Dec 28, 2007


Truffles are a rare and delicate type of edible mushroom that grow mainly in France, and Italy; truffles are also collected in the United States in Oregon and Washington.

The truffle has been described as: diamond of cookery, fairy apple, black queen, gem of poor lands, fragrant nugget, black pearl, holy of holies for the gourmet.

Truffles grow underground among the roots of oak, elm, chestnut, pine and willow trees where they form a symbiotic relationship with their environment.

To date, no one has been able to cultivate truffles: they grow randomly in certain regions (44 – 46 degrees north latitude). The more truffle oak seedlings are planted, the more chances exist for harvesting some.

There are three types of truffles – black, grey, and white. Black truffles generally come from France, white from Piedmont and Umbria, Italy and grey can be found in North America.

Pigs, trained dogs and goats are used to sniff out truffles, which grow below the ground.

Truffles produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in male pig's saliva. Sensing this odor prompts mating behavior in the female pigs as they rut and try to get at the buried truffles.

People have been eating truffles for almost 4,000 years.

In France, the truffle commerce has always been secretive. Truffle “hunters” try to avoid the taxman as much as drug dealers. Of course, black truffles found only in southeastern Var and Perigord regions of France are very expensive. They are rare (depending on weather condition, can become even rarer) and very time consuming to find. They grow underground (30cm) and must be “hunted.”

These days a kilo costs US $800 in French markets. By the time we get them in North America the price may be as high as $1,500 to $1,800, pending on store location, and fame of the establishment.

In 1892, French truffle production was about 1,000 tons.

Today average production is below 100 tons.

Truffle History
Pasta alla Chitarra con Fungi

Truffled Bresaola Salad

Dec 16, 2007

Seared Tuna With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs tuna steak
1 ½ cup roasted red peppers (from water-packed jar)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 green onion
Salt and ground black pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Season both sides of the
tuna with salt and pepper. Add the tuna to the skillet and cook for 2 ½
minutes per side, until almost cooked through (the fish will be pink in the
center, so cook it longer if you want it well done).

In a blender, combine the roasted red peppers, chicken broth,
lemon juice,ginger, garlic and green onion.
Process until the mixture is smooth.

Spoon the sauce over the tuna just before serving.

Serves 4

Dec 8, 2007

Side Dishes

Cooking Humor

I'm such a lousy cook my cat only has three lives left.

When we go on a picnic, the ants bring Rolaids.

I don't throw anything out. Last year the Health Department condemned my refrigerator.