Monday, July 31, 2006

"If I can't have too many truffles, I'll do without truffles." - Colette
I'd purchased two truffle oils recently at a sweet little Italian shop here in town and I have yet to try them. I'd never tried truffles or truffle oil and loved the smells of both the black and the white truffle oils I purchased. The black truffle oil is quite mushroomy and garlicy smelling and the white truffel oil smells less intense, though similar with a more earthy aroma. Truffles have long been revered by gourmets as well, both the Greeks and Romans have long believed in both the truffle's therapeutic and aphrodisiac powers.

Tara's Side Bar: I have to agree with the aphrodisiac powers of truffle oil. Immediately after I savored a little whiff of this delectable oil, I felt a little amorous. No wonder, (I thought), Colette the French writer had sex with everyone; she liked to pig out on truffles. Which brings me to the amazing way that truffles are found - farmer's pigs/dogs sniff out these little black or white diamonds and then the farmer will retreive them. (Apparently dogs are more trustworthy when sniffing out truffles because pigs are more inclined to try to steal a bite).

Here are some dishes to try using truffle oil:
Goat Cheese and Truffle Oil Crostini, Linguini with Black Truffle Oil, Rissotto with Chives and Truffle Oil, or Seafood Pasta Drizzled with Truffle Oil. Once I try truffle oil a few times I will post some of my recipes.

However, tonight I made a Rib Eye Steak Salad with roasted peppers and mushrooms drizzled with black truffle oil. My husband is eating it at this moment...we'll see how he likes it. P.S. The Truffle Oil is a hit! I on the other hand enjoyed a Lean Cuisine with the roasted veggies and truffle oil tonight - because like I promised I did grow an extra chin this weekend in Seattle.

Seattle was amazing! The weather was perfect, sunny, breezy, and not too hot - perfect for walking. We stayed at The Red Lion 5th Avenue - which I recommend as it is reasonably priced and right in the middle of the city so you are nice and close to the Pike Place Market. What a great market. The market is lively with lots of street singers, inexpensive gorgeous bouquets of flowers, food and the very entertaining fish tossing fish mongers! The first restaurant we went to for a late leisurely lunch was called Place Pigalle (which is at the Pike Place Market). We sat outside on a narrow romantic veranda with a gorgeous view of the water. Our waiter was so friendly and the simple lunch that we ordered was divine. I enjoyed two glasses of champagne and reveled in a Mushroom and Leek Tart which was baked in a Montrachet cheese custard with roasted oyster mushrooms, sweet peppers, spinach and fennel, served with a Port syrup. I am going to try and bake it myself this week and have been searching for recipes that might help me recreate this this extraordinarily perfect luncheon meal. Once I bake it myself, I will put the recipe on here. My sister and mom had the onion soup gratinee and loved it. We all shared bites of eachothers' lunch and I will tell you we all loved the onion soup and the tart. I am going to print my sister's recipe for this soup because she said that it tasted like a recipe that she has at home. The secret is in adding sherry. Bon Appetit! In addition here is a quote I found this morning for all of those who love a good bottle of wine:

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things; Bordeaux makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." - Brillat-Savarin

My Sister's Favorite Onion Soup Gratinee (I can't find my french e on my laptop)
4 large onions, thinly sliced, 1/4 cup of butter, 4-10 ounce cans of beef broth, 1/2 cup of dry sherry, 2 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce, dash of pepper, 6 slices of French bread cut into 1/2 inch slices, toasted, 3/4 cup of grated parmesan, and 2 cups of shredded gruyere cheese. In a large saucepan, cook onions in butter until tender and translucent, but not brown. Add the broth, sherry, Worcestsershire sauce and pepper and bring to a boil. Pour soup into individual French onion soup bowls and place on a baking tray Put a slice of toasted French bread in each bowl. Sprinkle with parmesan and then top with the Gruyere cheese. Put under the broiler and heat until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Welcome to Jacki and Tara's Food Blog! (just the word "blog" alone has me conjuring up images of a thick creamy seafood stew - maybe because it rhymes with fog and I am thinking Atlantic Ocean). Say the word and we think food. We are both stay at home moms, each with a pair of sons and a husband a piece. We love words, food, books, and entertaining. We have been friends since elementary school and talk about food constantly. We both love to cook, create new recipes, and go into near comas discussing cooking and eating. I personally (Tara) love everything from trashy to traditional - I even fantasize about making and eating an Elvis Presley fried peanut butter and banana sandwich one day. Do you remember the movie Elf? Well some wierd part of me also wants to try Elf's conconction of candies, spaghetti,and maple syrup. We will be posting our thoughts, recipes, and party diaries right here. To think that Jacki and I started this blog following a telephone conversation we had wondering if the "blog" is now the new dreaded Family Christmas Letter? We figured it would be ok to start a blog if the focus was on food and recipes. Welcome to our Family Christmas Letter!

This weekend I am heading to Seattle Washington. Lucky for me I am going down with my very PREGNANT sister who likes to eat (maybe that Elvis Presley sandwich will be on the agenda)! It is my mission to bring back a recipe for something delicious. I am looking forward to eating, reading, eating, shopping, eating, and well eating. My husband may not recognize me with the new chin I plan to grow this weekend. By the way Jacki and I have often discussed this (here is a question for you). Could you ever be friends with a person who didn't like food? It is an absolute prerequisite for me - though I will draw the line at perhaps a person who would rather eat at an "all you can eat buffet" rather than try out a new restaurant. I will also draw the friendship line at people who are picky. Don't you think that an adult who is a picky eater is really just vying for the attention they didn't get as a child? Hmmmm. I would also like to retire a recipe here at today's post called, Boursin, Fig, and Pear Crostini. I sna-food this recipe from Chatelaine magazine and I've over made it this past year. I will say that it is absolutely delicious and super easy to make, but I now must find something new to make or people will stop visiting me. I would also like to share with you an inexpensive delicious wine ($8) my friend Rose just introduced to me; an unoaked Shiraz by Naked Grape. I actually went to buy the Merlot from our local beer and wine store, but the clerk told me that they didn't stock the Merlot because they didn't like it. That actually bothered me. I mean just because "they" don't like it doesn't mean that I won't. I have a feeling the staff just did a wine tasting course and now they have all become experts.

Boursin, Fig, and Pear Crostini
1 cup (250 ml) of chopped dried figs, 1/2 cup (125 ml) of Port or Marsala (use any wine you like), 2 tbsp. (30 ml) of granulated sugar or Splenda, 5 slices of peeled ginger, 1 small sprig of fresh rosemary or or 1/2 tsp. of crumbled dried rosemary leaves, 1 firm ripe pear, 1 baguette sliced 1/4 inch slices, 1 50 g. pkg. of Boursin cheese (Boursin is a soft creamy cheese you can get in the deli section of your grocery store), or use a soft goat cheese if you'd rather. Place the figs, port, sugar, ginger, and rosemary in a small saucepan, set over medium high heat and bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Meanwhile peel and core pear, then chop. Stir into fig mixture and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 2-4 minutes. Refrigerate to cool quickly. Discard ginger slices. If making ahead, turn into a jar or plastic container. Seal tightly and refrigerate up to 1 week. Then make the crostini. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200C). Slice baguette into 1/4 inch thick rounds and spread out on a baking sheet. Toast in oven until edges are golden tinged 5-6 minutes. If making ahead, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Spread baguette toasts with a heaping tsp. of Boursin. Top with fig mixture. Delicious with a glass (or bottle) of bubbly.