I went to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market this week, as usual, but this time with an eye to truffle flavors. I like to work with what’s in season, and the market yielded a bunch of inspirations:
- Lemon verbena
- Oregon black truffle
- White guavas (!)
- Figs: kadota (green), brown turkey, dried kadota figs, dried black mission figs
- Mandarin oranges
- Meyer lemons
- Yuzu (a Japanese citrus vaguely reminiscent of lemon)
The Oregon black truffle is particularly interesting. I was sniffing my way through the various truffles at Far West Fungi, which carries a lot of exotic mushrooms (chanterelles, morels, porcini, hedgehog, lobster, matsutake, etc. – whatever’s in season). I was trying to decide between the Himalayan black and the Burgundy truffles, when I mentioned that I was planning to use it in chocolate. The woman behind the counter immediately said, “Oh! You should try the Oregon black truffles!” She held the bag open, I sniffed, and a wonderful fruity, earthy flavor wafted into my nose. Apparently they are nicknamed “the dessert truffle” for their fruity, sweet aroma. I am going to try them with white and milk chocolates; I tried truffles in dark chocolate last year and the flavor just disappeared.
The guavas are also thrilling – they JUST came into season. There’s a fellow at Ferry Plaza Market who sells avocados, mangoes, guava, cherimoya – I don’t know where in California he’s growing them, but they are wonderful! His white guavas are among the best I’ve tasted – very fragrant, very flavorful. Much better than the rather tasteless guava I trialed last week. This one I will try with both dark and white chocolates.
Figs: I want to try figs in truffles, but I wasn’t sure whether the dried ones were better than the fresh ones. Fresh figs are at the very end of their season (I think I caught the last week!), and I wasn’t sure whether kadota (green) or brown turkey figs would be better, so I bought both. I would really have preferred black mission figs, but they were pretty much gone for the year. So I will trial two kinds of fresh figs and two kinds of dried figs. I think I will use the same method for each – cook down with a little bit of orange blossom honey, then add to ganache and see how it fares. I think I will leave the seeds in for a bit of texture.
The lemon verbena is very fragrant. I think I will try combining it with some Bulgarian rosewater (mail ordered; just arrived yesterday) and maybe a little orange blossom honey – haven’t decided yet.
The rosewater is really good stuff. A lot of commercial rosewater is artificial; this is the real stuff, distilled from rose blossoms. It has a hint of astringency, and the smell of dried roses, underneath the rose fragrance. It’s also considerably more delicate than other rosewaters. I look forward to trialing it!
Today it is raining, which means no bike ride for me. Which means, of course, more time in the kitchen! And, of course, time spent working on Weavolution. I am working on programming the advertising module, and have figured out a lot of the sysadmin-type stuff (backups, upgrades, etc.) – but there is still a LOT to do. So I figure those two should soak up all that yummy free time.