Well, another holiday season is whooshing by…you don’t realize how little vacation you have until you’re in the middle of it and suddenly you realize in two days you’re going to be back on your office chair, staring at the computer screen, with the telephone ringing off the hook and a pile of mail on your desk.
Let’s hit rewind, and go back to the beginning. Thursday night was our traditional Christmas dinner with my in-laws. My sister-in-law hosted the party at her apartment as it’s in Paris, and easy access for the elderly & very young relatives. Then on Christmas day we went to see the new Star Wars film. Mixed reactions. I was entertained – and as long as I’m not bored, I figure the movie was a hit. I’m easily distracted, and if I don’t care for the characters I’ll just stop watching. The last three Star Wars films were so utterly bad that I was wary of seeing this one – but frankly, I was impressed. The storyline was fragile, but at least it was there, and the characters were likeable, and although the girl is a bit too too perfect in every way, and the ex-Storm Trooper should have been a bit more jaded, the little robot was cute and the ace pilot hot, so I was happy to sit there til the end. Less forgiving were my daughter and husband, who have decided the girl is Luke’s daughter, and the movie had nothing original in it – and it reminded them too much of Harry Potter (the evil dude was Snapes, that is for sure). I do want to know something – when will movie villains just look and dress like normal people? (Seriously – we know you’re evil Dude, you’re wearing a long black robe and you have a mask on.)
For dinner, we had leftover turkey and stuffing, and foie gras.
Foie gras is like paté that has won the lottery. It is rich, and smooth, and totally delicious. I make mine every year with my boss, Jean Pierre, so here is the recipe:
JEAN PIERRE’S MARVELOUS MICROWAVE FOIE GRAS
- 1 foie gras (duck preferably), uncooked. Lay it on a large plate that will fit in your microwave oven and devein it. This is not easy – you have to first divide the liver in two, then, with the back of a butter knife, gently tease out the veins from both sides. Some livers have very few and some are just full – you never know what you’ll get. Make sure you get them out though, they are stringy and tough. Try to leave the liver intact as possible, but it’s not a problem if you end up destroying it searching for veins – it goes into a terrine in the end anyhow.
- Salt – and this is important – the measure is 12 grams for each kilo of liver. So a regular half-pound liver will take 6 grams of salt. (One teaspoon is 5 grams) Mix the salt with some pepper to taste, and a teaspoon of sugar. Sprinkle he salt mixture all over the liver. Then pour about a half a cup of sweet white wine, (or red or white Port wine) over the liver, cover with cling film and leave to marinate for a couple hours (or overnight).
- Remove the cling film and put in the microwave oven set on “defrost” or the lowest setting for 3 minutes. Remove and carefully tip the plate to drain off the excess liquid (there may be a lot). Put back in the oven and cook again for 3 minutes. Drain again if there is a lot of liquid.
- This is where you turn the liver over and cook once more for 3 minutes. This time, do not drain. Carefully tip the liver (by now it is practically liquified) into a terrine. Cover with cling film and put a weight on it. This will press the liver into a nice form and make the fat rise to the top. Refrigerate for at least 3 days.
- Take out of the fridge, slice and spread on toast – sprinkle with a tiny bit of sea-salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy! You can use farmhouse loaf, white bread, whole grain bread, baguette, walnut bread, or my personal favorite – fig bread!
Note: if you cannot get a foie gras, don’t try this with regular goose or duck livers. Instead, check out my liver paté recipe.