9 Months. That is how long I have been doing the Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge, and it feels like an eternity. I seriously cannot imagine how women are pregnant for this long because this labour of foodie love is getting old. I can’t lie: Though I thoroughly enjoy making and eating these delicious meals every month, drinking lots of wine, and having a laugh with good friends, I was getting kind of bored. I needed some excitement, some new fangled kitchen gadget or cooking technique to try. And so, with the change of the season, I had high hopes for the September issue of Food & Wine Magazine, that it would inspire me to Explore. Eat. Repeat. through the next four months of recipe challenges, that I would be more adventurous in the kitchen than ever before…
…And then September’s issue appeared in my mailbox, all about chicken.
Chicken? I thought. Are you kidding me? How boring, how ordinary.
Don’t get me wrong, I like chicken. It is a versatile protein, and I really love me some McNuggets, but I could not get excited about September’s cover recipe which looked like plain old chicken.
But thankfully, I found a couple of awesome recipes inside the issue that I wanted to try, including Chicken Fried Chicken Livers. I was pumped! I had never cooked chicken livers before, and come on, who doesn’t love anything that is chicken fried?
With many bottles of wine on hand, so began the September Cover Recipe Challenge.
September Food & Wine Cover Recipe Challenge:
Fillipino Grilled Chicken
Chicken Fried Chicken Livers
For the last few challenges I have been underestimating the length of time in which it takes to make the meals, so in hopes of eating before 11pm, I started the challenge in the early afternoon long before Adam came home from school, and Erin and Matt came over after work.
To start with, I made dessert because it had the longest prep time. I chose to make Goat Cheese Cakes with Rosemary and Lavender Honey, and was pretty excited about the idea of goat cheese for dessert.
I was even more excited about them being made with a ginger snap crust. I love ginger snaps and I used Purity Ginger Snaps made in Newfoundland after finding them in my local Halifax Sobeys, yay!
I am going to tell you up front so that you don’t get too excited about the outcome of the cheesecakes. They were a disaster. Though my knife came out clean on every single one when I checked them in the oven, those darned things did not cook all the way through. Normally I don’t talk about dessert in my posts until after the meal, but I didn’t want to disappoint you all; they were pretty gross. I have to say, my little guinea pigs sampled the cooked bits valiantly (Matt in particular made a strong effort) and though they tasted good, overall, they did not make par… This is the only one that was photographable.
For the appetizer, I went with a soup: Zucchini Soup with Creme Fraiche and Cilantro. I was pretty excited to make a creamy soup like this for the first time, but also nervous about using my cheap (but pretty and turquoise) Wal-Mart blender to combine the ingredients. But luckily my trusty bought-only-for-looks blender didn’t let me down and the soup turned out awesomely!
It was really easy to make, with a very readable recipe, and though it took me a couple of stores to track down the creme fraiche, I was really happy with the outcome and so were my dinner guests. They slurped that soup down pretty fast! The creamy texture paired with the bold flavours of the cilantro and poblano peppers made for an elegant and spicy appetizer, yum!
Next up, the second appetizer (that’s right, after 9 months we are getting fancy like that) the Chicken Fried Chicken Livers! These required a significant amount of preparation, but boy, was it worth it!
To start off, I marinated the chicken livers in buttermilk, soy sauce, and hot sauce overnight. I cannot lie to you, when I took them out of the fridge to cook them they smelled pretty weird, but in the name of foodie science, I trudged one. I dredged the marinated livers in flour and an egg mixture containing buttermilk, cayenne, black pepper, salt, and cumin.
Once those things hit the frying pan did they ever start to smell good! They turned the perfect crispy brown and everyone’s mouths were watering by the time the livers made it to the table. The batter was crispy, spicy, and the perfect shell for the creamy liver. None of us had had liver like this before, and I think it is my new favourite way…what’s not to like? Try this recipe ASAP!
The main course for the evening was the actual cover recipe for the Sepetmber issue: Filipino Grilled Chicken. It also required marinating overnight and a whole lot of random ingredients which included (but was not limited to): lemon juice, coconut vinegar, fish sauce, and star of anise…there was a lot going on in that marinade.
We popped the chicken on the grill after indulging in the Chicken Fried Chicken Livers, and soon the skin turned a golden brown. I was a little worried about the chicken not being cooked because it was pink in some areas, however, after checking the temp, I realized it was just the marinade, whew!
I served the chicken with some fresh corn on the cob and mashed potatoes, and I am sad to say that my favourite part of the dish was the corn: It was super fresh from the market and was buttery and yummy. That aside, the flavour of the chicken was weird to me, I didn’t really like the combination of spices with the star of anise, and I wasn’t overly impressed. It was just chicken, after all.
Overall I think the meal was a success mainly because of the deliciousness of the Chicken Fried Chicken Livers. The main event was underwhelming and the dessert was undercooked, but it was still a great evening with friends and lots of wine. I highly recommend those who haven’t tried liver before to try them chicken fried, you will not be disappointed. Soon you will Explore. Eat. Repeat your way through those vital organs, Bon Appetit!