I thought the appetizer spread would also be a perfect time to make an option or two that I didn't want to eat. Chicken liver mousse (p. 81) is a perfect example of an appetizer food that I wouldn't eat unless I was on some sort of dare.
The start of the recipe looked promising--I cooked shallots and diced Golden Delicious apples until they are a little softened and added them to the food processor:
I cooked a pound of chicken livers until they were brown on the outside and pink on the inside.
I actually had to go back through this post and rewrite it because I feel so full of information. First of all, I've taken to buying airport sized liquors so that I'm not stuck with the whole bottle so I've really gotten knowledgeable about the range of tiny alcohol bottles. I knew nothing about cognac so I was blown away when I saw that a airport sized Courvoisier XO was TEN DOLLARS! I ended up with the much cheaper Hennessey, figuring that I know nothing about it anyway. I decided to educate myself (through Professor Wikipedia) on cognac.
There are three grades of cognac, with VS (Very Special) being the youngest, VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) in the middle, and XO (Extra Old) as the oldest. A little bit of trivia for the next night at the bar! Grand Marnier is a type of cognac that has been mixed with bitter oranges. And I always think of the Ladies Man on Saturday Night Live when I see Courvoisier.
I poured 3 tablespoons of Cognac onto the livers and attempted to light it:
And attempted. And attempted. And attempted. It did not light on fire. Maybe there was too much liquid in the pan? I gave up after a few attempts.
I added the liver mixture to the food processor (it was a tight squeeze):
At this point, TJOC says to drop cold butter into the machine with it running. Easier said than done when you have such a tiny processor and only two hands:
I scraped the entire mousse into a bowl and chilled it for a few hours.
Most of the guests were pretty happy with the mousse, which they ate on crackers. It smelled absolutely horrible. Between the smell and the consistency, it reminded me of cat food. My family reported that it was extremely appley but most of them liked it (one of them, who I won't name, ate it with a spoon!).
One of the best outcomes of TJOTJOC (thus far) has been totally losing my fear of phyllo. I still think it's a pain to use but I'm not scared of using it. And, really, foods wrapped in phyllo do look pretty impressive. Because they look impressive, I thought that Spinach and feta triangles (p. 89) would be a good addition to the menu.
Spinach and feta triangles are pretty similar to the Mushroom triangles that I made a few years ago (Wow! Time flies!). I sauteed some onion in butter, then added spinach and cooked the water off. I added feta, lemon juice, and black pepper to the spinach mixture.
I then rolled the phyllo like a flag, into little triangles (I went into more detail on this process in the linked post).
I baked the triangles until golden brown:
They were really delicious! Much better than the mushroom triangles and these were vegetarian, if you needed a veggie appetizer. I think this recipe could be adjusted for other mixtures too--I'm really interested in the idea of a ham and cheese triangle. Anyone have any other ideas for stuffing?