It has been well over a year since my last post and so much life has happened since then. I got engaged, bought a house, got married, received a wonderful promotion at work and am so happy to share that I am expecting a little one in May 2017.
Looking back, the time has been short and amazing but not without hardship. While I will not hash out the details, I am happy to say that I am thankful for how things have worked out. As cliche as it may sound, the dark has put the light into such stark contrast and maybe it’s just my pregnant hormones, but I have cried happy tears almost daily for the past two months. After the sleepy fog of my first trimester, I am starting to reemerge in my kitchen. Before conceiving my little one, for a myriad of health-related reasons I transitioned to a VB6 (Vegan Before 6) diet, in which I was exclusively vegan before 6 PM I pescatarian after 6. I was quite happy with this lifestyle change but to my dismay, the only thing that kept my morning sickness at bay was animal protein – meat, eggs and cheese. Nothing else worked. I could consume 4o g of protein but if it was plant-based, no luck. Interestingly, my earliest pregnancy cravings were all beef-related. I’m not proud to admit that I once spent 40 minutes in line at McDonald’s one afternoon for a steak, egg and cheese bagel and LOVED every last bite. I’ve come to terms with my return to an omnivorous diet but plan on switching back to my ways once Baby H arrives.
With all that said, I’ve been a bit of a renegade pregnant woman in that I will consume the occasional small glass of red wine, eat sushi if I feel the inclination (yes, the raw kind) and sometimes enjoy some brie. I’m a firm believer in moderation being the key to a balanced diet and I have not changed my way of thinking since discovering the little life within me. During my time TTC, I began educating myself on the pregnant body and came to the conclusion that mainstream prenatal/maternal care in the U.S. is sadly and horrifically anti-woman, including the heavy restrictions with which pregnant woman are continually bombarded. This brings me to pâté, which I adore and is on the long list of pregnancy n0-nos. While recovering from a nasty sinus infection post-Thanksgiving and with a lovely whole duck on my hands, I had a hankering for charcuterie with all its accompaniments. The only thing I happened to be missing was pâté. My original plan was to make a simple mushroom pâté but then I realized I had duck liver and BOOM! deliciousness.
DUCK LIVER & MUSHROOM PÂTÉ
2 cups mushrooms (I used baby bellas), sliced
1/4 c chopped leek greens
1/2 c unsalted cashews, roasted
1 duck liver
1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 oz red wine
2 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
Sea salt & pepper
Splash heavy cream
Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.
Add mushrooms and leek greens, salt and pepper to taste. Lightly saute and place in a bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add duck liver, then wine. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through but not dry (should be lightly pink inside). Set aside to cool, then chop.
Once mushrooms, leeks and liver are cooled a bit, add to food processor with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Serve with a full charcuterie spread or more simply with warm sliced baguette. Refrigerate. This makes a little more than 1/2 pint and would be an awesome gift if canned in a mason jar!
*Special shout-out to this cookbook, published by South Carolina DNR in the 1950s. No recipes for pâté but it does include great simple recipes for wild game, from dove to beaver.