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VINTAGE RECIPE: My Great Aunt Ellen’s Chicken and Dumplings- MY NEW VERSION- Now w/saffron and truffle oil!!

Making this again for the first time since the original post in 2016- my nephew is here visiting from Palau and I wanted him to try the foods of his American ancestors ūüôā

I added a new, modern twist to this recipe- a pinch of saffron and extra garlic in the chicken cooking water- and truffle oil to finish the thing off, to taste.

It’s incredible with the new umami flavor profiles! Photos below of my nephew rolling and cutting the dumplings- and the last batch of ‘sauce’

Miss Maisie and Me

TO SEE PART 1, CLICK HERE

My version

After I finished writing the last blog post, I started on the chicken and dumplings.

img_4133-1 The original version omits any thickener for sauce

right away I could tell that 2 tsp baking powder in one cup of flour was WAY too much- also, most recipes call for some form of fat, which I added.

Aunt Ellen used ‚Äėchicken cooking water‚Äô and canned broth. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make my OWN broth.


CHICKEN AND BROTH:

2 packages of boneless skinless chicken breast (3 breasts per package)
a couple stalks of celery, leaves on, broken up in large chunks
a couple unpeeled carrots, broken up into large chunks
UNPEELED onion, cut in quarters.
water to cover
handful of fresh parsley (do not chop)
tablespoon of chicken bouillon

Basically, I just dumped it all in a pot on high-…

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Truffle Pasta- 3rd Attempt for my parents

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The third time’s a charm- found a nice egg pasta- FINALLY- that was perfect for this dish.

It was Delallo Egg Fettuccine… the noodles were tender and delicate. They were the perfect foil for the truffle/cream/parm sauce…

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best egg pasta I could find locally

Maisie and her ever-present piggie handbag- on our pasta hunt

My folks enjoyed their pasta and truffles… after this, I had a huge white truffle left to use up and I suddenly found myself sick to death of pasta.

my dad and his plate full of truffle-liciousness

 

 

 

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Oregon White Truffle Pasta

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wide egg noodles with Oregon white truffles

 

The Oregon white truffle is a strange thing:

Raw, it is VERY strong and pungent- however, once warmed lightly in a pan of butter for a few moments, it mellows out to a more agreeable and subtly luscious form.

My second experiment was a pasta dish. It was a huge hit with everyone, even the truffle hating Man.

I read somewhere that Oregon white truffles should be treated more like the European black ones- slightly warmed so that their true flavor shines through (and to temper the sharpness that they have when raw).

I threw a knob of butter in a pan and warmed it over low heat- then added shaved truffle slices- HEAVEN!

It completely changed the flavor profile.

While the truffles were warming, I boiled the noodles. I asked R to buy pappardelle, but he brought homemade German wide egg noodles back instead by mistake. It wasn’t a bad substitute and actually tasted better than the last batch of pappardelle noodles I bought.

I drained the cooked noodles, threw them back in the pot- added a splash of heavy cream, a small handful of good parmesan, the truffle-infused butter… omg! PERFECTION!

I shaved more raw truffle over my plate when serving and LOVED the contrast between the cooked and raw flavors.

R isn’t pleased with the pasta quality, so today we are going to hunt for better quality noodles for today’s batch (I am making some for my parents).

 
These things are starting to really grow on me…

 

 

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1st Impressions Of Oregon White Truffles=Truffle Weirdness

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Oregon white truffles- I left 2 in a paper bag and one in rice with the egg, so that the rice and egg could absorb the scent

 

I received my 1 ounce order of Oregon whites from oregonmushrooms.com. It was sent overnight via FedEx and arrived this morning.

I tore open the box and was immediately assaulted by the heady truffle aroma…

Oregon white truffles are weird.

They are not quite like their European cousins.

They look like truffles, they have a very pungent scent like truffles do.

After those basic comparisons, the differences in taste/smell are immense.

1. They don’t SMELL like ‘regular’ truffles. They have a smell that is very chemical-ly. Kind of reminiscent of Tarn-X and garlic and sweat.

A lot of people¬†complain that truffle oils have synthetic chemicals in them to mimic the flavor of real- no synthetic truffle oil can out-chemical the scent of these things… not that it’s entirely a bad thing.

It’s hard to describe and sounds worse ‘on paper’.

They hold their own, I will say this much.

2. The experts say to NOT put them in uncooked rice/eggs when storing them (unlike regular truffles) because it leeches out the moisture. I put one of my 3 truffles in with the eggs and rice and left 2 in the brown paper bag.

I shaved off a few slivers for our breakfast this morning: scrambled eggs with white truffles.

The three or four thin slivers were almost too much for the three eggs that I scrambled.

I loved them- Maisie loved them- R did not. He found the chemical scent off-putting.

I still have most of the 3¬†truffles left… later today I am doing a pasta with Oregon white truffles. I decided that I will warm some of the truffles in butter before tossing with the pasta- as well as shaving some straight onto the top when serving.

Until then, the jury’s still out…

I will continue the updates- stay tuned!

 

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Truffle Madness!

truffles

All month I’ve been seeing photos of gorgeous black and white truffle dishes from Europe… and making do with white and black truffle oils and butter.

This was so good… I am drooling just looking at it.

I live in a truffle-less wasteland… well, tundra, really. It’s the middle of winter in snowy Michigan and I am having unseemly cravings when I should actually just be juicing and starting my annual post-holidays¬†diet and exercise trek to summer.

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The first thing I did was look into the North American truffles coming out of Oregon and Tennessee. Oregon truffles (both black and white) are the kissing cousins of the European varieties. Some say they are inferior- others say they’re merely different and a force to be reckoned with on their own.

Oregon truffles cost 1/10th the price vs the European varieties. Tennessee truffles come from European Perigord truffle spores, so the savings isn’t that great. I am all for more bang for my buck, so I purchased white truffles from ¬†Oregonmushrooms.com (on sale¬†now¬†for $30 an ounce). They offered overnight shipping for $22 and should arrive tomorrow before 8 pm, so sayeth Fedex.

Since I’ve been surviving solely on truffle oils/butter for my truffle needs for the last few years, I figured the Oregon ones would (hopefully) satisfy my fresh truffle itch without breaking my budget.
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I also have a back up plan in case the Oregon whites fail to meet my expectations.

I found minced black truffles with a nearly 5 star rating on Amazon. I also bought a jar of tartufo salata (a sort of black truffle sauce/salsa that I ADORE).

All of the above will work nicely in any pasta dish… preferably, any good Italian egg pasta, accompanied by good shaved parmesan.

I will post again after my goodies arrive!

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Soul Food Fusion Feast: Collard Greens, White Truffle Sriracha Macaroni and Cheese, and the Works!

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my mom found the nicest collard greens today at a tiny farm stand run by two little old men

So my¬†mom went to a tiny farm stand today in Benton Harbor, Michigan that was run by two little old men. It was more like a few boxes next to the road with their home garden produce for sale. They had the most BEAUTIFUL collard greens I’ve seen in a long time- clean, no insect holes… and some great sweet corn. She picked up a garbage bag full of greens, another bag of fresh corn and sweet banana peppers and later showed up at my house.

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Cleaning and shredding the collards

As luck would have it, R brought home a slab of artisanal hog jowl bacon the day before- delicious small batch stuff. I secretly wondered what I’d do with it- and my mom provided the solution! She cleaned the greens while I sliced up the onions and bacon.

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hog jowl bacon and onions at the bottom of the pot

I filled the pot with the washed and torn greens, onions, bacon, chicken stock (to cover), threw in a whole hot pepper, garlic powder, black pepper, a spoonful of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

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getting ready to simmer the greens for a few hours

The entire thing was brought to a boil, then covered and simmered for a few hours- it’s done when the bacon is very fork tender.

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White truffle sriracha macaroni and cheese ready for oven

In the middle of our cooking, my dad called to tell me that his bestie from Oregon, my Uncle Bill, was in town. I told them to come on over and I’d cook a big spread for everyone. I quickly thought up a menu to go with the greens and rice I’d planned for mom and me.

I decided on homemade macaroni and cheese, corn on the cob, basmati rice, cornbread, and two types of cucumber salad (thanks to a box of cukes and zucchini my dad pulled out of the van at the last moment). I did a German type sour cream cucumber onion salad because my uncle was fond of it- and a Malaysian cucumber onion salad with sambal. I fished a few sweet banana peppers out of the garbage bag full of corn- and roasted the peppers. Later, I cut them in strips and dressed them with fresh raw crushed garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.  When my dad asked where the meat was, I sent R out for a bucket of chicken to go with it all.

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though it was pretty, next time I WON’T bake it. It’s MUCH creamier when the sauce is just mixed in with the noodles.

This mac and cheese was quickly improvised- a box of elbows boiled al dente, a white sauce with 3 cups of various cheeses melted into it, spices, sriracha, white truffle oil- easy peasy.

The next time I make it, I will not bake it, even though it’s pretty when baked. Baking dries it out a bit and I prefer the creaminess of the sauce. My uncle wanted the old-fashion baked with breadcrumbs type, so I whizzed up 4 slices of buttermilk bread in the food processor. I mixed those crumbs with butter, white truffle oil, paprika, and a little salt- and topped the noodles with some sliced tomatoes (that my mother dropped off from another aunt’s garden 2 days prior), then covered the thing with the breadcrumb mixture. I baked it at 375 for about 20 minutes (when the bread crumbs were browned).

It was an amazing meal! I am surprised that I was able to pull everything off at the last minute- especially with how chaotic my house has been from renovating!

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White Truffle Stracotto (Italian Beef Pot Roast) with Fresh Sage, Mushrooms, Fig Balsamic, and Brandy

Truffled Stracatto with fresh sage, mushrooms, fig balsamic

Truffled Stracotto with fresh sage, mushrooms, fig balsamic, and brandy

I was fascinated by this recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, but did not have everything on hand, so I improvised (recipe provided after the history lesson):

I am OBSESSED with food history. ¬†I have to search for the history of every bit of food that I eat. ¬†I don’t know if there is a name for this particular oddity, but I am sure there is one somewhere.

Per this page I learned the following: http://www.inparma.it/english/parma-food/traditional-products/who-invented-stracotto-pot-roast.aspx

History of Parma Cuisine
Footnotes to Parmesan Gastronomy
“Who invented Stracotto pot roast?”

That braised beef or Stracotto (pot roast) is a typically Italian dish, savory and worthy of the best in our culinary tradition, goes without saying. One might debate its origins, if it comes from Piedmont and the way they prepare it in Saluzzo with Barolo, or from Tuscany, in which case it is called “stufato”, or whether it is from Parma. Obviously, because the famous anolini of Parma require Stracotto in their preparation, it could be solemnly stated, once and for all, that Parma is the home of this dish. In any case, among collections of old recipes, I found one that is also listed by Cougnet and which, perhaps to make everyone happy, is simple called “Stracotto all’Italiana”.

Here is that early version of this dish: “Lard a nice fillet of beef, marinate it in a dish with marsala, salt, pepper, fines herbes and truffle trimmings for at least four hours. An hour and a half before serving, in a casserole with butter and lard, brown thinly-sliced onion, carrot, celery and bouquet garni, add the fillet, moisten with the marinade garnish, add rich meat stock, cover with greased paper and simmer, basting occasionally. Remove the fillet, place in a oven-proof dish and pour the braising juices, pour over the meat and add two cups of velout? sauce, place in the front of the oven and moisten to reduce the temperature.

“Prepare a long elegant bed of rice, artfully sculpted and place on a long serving plate. Cut the center piece from the fillet, leaving a base one centimeter high, return the cut piece to its original place, place the fillet on the rice, edged Italian-style with spinach, celery and carrot, alternating the colors. Toss with Madeira sauce, white truffles and serve with the rest of the sauce on the side.”

It goes without saying that Moreau de Saint Mary, Napoleon’s governor of the Parma States from 1802 to 1806, also found it difficult to resist the joys of Parmesan cooking and its stracotto and anolini “dont on est tr√®s friend dans les Etats de Parme” and of which he was very fond. He certainly was not the first Frenchman to be won over by the delicacies of Parma.

From G. Gonizzi, Le memorie del Ciambellano. Storie di cucina nel Ducato. I, in Parma Capitale Alimentare, 43, 2000, pp 45-61.

Although I had red wine on hand, I ALSO had a 10 month old child pulling all the pans out of the cupboards as I tried to cook. I *did* have an open bottle of brandy and some truffle oil and balsamic fig vinegar in my ‘vinegar, cooking booze, and fancy schmancy oils’ cupboard, so I improvised. ¬†I also have fresh sage, chives, thyme, and other herbs growing outside in my garden. ¬†I opted for sage today, because it’s delicious paired with fig and truffles… and the sage in my garden looks beautiful right now.

sage

fresh sage from my garden, growing in a wild tangle of arugula- my mom smuggled the arugula seeds back from Italy in her underwear some years ago and now it’s a delicious weed.

The result was a delicious, savory, melt-in-your-mouth/knock-yer-socks-off pot roast that I served over basmati rice.

  • White Truffle Stracotto (Italian Beef Pot Roast) with Fresh Sage, Mushrooms, Fig Balsamic, and Brandy
    adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
  • 4-5 lb. beef chuck roast
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (mine was brought back from the pepper farms in the Philippines by my mom)
  • 1/3 c olive oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 16 ounces of low sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 c. brandy
  • 1/4 c. fig balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 package of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh sage or 1 tsp dried sage
  • 4 tablespoons white truffle oil

Preheat oven to 350¬įF.

Generously season the beef on both sides with salt and pepper. In a heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the brandy and balsamic fig vinegar and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the broth and sriracha. Return the beef to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Add mushrooms about 2 hours into cooking time- Cook until the beef is fork-tender, about 3 hours, turning the beef over halfway through and adding more beef broth, as needed.

ready to come out of the oven

ready to come out of the oven

Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Using an immersion blender, place about 1/2 of the pan veggies and juices into another bowl and blend the remaining pan juices and vegetables until pureed but with a good texture. Add the sage and truffle oil and the reserved whole veggies and juices. Bring to sauce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Additionally, you can drizzle more fig balsamic on as well…

the pan veggies and juices all whizzed together with the stick blender

the pan veggies and juices all whizzed together with the stick blender

Cut the beef into 1-inch pieces and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

ready to be cut in 1

ready to be cut in 1″ pieces and drenched in the sauce

I served this over basmati rice, with a wild arugula salad on the side (I needed to weed the beds and wild arugula is my primary ‘weed’).

this arugula became the accompanying salad...

this arugula became the accompanying salad…