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A Few of My Favorite Things 

Raindrops on roses, liver and Brussels sprouts

click to enlarge Brussels sprouts - PHOTO BY BOB DORAN
  • photo by Bob Doran
  • Brussels sprouts

As you may have gathered, I like to cook. That goes hand in hand with my love for eating. This week I'd like to share some ideas for cooking some of my favorite things to eat.

We'll start with -- liver. This is possibly a risky way to introduce a column of favorite foods, but I throw caution to the winds and entreat you, Dear Reader, to give this serious consideration.

Chicken livers get such a bad rap, outside of a Jewish deli. I want to spearhead a movement to rename chicken livers. Chicken heavens, maybe? They are a far cry from the occasionally sulfurous and disgusting texture of the organ meats of the larger animal, which by the way I also can enjoy on occasion. But my point is, chicken liver is not like beef or veal livers, with that gelatinous and distinctly organ-y quality that evokes haunting images of Silence of the Lambs; rather, chicken liver is nutty, rich, sweet, and tiny. It bears no relation to anything that could be found inside a human. It's very easy to cook, cheap, and absolutely delicious.

This method of cooking it, originating from my Grandma Norah, is far and away my favorite. The sherry accents the sweetness, the ginger and soy offset the richness, and the butter -- well, the butter makes it taste buttery.

By the way, this is one meat I will only buy organic, for obvious reasons. Rosie's from the Co-op is good, except they often include the hearts. Please, Rosie's, stop and desist with the hearts! If I wanted to eat heart... you can finish that sentence as you see fit.

 

CHICKEN LIVERS BROTMAN

by Darius Brotman (learned from his mother) Serves 2.

 

1 lb. chicken liver

1 tablespoon butter

1 inch cube peeled fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespooons soy sauce

1/4 cup dry sherry (Amontillado)

 

Go over livers with your fingers to separate them and remove most obvious gristle.

Melt butter over medium high heat in an omelet pan and sauté liver in a lively manner for 2 minutes.

Add ginger, soy sauce and sherry and cook for 60 more seconds, then check liver's interior with a knife. You want them to be just turned from red to pink inside. DO NOT OVERCOOK or it ruins the texture and tastes the way you imagine overcooked liver tasting.

If you are like my dad, you make rice first. I don't like rice so I have it over steamed greens

 

JADA'S CURRIED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

I realize the title of this recipe may sound oddly repugnant. I'm telling you this is really good, darnit! You can actually use this technique with lots of vegetables -- try it with squash or cauliflower, any winter veg -- I just happen to adore sprouts. This is so easy, so healthy and so good. If you have any chutney that's a nice side. I eat mine over scrambled eggs, but rice would be good, if you like rice. Serves 2.

 

16 Brussels sprouts, rinsed, ends trimmed, cut in half (or quarters if they're large). Include all loose leaves.

1/2 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1/2 yellow onion, minced

1/8 cup water

1/8 cup raisins

1/8 cup walnuts

1 teaspoon curry powder (I like Poonjiajee ‘Sun Brand' Madras Curry Powder, locally available)

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 t. salt or to taste

 

Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a 9-12 inch cast-iron pan for a minute.

Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add Brussels sprouts, turn heat to medium high, stir once and let cook unstirred for 2 minutes.

Lower heat to medium, stir in water, walnuts, raisins and curry powder, and cook for 3 minutes covered.

Uncover, raise heat to med. high, add sugar, salt and lemon juice, and cook for a minute or so more, or until liquid has completely boiled away.

 

40 CLOVES OF GARLIC SOUP

This is not my invention. It's just really, really good. I think the idea was from the Vegetarian Epicure originally. The thing I like about it is it's a wonderful soup that doesn't use stock. I usually keep stock on hand but every once in a while my Martha Stewart-esqueness falls short and I just don't want to make stock. Let's not lie. It's a chore. And, continuing the brutal honesty, water-based soups are usually poor. And don't suggest store-bought stock; I'm not that louche. Serves 2.

2 whole heads garlic, peeled and minced (around 40 cloves, thus the name)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

3 cups water

2 thick slices white artesanal bread

2 eggs

black pepper

 

Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 2 minutes.

Add the water, chili flakes and salt; simmer for 2 minutes.

Put bread in toaster.

Carefully crack each egg into soup; raise heat just until soup returns to simmer, and poach for 3 minutes.

Place toasted bread slices in two bowls. Ladle soup and one poached egg over each.

Grind black pepper over top.

Serve immediately.

This is especially good when you are sick.

Get better, or just enjoy the soup.

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About The Author

Jada Calypso Brotman

Bio:
Jada Brotman grew up in Arcata before moving to the U.K. and then New York City, where she cut a wide swath in the world of cheese. Insert joke here. She returned to the home of her fathers four years ago, and now works as a journalist and seasons her crepe pans in downtown Arcata.

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