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It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about TRUFFLES! These little ugly, yet delicious nuggets can make any dish wonderful. If you’ve never had the opportunity to try a fresh truffle, I urge you to drop whatever you’re doing and go try one RIGHT NOW! I love all things truffle. So much so that I named my pup after it.
My adorable mini dachshund, Truffles! <3
Recently on a day trip to Napa, Calvin and I made a pit stop at Dean & Deluca in St. Helena. There I saw that they had both white and black truffles from France.
Did you notice the price? $800/lb (or $50/oz) for the black truffles and $4,000/lb (or $250/oz) for the white truffle. (!!!~!!!!!) Needless to say, Truffles are somewhat of a big spend in the world of food. It isn’t something I’d normally buy. In fact, I’ve only purchased a truffle once and that was to celebrate the day that my awesome pup Truffles arrived from the breeder. But when I was shopping at Whole Foods, I couldn’t help myself when I saw them nicely packaged in the produce section.
Only $24.99 for all 3!
So I turned a regular weekday dinner into a decadent, rich event! I made cheesy truffle garlic bread out of Acme sweet batard that I cut in half, taking room temperature butter, minced garlic, italian herbs, grated parano and domestic parmesean cheeses – smear on both sides of the bread, put back together and wrap in tin foil and place in a pre-heated oven at 450 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes in the foil, then take the bread out of the oven, remove the foil and separate the halves and put back in the oven, face up, for another 15 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and bubble. Remove from oven and place the bread cheesy side down on parchment paper. Cut with bread knife. Cutting it face down will help to ensure that you don’t rip off the cheesy topping.
For the main course, I sauteed golden chanterelles and button mushrooms in a little butter and olive oil on med-high heat to cook away most of their moisture. Threw in frozen peas and sauteed for 5 minutes. I tossed these with a porcini cream sauce made by a pasta company that Whole Foods carries, (though I can’t remember the name of the company), and chopped prosciutto that I crisped in a skillet earlier while the mushrooms were cooking. Grated black truffle over it all and voila! A hearty, robust, decadent meal to spice up the work week!
In the past two deliveries from Marin Sun Farms, we’ve received a total of 4 very juicy looking steaks. 3 ribeyes and 1 NY strip. I wanted to grill these bad boys, but we currently don’t own a grill. I got tired of waiting and we had people coming over on Sunday, so I decided to just roast them instead. Well actually I roasted them, seared the hell out of them, then put them under the broiler to melt the blue cheese sauce. Now that’s cookin’!
I made an infused olive oil for marinating the steaks by putting crushed garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme in olive oil and simmering it for 2 mins, then left to cool. After removing the herbs form the olive oil, I rubbed the steaks down and wrapped them individually and put them in the fridge for 4 hours. Later I roasted them at 450°f for 15 mins, then seared them in my Cuisinart Griddler. I topped them with the spicy blue cheese sauce made from danish blue cheese, cream cheese, minced shallot and minced jalapeño and put under the broiler to melt. Though a lot of steps to get to the end, it was all worth it. The steaks were delicious!
For sides we had roasted veggies and sauteed dino kale with fresh lemon juice and toasted pine nuts. The kale was fantastic and almost surpassed the steak as the favorite part of the meal.
Look how vibrant and green the kale is!
When I was signing up for the Marin Sun Farms meat club, the membership allows the buyer to opt out of receiving one meat. The choices were lamb, goat and pork. Opting out of pork was not even a thought. So it was between lamb or goat. I’m not a big fan of lamb. I’ve tried to eat it on several occasions, but it usually it just way too gamey for me. But I like goat even less, so I opted to not receive it. The first delivery box comes and there is a package of lamb stew meat and lamb sirloin. I contacted my friend to see if he wanted to take the lamb packages and explained to him my (and my boyfriend’s) dislike for the meat . He said that Marin Sun Farms carries a very yummy breed of lamb and that I should at least try it before I give it away. That sounded reasonable.
So one cold Sunday afternoon I picked up some cipollini onions, carrots and red potatoes from the market and went back home to give it a try. For the stew I used the basic method just like in beef stew. Diced tomatoes, tomato paste, beef broth and dry red wine (this time I used Raven’s Wood Pino Noir), simmering it for 2 hours with the lamb meat and added the veggies at the end and simmered for another 30 minutes. To go with the stew I cooked up some wild rice using beef broth instead of plain water for a tastier affect. The end result was pure delicious, tummy warming bliss. And guess what? Me and my boyfriend LOVED the lamb!! It was delicious, tender, flavorful and not at all gamey.
Marin Sun Farms raises Navajo-Churro Sheep. Unlike the ultra gamey lamb that is commonly found being imported from Australia, the Navajo-Churro lamb that we feasted on was sweet and had a very “clean” taste. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is having a difficult time eating lamb.
Our friend Pearlie was visiting us from LA and I wanted to cook a warming comfortable meal for her on a cold SF Sunday night. So for dinner I picked up Little Neck Clams, calarami and shrimp from the local Whole Foods. For the sauce I used diced tomatoes, chicken stock, dry white wine, dried oregano and parsley, fresh lemon juice and crush red pepper and simmered it for about 30 mins.
On the side I served mini sandwiches on ciabatta of grilled portobella, arugula. Some of the sandwiches had fresh milk pepper jack cheese and others had one of my absolute favorite cheeses that Whole Foods carries. Sottocerene Al Tartufo Mitica. It’s a cow’s milk cheese with black truffle. So delicious. Melts wonderfully too if you like making grilled cheese.
I guess you could say that my clams dish was kinda like cioppino. In a way it was, but just slightly different. It was definitely a crowd pleaser.
Who doesn’t love a good piece of baked chicken? Especially the savory, crispy skin! I know I sure do! After seeing all those juicy rotisserie chickens on my trip to Costco yesterday I started to crave chicken. So I stopped by a local market and picked up a 5lb Petaluma Poultry whole bird, along with some fixin’s. Potatoes for mashin’ and green beans for sautein’.
After throughly washing the bird, I patted it dry with paper towel and set it on the cutting board to clean off some excess fat pieces. While the bird was resting, in a food processor I combined room temperature butter, coarse kosher salt, 5 cloves of garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, parsley (all dried) and a little extra virgin olive oil and blended into a paste. With the paste, I rubbed the bird down completely. But the most important part, the one thing that will really make your chicken flavorful and oh so juicy is to separate the skin from the meat and rub whatever spices you are going to use under the skin too. So with the butter/garlic/herb paste I made, I rubbed it under the skin as well.
I put the chicken on a rack in a baking pan and baked at 400°f for 65 mins. After 65 mins I turned the oven off and let the chicken rest in the hot oven for 20 mins. The chicken came out SO JUICY! The meat was actually falling off the bone when I tried to separate the legs and wings. And the skin was so crispy and flavorful. Watch out Costco Rotisserie!! My bird is better than your bird!
Just look at that skin!