Fun, Funky & Almost Famous

Feb 27, 2015

It's a common fact of life that there is more to people and things than meets the eye.

For example, many people know New Orleans artist Thomas Mann for his jewelry and metal sculptures, but may have been unfamiliar with his interest with food. An accomplished cook and self-styled ovo-lacto-piscean vegetarian, Thomas will get to show off his chops on Food Network's new competitive cooking show "All-Star Academy," which premieres Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m. He gives us the scoop on his network debut and what audiences can expect to tune in to.

Louisiana Eats! roving reporter Jyl Benson is more than just a longtime contributor to our show. She's also a prolific food writer and, most recently, author of a new cookbook: "Fun, Funky and Fabulous: New Orleans' Casual Restaurant Recipes." Along with collaborator Sam Hanna, Jyl discusses how the book came together, both offering an in depth look at their approach to food photography.

Also, Chris Boucher, industrial hemp advocate, explains the benefits of Cannabis sativa, the plant often demonized as "The Devil's Weed." While hemp and marijuana are both derivatives of Cannabis sativa, hemp contains no THC, the active chemical that gets marijuana users high. Chris explains why attitudes toward hemp turned sour by the 1930s and why he believes, with new research and growing interest in the product, hemp cultivation will soon become a giant industry in the U.S.

We're taking a long look on both sides of the fence on this week's Louisiana Eats!

Chicken Liver Mousse for all Seasons
Chef Isaac Toups, Toups Meatery

Makes about 6 cups

This versatile recipe can be adapted with other spirits and spice blends to suit the seasons: The clove and nutmeg called for here are good choices for winter. Substitute 1/4 cup Lillet Blanc for the port and the zest of one lemon for the spices for summer.

  • 2 pounds, chicken livers, rinsed
  • 3 sticks butter cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature           
  • 1/4 cup port
  • 2 tablespoons Bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch of clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • hearty bread
  • cornichons  (optional)

Cook the livers  in a medium-sized pan set over high heat until they are medium rare, about 1 minute per side. Add the port, Bourbon, sugar, clove, nutmeg, and salt. Remove the pan from the heat immediately when livers are cooked through, about 4 more minutes. Scrape mixture into a bowl; chill.

Add livers, liquid, butter, cream cheese, port, Bourbon, sugar , clove and nutmeg to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until completely smooth. Correct seasoning with salt and white pepper.

Scrape mixture into one large or several small porcelain ramekins. Chill. Serve with bread rounds, cornichons, and sliced radishes.