Foraging in Northern California

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Wild Ramp Butter

I made a lot of ramp butter with some more ramps I got.  Thinking something with oven braised rainbow trout….

Sous Vide Chicken with Oregon White Truffles

Here is the first dish I made today using my truffles for Sunday Brunch.

          

Hawaiian Tombo Tuna

Found a use for these great Oregon pickled ramps.  I’m pairing them with a salad of crispy Spring new potatoes, grilled asparagus, pepper bacon and a cider-mustard vinaigrette.  It’s finished with avocado puree, hard boiled egg and micro turnips/pea tendrils from our kitchen garden.  Can’t wait for the local albacore tuna season to open up!

Oregon White Spring Truffles

Funny, I didn’t even know these existed until I saw them.  And the aroma…  WOW!  Seriously.  These are unreal.  It’s frustrating though because I am having a hard time devising my next special for them for some reason.  I just want to smell them.  🙂  Hopefully I can come up with something soon.  The weather has been warm and sunny.  Not really what you would think of for truffles I’m only used to using during cold winter months.  We’ll see…

Oregon Ramps Are (finally) Here!

Okay, okay, okay!  I’ve been asking Louis over at Mushrooms All Year where the ramps are for the last 2 months.  “No, chef” he would say….  “Only from Michigan right now.”  Michigan??  What???  Well, I would have to wait.  Well, that wait is OVER!   We have been  waiting for a while (Honestly for about 10 months now since last season…) So, now I have pickled them and am thinking of how to use them.  I wanted to use them fresh, but they seem to be in really short supply just like morels this year.  How depressing.  So, They are now pickled and I will probably make ramp butter with the tops.  It’s the best way I can think of to stretch them in case I don’t get another crack at ’em this season.  

Oregon Truffles

What true culinary value do Oregon truffles have, especially considering the reputation of their european counterparts?  Sure, the Oregon truffles cost around 10% of what the French and Italians cost, but are they any good?  During my career, I have had the fortune to work with truffles (black and white) from Burgundy, Alba, Oregon and China.  The most I have seen the Alba whites go for are in the neighbourhood of $3,000 per pound.  Needless to say, in my frugal mind in trying to operate a successful business, 10% of $3,000 is only $300 for the Oregon whites and on occasion have used them (in both Hawaii and North Carolina).  I have to say that I have not been a big fan.  They would always be odorless and tasteless.  I simply assumed that they were just far inferior to their European counterparts.  Until now…

Now that I am here in the PNW, I get to work with these guys straight from the people who forage them.  They are not coming to me from a middle man where the truffles may have exchanged hands a number of times.  These come from people who know what they are foraging and supply the best.  I have learned that young truffles do not have any aroma or flavor and need more time to mature.  Perhaps this was the problem before.  I now consistently get truffles that are ripe, pungent and ready to take on any culinary creation I can think of.  That, and a bargain price of 90% off Europe’s truffles, make it a steel in my mind.  They are just as enchanting, perhaps more so because I live in the area where they grow and I work with the people who forage for them.  If you have a moment, check out the following web site that will discuss in further detail Oregon truffles and what they are all about.  Great stuff…

http://www.oregontrufflefestival.com/tale-of-the-truffle.html

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