Recipe: Chicken Liver Mousse

It’s been a few years since I shared a recipe, but this one has kept coming up in conversation lately and it feels like the right time to share. This recipe is from Laurie Riedman of Elemental@Gasworks[1], and words can’t express how awesome it is.


  • 2 pounds chicken liver, soaked in milk
  • ½ pound unsalted butter
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 8 sheets gelatin, soaked in water
  • 1/3 cup Grand Mariner
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt butter in sauté pan
  2. Add shallots, garlic and apple – cook until soft, but do not brown
  3. Turn heat to medium high and add drained chicken livers
  4. Sauté until just cooked – livers should still be pink inside
  5. Add Grand Mariner and reduce by half
  6. Stir in gelatin until dissolved
  7. Cool slightly and process until very smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste
  8. Put in terrine mold, cover and weigh
  9. Chill overnight

Serving suggestion

Serve with toasted baguette and pickles

The mousse will keep for months in the freezer. I made a big batch in 2020, vacuum sealed 5 or 6 generous portions, and have been thawing one every few months when I feel the need for something rich, savory, and delicious.

[1] Elemental@Gasworks was my favorite restaurant for years. Before I moved to the Seattle area I would dine at Elemental at least once per week when I was visiting. I learned a lot from eating Laurie’s food, and from watching her cook in the tiny, tiny kitchen. Elemental closed in 2012, but it comes up in conversation almost every day among those of us fortunate enough to have experienced it.

Video: A most delicious analogy

Every time I cook or bake something, I think about how the tasks and patterns present in making food have strong and significant parallels with building BI[1] solutions. At some point in the future I’m likely to write a “data mis en place” blog post, but for today I decided to take a more visual approach, starting with one of my favorite holiday recipes[2].

Check it out:

(Please forgive my clickbaitey title and thumbnail image. I was struggling to think of a meaningful title and image, and decided to have a little fun with this one.)

I won’t repeat all of the information from the video here, but I will share a view of what’s involved in making this self-service BI treat.


When visualized like this, the parallels between data development and reuse are probably a bit more obvious. Please take a look at the video, and see what others jump out at you.

And please let me know what you think. Seriously.

[1] And other types of software, but mainly BI these days.

[2] I published this recipe almost exactly a year ago. The timing isn’t intentional, but it’s interesting to me to see this pattern emerging as well…

Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Sandwich Cookies

This is one of my favorite cookies recipes. Like my candied orange peel recipe, it is adapted from one originally published in the mid-90s in Chocolatier Magazine.  The recipe below is double the volume of the original Chocolatier recipe[1], and if you have a mixing bowl big enough it is easy to double or triple for a truly epic batch.

cookies finished

Ingredients – Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 g)
  • 1/2 cup non-alkalized cocoa powder (41 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened (227 g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 g)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (239 g)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

Ingredients – Ganache

  • 10 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (284 g)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (142 g)
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder


Phase 1: Make the cookies

  • Position one rack in the top third and another in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
  • In a medium bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt until thoroughly blended.
  • In a small cup, combine the espresso powder and vanilla and stir with a small rubber spatula until the espresso is dissolved.
  • In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the butter for 30 seconds, until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add both sugars and continue beating for two to three minutes, until the mixture is light in texture and color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Beat in the egg until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Beat in the espresso mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • At low speed, beat in the flour mixture in three additions, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition.
  • Drop the dough by slightly rounded measured teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  • Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, until the edges are very lightly browned but the centers are still slightly soft; switch the position of the baking sheets halfway through the baking time for even browning. (For crisper cookies, bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the centers are no longer soft.)
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to paper towels to cool completely.

Phase 2: Make the ganache

  • In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the chocolate until finely chopped.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the cream and the espresso powder and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the espresso powder.
  • With the processor running, add the hot cream mixture to the chopped chocolate and process for 25 to 30 seconds, or until completely smooth.
  • Scrape the ganache into a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature until just slightly set and spreadable, about 30 minutes.

Phase 3: Assemble the sandwich cookies

  • Group the cookies into pairs, matching two cookie rounds of similar shape and size.
  • Spread a gently rounded teaspoonful of the ganache filling onto the bottom of one of the cookies.
  • Top with the matching cookie, right-side-up, and very gently press each sandwich together.
  • Repeat with the remaining cookie pairs until all cookies are made into sandwiches.
  • Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to set the ganache. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for two to three days.


The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for two to three days.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


  • You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, as shown in the slide show above.
  • If possible, line your cookie sheets with silicone baking mats, or with parchment paper. 


[1] I can’t imagine making a batch of any cookies that uses one egg and one stick of butter. That’s not right.

Recipe: Spicy Cheese Sauce

I’m on vacation for the holidays, and plan to spend much of the next few weeks in the kitchen. This will result in more posts about food and fewer posts about Power BI. You’ve been warned.

This is my favorite cheese sauce. The recipe is adapted from one originally published by Modernist Cuisine, and made much better by the application of chilies.

Please note that the recipe uses proportions by weight, rather than specific amounts. You can easily scale the recipe up or down so long as the proportion is the same, but you will need an accurate kitchen scale for this one.


  • 100% extra sharp orange cheddar cheese
  • 94% jalapeno juice
  • 4% sodium citrate


  • Juice 10-50 jalapeno chili peppers and weigh the juice.
  • Grate an equal weight of cheddar cheese.
  • In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the juice and sodium citrate and bring to a boil.
  • Gradually add grated cheddar to the liquid, blending with an immersion blender to incorporate each batch of cheese before adding more.
  • That’s it. It doesn’t get much simpler than this.


Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.


  • Dip tortilla chips into the cheese sauce and eat them. Eat all of them!!
  • Use on nachos.
  • Use on chili cheese fries, with homemade french fries and green chili sauce from El Patio De Albuquerque.


  • If you really love spicy food, you may be tempted to use habaneros or another spicier chili to start with. Don’t do that. Start with jalapenos and scale the heat up as appropriate by adding a few spicier chilies to the mix. Trust me on this one.
  • Alternately you can scale down the heat by replacing some of the liquid with water. Do what is right for you.
  • So long as you keep the same proportions, you can use any liquid and any cheese you want. The possibilities are limitless.
  • You can also use jalapeno juice in other recipes where you want to add flavor and heat. My other favorite application is in yeast breads, where you can replace the water with chili juice. I’ve made this recipe multiple times with great results using this technique.

Recipe: Sea Salt Caramels

This is my favorite caramel. The recipe is adapted from one originally published in Dessert Professional Magazine. As with any caramel you want to be careful with this one – don’t take your eyes off hot caramel!



  • 123 grams glucose syrup
  • 821 grams granulated sugar
  • 10 grams Fleur de Sel sea salt
  • 657 grams unsalted butter
  • 388 grams heavy cream


  • Line a 9×13″ baking/casserole dish with parchment paper. Have the prepared dish ready by the stove.
  • Combine the glucose, sugar and salt in a large pot over medium-high heat and cook until it reaches 293 F, stirring frequently.
  • Meanwhile, combine the butter and cream in a medium pot and bring to a boil.
  • Once the sugar mixture reaches 293 F, slowly and carefully pour the cream and butter into the pot with the sugar, whisking constantly.
  • Bring the mixture back up to 122 C / 252 F, stirring constantly.
  • Pour carefully into the prepared dish.
  • Cool the caramel to room temperature, 3-4 hours or overnight.
  • Cut the cooled caramels into squares.


Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Vacuum seal and freeze indefinitely.


  • Eat them as is
  • Enrobe with tempered chocolate, and top with a few flakes of sea salt
  • Bake peanut butter cookies with a small thumbprint depression in their tops, and fill the depression with a generous lump of caramel


Recipe: Candied Orange Peels

This is my favorite holiday treat. The recipe is adapted from one originally published in the mid-90s in Chocolatier Magazine. I’ve made it scores of times, and the results are always wonderful. For me and my family, the smell of candied orange peels is the smell of Christmas[1].



  • 12 fresh ripe navel oranges
  • 1 gallon water (3,785 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (18 g)
  • 4 pounds granulated sugar (1.8 kg)
  • 1 quart water (946 ml)


Phase 1:

  • Combine one gallon of water and one tablespoon salt, and stir to combine
  • Using a fork, thoroughly perforate the peels of each orange, stabbing through the peel into the flesh
  • Using a sharp knife, divide each orange into quarters
  • Using your thumb, remove the peel from the flesh of each orange
  • Place the peels in the salt water, and use the flesh for some other purpose
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent the peels from rising above the surface of the salt water, and allow to rest for 8 hours or overnight

Phase 2:

  • Combine four pounds sugar with one quart water in a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally
  • Drain the orange peels
  • Add the orange peels to the sugar syrup and bring the syrup back to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Remove the syrup and peels from the heat, and allow to cool to room temperature
  • Cover the syrup with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 8 hours or overnight

Phase 3:

  • Remove the peels from the syrup and place on baking racks over baking sheets
  • Allow the peels to rest for 24-48 hours or until the excess syrup has drained


The peels will keep refrigerated for weeks, and will keep indefinitely in the freezer, although it is rare that they last very long at all before being eaten.


  • Cut peels into strips, and dip into melted (ideally tempered) dark chocolate
  • Chop peels into small chunks, and add to oatmeal cookies with white chocolate and dried cherries
  • Chop peels into small chunks and mix into chocolate ganache with toasted nuts and dried fruit – refrigerate and cut into squares

Honestly, these are good in just about anything.


  • The recipe easily doubles or triples if you have a big enough pot, and enough racks to drain the candied peels
  • Select oranges for the thickness of their peels
  • Since the finished product is vegan, gluten-free, and everything-but-oranges-sugar-and-chocolate-free, chocolate-dipped peels make great gifts for people with common dietary restrictions, unlike cookies
  • If you accidentally stab your hand with the fork while you’re perforating the oranges, you’ll quickly realize just how much you liked not having fresh orange juice in a stab wound


[1] If you ever wondered why the blog was titled “BI Polar” at least one reason is that the topics covered will swing dramatically from time to time. Please try to keep up.