Monday, June 14, 2010

Pâtés and Bread

So, at first picking up the challenge panic of a sort set in.  Pâté isn't especially high on our favorite foods list, but we do partake in small quantities from time to time when it comes our way.  What we don't do particularly well is handling offal and when the first 2 Pâtés involve liver...  Fortunately, when reading through the whole challenge we were quite quite (repeated word on purpose!) relieved to discover we only have to do one.  Therefore, we of course had a go at the bread and although relieved that only 1 is required, decided to give 2 Pâtés a go.  Starting with the Trout and Shrimp, followed shortly thereafter by the Chicken Liver.

It took us a bit to round up the ingredients, but one reconnaissance trip and 4 small shopping trips later we were able to fill our pantry with everything required.  Fortunately the stores we've used before to round up 'odd' items had everything we were looking for, but we're also lucky enough to have a couple more that we heard would probably have what we needed but not used so far had we fallen short.  We also now have two nice shiny terrines (though more likely to be used as loaf pans for baking in the future).


It kind of felt like flying back to Australia reading the instructions - a 14 hour step.  But, away we go...  It only took a second to put step one together and then back to the TV we go.  2 hours later as we head off to bed we were a little disheartened in that we could discern no visible change to our little ball of dough.  Order was restored upon getting up and finding our little ball of dough was not so little anymore.

Step 2 easy enough.  But, for the record, we don't own a stand mixer so we huffed and puffed through the kneading part...  Lots of waiting... 

Shaping was actually pretty hard, well for us.  We got the shape in the right vicinity, but couldn't get them to the recommended 15" length without them turning into un-bread like shapes.  Probably closer to 10" and therefore a bit fatter.  Perhaps this is related to the hand kneading?

We didn't go for the extra extra crispy so whipped them out as soon as time was up skipping the cooling in the oven option.


Far more tasty than pretty - our first taste was within minutes of getting them out of the oven and was definitely the best bites.  We're not embarrassed by our result, and would happily share it with friends - but our loaves would probably be the last ones left in just about any bakery... Although the baking was to complement the Pâtés we could not resist and found the perfect use for our 'special occasion' Olive Oil - a good thing the recipe had us make 3 loaves.

Not a hard project, but this is probably too time committing to want to do this whole process again anytime soon.

Trout and Shrimp Pâté

We admit to picking this one first due to the no-offal-ingredients but the nice bonus was that it was an easy one for us to get our feet wet with.  If the shrimp were already shelled and cleaned, and the trout already removed from the skin this would have only taken but a few minutes to get it in the oven. 

We don't look for easy recipes specifically, but when they come our way like this one we rejoice just a little.  The hardest part was deciding if we'd gotten everything pulsed up to the right consistency.  It seems we got it right!

It did shrink down a bit during cooking but that just made it all the easier to get out of the mold.  And we're not sure if it was operator error, or just the way it is, but there was a lot of juice in the mold that we really didn't know what to do with other that tip out and discard.  But once out of the mold the Pâté sat there nice and comfortable and 'dry'.

Oh, and the flambeing was fun.  A tip for first time flambeyers (yeah, probably not a real word even if it's spelled correctly) - the flame will be bigger than expected, but fortunately it's not really that hot and only reaches to the ceiling for a second or two.  Actually, the real tip is don't pour your liqueur straight from the bottle because when it goes, it goes fast!


We're batting a thousand so far!  Something else we'd be happy sharing with friends.  We of course paired it with Baguette #2 (remember the Olive Oil on #1?).  It looked mostly like the pictures provided as examples.  It tasted like we expected, although we wonder if the chives (or something similar) might be useful on the inside rather than just as a garnish?  A risk we'll probably flirt with when we next feel the urge to Pâté...

A perfect recipe for the first time Pâté maker!

Chicken Liver Terrine

A few more steps and a longer time in the oven than the Trout & Shrimp, but nothing overly complicated.  Handling the livers being the least favorite part but ultimately not overly traumatic. 

Again we struggled with knowing what the correct consistency of the mixture coming out of the Food Processor should be.  Hindsight strongly suggests that we didn't go fine enough.

Flambeing wasn't as spectacular as our previous adventure, with almost no flame but we're pretty certain that's because the pan wasn't as hot as it should be - we cooked the shallots & livers over medium but probably should have blasted it for a bit before adding the cognac. 

The 2+ hour oven time surprised us a little and turns out is plenty of time for the pork fat to render down.  We don't think it was operator error at all this time, and again the liquid we 'created' was discarded.  We're not sure how it works, but once the liquid is discarded the terrine pops right out of the mold with no evidence of the liquid ever having been there.


As it was cooking it occurred to us that it smelled like we were cooking a meat loaf.  Once getting it out of the pan, it kind of looked like one too.  Probably a direct result of us not getting the right consistency during the processing part. 

The recipe recommended consuming at room temperature.  We couldn't do that so reheated it gently in the microwave.  This might be because we couldn't get the meat loaf idea out of our heads?  But perhaps had it been processed finer.  We don't know.  But we did partake with the assistance of Baguette #3.

So, we're not batting a thousand any more.  Not a terrible disaster and we were able to eat it and appreciate the flavors, but as it was we wouldn't serve it up to our friends.

Recipes & Destructions Instructions



All in all a useful learning experience.   None of the processes were difficult, we were able to locate all the ingredients, we handled the livers and we ended up with 3 things that although not perfect we could have a try of and appreciate what we were trying to do.  It's unlikely we'll be dashing out to try any of these again any time soon but they are definitely not on the 'never do again' list, and most importantly, we were daring for a weekend...

We got a favorite vote for each of the Pâtés, but it was a close vote over the baguette in both cases...


Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge!  They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

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