I wanted to do something special for Valentine’s day, so I searched through my pantry for amazing ingredients to serve as inspiration. I saw my reserves of Porcini mushrooms and started thinking of something to pair it with. Remembering a beautiful Rabbit and Porcini Bourgignon I created last year, I decided to mushrooms with rabbit, but to go in the white wine direction. I purchased a big hunk of prosciutto from the market and I had a plan! A delicious slow cooked stew of rabbit and mushroom flavored by white wine and prosciutto would fit the bill!
Generally, ciabatta is made with a sponge mixture, but that means you have to prepare it at least 12-24 hours in advance…but what if you get home at 6pm and decide you want Ciabatta with your soup that evening?? What, go to the grocery store and buy one? Lunacy!
I posted my Civet of Venison recipe yesterday and hinted at a beautiful polenta for it to sit on, so I wanted to share my new polenta recipe today! Polenta is so filling in the winter and so incredibly easy to make, I am obsessed! You can buy “polenta” in beautifully decorated baggies or boxes for $6 to serve four, or you can stroll to the international market and buy a couple pounds of Semolina for a dollar or two. I choose the latter.
We have been planning a lot of soups and stews here to get through a rather chilly January, and I have been looking forward to making a stew with some of the beautiful dried mushrooms I brought back from the open air markets in Barcelona. I wanted something healthy and hearty and full of earthy flavors, and decided to use Porcini and Chanterelle mushrooms for my stew.
I wanted something relatively light and bright to finish the meal. But what? A cheese plate didn’t feel right. I had a few tubs of berries in the fridge and a container of Mascarpone that needed to be used in some way or another before it’s expiration date. I decided to make a trifle of sorts, well as far as I understand a trifle. Really… I wanted to make a Fruit Tiramisu. I whipped up my Mascarpone with a bit of whipping cream. Instead of soaking my lady fingers in coffee and rum, I soaked them in orange juice to moisten them up a bit but to brighten up the flavors. I was doing this all on fly and was nervous for the result.
When I was in Philadelphia last month, I bought a bit under a pound of prosciutto chunks…you know, just in case! I decided today was the day to use them. I was craving peas, and wanted to make a split pea soup. I did not have any smoked ham-hocks left, and have never liked the flavor of chunks of regular ham, so in went the prosciutto! Smoked meats give this soup a really lovely complex flavor.
I was leafing through Alain Ducasse’s book and came across this combination of lobster and fresh truffle, perfect for our fish eaters. I had recently bought a little jar of fresh Summer Truffles since this cookbook required truffle for almost every recipe, and decided Thanksgiving was a great moment to serve it out. I loved a lot of Ducasse’s recipe and was inspired by his flavor profile, but have simplified this recipe to make it easier for the home cook.
Risotto is a mainstay in the fall for me. I have loved it since my friend Kikki in Brooklyn made some for me with ingredients she brought back from her second home in Bormio. Every time I make it, I think about her bringing the big hunk of Parmesan out of its packaging and grating it liberally into the dish.