I hope readers enjoyed a relaxing Mother's Day weekend with family and friends.
My family's celebration with my parents included treating them to a trip to the Drury Lane Dinner Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. to see the stage musical "Oliver!" and also spending time visiting with my mom's favorite teen memory crooner Pat Boone.
Boone, 79, and his wife Shirley are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year in November. And my parents will celebrate that same special 60th anniversary just a couple months sooner, in September.
My parents always think of Drury Lane as a "fancy" yet affordable destination for dinner and entertainment. So for this week's recipe, I thought I would include some equally "fancy" recipe for feasting.
Coming from a traditional Polish family, we love fried liver and onions. And sauteed chicken livers with onions are an even more special tasty treat.
But for the hot summer days that are on the way, nothing is as light and scrumptious as homemade, smooth-spreading chicken liver pâté.
Our family friend Mary Beth Schultz of Valparaiso, who is the executive director of The Caring Place Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, makes the best pâté I've ever tasted.
But to be fair, in a close second place, I also love the chicken pâté recipe given to me from wonderful Betsy Palmer, who is now 86, and our East Chicago actress claim-to-fame. The recipe I'm referring to comes from her pal Bess Myerson, the Miss America from 1945, who was also a fellow panelist with Betsy on the CBS game show "I've Got A Secret." Bess, who is now 89, gave me her recipe to feature in my third "From the Farm" cookbook in 2010, the one with the red cover, written to include a chapter will all of Betsy's favorite recipes.
But I've never printed Mary Beth's recipe for readers, so today is finally the day to do so.
"I remember my mother preparing liver, bacon and onions as a main course when I was growing up," said Mary Beth, who was also a 2006 finalist in the 42nd Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off.
"I did not know at the time that this was a cost saving measure. Liver was cheap and times were tough financially. I thought it was a gourmet treat. I continued the tradition by making Savory Chicken Liver Pâté into an appetizer by adjusting the ingredients over the years. My version is an inexpensive and delicious substitute for the pretentious 'goose” pâtés.' Hellmann's mayonnaise makes my pâtés THE best, creating a smooth and silky delicacy that stands out among other pâtés. Who needs fancy French Foie Gras?"
I also dedicate today's column not only to mothers, but also a special reader who passed away May 6. Martha Soplanda, of Kouts, would have celebrated her 103rd birthday in July.
Martha was originally from our tiny town of San Pierre, where years ago, she was always good friends with our neighbors Paul and Helen Bolduc and active with our town's church and the home economics ladies club. She was a devoted mother who shared a wonderful long and rich life with family and friends.
Mary Beth's "Who needs a Goose?" Savory Chicken Liver Pâté
4 slices applewood bacon
16 ounces fresh chicken livers
1/2 cup diced sweet onion (Vidalia if available)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Two bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon thyme
4 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red balsamic vinegar
DIRECTIONS: In a heavy skillet, fry bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside reserving 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Sauté onions and garlic in bacon drippings for about 2 minutes. Add chicken livers and sauté, stirring occasionally for about a minute. Add 1/2 cup water, thyme, bay leaves, kosher salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer 3 to 4 minutes until livers are slightly pink. Add bacon to food processor bowl and pulse until finely ground. Remove bay leaves and transfer chicken liver mixture with a slotted spoon, draining off excess liquid, to processor bowl with the bacon. Alternating, gradually add butter and mayonnaise, pulsing to a smooth purée. Add balsamic vinegar last and blend well. Thoroughly chill to desired spreading consistency before serving. Serve on fresh baguette slices or tiny cocktail rye slices. Makes 6 servings.