Friday, February 12, 2010

‘Wild’ Love on a Plate- Holiday Passion

This piece was originally created for Hillary @ Mrs Mo's New Jersey, when she asked me to guest blog. She wanted a healthy approach to the holiday meal. So I talk about making a big statement with ingredients, but eating a smaller portion for better health benefits.I found that I had more to say, so I did a re-write of sorts to extend my 'Wild', Passion, and message of love on the plate for the one you love. Click on her link, and you will read the 'other' post.

Valentine's Day is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards, and eventually commercially produced 'heart' shaped chocolates.

I believe in the commercialization, and often exploitation of this holiday; it has come to represent passion in ways early celebrators could never imagine. If possible food enthusiast are pushing food passion to newer heights. Passionate about more than their counterparts, they dream of creating edible representations that can display their love to the palate, then passing it on to loved ones.

Let’s put something passionately wild on the plate for Valentine's Day! Although in my house, Valentine's Day is celebrated every day, and I already treat hubby to many of his favorite dishes. He is worth it.

My sweetie likes risotto, super Tuscan wines, and mushrooms of all kinds. He and I both are passionate about truffles and wild boar prosciutto. Wild boar prosciutto is readily available in most markets, but you cannot find fresh truffles; unless you own a restaurant; it is however found in oil and other forms at your local market. Go here and you can order them to come directly to your home 'La Boutique'.

My first choice for our special meal was an endive salad with a few ingredients that included chocolate shavings and port dressing. The snow storm that hit the north east has put a dent in my Valentine meal plans! Since the snow has begun to melt my original idea has made it to the table, but I will post it next week.

However other spur of the moment exotic ideas and creative risk can pay off though if you keep a few ingredients on hand for those 'you cannot leave the house because a blizzard just hit. Thank my lucky stars I had wild boar, risotto, broth, crescent dough, a little cheese, and I have a jar of la tartufata (truffle cream). This might seem like a magic pantry as a friend calls it, but I just splurge for those special occasions.

This meal in many ways is low calorie with a few adjustments. Let me tell you, I have cut back on calories in this dish with less cheese, and no cream! Risotto is in many ways a comfort food, and can be eaten alone, or dressed up with some lobster, crab, or even a nice cut of beef.

Smell the truffle cream? Imagine the Wild Love on our plate...

1/4 pound of wild boar prosciutto thick cut- 1 slice cut into small pieces for risotto prep
¼ of chopped red onion, or onion of your choice
1 teaspoon full of Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon full of garlic, or 2 crushed garlic cloves
¼ cup of dried mixed mushrooms- crumble larger mushrooms with hands (amazing how easy it was), or 1 Portobello mushroom, remove stem, and clean out gills (1 small equals ¼ cup)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 ½ cup of arborio rice (risotto- gets creamy consistency as it cooks)
4 cups of stock or broth, preferably veggie stock
1 small jar of la tartufata, or white truffle oil (lasts in refrigerator, good for drizzle only)
1 teaspoon for each serving of risotto as garnish, and for making spread for mini’s
1 scallion per 2 bowls of risotto for garnish (optional)
1 package (sheet) crescent dough- this will be enough for eight mini sandwiches, or substitute with small size baguette, cut into 2 inch horizontal pieces, and slice in half
2 teaspoons of prepared mustard, or mayo- your preference, I just used the truffle spread alone.
1/3 cup of Italian cheese blend- ¼ for risotto, and the rest sprinkled on mini sandwiches
1) Mix together mayo with a teaspoon of la tartufata (optional), I simply used it directly on bread
2) Bake crescents until golden brown, cool, slice in half; set both aside
3) In a 5 quart pot over medium heat add olive oil. Just before smoking point add wild boar (ham), onions and cook until translucent; add Italian seasonings, garlic, and stir well; quickly add risotto and stir, letting it brown a bit (an old south American rice trick I learned in Texas). Then add veggie stock until it just covers the rice an inch over. When risotto begins to boil add mushrooms. Stirring the risotto on a medium heat, uncovered (this is where it is a labor of love) until it begins to thicken, you will need to add stock. Only add stock if rice begins to show, and you know it is not ready yet. Stirring also helps release the starch to create the creamy texture that so many love about this dish. As this is cooking the mushrooms are also soaking up the broth and will become tender to the bite.
This process should only take from the moment risotto began to boil, about 20 minutes or so. Move off of heat, add ¼ cup cheese; stir in well and let sit. Any moisture you do not see at the bottom will soak into risotto.
4) While that is waiting add some wild boar (ham) pieces to the sliced bread of choice, spread la tartufata or mixture, and sprinkle with light cheese. Heat up Panini maker, or griddle pan and cook till cheese melts.
5) Top off the risotto with a dab of la tartufata and scallions. While risotto is hot, stir in and enjoy the orgasmic aroma of the white truffles, and serve with two mini wild boar Panini’s. Add a side of spinach or a salad to complete a healthy recommended meal.
Open up a great bottle of Masi Campofiorin- Baby Amarone (Ripasso) wine in the $15 price range

La Boutique: I have to say that I have received other truffle oils and products, but this IS the best I have ever used and received as a gift to try. I recommend you go over to there site and order some of their products!

LaTartufata-Mushroom, Olive, Truffle Condiment and Sauce is produced in Italy's unspoiled Marche region renowned for truffles. La Tartufata is a versatile condiment and sauce ready to use as is or diluted in chicken stock (after cooking), olive oil or cream.

As a condiment, add to pasta, rice, egg dishes, cutlets, chicken breasts, scaloppine, or on warm crostini as an excellent appetizer. Use also as a stuffing for meat, or as a filling for ravioli and tortellini.

I recommend you do not cook in high heat with this product; it is meant to add at the end of recipe process, or it will lose its truffle strength (only contains 3% white truffle, more of an essence condiment, but worth it!).

Great paring- Yes, hubby and I work well together, but we opened a bottle of Lopez Island Vineyards Cab-Merlot Blend, '05 $15; it went great with the 'wildness' of all the ingredients the next day with left overs! I also found this cute bottle stopper for him to use with wine, or other libations he might want to close up if not finished!