I have been getting lots of presents this summer!
I don’t want to sound flaky, but I truly believe that what you put out into the universe comes back to you. Goodness, positive energy, negative energy….it’s just the way it works, in my opinion.
I love this saying:
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENERGY YOU BRING INTO THIS SPACE.
I would like to hang that sign on my front door, back door, office door, car door…… tape it to my back maybe, because I like to remind myself (and others) that the energy that we’re putting out into the world is directly affecting other people who are taking it in.
For example, when my ten year old doesn’t seem to hear me when I ask her for the 4th time to get off the computer and come to dinner, it’s beyond frustrating for me. My heart starts to beat a bit faster and my blood starts to boil. Instead of rushing over to the computer and screaming, “NO MORE COMPUTER UNTIL YOU’RE 90!”, pulling the plug out of the wall and dragging her to the table by her ear (what I would really like to do), I take a deep breath and think about how my reaction will affect her reaction.
I remind myself that she’s a tween, this is what they do. Everything revolves around her and her world, I’m just Mom living in it. It’s normal.
It’s not easy and I probably only get it right 65% of the time, but hey, I try. And I must being doing something right, because lately I have been getting lots of goodness (in the form of goodies) back.
I did a small favor for a friend, and a few days later he sent me 2 gift cards to really great restaurants in the city! One was for Longman and Eagle, a really cool place in Logan Square that he loves. My mom was in town so I took her to lunch and it was fabulous. The other was to The Purple Pig, which I’ve been to and LOVE LOVE LOVE. I am going to take someone special there very soon. Thank you, Kelley.
I did another small favor for my neighbor’s sister and I found the most beautiful bouquet of flowers on my doorstep a few days later. Do you know how nice it is to come home to a surprise bunch of flowers on your doorstep? Really nice. That never happens to me. Thank you, Mo.
A few days later, I met my friend for coffee, and she handed me a big bag full of goodies; 2 cookbooks, a painting that she made, a candle and some appetizer knives. She does this a lot, it’s just how she is. She spreads the love. Thank you, Holly.
Another friend came back from a trip to Jamaica with 2 bags of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee for me. This coffee is my all-time absolute favorite, and it was so touching that she thought of me. Thank you, Casandra.
Do you see what I mean with all of the gifts? I was beginning to wonder what I did to deserve all of this.
Another friend surprised me with a really great bright orange Reisenthel bag from South Carolina with my name embroidered on it! So sweet and thoughtful. I can’t wait to take it to the farmer’s market on Saturday. Thank you, Beth.
And then came a very big surprise that felt like Christmas morning. I know, crazy right?
Fed Ex rang my door and handed me a big box that said perishables inside. I am all about perishables, so this was very exciting news. Are you ready for this? Hiding inside were 4 fresh summer truffles.
Aren’t they gorgeous?
My cousin Mark, who is a big foodie like me, and his partner CJ sent me 4 fresh summer truffles all the way from Italy. Oh my God, I could barely stand it. They were big and black and bumpy and beautiful. I don’t think I’ve actually ever had a fresh truffle sitting in the palm of my hand before!
In case you don’t know, a truffle is a pretty rare, edible mushroom that is found in Europe with the aid of female pigs (and now dogs, too), which are able to detect the strong smell of truffles underneath the ground. They are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.
I definitely consider this subterranean fungus a delicacy!
Along with the truffles, they also sent me some fresh vanilla beans, which smelled delicious. Mark said that these are two of his favorite flavors and he wanted to see what I could come up with, knowing how much I love to cook. How sweet is that?
For the truffles, my first thought was pasta. I started researching things to do with truffles, and I learned that it’s best to eat them uncooked, and shaved into things like pasta, sauces and rice dishes. It turns out, they are amazing shaved into anything!
I shaved them into my eggs in the morning, slipped some shavings into my sandwiches, shaved them over grilled vegetables. And then I shaved them into some butter and discovered the joy of truffle butter.
God, I just love those two words together, don’t you? Truffle + Butter.
Could anything be better?
I made some right away and thought I had died and gone to heaven.
I shaved a whole fresh truffle into a stick of softened unsalted butter.
Then I added some sea salt to taste. About 1/2 a teaspoon.
I mixed it all up and put it in the fridge for a while to set.
Isn’t that cute?
Mom was in town, so we bought a crusty baguette and slathered piece after piece with truffle butter, mmm-ing and ahhh-ing the whole time. We couldn’t stop ourselves. Every one of you needs to experience truffle butter and crusty bread at least once in your lifetime.
That better not be my truffle butter you are training the pooch with, Mom!
Yes, truffles are expensive. You see them at the grocery store perched on ice in their own special see-through box, 1 for $8 or something like that. But I’m telling you…buy one and make some of this butter. Splurge. You’re worth it!
I was putting this stuff on everything. I spread it on sandwiches, melted it over steak one night, and then I thought about that pasta.
I wanted to do something extra special with the remaining truffles, so for Father’s Day, I invited my brother and his family over for dinner and decided to make a truffle tagliatelle. It’s similar to the pastas I’ve been making and sharing with you lately, but I added some truffle butter which takes it to a heavenly place and also shaved some very thin slices of truffle over the top using a potato peeler. You can see that one below stuck to the side of the sauté pan.
TO DIE FOR.
I also made this stuffed pork tenderloin, but it wasn’t really blog-worthy, so I’ll skip telling you about it. I didn’t love the stuffing, but the pork was tasty.
Anyway, these truffles were such a great surprise, so exciting to cook with and beyond delicious.
Thank you, Mark and CJ.
As much as I loved each and every one of my presents, it’s not really about the stuff. It’s about the thought behind the presents. The good, positive and loving energy that all of my friends and family sent my way. It means the world to me.
Like this little gift that I found from Hadley on our kitchen board yesterday:
Like I said, I must be doing something right. This is what I want to be getting back, so I’m going to try putting the good stuff out there every chance I get.
Truffle Tagliatelle (To Die For)
1-pound tagliatelle pasta
2 tbsp, plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, more for serving
salt and fresh ground black pepper
a handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 – 3 tblsp truffle butter (recipe above)
fresh black truffle, sliced very thin, as much as you can afford (I used 1/2 of one)
Put a big pot of water on high heat. Add a palm-full of Kosher salt and cook until just before it’s al dente. You should see a bit of white when you test-bite a piece. Drain, reserving at least a cup of the pasta water.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in 12” sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes until translucent.
Stir in about a 1/2 a cup of the reserved pasta water. Grab your tongs and add the pasta and cook, stirring, until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add the 1/2 cup of olive oil, the truffle butter and the pecorino romano cheese. Toss until cheese melts. Add more pasta water if it seems to need it. More truffle butter for taste.
Add salt, pepper and more cheese to taste.
Transfer to individual bowls with tongs, make a little bird’s nest and twirl. Add the thinly sliced fresh truffles, the chopped parsley and serve with more cheese on the side.