“Our black truffle sauce is made of Black truffles (tuber aestivum), harvested in the beautiful Piemont region in Italy. Only best quality black truffles are hand selected by experts before confectioning in jars to be tasted all year long. To create this amazing sauce, we are using artisan methods as well as high quality raw materials.”
Black Truffle Sauce from my friends at Gourmet Attitude is made with mushroom, olive oil, truffle, carrot, onion, salt, aromatic herbs and spices, garlic, and walnuts. The addition of Black Truffle Sauce to a humble mushroom flatbread transforms it into an intoxicating slice of heaven.
The flatbread is heated just long enough for the cheeses to melt and the edges to get a little crispy allowing the Black Truffle Sauce to release its heady aromas and intensify the robust earthy flavors.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Bacon Shards, 18-Year Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Thinking about my upcoming Thanksgiving menu, wondering if my nephews would try the Brussels sprouts this time around. Can Aunt GeeGee sell one of America’s most-disliked vegetables to 11 & 13-year-old boys?
Hmmm…maybe bacon would help, but not some puny bacon bits. This would have to be real bacon, the thick smoky meaty kind from my butcher, not the pre-packaged grocery store variety. And it would have to be substantial. Bacon shards. And I will drizzle it with the most heavenly vinegar, a vinegar older than both of them…rich and creamy, sweet and subtly sour, aged 18 years!
Who am I kidding? I know what their plates will look like…turkey, their grandma’s mashed potatoes, gravy, and shards of bacon (no Brussels sprouts in sight). Maybe I can get them to try my pumpkin risotto, it’s full of cheese after all.
The confluence of Spring, St. Patrick’s Day, a Potato Event, and a Black Winter Truffle resulted in one really spectacular dish.
It was time to eat that black truffle which had been infusing fresh eggs with its heady aromas for several days…beautiful spring-green asparagus at the market was irresistible…Food Network was featuring potatoes…and with St. Paddy’s Day around the corner, I just had to cook something green. So that is how this Triple Truffle dish was born. Simultaneously rustic and elegant, it is suitable for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Truffle lovers will absolutely swoon!
I may have made a nice green salad or a simple pasta for dinner, but I what I like to share onTaste With The Eyes is not “last night’s dinner” but dishes that titillate and inspire. With ingredients that I find interesting.
Well, here’s a side dish (or appetizer) that is both simple and interesting…
The classic combination of potato with sour cream and chives ~ with a twist. Charming petite smashed potatoes adorned with both high quality white truffle oil and chive blossoms from the garden, instead of the ubiquitous green chives.
Sorry but I really am tired of the Caprese Salad and all its incarnations. Caprese grilled cheese, caprese kabobs, caprese bruschetta, caprese pasta salad, caprese pizza, caprese schmaese. But when I saw a photo of cherry tomatoes paired with cherry-sized mozzarella and edible flowers from a restaurant called “Salt” I just had to make my own version. The idea of the colors alone had me hooked.
After all, there truly is something magical about the classic pairing of tomato and mozzarella and basil. Especially in summer. And of course, with limited ingredients in the dish, the best quality of each component is required. Heirloom cherry tomatoes from the farmers market. Flowers and herbs from my own garden. Balsamic vinegar, gran riserva. Fresh mozzarella crafted in the Italian style. My favorite fruity olive oil from California Ranch.
Chef Dustin J. Trani is the Executive Chef at J. Trani’s Ristorante in San Pedro as well as DOMA in Beverly Hills. Earlier this year, Chef Trani was well-deservedly named as one of the Top 5 Rising Chefs in the U.S. by Gayot Magazine. On June 6th J.Trani’s Ristorante hosted their first wine dinner.
It was an extraordinary meal. With nearly three decades of dining in San Pedro, I can confidently declare that this meal was the best served in our town. Ever. Chef Trani paired a five course menu with wines from Napa Valley’s Franciscan Estates. Every element of every dish had a purpose, each in perfect balance. He deftly orchestrated a symphony of wine and food. It was an absolute pleasure to experience the Chef”s passion and commitment to perfection first hand.
My version of the Chef’s pasta course is simplified, to say the least. Where the Chef studied pasta making in Italy, I bought packaged cheese tortellini from Trader Joe’s. Where undoubtedly, the Chef simmered his veal stock in an hours-long process, I purchased French Demi-Glace from Whole Foods Market. My recipe is an everyday version of that extraordinary plate served at the outstanding wine dinner.
Pan-Roasted King Salmon with White Truffle Cream Farmers Market Wild Arugula, Heirloom Baby Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado Pine Nuts, French Lentils, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Inspired by a trip to the Farmers Market, fresh king salmon was pan-roasted and served over organic French lentils seasoned with just a kiss of my Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette along with wild arugula, irresistible baby cherry tomatoes, lightly toasted pine nuts, and avocado.
The sauce is made with La Tartufata blended with creme fraiche which added a velvety nuance to the dish. A preserved truffle product from Gourmet Attitude, La Tartufata is an earthy intense white truffle cream. This dinner was a delightful marriage of earth, garden, and sea. It’s the third in a series of three meals, each featuring one of the preserved truffle goodies in the “Trio Boutique.” We especially liked dipping the little heirloom tomatoes in the truffle cream sauce…
First Course: Cucumber & Truffle Carpaccio with Bucheron Olive Oil, Verjus, Fleur de Sel, Chives
Second Course: Filet Mignon Wrapped in Speck Duxelles with Truffle, Potato Cake, Creme Fraiche, Truffle Carpaccio Painted Bordelaise Reduction
Jupiter aligned with Mars. Our Creative Cooking Crew challenge for the month of February was to put an imaginative spin on “meat & potatoes.” A gift of Truffle Carpaccio arrived in the mail. My dear friend and savvy cook, FA, was coming to town. Meat. Potatoes. Truffles. Sounds like a party. Dinner party.
Pan-Seared & Roasted Pork Loin Wrapped in Bacon Demilune of Baked Butternut Squash & Apple with Truffle Honey & Rosemary Sauteed Purple Cabbage with Truffle Honey, Balsamic Vinegar, Caraway Seeds
My generous friends at Gourmet Attitude in NYC, purveyors of fresh truffles and fine truffle products, sent a gift box called the “Trio Boutique” containing three jars of fancy truffle products ~ truffle honey, truffle carpaccio, and white truffle cream. Merci and Grazie! We thought it would be fun to cook three separate dinners, each featuring one of these preserved truffle goodies.
For the first truffle dinner, lean and mild pork loin was enhanced with thick smoky bacon. Nutty butternut squash was baked with gala apple and laced with truffle honey, rosemary and butter. Then for contrast, purple cabbage was sauteed with onion and butter, flavored with balsamic vinegar and toasted caraway seeds, finished with truffle honey. This rather common combination of pork, apples, and cabbage was elevated by the truffle honey and the pretty demilune squash presentation with a rosette of colorful cabbage. It’s a meal that exemplifies uncomplicated effortless elegance.
“Truffle Heaven” Crostini
Fresh French Black Winter Truffle, Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffle Oil
with Shiitake and Frisée
A framed description of our “black diamond” is placed on the buffet.
This one ounce beauty is from Gourmet Attitude, importer of fresh truffles and fine truffle products in New York City. It is a good year for truffles, ours hails from the Village of Grignan in the South of France. The subterranean treasure was located by three female yellow Labrador retrievers with a family in its fourth generation of truffle hunting. I was told that dogs are preferred over pigs to hunt truffles nowadays, for one reason, it’s difficult to get a pig in and out of the car! Also, apparently the pig’s love for truffles is as ardent as ours, so she simply cannot stop herself from eating the $85/oz. delicacy. Dogs are much more obedient!
The black winter truffle is available December through March. This Fresh Black Winter Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini) has in intense perfume with a bouquet of wet forest, humus, chocolate, and a hint of hazelnut. Our guests are surely in for a treat!