want).  Boil 2-3 minutes, until you can’t smell alcohol in the steam.


Remove from heat.  Remove bay leaf, rosemary stem, and thyme stems.  Add salt and the remaining cooking fat.

Pour hot liver mixture into a blender or food processor.  Pulse until smooth.


Pour into the prepared loaf pan (or serving dish of choice).

Once it’s cool enough to touch, make sure to cover with plastic wrap tightly across the entire surface (plastic wrap should be touching the pâté with no air bubbles) to prevent oxidation (you’ll still get some, which is okay, but doing this helps your pâté stay a nice pink color which tastes better and is better for you).

Refrigerate overnight up to a few days before eating.

I also typically make a double batch and pour it into a standard loaf pan.  After letting the flavors mature for a couple of days in the fridge, I slice and freeze individual portions for weekday lunches for myself.