I had a birthday. Another birthday. My 27th one to be exact. I don't feel near as old as I actually am. Sometimes I think I'm still 22, that is until the monthly bills start rolling in or perhaps when I glance in the mirror and see the early signs of aging starting to appear on my once youthful face. Despite facing yet another birthday, inching me ever closer to that dreaded 3-0, I like to take this time of year to pamper myself a little bit.
Instead of using the birthday money I get from relatives to put towards bills (which is exactly what I should be doing), I allow myself to buy a little something just for me. I mean, I deserve it right? I also let myself truly indulge the week of my birthday. Cake, red meat, an extra margarita or two. So when it came time to decide what I was going to whip up for this blog last week, I thought it should include one of my absolute favorite things: truffles.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to use actual truffles (I can't afford such luxuries at the moment), but I did use plenty of truffle oil and a beautiful blend of earthy, unctuous mushrooms. I had found a delicious looking recipe for a mushroom fricassee in September's Bon Appétit. I had been looking for a good excuse to make it and my birthday seemed as good as any. (Side note: a fricassee by definition is a dish of pieces of meat or vegetables stewed in stock and served in a white sauce).
Bon Appétit's version of mushroom fricassee called for using only chanterelle mushrooms. However, when I got to Whole Foods and realized that chanterelle mushrooms were $29.99 a pound, I decided I'd better take a different route. I went with a mixture of chanterelles, oyster mushrooms and the adorable looking enokitake mushrooms. Not only did I save myself roughly $15, but I thought the mixture of mushrooms would make for an interesting looking dish.
OK, enough about mushrooms, let's talk more about my birthday. Jon's gift to me was something I've always wanted. I got this same gift for my 13th birthday, but for some very odd reasons, the gift fell through. Jon made it happen for me though.
He got me the hot air balloon ride that I've been waiting to take for 14 years. Despite the 5:30 AM wake up time and the very unexpected hangover, the ride was magical and the view beautiful.
It was everything I thought it would be and even more, because now I got to share the experience with the man I love. Thank you, Jon, for making one of my dreams come true.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, September 2011
6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
8 oz chanterelle mushrooms
4 oz oyster mushrooms
4 oz enokitake mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped, plus more for garnish
fresh lemon juice
1/4 lb tagliatelle pasta, cooked al dente
white truffle oil
1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, 4-5 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add wine, stir to mix and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
3. Add cream and nutmeg and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon thyme and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add cooked pasta and toss until evenly coated. Drizzle with truffle oil to taste (I like to add 2-3 teaspoons). Garnish with more thyme and serve.
Makes 4 servings