"In wildness is the preservation of the world." -H.D. Thoreau

Why eat from the wild? The answer is obvious to anyone who has felt the emotional uplift from the weight of a basket brimming with morel mushrooms, the earthy-sweet scent of digging Sassafras roots, or the heavy pulsing of a fish testing the limits of your fly rod.
There are a million reasons to eat wild, to get dirty, to taste fresh food. It is here where we connect to the Earth, our Ancestral past, immediate present and hope for a healthy future...

"Nothing else can build such awareness as surely and powerfully as practicing the ancient ecological art of humankind - foraging. It is not observation of, but rather participation in the phenomena of Nature that brings us to our greatest understanding of our place in the mosaic of life."
-Samuel Thayer The Forager's Harvest

Foraging in the Tip of the Mitten!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pheasant Liver Pate

Ever since I can remember, I've loved pheasants. I don't know why, but I was always drawing them in elementary class, daydreaming of flushing them in the field and roasting them for dinner. I remember always looking for them on road trips through the country and rarely ever seeing one. I would regularly ask my dad for a bird dog. My grandpa picked up a roadkill one he found and gave me the tail he had salted. And one Christmas I was given a full taxidermy mount!
I was fortunate enough to get my first pheasant the other day. When I opened it's crop, it had been gorging on corn (with a single grasshopper). When wild fowl feed heavily and heartily on corn, it can create a wild foie gras. The liver becomes enlarged and tan colored. I was excited to eviscerate the bird and examine this delicious and nutritious organ.

I was pleasantly rewarded with a lovely reddish-tan and juicy liver. I looked up recipes online and was disappointed to see such ugly pictures for pate. Not a single appealing one, with many websites begging the reader "trust me ... it never looks good, but ...".

So I took it as a challenge to take the first appetizing photo of liver pate. I cooked the liver with a little garlic, pepper and salt. Then I put it in a food processor for a minute, choosing to ignore the cream and butter that many recipes require, not only to make it thicker, but also not to dilute the liver flavor and compromise the rich color. I thawed out some fiddleheads from spring and steamed them with kale and toasted some sesame seeds. I spread the pate on toast, sprinkled some fresh thyme and lovely fresh purple onion flowers, and well, at least I thought it looked nice:

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