Homemade Chicken Liver Pâté

chicken liver pate on low-carb sesame sunflower crackers

Homemade delicious chicken liver pâté on low-carb sesame sunflower crackers
© Owen Lewery 2013

We get whole chickens from local farmers here which come with the liver wrapped up inside. We don’t use this (like the neck and heart) for your stock, because it turns it green. So we’ve been throwing out the livers, which always seemed like such a waste to me. Last year a friend told me that he got a bunch of livers from his father-in-law (who raises chicken roasters on their sheep farm for family and a few friends) and made pâté, and it was totally simple to do. He sent us home from the visit with a couple of jars of said pâté and it was pretty yummy. So when I roasted a chicken last month, I decided to look up making chicken liver pâté, and, of course, my friend was absolutely right, it is simple. And quick. And absolutely delicious!

I ended up going with (well, mostly…) the recipe in the Guardian blog because the author (Felicity Cloake) tried several recipes from well-known chefs and explains her decisions on ingredients. I wanted to write this entry to pass on the great news that Yay! Making your own pâté is easy and quick and so delicious! I was making it with one liver and I didn’t have any Madeira, so my ingredient list was as follows:

  • 65 grams liver
  • 40 grams butter
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 5 ml (plus a bit) dried thyme
  • 20 ml port
  • 15 ml cream
  • pinch salt
  • 1 allspice berry, ground (I did this with my mortar and pestle, if you’re using ground, I’d say just use a pinch)
  • 2.5 ml ground ginger

I mean, seriously, this (see below) is all you need to make delicious chicken pâté in less than half an hour (plus some time in the fridge). The ingredients above, a wee frying pan, and a little food processor:

prep and materials for delicious chicken liver pâté

homemade chicken liver pâté  on low-carb sesame sunflower cracker

half a cup of delicious homemade chicken liver pâté

So click the link to the Guardian blog for the full instructions, but basically you fry up the shallots, then add the chopped liver, reduce some Madeira (or port in my case), and whizz it all up in the processor. It takes 20 or 25 minutes tops, especially if you’re not neatly gathering it together for a photo to show just how simple and easy it is. You’re supposed to sieve it, which I didn’t bother, because I couldn’t be bothered and I was only making a small batch (fits perfectly into the tiny half cup mason jars).

It is a great snack or appetizer and is perfect to spread on the low-carb sesame sunflower crackers (pictured at top and at right).

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Waffles

It’s late and I have things to write but I also need some sleep so before I forget again, here is a photo of the Omega Waffles from Karen Barnaby’s The Low-Carb Gourmet. We have them probably once a month now on some random weekend when I can be bothered. We have them with berries and whipped cream. Sometimes frozen berries warmed in a pot with a teaspoon or two of water to make a sauce, if we don’t have fresh. I highly recommend these!

low-carb Omega Waffles

© Owen Lewery 2013

2 fruit sweetened gluten-free cookie recipes

Gluten-free no sugar added chocolate chip cookies

We’ve been wanting a good old chocolate chip cookie recipe for a while. These cookies have gotten the thumbs up enough times from my sons and from a group of children on a birthday trip, so I figure it’s time to post them. I have an variation on the recipe below that we enjoy as well.

These don’t last as long as regular cookies do because I use banana instead of sugar, so I don’t generally double the recipe (which makes 1 tray/20 cookies). If you use a non-sugar sweetener instead of banana, I’d add the equivalent of about 1/4 cup of sugar (or to taste). The cookies should last longer then. Also, you can cut down (or out, especially with the Double chocolate cookie variation at the bottom) the chocolate chips if you use sweetener, cutting down your carbs by about 2 g per cookie.

A word on almond meal/almond flour: We make our own almond milk and the by-product is finely ground almond meal which we dehydrate (so it will last) in our convection toaster oven for a few hours. It is great to use because it’s so fine, like flour, and drier than regular ground up almonds. But I realize that most people don’t do that, so I’ve tested the recipes with regular ground up (in a food processor) almonds and it works fine, it just has a slightly different texture. The cookies shown above use the finely ground dehydrated (1 cup = 50 g) meal, and the double chocolate cookies shown at the bottom use the regular ground almonds (1 cup = 160 g). When calculating the nutrition data, I count it as 160 g Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour.

These 2 recipes are variations on the Chocolate Almond Cookie recipe from guiltykitchen.com. The net carb count is cut down by over 1/3 from the original recipe.

Lower-carb Chocolate Chip Cookies (shown above)

Preheat oven to 325F.

  • 160 g (~3/4 cup)  butter, room temperature
  • 1 banana very ripe, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon vanilla (our vanilla extract is homemade so it’s not that strong – store bought may be stronger flavour so you may only need 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 30 g (2 tablespoons) ground flax
  • 20 g (2 tablespoons) coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 70 g (~ 1/2 cup) dark chocolate, chopped, or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 30 g (~ 1/4 cup) cocoa nibs (I find these in my health food store. They are raw and unsweetened and add a great little crunch and subtle chocolate flavour to the cookie. If you’ve never heard of them, there’s more on them here, here and here.)
Fruit sweetened gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, pre-baking

Flattening 20 balls of dough, almost ready to bake.

1. Cream banana and butter in medium sized bowl. Add egg and vanilla, beat well.
2. Mix almond meal, ground flax, coconut flour, salt, baking powder, chocolate, and nibs in another bowl. Add dry to wet and mix well.
3. Roll dough into 20 balls and flatten out on greased cookie sheet (see right).
4. Bake at 325°F for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before eating.

Per cookie (1/20 of recipe):

Calories 151.12
Protein 2.97 g
Fat 13.53 g
Net Carbs (carbohydrates less fibre) 4.07 g

Low carb double chocolate cookies

Lower-carb Double Chocolate Cookies (shown above)

Same as above, but only use 1 tsp vanilla, and instead of the cocoa nibs, add 1/2 cup (42 g) cocoa powder.

Per cookie (1/20 of recipe):

Calories 152.56
Protein 3.59 g
Fat 13.10 g
Net Carbs (carbohydrates less fibre) 4.01 g

Bon appetit!

Low-carb hummus

low-carb tofu hummus

I have a bunch of veggies perfect for crudités in the house and have been wanting to try tofu hummus. My husband is the hummus expert so I set him to work. He started with Karen Barnaby‘s recipe from The Low-Carb Gourmet (by the way, if you get the abridged version of this book, 176 pages, Hummus and several other recipes are not included. You want the hard cover 320 page version) but we didn’t have the medium-firm tofu she called for, we had extra-firm, which meant he had to add a little olive oil, which he wanted to do anyway. So he ended up doing it the way he always has, which is by taste. It is delicious, and we didn’t even tell our friend that it was tofu, as he happily ate it.

That’s the thing about hummus: the chickpeas don’t give it the flavour. The flavour comes from the tahini, lemon, and garlic. So you just need something there for the bulk and consistency.

I would suggest that if you have a conventional chickpea hummus recipe that you used to make, just swap out the chickpeas for extra-firm tofu. If not, we used to make Delia Smith’s hummus, and her recipe will probably work great if you just swap out the chickpeas for a 350 g package of extra firm tofu (and ignore the stuff about cooking the chickpeas and reserving the liquid). You might want to try starting with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to start and add more at the end until you get the right consistency.

Another breakfast

cinnamon faux crunch

Above is a photo of a breakfast favourite of my youngest and myself. It is Cinnamon Faux Crunch from www.ibreatheimhungry.com. We don’t actually have juice in the house, so instead of the 1/2 cup of apple juice, I use 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup water. It’s not very sweet, but it’s pretty tasty and it feels like you’re eating cereal. If you divide the batch into 6 half cup servings, it works out to about:

149 calories, 1.1 g protein, 12.6 g fat, 3.6 g carbohydrates

Add 1/2 cup plain almond milk:

17.5 calories, 0.5 g protein, 1.4 g fat, 0.5 g carbs

Which is pretty good for breakfast cereal. And it’s made from hemp hearts and flax seeds, which are both great for you!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Parmesan Crusted Chicken from New Food Fast by Donna Hay

Just a quick note to say that Donna Hay’s parmesan crusted chicken, served on tomato slices with fresh basil on top is an excellent low-carb supper, and a keeper with everyone in our household. I got the recipe out of her book New Food Fast, which I’ve had for years and use all the time, although now without the pasta and rice…

Bon appetit!

Update

low-carb chocolate chip cookies attempt # 4

low-carb chocolate chip cookies attempt # 4

So, I’ve been away a few times since my last post and have also been working on a few cookie recipes. They have not been perfected yet, and I will post them when they are. Basically I want a chocolate chip cookie recipe that looks like regular cookies and lasts a little longer than 2 days. Making them crispy is a challenge without sugar or sweetener as well so consistency is an issue. In the meantime, the look is coming along (right).

I also wanted to update the breakfast post and say that when we were on our 3 week camping trip earlier in the summer and I ran out of my homemade low-carb granola, I just had a handful of nuts and a bit of strained (Greek) yogurt and it was delicious.

I’ll keep updating that Variety of Breakfasts post with new ideas as they come to me and I start eating them on a regular basis.

Speaking of breakfast, I brought the waffle ingredients to a friend’s this past weekend but her waffle iron had died so we had the mix as pancakes (as the book suggests you can do as an alternative) and it turns out they are great waffles but not so great pancakes. Just wanted to share that.