Ingredients: ¼ c. olive oil, 2 oz. minced garlic, 2 lbs. any super fine arborio rice, 2 c. mushroom duxelle, 2 oz. canned black truffle pieces packed in water, 1 tbs. salt, 1 tbs. coarsely ground pepper, 8 c. water, vegetarian or chicken stock, 1 c. fine red wine, 2 tbs. chopped parsley.
The Method: Heat the oil in a 4 qt. stainless stell stock pot. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are transparent, about four or five minutes. Add the arborio rice and saute another four or five minutes. Add 2 cups of the water or stock and stir constantly for three or four minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another 2 cups of hot water or stock and the water from the can of drained truffles and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add another 2 cups and repeat the process.
Add the duxelle mushrooms and stir again for three or four minutes. Add the red wine and 1 more cup of stock and cook again until almost all the liquid is absorbed. If you want to serve the risotto later, add the last cup of stock and cook until just before you are ready to serve it. The rice should be al dente, and a little runny and very hot.
To Serve: You can serve the risotto with pecorino cheese and roasted red peppers on the side of the plate or with a dollop of red tomato puree (see recipe) on top. The puree can be put in a squeeze bottle and individual plates can be decorated with your own design. Garnish with a few slices of truffles placed on top of the risotto with a few drops of truffle oil. Serves 12-14.
Duxelle Mushrooms: 1 lb. of Portobello mushroom stems, 1 c. red wine, 1 lb. domestic white mushrooms, pinch of salt.
Wash the Portobello stems and cut off the black soil on the bottom. Wipe the white mushrooms clean. Mince both very fine on a wooden cutting board and place in a stainless steel sauce panwith the wine. Bring to a boil and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Do not stir at all until you are ready to remove it from the heat, at which point add the salt and stir.
Red Tomato Puree: One 8 oz. can of tomato puree, ¼ c. pure olive oil, salt and white pepper, ¼ c. cold water.
Whisk paste, oil, salt, and pepper in a stainless steel bowl. Add water and whisk until completely blended. Pour into a squeeze bottle for easy use.
Ingredients: Juice of 1 lemon, 1 qt. chicken broth, 1 c. mushroom stems, finely diced, 2 tbs. fish sauce, 2 scallions (white part only) chopped finely, 6 egg yolks, 4 egg whites, 6 tbs. olive oil, 2 dashes tabasco, 2 large cloves of garlic, minced.
Method: Combine chicken broth, lemon juice, mushroom stems, scallions and fish sauce. Bring to boiling the rest of the ingredients.
Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the garlic and cook gently, but do not allow to brown. When soft, remove from the heat and strain through a sieve, pressing the garlic until as much of the juices as possible are in the oil. (This may be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.)
Whip the egg whites. Add tabasco sauce and garlic oil to taste. Continue to whip until the oil is fully incorporated.
Spoon dollops of the egg white mixture into the simmering stock and poach on both sides until cooked.
With a slanted spoon, place one cloud in each of 6 heated bowls (there may be extra clouds). Carefully ladle in soup so the cloud floats to the top. Place an egg yolk in the center of each cloud and serve with additional tabasco. Yields 6 servings.
Ingredients: 1 6 lb. pumpkin, 2 c. flour, 1 tbsp. nutmeg, enough light beer to make a batter, &189; c. powdered sugar, oil for frying, 1 c. maple syrup, 2 &189; c. cottage cheese or a wedge of your favorite goat cheese, 2 c. cranberry sauce.
Method: Carefully cut off top of pumpkin. Remove seeds and pulp. Replace top and bake for 1 hour at 400° or until tender to touch. Remove from oven and cool in refrigerator. Cut 10 triangles or other shapes or sizes, leaving the skin on.
Combine the flour and nutmeg. Add enough beer to make a light batter.
Have the powdered sugar in a bowl ready for dipping. Heat the oil in a deep fryer, heavy fry pan or Dutch oven. Dip the pumpkin pieces into the powdered sugar, then the beer batter.
Deep fry until golden brown on all sides.
Serve each triangle with a scoop or wedge of cheese. Serve immediately with maple syrup and cranberry sauce.
Ingredients: 1 c. olive oil, 1 lb. unlinked sweet Italian pork sausage, 2 tbs. chopped garlic, 2 tbs. fennel seeds, 2 large smoked ham hocks, 1 c. diced fresh pork butt, 12 ozs. fresh kielbase sliced thin, 2 lbs. large Spanish onions, 8 c. sauerkraut (freshly made if possible) strained and chopped, 1 bottle champagne or good white wine, 4 c. chicken stock, 1/2 c. fresh thyme, 2 tbs. coarse ground black pepper, 12 small chicken or veal bratwursts, salt to taste.
The Method: Put together your “mise en place” (all ingredients in place, ready to use). Heat olive oil in an 8 quart saucepan. When oil is hot, add garlic and sausage. Cook and stir until the fat is extracted. Add the fennel seeds. Layer the remaining ingredients in the pot in the following order: NEVER STIR THE MIXTURE DURING THE LAYERING PROCESS OR YOU WILL DESTROY THE ROMANCE. Start with a small amount of the onions and some chicken stock to prevent sticking.
LAYER A: Add a handful of sauerkraut and sprinkle a small amount of thyme.
LAYER B: Add a handful of sliced kielbasa and a splash of wine.
Repeat layers A and B, this time including most of the pork butt. Place the remainder of the port butt on top along with the whole ham hocks. Sprinkle all the remainder of the thyme and all the pepper. Bring casserole to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for two full hours. Remove the ham hocks to a work board and remove the fat. Return the meat portion to the top of the casserole along with one bratwurst for each portion. Simmer for another half hour. When ready to serve, remove the bratwurst, stir the pot a few times to mix well and add salt if desired.
To Serve: The choucroute can also be served as an accompaniment to game hen or quail. Either may be trussed and stewed on top of the choucroute. Mustard and/or sour cream may be served on the side. Garnish each plate with a fresh sprig of thyme. Serves 8 – 12.
1 lb. whole octopus, 1 small celery, 1/2 bulb fresh fennel, 1 small red bell pepper, 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper, 6 whole wine bottle corks, 1 tsp. salt
The Method: Cut off the head of the octopus. Remove and discard the center hard ball found directly between the head and tentacles. Place the octopus with the vegetables and corks in a casserole and cover with water. Bring to the boiling point but DO NOT BOIL. Lower the heat to a slight simmer and cook for approximately one and a half hours until fork tender. (Or put the pan in the oven at 350 degrees.) Remove from heat and strain separating the vegetables from the liquid. Mince the vegetables fine and toss with balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate until ready for use. Reserve the liquid for use in risotto.
FAUX OYSTER WITH QUAIL EGG
4 four inch long herring fillets, 8 whole quail eggs, 1 c. Panko (Japanese) bread crumbs, 2 whole eggs, beaten, 3 drops tabasco sauce.
The Method: Cut the herring fillets in half and put them between plastic wrap. Pat with a wooden mallet until paper thin. Poach the quail eggs in almost boiling water until they pull together and are firm but still soft. Strain and chill in ice water immediately. Carefully place one egg on the center of each fillet and wrap the herring around it. Whip the whole eggs and add a pinch of tabasco. Dip each of the herring wrapped quail eggs in the beaten eggs and then in the bread crumbs. Saute until golden brown.
CREAMED SPINACH RISOTTO
(made without cream)
2 tbs. olive oil, 1 1/2 c. onions, chopped, 2 large garlic cloves, minced, 1 c. arborio rice, 3/4 c. dry white wine, 5 c. octopus broth, 1 8-oz. package spinach, 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 c. fresh basil, 2 dashes nuoco man (Vietnamese fish water), freshly ground pepper.
The Method: Heat the oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion. Saute until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add the rice and stir until edge of rice is translucent but center is opaque, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add octopus broth 3/4 cup at a time simmering each addition until almost absorbed, stirring often, until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes total. During last five minutes, add spinach in four batches, giving each time to wilt before new addition. Mix in Parmesan cheese, basil, and a bit of fresh ground pepper. Season to taste with nuoco man or salt.
The Presentation: Reheat the octopus in a small amount of its own cooking broth. (Do not boil.) Spoon the rissoto onto the center of a plate and wrap the heated octopus legs around it. Place two faux oysters on top and garnish the plate with a spoonful of the pickled vegetables and a sprig of Italian parsley. Makes 4 servings.