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Friday, May 15, 2020

Truffled Chicken Liver Pate, The Beefeater and The Cable Guy

Picture taken among Rosemary and Sage, in my Herb Garden.
This is a photograph of my first Aspic.  An aspic is in essence a meat flavored jelly.
The artwork is achieved by using foraged violets, wild strawberry flowers and fresh chives and sage from my herb garden.  The Pate is sealed below the aspic and the artwork. 
My recipe is simply chicken livers that have been simmered in stock, aromatics like garlic, onion, bay leaves, fresh black pepper and cardamom.  The poached livers are then blended with real butter and some truffle oil to achieve an unctuous and delicious spread, blooming with flavor and perfect for easy entertaining.  Aspics hit their peak in the 50's and 60's, but still appear on dinner tables around the world.  They have roots as far back as the Medieval Ages.  
I remember when a group from our high school went to England during the summer of 1992.  I was 15 at the time and escstatic that my parents were able to let me participate.  Traipsing about England with my class mates and Advanced Science teacher Ms. Cothran and her daughter Dawn was an amazing experience.  Ironically enough, the Queen was visiting the Americas at the time of our trip. We spent about 2 1/2 weeks abroad, touring notable places like Westminster Abbey, The Tower of London, Big Ben and Shakespeare's home with Anne Hathaway where we sat in a beautiful garden full of flowers and swung in a wooden swing, priceless! 
  We had dinner one evening on the Thames at The Beefeater, 'Drink Ale and Wassailing', singing, laughing and eating with our hands, alongside Henry VIII.  As part of the dinner theatre, we dined and fellowshipped in the tavern, lasting around 2 hours.  We had this potted meat appetizer, mild and spice forward, to spread on the crusty bread at our tables.  As a Culinarian, this ranks among my greatest food experiences ever!  I still have the menu as part of my memorabilia from the trip.  I'd love to go back, but will settle for taking the kiddoes to Medieval Times, here in the Americas. 
 There is a scene in The Cable Guy starring Jim Carrey as Ernie 'Chip' Douglas and Matthew Broderick as Stephen Kovacs, written and directed by Ben Stiller, where Chip takes Stephen to Medieval Times for dinner and I was immeditately catapulted back to our night on the Thames, though there was no jousting, nor was there the loquacious and animated tirades, by the dark comedy character.  This location is also where Chip does his rendition of Silence of the Lambs with his chicken skin! Hilarious.
An evening like this would be hard to recreate at home, without enlisting the help of actors, stuntmen, trained animals and animal trainers, arena rentals and lots of sand, so I sure hope we will at least be able to attend within the next several years, before the kiddoes turn 18 and think their mom drags them to lame events, or not. We will just have to see.  In the meantime, I think I'll track down another copy of The Cable Guy and get my laugh on. The one I have is a hot mess of strategic scratches that prevents us from enjoying it.   Interestingly enough, the 1996 character Chip speaks of the coming of an advanced "Information Super Highway" that has replaced most interpersonal contact and a society that does most of its interactions via  televisions and telephones.  Hmm.....curiouser and curiouser!  

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Smokinhotchef
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