Feb 25, 2008

Europe's Truffle Shortage Blamed On Global Warming

Farmers say production is down by 50-75% this winter season and they blame global warming, warning that if thermometers keep rising — as many scientists predict they could — France's black truffle will one day be just a memory.

This year, reduced output and good quality truffles have pushed the price of Italy's renowned white truffles to new heights, some reaching up to Lit7.5m (3 873 [euro]) a kilo.

This is not the first time weather has caused a dramatic downturn in French truffle production. A severe drought in the early '60s more than halved the harvest, bringing it down to about 50 tons. But the trufficulteurs, as truffle farmers are known, contend this current dry spell is longer and more acute.

Production in France has been in slow decline for 100 years — from 1,000 tons a year to just 50 tons, according to the Agriculture Ministry — under the march of urban sprawl into the fungus' forest habitat and the migration of farming folk to cities.


Feb 15, 2008

Mushrooms Prefer Paper to Plastic


Mushrooms are special: They detest too much moisture.
In a plastic bag, they drown in their own liquid in a couple of days.
But they keep well close to a week if refrigerated in a closed paper bag.

Feb 8, 2008

Easy Mediterranean Tuna Salad

6 medium roasted red bell pepper strips from a jar.
2-3 cans Italian or Spanish tuna packed in oil, about 8 -10 ounces
1/2 pound ripe but firm tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices, then halved
12 green olives, without pimentos
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
6 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Kosher or sea salt

Slice the peppers into 3/4-inch strips and place in a bowl. Slice the olives in half. Add the tuna, broken into chunks, the tomatoes, olives, and parsley.

Mix the oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt to taste in a food processor. Fold the dressing into the tuna mixture with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.