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Adventures in Healthy Cooking: Liver, Heart and Kidneys [mini-experiment!]

Posted Jul 28 2011 12:40am

If the zucchini turds , nasty banana bread and other delicacies I’ve cooked haven’t yet made you glad that you’ve never come over for dinner, last night’s dinner should do the trick! (I like to discourage people from visiting – that way I can keep pretending that I can’t see the ketchup hand prints my kids left all over the wall a year ago that still make it look like Scream 4 in here.) See last night I had a very special menu lined up. The stars aligned and thanks to two fortuitous events – Farmer Bob bringing me my 1/4 cow complete with innards and Jenn of Girl Heroes declaring her intention to cook offal – I finally got to live out my dream of cooking offal (animal guts and yes it’s pronounced “awful”) and serving it to my loved ones! Dream big, I always say. So when Gym Hubby called to say he was bringing company home for dinner, I threw on the pearls and cackled maniacally.

Liver. Whether you love it or hate it , you probably know it’s supposed to be good for you . Yes it is the “filter organ” of the body but apparently it stockpiles vitamin s like nobody’s business (no really, nobody has any business in there) and as long as you get a healthy grass-fed-and-finished-and-serenaded-by-angels type cow it’s supposed to be awesome. Of course, so is cod liver oil and that’s considered a culinary punishment. At best. Ah well , I’m known for eating stuff that looks like crap just because it’s good for me.



The liver (left) and heart (right) of my recently slaughtered cow. I asked Farmer Bob what it’s name was. He didn’t answer me but his look distinctly said, “idiot.”


I looked up a bunch of recipes on the web only to discover that everybody recommends cooking offal for like 2 days before eating it. I had one hour before our guests arrived. So I decided to wing it. That bodes well, doesn’t it? I started by frying up 6 pieces of organic, nitrate free bacon because everything’s always better with bacon!


This right here almost made me quit and call the pizza guy even though we haven’t had pizza delivered in like 10 years. That is one disgusting liver. Look at the bloody knife! Gah.  Because people usually complain about the texture of liver, I chopped it up as teeeeny tiny as possible. Basically I minced it. Or maimed it.


Cows have big hearts. Awwww! I cut the heart into bite-sized chunks. My counter looked like a blood donation bank during an earthquake.


Jelly Bean loves to help me cook. And by “help” I mean get under foot and try to burn herself every time I turn around. She pushed that chair up to the oven all by herself, she sure did! Proud: how smart and independent! Freaked: how am I going to explain to the ER doc how you got on top of a hot stove?


I stir fried the meats in the bacon grease and added 1 sweet onion and some chopped peppers. I tasted it. Gross. So then I added 1 can of mexican diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce, some water, some jalapenos and possibly a few other things I can’t remember. Desperate times…


I figured if I made it look all pretty no one would question what it was. I served the offal stew with brown rice, a tossed salad, a big bowl of fresh fruit and little mini cupcakes for dessert.


Ta-DA! Looks totally not “offal” right? By the way, Jenn is pretty much my Internet Twin and we both love Tulle vintage clothing so it turns out we have like 10 matching outfits. We decided to wear one tonight for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome. ( You should really go check her out – she’s so gorgeous that I’d be jealous if I didn’t have a massive girl crush on her. You should see her wield a kettlebell!!)


Jelly Bean started out with a plum (and a clean white shirt – oops). And a binkie. Stupid binkies. She’s soooo attached to those things!


The crew! Our guests were the LDS missionaries. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m LDS (a.k.a. Mormon) and we love to feed the missionaries. I know that you guys probably run in fear when you see them (“I said noooo, I’m not interested!!”) but they’re actually really awesome kids. And yes, I mean kids. Boys typically serve missions for two years from 19-21 and girls go for 1.5 years at 21 – all totally on their own dime. They have to sacrifice a lot to do a pretty thankless job. So feeding them dinner is the least I can do. Plus, most missionaries usually go far away (Gym Hubby went to Spain!) but since these guys stayed in the U.S. I figured they deserved a good “cultural experience” like offal! Anyhow, if you do ever see any of our missionaries, you don’t have to invite them in if you don’t want to but, you know, try not to run them down with your car and maybe give them a glass of water sometimes? For me? Thanks:)

Son #1 enjoyed his napkin best of all. His verdict: “It’s okay. Can I have dessert now?”


Missionary #1 loved it. Even after I told him what it was!


Gym Hubby did not love it. He said he could taste the liver a mile away and made a show of spitting it out into his hand (much to the kids’ amusement). He liked the heart though. I personally thought it was really good and I liked both the liver and the heart. People talk about how the smell of liver cooking is awful but it didn’t seem overly smelly to me…


Son #3′s opinion. Yeah. He spent the rest of dinner under the table.


Both missionaries cleaned their plates and even had seconds! Either I’ve morphed into an awesome cook or they’re tired of cooking for themselves… hmmm.


For dessert everyone had mini cupcakes but I opted for a perfectly ripe peach with unsweetened full-fat whipped cream and cinnamon. I think I won!

Check out Jenn’s experience with cooking up her liver and heart (wow, that sounds wrong!)!

Any of you cook offal? What’s the weirdest thing anyone’s ever made you eat at their home?


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