Cooking in the Time of COVID – Chicken Livers Peri Peri

Instagram Post 4/24/2020

👨‍🍳 Cooking in the Time of COVID 👨‍🍳

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Chicken livers in the freezer. Sure, I could just fry ’em up with some onions but there’s not a lot to write about that, is there? So I perused the Interwebs for ideas and found a few recipes for South African Chicken Livers Peri Peri, a spicy treatment brought by the Portuguese in colonial times. I spliced together a number of recipes and came up with a dish I might actually make again.

I had most of what I would need on hand including (but not limited to) onions, garlic, and canned tomatoes; bay leaves, cumin, coriander seed, hot chilies and smoked paprika; and Worcestershire sauce and brandy. Since I’m pretty much out of dairy and produce, however, cream and fresh red peppers were scarce commodities. BUT – since most of the recipes called for both fresh lemon juice and cream, I substituted buttermilk (yes, it can be, and was, frozen), and jarred Peppadews took the place of the sweet red peppers, vinegar and sugar. Lekker!

Now, for a South African side dish that didn’t involve fresh produce, I leaned on rice again. This one was easy: there was a profusion of recipes for yellow rice that called for turmeric, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. Wait – rice, sugar, cinnamon and raisins? Why, that would be a first cousin to rice pudding, the ultimate comfort dessert (okay, maybe that’s just me) – sans milk, of course.

Et voilà, the combination succeeded! The sweetness of the rice dish played off the spiciness plus the inherent intensity of the liver and the creaminess of the liver worked with the fluffy rice. Too bad I didn’t write down the quantities of the ingredients as I tossed them in with my customary reckless abandon; these two were worth keeping. But isn’t that always the way?
Stay safe, be well, and eat whatever it takes. ❤️


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Part five in a series of reports.

Some folks look forward to the annual celebration of their birthdays or anniversaries; for me it’s the occasion to cover America’s largest food and beverage trade show right here in New York City, Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show. (Check out full coverage and a description of a recent event here.) Aside from the fact that it affords the chance to hob and nob with other professional foodies, see what products and brands are trending and poised to make a breakthrough, and get a sense of what the industry thinks the marketplace is craving, it gives me the opportunity to turn you on to new products to watch for locally or even order online.

South African food doesn’t get enough love but the folks from Ayoba-Yo are changing that; their marketing material states that the term ayoba-yo is used to express amazement, agreement, and approval and they’re hoping that’s how you’ll react when you sample their wares.

At the top of the first photo is biltong, air-dried, grass-fed beef jerky slices: yielding and flaky with a light, tangy seasoning featuring salt, coriander seeds, Worcester powder, pepper, and vinegar; it’s also available in a spicy version with cayenne and chili powder added. The texture falls somewhere between jerky and chipped beef. Because it’s air-dried rather than cooked in some fashion, it’s not fatty or greasy and comes across as rather healthy.

Below the biltong is droëwors, South Africa’s jerky. These beef sticks are drier than the average Slim Jim with a pleasant seasoning that’s not overwhelming; black pepper, cloves, coriander seeds, salt and vinegar figure into the mix.

You can learn more about Ayoba-Yo and order their products at