The Trouble with Truffles

When it comes to truffles, how much is too much? Is there even such a thing as “too much” when we’re talking about the most savory, hyper-palatable substance found in nature? Sure, it’s easy to go overboard with a few seemingly harmless extra drops of truffle oil, turning a previously balanced dish into an acrid chemistry experiment gone wrong, but that’s another story entirely. Most commercial options rely on entirely lab-created chemicals for their aroma, without a single fleck of fungus in sight. Carried by cheap filler oils, these knock-offs lack the subtle nuances, earthy richness, and depth of pure umami intensity distilled within real truffles. Dirty diamonds locked within nubby black exteriors that could just as easily be mistaken as rocks are the key to this taste of luxury that no scientist can replicate.

When you go all-in on the real deal, you’ll know the difference when you taste it. Immediately it hits you, sweeping you off your feet before that first bite even hits your taste buds. The aroma alone can stop a conversation in its tracks and turn heads, like a dazzling supermodel making a grand entrance at a party. This bombshell doesn’t need any makeup or designer clothing to captivate, though. All that brilliance and more is found within; inherent, implicit, obvious to see beyond shallow outward aesthetics.

The real trouble with truffles is that their delicate nuances begin to fade almost as soon as they’re unearthed. Part of their scarcity is due to this ephemeral quality. Even if you can get the real deal, fresh isn’t always best. Personally, my top pick is always preserved, since there’s no gambling with lack of access, nor variable quality. At least that’s the case with Truffle Hunter. There’s nowhere to hide on these short labels fronting meaty shavings of black summer truffles, lightly brined and kept pristine in extra virgin olive oil. In that two-for-one punch, you get the full-bodied fungus, AND true infused truffle oil.

Genuine luxury is sinking your teeth into one of those substantial sheets of pure umami power. Frequently recommended as a topper for crostini, that suggestion made me think of toast, which naturally leads to avocado toast, and the inspiration to embellish was unstoppable from there.

Avocado toast elevated to the status of fine fare, this breakfast staple is now fit for a crowd. Taking basic staples to the next level, a tiny dose of white truffle balsamic vinegar is blended into creamy, luscious cashew ricotta, harmonizing with the beautifully marbled slabs of black truffle sparkling on top.

Resting atop a lightly seasoned crust of crisp breadcrumbs, each layer is more decadent than the last. Buttery, bright green avocados take on a greater degree of decadence, heightened by the intense, earthy, almost nutty notes of truffles. You could always gild the lily with a finishing kiss of truffle salt… But that might just test the theory that too much is never enough.

Simply sublime, sublimely simple. It may be tough to go back to plain old avocados on bread after just one bite.

Continue reading “The Trouble with Truffles”

You Win Some, You Lose Some

It’s true that you can’t always win, but I have a feeling that it’s quite possible to always lose. Slogging through a bit of a losing streak myself, it certainly seems that way at least. My apricot ice cream lost, although I’m not the least bit surprised, having watched first-hand as the tally of my competitors’ votes swelled into impressive numbers, while my own inflated temporarily only to burst and collapse like a cheap inflatable pool toy. I’ve given up on entering blog raffles, as the suspense kills me and by the time some one else’s name is announced, you’re just beating a dead horse over here. Nope, I have better things to pin my hopes to. Even though I haven’t officially heard back from the lovely folks at Whole Foods about the most recent contest of theirs that I entered, I have no doubt that a gentle letter of rejection is sure to arrive any moment.

The premise for this contest was simple enough; Make a healthy meal for $4 or less per serving. No problem, that’s pretty much the norm around here anyways. Savories still aren’t my forte though, so taking the safer route, I whipped up a tasty tofu dish and an easy pilaf. Admittedly, the tofu was rather forgettable- Delicious, yes, but nothing to write home about. It was that pilaf, a bulgur pilaf to be exact, that really got my appetite going. I even contemplated sending in an entry of only the pilaf, since it’s a good balance of protein, grains, and veg if you ask me, and I’m all for one-dish meals as well.

Ginger, garlic, and miso make up a flavorful broth, which toothsome whole grain bulgur is only too happy to soak up. Rounded out by some nutty almonds and bright green peas, it’s a simple yet comforting dish that is agreeable to just about every palate. It might not win any awards, but it’s a keeper in my book.

Yield: Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side.

Miso Bulgur Pilaf

Miso Bulgur Pilaf

Ginger, garlic, and miso make up a flavorful broth, which toothsome whole grain bulgur is only too happy to soak up. Rounded out by some nutty almonds and bright green peas, it’s a simple yet comforting dish that is agreeable to just about every palate.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Bulgur Wheat
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Rice Miso Paste
  • 1 3/4 Cups Water
  • 1/4 Cup Frozen Peas, Thawed
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Almonds, Toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Chives

Instructions

  1. Heat a dry skillet over the stove and toss in the bulgur. Toast for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to keep the bulgur moving, until it smells nutty and turns slightly darker brown. Pour the grains out onto a plate, and place the emptied skillet back over the heat.
  2. Add in the oil, garlic and ginger, and cook for just a minute or two until the spices have browned a bit. Stir in the lemon zest, soy sauce, and miso paste, breaking up any lumps that may form. Stand back a bit while slowly pouring in the water, as it may hiss and splash slightly. Scrape everything off the bottom if it’s sticking, and add your toasted bulgur into the mix, along with the peas. Turn down the heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes. If all of the liquid hasn’t been absorbed by then, simply continue to cook over low heat, uncovered, until it has all evaporated.
  3. Let stand for 5 minutes off the heat, and stir in the almonds and chives.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 331mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.