Monday, July 26, 2010

I Like to Hang Out with the Fungi in the Room

Because when it comes to the truffle, better known to some officially as "an edible body of a group of fungi in the genus," known to me as my g-d that tastes good, that's the only thing I need to be around at a party.

Luckily, genius fellow food blogger Erika of In Erika's Kitchen understands the truffle lovin' better than anyone and celebrated by holding her 2nd Annual Trufflepalooza.  13, count them, 13 courses of delectable, scrumptious truffle laced and braced dishes were passed along the milling guests in the crowd. With each new course from the Corn Veloute generously topped with Black Truffle, to the creamy and perfectly cooked Risotto with Truffles, to the Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter (to die!) I got closer to heaven.  I couldn't pick a favorite dish; everything was spot-on!

Truffles are naturally gluten-free folks, and a good portion of the menu for Trufflepalooza also turned out to be GF (go Erika!)  And man, do I love truffles.  The scent, the flavor, hell I'll even take the look of them despite the fact that they resemble giant pieces of coal.

Winter Truffles, pictured courtesy of Sabatino Tartufi Website

The black summer truffles, which were in their prime, in addition to truffle products, were from Sabatino Tartufi.  Having brought back truffle products from Italy, I can definitely say that Sabatino Tartufi provides products of that exact same high-quality, cravable, and lust-inducing spell that you would expect from the Italian gourmet around the corner.  I am an especially big fan of their Truffle Honey; if I had it in my apartment, it would not last long.

In short, my truffle-induced coma was happily embraced.  I can only hope that Erika continues to have these for the rest of our lives.

Please check out her blog,, for the recipes that were used for this and last year's Trufflepaloozas.

Peace, love, and truffles :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Peaches & Cream Summer Dream

Another month has flown by which means Hello Pie!  This month's You Want Pies With That challenge comes from the dangerously talented Erin of Milk & Honey: "'Summer Fruit Pies'For July, how about we highlight summer fruits...berries, cherries, peaches, etc. All the goodies that are season now that we can enjoy before they're gone again." 

Um, yes please.  I love, love, l-o-v-e summer fruits, so this inspirational theme was a no-brainer for me.  I decided to go with the amazing, the loyal, the lovely peach.  One big reason is because they're insanely good right now; I picked up a few at the farmer's market and was hooked on this season's crop.  The pie below is fairly easy, it just requires a step-by-step process.  As long as you have good kitchen supplies, the different elements should come together seamlessly and hopefully with delightful results.

Peaches & Cream Summer Dream Pie

1 1/2-2 c of GF cookie crumbs, (shortbreads put in a processor or blender until fine work nicely)
1/4-1/2 c butter or non-dairy spread, melted
cane sugar to taste
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c sour cream
splash vanilla (optional)
2 lbs fresh peaches, pitted and peeled
2 tbs tapioca flour/starch

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix cookie crumbs, butter and sugar to taste together to form your crust; if the crumbs look too dry add more butter.
Press mixture firmly into pie plate or tart pan.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and set.

Cream the powdered sugar, sour cream, and cream cheese until smooth.
Splash with a little vanilla extract for an extra hit of flavor, and/or set aside.

Puree peaches.
Pour puree into a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently to make sure the puree doesn't burn.
Add the tapioca flour/starch to puree and stir in until the puree thickens up a bit.
Set aside to cool.

Once crust is room temperature, pour cream layer into shell.
Layer peach puree layer on top.
Refrigerate for 4 hours-overnight.
Slice and decorate with other fruit purees, whipped cream, or fresh herbs.
Serve this twist on a summery creamsicle to guests with a smile on your face.

Among other things, this pie is surprisingly refreshing.  You wouldn't necessarily think that's the case considering the layer of cream cheesy goodness tucked under that fantastic fruit puree, but it really does heighten and brighten the senses, just like summer does :)

I can't wait to see what the other pie mavens came up with!  Can you?  You don't have to if you visit YWPWT and check them out :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Martha Stewart Made Me Lazy

Greetings friends!  I keep promising to post the back log I have, and what better way to get rid of the eyeball pie, then to tell you a very true and sad fact.  Martha Stewart made me lazy.  I know, I know, the crafty g-ddess herself should actually elevate you to new levels of domesticity.  After all, she's quite the perfectionist.  And she uses fancy things like doilies.  Surely a woman of her caliber would only push me to work harder towards a culinary standard than anyone else.  But nope.  She made me lazy.  And this is why:

I love risotto, which stands to reason as rice is my favorite food.  I could probably eat risotto every day (I've occasionally tested this theory and know it to be true) and I welcome the bites of beautifully cooked arborio rice on my tongue.  But I work.  A lot.  I usually only cook one day a week for the rest of my week, and I was feeling particularly useless at that moment when I looked up a recipe for a simple baked risotto.  Yes, I was really so tired that stirring rice around for 25 minutes didn't sound doable, but I really wanted a fresh made risotto.

Enter a recipe I found on Martha Stewart Living here.  As you know, its in my genetic make-up that I can't follow a recipe as is, so instead of onion I used lots of yummy shallots, and further added diced butternut squash and thyme to make a rich, fresh and bright flavor.

Result?  It was okay.  The flavors worked very nicely and it was beautifully fragrant, but I found the rice to be much softer than I prefer it.  I don't like mushy risotto, and that's what happens when you oven bake it apparently (which I should have guessed.)  Also, I think that in the end, it would've taken about the same amount of time for me to actually prep and stir regular risotto.  I'm not sure this recipe saved me so much obvious time that I would go for this version instead of my regular go to. Especially when my go-to allows for a bit more of an al dente texture on the rice.

But, if you don't mind a softer rice and you need to step away from the stove for 30 minutes, by all means, be lazy.  If Martha says it's okay, then it has to be ;)