Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Foie Gras banned, so try Faux Gras

Foie Gras has been banned in Chicago, specifically in restaurants. This has caused all sorts of problems, as Americans don't like to be told anything, except that they are better, smarter and more beautiful than the rest of the world. All lies of course.

I know that most of you are far less classy than I am, so I'll explain what Foie Gras is. It's Pate. An animal product which is basically made by force feeding ducks and other birds until their livers are enormous. This is the height of cruelty and reminds me of fur coats. It looks like other cities and states in the US are thinking about banning Foie Gras too, so eat up, but don't force it down.

Maybe you could try Faux Gras instead. It's Vegan, but doesn't smell like the Vegans I have met. If you're not interested, go and club a fur seal, take bear bile, shoot a trophy moose and any number of other haenous act.

Here's a recipe for Faux Gras.

Mushroom, Walnut, and Rosemary Pate (Serves 8)

  • 1 red onion, cut lengthwise into thin crescents
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup sliced shiitaki mushrooms
  • ½ ounce dried chanterelles, soaked in ½ cup boiling water for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp coarsely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp coarsely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 tsp powdered agar agar, or 2 Tbsp agar agar flakes

  • To toast the walnuts, first soak in two cups warm water for thirty minutes. Drain. Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until dry and light brown. Rotate every 10 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

    In a large nonstick skillet or sauté pan, cook the red onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the red wine, the chanterelle soaking liquid, and sea salt over medium heat, stirring often, until all the moisture has evaporated. Add the chanterelles and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat. Add the sage, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, pepper, and yeast and stir well to incorporate.

    Transfer to a blender. Add the walnuts, tamari, vinegar, and 1 ½ cups of the water. Blend until smooth.

    In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 1 cup water to a boil. Whisk in the agar agar and turn the heat to low. Continue whisking until the agar agar is thoroughly dissolved, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add to the mushroom mixture and blend until incorporated.

    Test the paté to ensure that it sets up by refrigerating 1 tablespoonful for 10 minutes. If the test paté isn't firm by them, dissolve another 2 tsp agar agar powder or 1 Tbsp agar agar flakes in boiling water and add to the paté. Spread in an 8 x 5-inch loaf pan or 8-cup mold. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Unmold and cut into slices and serve with Garlic Crostini.

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