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TIP OF THE DAY: Truffled Scrambled Eggs

Truffled Scrambled Eggs

Truffled Scrambled Eggs

[1] If you have to ask, you can’t afford it: a bounty of white truffle shaved onto scrambled eggs (photo George Guarino | Eataly Chicago. [2] The affordable version (photo courtesy Saveur, along with their recipe to make perfect scrambled eggs).

 

For the wealthy gourmet, there are truffled scrambled eggs that consist of the richest, butteriest, farm-fresh eggs scrambled and topped with pricey truffle shavings.

You can pay a supplement of $100, $200 or more, depending on the amount of truffle. After all, for the 2016-2017 winter truffle harvest, white Alba truffles from Italy, considered the zenith of truffles, cost a small fortune:

  • The smallest size were $229.50/ounce, $3,672.00/pound.
  • Large truffles were $2,880 per ounce, $11,520 per pound.
  • Extra-large and colossal were even more!
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    Black Périgord truffles, our personal favorite from France, are a bargain by comparison:

  • Small Périgord truffles were $100/ounce, $1600 per pound, and up.
  • Large Périgord truffles were $805/ounce, $3220 per pound, and up.
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    If you’re drooling at the prospect but lacking in cash, you can feel better because fresh truffles won’t be back until November.

    TRUFFLES FOR REGULAR FOLKS

    We’ve gotten around our challenged purse for years with the following work-arounds. Delicious scrambled eggs can be made with:

  • Truffle butter. You can buy it for less than $12 for a three-ounce tub. It provides the aroma of fresh truffles, and some of the their flavor.
  • Truffle oil. If you don’t want to cook your eggs in butter (but in our opinion, there’s no substitute for butter with scrambled eggs), Urbani white truffle oil is about $30 for 8.4 ounces. Black truffle oil, by comparison, is $18.75 for the same size.
  • Truffle salt. Replace your regular salt with truffle salt. It isn’t a huge impact, but every little bit helps if you’re using the butter or oil. We use Casina Rossa’s Italian Truffled Sea Salt from Italy. It’s $36.75 for 3.4 ounces. That’s a lot, but since you use a pinch at a time, it lasts a long time. You can split the jar with a fellow cook.
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    All prices are from Gourmet Food Store.

    And of course, each of these products has uses beyond scrambled eggs.
     
     
    GOT TRUFFLES?

    If you’ve been saving a jar or can of truffle shavings, it’s time to put them to good use.Another variation of truffled scrambled eggs follows, courtesy of Maille mustard.

    Ideally, you need to infuse the eggs the day before.

     

    RECIPE: TRUFFLED SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MUSTARD

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 jumbo organic eggs
  • 2.5 teaspoons Maille Mustard with Chablis white wine and black truffles
  • 2 teaspoons black truffle shavings
  • 1/2 cup sweet almond oil
  • 2 teaspoons silvered almonds
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3.5 tablespoon cream
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon espelette chile powder*
  • Bread of choice (we like brioche)
  • ________________

    *Espelette, a.k.a. piment d’Espelette, is from the Basque area of France and Spain. Substitute Aleppo pepper if you can find it: It has the smoky sweetness that epelette brings to the table. Otherwise use cayenne, but the heat and flavor profiles are quite different. Cayenne is much hotter (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) so use less. It is much more neutral in taste, without the smokiness.

    Preparation

    1. BREAK the eggs into a large bowl at least 1 hour in advance, or overnight. Add the truffle shavings and mix gently. Place in the fridge in a tightly sealed container to infuse. The next day…

    2. BEAT the eggs, seasoning them with a pinch of salt and the espelette, add the sweet almond oil and the mustard.

    3. ROAST the almonds in an anti-adhesive frying pan until golden, then chop them. Melt the butter in a casserole dish. Add the eggs and cook slowly with a wooden spatula or spoon, so that the eggs do not stick to the pan. When the eggs are scrambled…

    4. STOP the cooking with the liquid cream and add the slivered almonds.

    5. SLICE the bread into fingers and toast in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of almond oil. Coat slightly with some mustard and sprinkle with black truffle shavings. (Note: We simply made toast, understanding that a short cut means shorter flavor.)

    6. ASSEMBLE in the dishes of choice, with the toasted bread fingers.
     
     
    MORE TRUFFLES

    What Are Truffles

    Types Of Truffles

    D’Artagnan Truffle Butter

     

    Truffled Scrambled Eggs

    Maille Truffle Mustard

    Espelette Pepper

    [3] The dyed black eggshell is dramatic, but we’re happy serving our truffled eggs on a plate, in a ramekin, or for fun, in a champagne coupe (photo courtesy Maille). [4] Maille Chablis Mustard With Truffle (photo courtesy Not Quite Nigella). [5] Espelette pepper from a chile grown in the Basque region (photo courtesy Pepperscale).

     

      

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    FOOD FUN: Cheese Omakase, A Cheese Tasting Dinner

    Like sushi? Like cheese? In honor of National Cheese Day, June 4th, combine them both.

    We don’t mean the Philadelphia roll, the only mainstream sushi with cheese (Philadelphia cream cheese and smoked salmon, to be precise.

    But last year, Rachel Freier, a cheese monger at Murray’s Cheese Bar in Greenwich Village, created a whimsical yet sophisticated 10-course cheese dinner—an omakase, as it were.

    Inspired by an omakase she had recently enjoyed at a sushi restaurant, her 10-course tasting dinner did not seek to emulate sushi, although one course is an homage.

    Here’s the cheese omakase menu, which is simple enough to copy at home:

  • Amuse Bouche: Milk punch made with chamomile, sweet vermouth and some sweet hay from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont. It was inspired by a visit to the dairy, where, Freier said, “We sat on a hay bale inside a hay dryer just licking the air it smelled so good.”
  • First Course: A dish called Salting the Curd, made from squeaky fresh curds with fried curds (not shown in photo).
  • Salad Course: A goat cheese salad that featured St. Maure, a bloomy-rind goat cheese from France’s Loire Valley that Murray’s coats with ashes to help it ripen. Looking like a piece of pressed sushi, the rectangle of cheese sits atop a shiso leaf. Instead of soy sauce, there’s a vinaigrette made from pickled cherries and honey, and instead of wasabi, there are wasabi peas. Freier paired the course with a Loire Valley chenin blanc.
  • Pasta Course: Reverse ravioli, two squares squares of mozzarella (instead of pasta dough), filled with tomato sauce, garlic and basil. It was paired with lambrusco, a red wine from Italy (not shown).
  • Frisée aux Lardons With Poached Quail Egg: A spin on the classic, cubes of cheese rind (Spring Brook Reading raclette from Vermont; and Hollander, a sheep’s milk cheese from the French Pyrenees) standing in for the bacon lardons, along with some sautéed mushrooms.
  • Alpine Fondue: A blend of three mountain cheeses, Etivaz, Vacherin Fribourgeois and French raclette. Served with toast fingers and the cornichons, dates and julienned green apples.
  • Palate Cleanser: A shot of whey mixed with apple, ginger and spinach (not shown).
  • Main Course: A mini pot pie filled with Ardrahan, a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from Ireland. Pungent washed rind cheeses are meaty and brothy (some call them stinky) and should be paired with a hearty wine: In this case, Bordeaux.
  • Cheese & Fruit:Tarte tatin” with cheese; Norway’s national cheese, gjetost, with the apples and crust of the tarte tatin. Gjetost is a caramelized cheese, cooked from goat’s milk cream. It substituted for the caramelized apples of tarte tatin. This course was paired with Eden ice cider.
  • Dessert: Ice cream bon bon, a stilton center, enrobed in chocolate.
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    Cheese Omakase

    Cheese Sushi

    [1] Some of the courses in the omakase dinner (photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese). [2] A close up on the “sushi” course: Saint Maure cheese from France, the second item in the top photo (photo courtesy Chopsticks and Marrow).

     
    Here are close-up photos of the courses.
     
    MORE

    Cheese Glossary: The Different Types Of Cheese

    Sushi Glossary: The Different Types Of Cheese

      

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    TRIVIA: National Egg Month

    May is National Egg Month, a time for some consciousness-raising.

    We look for Certified Humane eggs and don’t mind paying the premium for them. You’ve no doubt heard the horror stories of mass egg production.

    We buy from Pete and Gerry’s whenever we can: eggs produced on small family farms with a commitment to the humane treatment of the chickens.

    Pete & Gerry’s eggs are also USDA Organic, OU kosher and B-Corporation Certified: committed to sustainability.

    They shared these fowl facts with us:

  • There’s no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. The color of the egg is actually determined by the color of the hen!
  • Young hens produce smaller eggs. The medium-size eggs come from pullets, hens that are less than a year old.
  • The smaller the egg, the thicker the shell. This makes them easier to crack (no fragments to fish out) and, for hard-boiled eggs, easier to peel.
  • What creates a double yolk? In a young hen that is just learning how to lay eggs, two eggs merged before the shell was formed.
  • All eggs aren’t equally flavorful. Aside from freshness (e.g., farmers market eggs), the tastiest eggs come from free-range hens they have real access to grass, where they can peck for worms and other insects that contribute to the flavor.
  • Fresh water, the space to roost and access to earth so they can dust-bathe are also essential. Cage-free and conventional hens spend their lives crammed together indoors. Cage-free hens aren’t confined to sit in a tiny cage, but are crammed onto the floor of a building with no room to move.
  • What’s the deal with cholesterol? In the 1980s, news warned against the consumption of eggs for people with high cholesterol. But the new news is, research has returned to the side of egg consumption. Don’t steer clear of eggs because of cholesterol. (If you have an issue, consult with your healthcare provider).
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    That’s good news, because…

  • The egg is a nutritional powerhouse, with 7 grams of high-quality protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, including the disease-fighting antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin and the macro-ingredient choline. Yes, there are 5 grams of fat, but only 1.6 grams are saturated fat (types of fat). And all for just 75-78 calories per large egg.
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    Now for the fun trivia:

     

    Natural Hens' Eggs Colors

    Tufted Araucana Chicken

    These eggs are all natural in color. The colors come from different breeds of hens. Those breeds don’t produce eggs as economically as breeds that produce white and brown eggs, so they are not sold commercially, except by some farmstands (photo courtesy The Egg Farm). [2] This tufted arcauna chicken, originally from South America, lays pale blue eggs (photo courtesy Awesome Araucana.

  • Why are eggs sold by the dozen? In England and other European countries from as early as the 700s and continuing until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. There were twelve pennies to a shilling, which meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required.
  • By the Elizabethan period (1550-1600), selling eggs by the dozen was the standard practice. The English who emigrated to North America brought the system with them. Other countries have their own standards.
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    TIPS

  • To crack an egg: The best technique is to tap it on the counter, not on the rim of the bowl. You’ll avoid fragments, splinters, or whatever you call those exasperating little pieces that drop into the bowl.
  • To check if an egg is fresh or stale, raw or hard boiled: Just spin the egg on the counter. If it wobbles, it’s raw. If it spins easily, it’s hard boiled. A fresh egg will sink in water, a stale one will float.
  • Egg sandwiches: A fried egg sandwich with bacon was popular in our youth. These days, one of our go-to quick meals for breakfast, lunch or light dinner is a sliced hard-boiled egg sandwich on rye toast. We buy the eggs pre-boiled and peeled (a great time saver!) and use an ever-changing variety of seasonal fixings (a favorite: roasted red pepper (pimento) with baby arugula) and mayo flavors. For weekend brunch: a slice of smoked salmon.
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    THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EGGS

    If you think of eggs as either white or brown, check out the different types of eggs in our Egg Glossary. There are 10 choices in chicken eggs alone!
     
    SOME EGG-CELLENT LINKS

  • Egg Salad Recipes & The History Of Egg Salad
  • How To Make The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg
  • Egg Nutrition
  • Quail Egg Recipes
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    FOOD FUN: Fried Eggs (And More) In Pepper Slices

    We saw this photo on Tajín’s Facebook page, but couldn’t find a recipe.

    Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to slice bell peppers and drop an egg inside each slice—along with some mildly spicy Tajín seasoning (it’s a cayenne, lime and salt blend).

    We thought: What else can we make with a bell pepper rim?

    Cooked Foods

  • Burger patties
  • Melting cheeses (see list below)
  • Grains (mounded inside)
  • Savory pancakes
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    Uncooked Foods

    If the food isn’t cohesive enough to be mounded, make the slices taller; or trim a bit of the bottom of a half or whole pepper so it will stand.

  • Ceviche
  • Sashimi
  • Tuna and other protein salads
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    ABOUT TAJÍN SEASONING

    In Mexico, this spice blend of cayenne, lime and salt is used on just about anything, savory and sweet:

  • Fruits: raw, cooked, sorbets and ice pops: citrus, cucumber, melon, and tropical fruit (mango, papaya, pineapple, etc.)
  • Beverage glass glass rimmers
  • Eggs, grains, potatoes (including fries), vegetables
  • Snacks: popcorn, mozzarella sticks
  • Proteins: fish, meat, poultry, tofu
  • Just about anything else, from angel food cakes to salad dressings
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    GOOD MELTING CHEESES

    Good melting cheeses include, among others:

  • American muenster
  • Asiago
  • Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Edam
  • Gruyère and other Alpine cheeses (e.g. emmental, comté)
  • Fontina
  • Havarti
  • Hispanic melting cheeses (asadero, queso blanco, queso chihuahua, queso di papi, queso oaxaca, queso quesadilla)
  • Monterey jack
  • Mozzarella
  • Provolone
  • Reblochon
  • Taleggio
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    Fried Eggs In Bell Pepper Slices

    Fried Egg Veggie Bowl

    Tajin Seasoning

    [1] Slice the pepper, drop in the egg. [2] Enjoy as is, or in the center of a yummy bowl of greens (photo courtesy Hope Foods). [3] Tajín seasoning: cayenne, lime and salt (photos courtesy Tajín.

      

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    RECIPE: Fried Egg Quesadilla & Quesadilla History

    We don’t know what Chef Ingrid Hoffmann is making for Cinco de Mayo, but we’re breakfasting on our adaptation of her Fried Egg Quesadillas.

    A simple Mexican snack food. A basic Quesadilla are a Mexican snack food: a turnover (photo #1) made with an uncooked tortilla and a variety of fillings—beans, cheese, meats, potatoes, then folded and toasted on a hot griddle (comal) or fried.

    Regional variations abound.

  • In the northern states, it can be filled simply, with strips of Chihuahua cheese (queso Chihuahua—photo #3), a soft white cheese made in braids, balls or rounds and similar to mild white cheddar or Monterey Jack—all good melters.
  • The cheese originated in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. (Interestingly, in Chihuahua, where it originated, it is called queso menonita after the Mennonite community that first produced it.)
  • In central Mexico, the preference is for braided Oaxaca cheese (photo #4), some leaves of fresh epazote, and strips of peeled chile poblano.
  • A favorite filling is potato and chorizo; the “deluxe” versions contain sautéed squash blossoms or huitlachoche, the highly-esteemed corn blossom fungus.
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    RECIPE: FRIED EGG & AVOCADO QUESADILLAS

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large whole-grain tortillas
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, seeded and mashed
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts or pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Optional: ½ jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced (optional)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional garnishes: crema (sour cream), salsa
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    Preparation

    There are more complex tortilla recipes, including a “sandwich” style with a top and bottom tortilla, cut into wedges (photo #2).

    It can be served with sides of crema (sour cream), guacamole or salsa for customization.

    This recipe (photo #1) is a much quicker version.

    1. BRUSH a small nonstick skillet with the oil and heat over medium heat.

    2. ADD the eggs one at a time and cook sunny side up about 2 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer to a plate. While the eggs are cooking…

    3. WARM the tortillas in a separate, hot skillet (no oil needed).

    4. ASSEMBLE: Spread the warm tortilla with half of the mashed avocado, tomatoes, pine nuts, cilantro and jalapeño.

    5. TOP with an egg, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fold over and serve.

    If you’re making multiples, quesadillas can be kept warm in 300°F oven on a baking sheet, until ready to serve.
     
    THE HISTORY OF MEXICAN COOKING & THE QUESADILLA

    The quesadilla was born in New Spain (what is now Mexico) during colonial times: the period from the arrival of the conquistadors in 1519 to the Mexican War of Independence in 1821, which ended Spanish rule.

       

    Breakfast Quesadilla

    Breakfast Quesadilla

    Queso Chihuaha

    Queso Oaxaca Ball

    [1] Quesadilla, loaded and ready to fold, grab and go (photo courtesy Chef Ingrid Hoffmann). [2] A more formal quesadilla presentation requires a knife and fork, is made between two tortillas and then cut into triangles (photo courtesy Cabot Cheese). [3] Queso chihuahua from Mozzarella Company (photo courtesy iGourmet). [4] Queso oaxaca, braided (photo courtesy Food & Travel Mexico).

     
    For thousands of years, the local cuisine had consisted of the area’s staples: avocados, beans, cacao (available to the rich and famous), chiles, corn (made into a variety of foods, including tortillas), papayas, pineapples, potatoes (which originated in Peru), tomatoes, squash (including pumpkin) and vanilla.

    Dishes included corn pancakes; tamales; tortillas with pounded pastes or wrapped around other foods; all flavored with numerous salsas (sauces), intensely flavored and thickened with seeds and nuts.

    The Spanish brought with them wheat flour and new types of livestock: cattle, chicken (and their eggs), goat, pigs, sheep. Before then, local animal proteins consisted of fish, quail, turkey and a small, barkless dog bred for food, the itzcuintli, a [plump] relative of the chihuahua.

    Cooking oil was scarce until the pigs arrived, yielding lard for frying. Indigenous cooking techniques were limited to baking on a hot griddle, and boiling or steaming in a pot. While olive trees would not grow in New Spain, olive oil arrived by ship from the mother country.

     

    Bean Quesadilla

    Steak Quesadillas

    Lobster Quesadillas

    [5] Basic quesadilla: cheese and beans (here’s the recipe from Taste Of Home). [6] Grilled flank steak tortillas (photo courtesy Kings Ford Charcoal).[7] Going gourmet: lobster quesadillas from Mackenzie Ltd.

     

    The Spanish brought dairying, which produced butter, cheese and milk.

    The sugar cane they planted provided sweetness. Barley, rice and wheat were important new grains. Spices for flavor enhancement included black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, coriander and cilantro (the leaves of the coriander plant), cumin, garlic, oregano, and parsley.

    Almonds and other sesame seeds augmented native varieties. Produce additions included apples, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, onions and oranges.

    While grapes, like olive trees, would not grow in the climate, imported raisins became in ingredient in the fusion cuisine—i.e., Mexican cooking.

    (Mind you, the peasant diet was still limited to beans, corn tortillas and locally gathered foods like avocados.)

    While the Spanish could not make wine locally, they did teach the Aztecs how to distill agave, into what was called mezcal.

    The pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica brewed a fermented alcoholic beverage called pulque (think corn based beer). With the barley they brought, the Spanish brewed their home-style beer.

    The development of the cuisine was greatly aided by the arrival of Spanish nuns [source].

    Experimenting with what was available locally, nuns invented much of the more sophisticated Mexican cuisine, including, but hardly limited to:

  • Buñuelos.
  • Cajeta, a type of dulce de leche made with goat’s milk. It is a type of dulce de leche.
  • Chiles rellenos, stuffed with beef, cheese or pork.
  • Escabeche, a variety of marinades for fish.
  • Guacamole (New Spain had the avocados, tomatoes and chiles, but Spain brought the cilantro (the leaves of the coriander plant) and the onions.
  • Mole sauce.
  • Rompope, an eggnog-like drink.
  • Lomo en adobo: pork loin in a spicy sauce. [source]
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    So whence the quintessentially Mexican quesadilla?

    It’s half indigenous, half Spanish.

  • From the New World: the corn tortilla, hot sauce and other salsas.
  • From Spain, the cheese, beef-chicken-pork and the shredded lettuce…as well as the wheat for flour tortillas and the eggs for breakfast quesadillas.
  •  
    And it’s very, very popular, from Mexican street food to restaurant far in Mexico and the U.S.

     

      

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