I’d really hoped to find another gluten free beer to make this, but had to settle for an IPA. (I should note, the beer itself isn’t a “settling”, it’s an amazing brew from Groundbreaker Brewing — formerly Harvester Brewing — in Portland, Oregon.) But, unfortunately, gluten grains aren’t the only ones I’m allergic to, so this fact and availability made this beer the choice.
Fernet Branca Chicken Livers
I don’t like to give away my impression of a specific recipe before I’ve shared the review, but this won’t get enough coverage in the review. (Only so many inches a girl’s allowed.)
If you enjoy Chicken Livers … or if you’re even on the fence about them, this is a recipe worth trying. It has the sweetness of the dried currents in Fernet Branca — which gives the bitter, the briny pop of the capers with the heady rosemary and the serious tastiness of the caramelized onions. The liver can’t help but be completely folded into this dish. There’s no one star, I’d say. It all works beautifully together.
As a note, I was very nervous about Jennifer McLagan’s liver cooking tecnique, but I followed her method, and it was perfection. You have to be so careful about how you cook chicken livers, too fast or too high a heat, and you kick that iron out into the equation … and there is no room in this lovely recipe for the flavor of aluminum foil. (Gah!)
Tobacco Panna Cotta
Jennifer McLagan of course calls for cream, but I easily subbed a combination of coconut milk and coconut cream. The tobacco is pungent enough to compensate for any “coconuttiness”, although, I may consider a nut milk on any next try. Instead of a cigar, I used one of my favorite pipe tobaccos from Rich’s Cigar Store in Portland. It worked very well, and this way, you can purchase by the ounce … less waste.
Bitter Melon with Pork
Wow, was this a fun one. Never having shopped for, held, cut into, smelled, tasted, cooked, eaten a bitter melon, this dish was fun throughout its entire process. The Asian market I went to had both Chinese and Indian Bitter Melon. I chose the Indian purely based on appearance. (Just diggin’ the pointy bright greenness.) I also doubled the recipe’s amount of all things except the bitter melon. (Sorry, just wasn’t up for the “full load”) But I figured this was just as reasonable a way to experience the dish. It was.