Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baby please...

Failure anticipates the soul that believes in any gaping space that might--even might, cleave between tasting and remembering. I know that sounds forcefully Faulknerian (and keeping with consonance: fake). But I can't help it. It's Valentine's Day and I'm in the wrong part of the country to be properly enjoying it. Here in 36 degree Pittsburgh, PA it's raining cold aluminum foil and grievances.

Last week we had Brooke's Mom and Dad over for dinner. One of the myriad of amuse bouches and odd bites I quixotically planned but could not bring to the table was a chicken liver mousse. The livers soaked in milk for a few days before I finally stowed them away in the freezer between the marijuana butter and John's amazing chili. Sometimes the best laid plans are just over-planned.

This morning I woke up with a jones to do something for love day--even if beset by great distance from that love. It was time to make myself ridiculously happy--not that way...

Chicken liver is one of the most commonly disserviced bits of offal in today's kitchen. Even in this age of fetishistic bits and parts cooking chicken livers are still kinda viewed as Jewish grandma food. I'm sold. Soaking in milk overnight alleviates much of that brusque iron flavor, and pushes the silken texture even further. One is reticent to eroticize the cleansing organ of a bird, but reduced to mere adjectives, let's face it, it's kinda hard not to.

This dish captures the lonesomeness of Valentine's Day with good humor and bad funk. It is deeply satisfying, even if it leaves your breath and stamina in a state of such revolting muskiness and drowziness that any ill-advised hormonal charges to shoehorn bad love into this amorous day will be dutifully thwarted.

Put simply, you start your day with a plate of chicken livers and you ain't screwing anyone! And I'm not.

Enjoy this ostracizingly vulgar delicacy over a rerun of Law and Order, with a loyal dog who would never judge you anyhow. As I did.

Spaghetti Pepperoni with Sauteed Chicken Livers in White Balsamic Cream
(Feeds one sad sack)

1/2 lb. chicken livers, cleaned, soaked in milk at least 2 hours, preferably overnight
1 scant handful of wheat flour
1 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1 bunch pepper-dyed pasta
Fresh basil for garnish

Begin by boiling the pasta in heavily salted water.

In a saute pan add drained, flour-dredged livers and garlic with a generous splash of olive oil. As the livers brown add tomato paste, stirring to break up livers and push aromatic reach of the tomato and garlic.

Once the livers cook mostly through (filaments of blood will appear on their surfaces) and the rendered juices have tightened in unison with the tomato paste add vinegar and a splash of pasta water. Bring to a gentle boil, then add cream. Reduce the heat and allow the cream sauce to reduce to spoon-coating thickness.

Toss well-drained pasta in saute and add torn basil leaves to finish.

Play that Lauryn Hill tune. Again.

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