The rules are simple.
Write a poem.
The theme is truffles (the mushroom kind, not the chocolate kind).
Make it a haiku (3 lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables).
Enter your poem in the comments of this post (or drop it off at the Springwater Farmstand @ the Portland Farmers’ Market on February 18th or Hillsdale Farmers’ Market on February 19th – look for the pink, red, & white polka-dot box sitting on the table). Also look for truffles - they will be on the table as well!
The contest ends February 21st & the only other stipulation is that prizes must be obtained at the Springwater Farm booth at one of the Farmers’ Markets where they vend. Check The Farmers’ Feast February 23rd for the winning haiku!
Last year’s winner:
It was our first time
You and I unearthed much more
Now we search as one
To see more entries of contests past, look here.
The following is a post I wrote a while back for the Good Stuff NW blog. It’s been a busy month with new winter Farmers’ Markets, and the Springwater Farm ready-to-eat venture at Portland Farmers’ Market & Hillsdale Farmers’ Market, so while I’d rather write some new material on the subject of truffles, for now, I’ll just re-hash what I’ve got (mmm…truffle & potato hash….).
Eat Something Sexy
a bit about truffles & a shopping/eating primer
It’s customary to give your love a box of chocolate truffles to express your feelings, but if you really want to woo her, offer a heart-shaped box of fungus instead. I’m referring, of course, to that elusive and most coveted of mushrooms, the truffle.
A most enigmatic foodstuff, truffles are a source of mystery and lore. They boldly give forth a scent that has lured both man and pig for centuries—a unique, ethereal odor of deep woods and musk that, to some, is overly pungent, or even repulsive. But there is no denying our fascination with them.
Until quite recently, it was impossible to cultivate truffles with much success. Despite recent revelations in the inoculation process (filbert trees can be inoculated with truffle spores that may then produce truffle “crops”), most truffles in Oregon are still hunted by skilled foragers who search them out, with or without the aid of dogs, in forests & orchards throughout the damp winter. Their prize for hours spent digging in the dirt is the crown jewel of the mushroom world.
Working with Springwater Farm at several Farmers’ Markets, I’ve come to recognize two distinct sets of shoppers—those in the know about truffles and those that are curious but have no idea what to do with these peculiar savory-scented black and white orbs. So I offer you a very basic truffle primer:
First: yes, truffles are a luxury, but a more affordable one. Don’t be put off entirely by their price tag. They are lightweight, and each is powerfully perfumed. A little goes a long way.
Look for truffles that are dry and have a pleasing scent. A wet truffle is a sign that it is about to go to the dark side, with a very unpleasant, fetid odor soon to follow.
Truffles do grow underground, so a little earth can be expected. Just shy away from specimens that are caked with dirt – you don’t want to pay a premium for soil.
Protect your investment. Use truffles when they are at their peak. Don’t wait. Remember that dark side I mentioned? Well, they tend to head fast into it once they’ve ripened. If you aren’t ready to use them when they are ready to be used, just chop them up and add them to an amount of softened butter and season with salt. You can then put the truffle butter in the freezer where it will keep for several months.
OK, you’ve found your source, they are ripe and ready, now what the heck do you do with these things? Essentially, they are a finishing ingredient. Shave them over a mushroom risotto or add a lump of truffle butter to good quality fettuccine, then shave a little truffle over the top. Stir chopped truffle into scrambled eggs. Truffles marry well with root vegetables, too. Toss grated or very thin slices of truffle with hot cooked potato and butter or olive oil (or roasted roots such as rutabaga or parsnips), or stir chopped truffle into a cream of sunchoke or celery root soup.
Truffled popcorn is pretty decadent—toss hot popped corn with truffle butter and truffle salt (the salt is made by Norma Cravens when truffles are in season and is available at Springwater Farm). I’ve included a couple of my favorite simple truffle recipes below.
Keep in mind that the most common faux pas with these earthy gems is to overheat them. Truffles, though pungent, are delicate beings. Their scent is accentuated by gentle warming, but is quickly destroyed by intense heat.
Truffled Shirred Egg with Soft Herbs
A shirred egg is a gently baked egg. Truffles and soft herbs make this ordinary egg extraordinary. Serve with a slice of good quality rustic country bread, such as ciabatta.
butter or truffle butter to coat the baking dish
truffle salt or kosher salt
truffle (black or white)
a few soft herbs (small leaves of parsley, chervil, tarragon, and small sticks of chive)
Pre-heat oven to 350°.
Coat a very small baking dish with butter (the dish should just accommodate the cracked egg). Crack the egg into the dish and season with truffle salt. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the egg is just set (check after 5 minutes, keeping in mind that the egg will take a bit of time to begin cooking, but will then move along quite quickly).
Shave a generous amount of truffle over the egg, decorate with herbs and sprinkle with truffle salt.
Truffle Bruschetta Adapted from Lidia Bastianich
2 thick slices rustic bread (such as ciabatta)
a black or white truffle
1/2 of an anchovy fillet (optional)
enough butter to blend into the truffle (about 2 Tbsp.), room temperature
truffle salt or kosher salt
Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
Lay the bread slices flat on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 4 minutes or so, turn the slices over and toast on the other side for about 4 minutes until they are light gold. Cool on a wire rack.
Brush the truffle clean with a kitchen towel or vegetable brush. With a sharp vegetable peeler, a mandoline or a truffle slicer, shave off about a dozen slices of truffles onto a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Finely chop or grate the rest of the truffle (the fine holes of a box grater work well). Put the butter and anchovy in a mini-food processor and pulse until smooth. Fold in the grated truffle and season with truffle salt.
Spread the butter onto the toasted bread. Garnish with the truffle slices and serve immediately.
Find more truffle recipes here.
I hope these recipe ideas prove inspirational – I look forward to your haiku!
And, just for fun, one more time…in haiku form:
The rules are simple –
write a poem, a haiku.
The theme is truffles.