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LivingFood and DrinkGay Cook's Appetizers

Gay Cook’s Appetizers

Appetizers say “welcome” whether to one friend or a roomful of guests.

Appetizers

Chicken Liver Pâté with Brandy

This rich-tasting pâté is great for a buffet or as a spread for sandwiches or wraps.

  • 8 oz (250 g) chicken livers, fat and membranes removed
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) brandy

Heat the first butter in a small skillet over low-medium heat and sweat the onion and garlic covered for 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the livers and sauté until they are no longer pink inside, turning often. Cool for 5 minutes.

Puree the mixture in a processor or blender until smooth. Add the butter pieces as the mixture is processing, then the salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste, and finally the brandy. Pour the mixture into a serving dish or several small ramekins. Chill until firm and bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Place in a bowl and smooth top. At serving time, place the bowl in hot water to loosen the mixture then turn the bowl over and serve it on a plate.

Mushroom Pâté

This light and easy pâté marries toasted walnut with the woodland taste of mushrooms; it’s great for wraps or sandwiches. The best crackers to serve with the pâté are the plain water biscuits or crostini (toasted French bread slices brushed with extra-virgin olive oil). Unfortunately many crackers available are highly seasoned that can overpower the delicate mushroom flavour.

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 8 oz (250 g) cremini, Portobello or brown button mushrooms, washed,  drained
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) lemon juice or to taste
  • 3/4 tsp (4ml) salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  1. Toast the walnuts: heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add the nuts and stir until an aroma rises, set aside.
  2. Discard the tough ends of the mushroom stems; place the mushrooms and nuts in the processor and process until finely minced. Remove and reserve.
  3. Reheat the skillet over medium-low heat, add the butter and sweat the onions and garlic, covered for 5 minutes, stirring several times.
  4. Raise the heat to high, stir in the mushrooms/nut mixture and sauté for 1 minute, stirring often. Remove from the heat.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper.
  6. Cool pâté in a small serving bowl or press into the bowl.

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