Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Join Gina for a Truffle Dinner

From our window at Maison Trevier, we viewed the courtyard which must delightful on a  summer's evening. This day the wind captured the chill in the air.  We did not know that in that blue bag on the table were the vegetables, picked two hours before from a friend's garden, that we would be eating this evening for dinner. They waited to be drenched in truffles.
Gina Trevier, the proprietress of the maison, had a wine bar in Paris until she escaped four years ago to Province.
As we entered her  kitchen, warm Rooibos was being brewed (a "tea" from South Africa).  Our aprons were on and we were ready to help in the preparation of our meal.
We began by cleaning the newly harvested vegetables while Gina seared the veal that would lie on a bed of cardoons.
A new vegetable for us, cardoons are a member of the artichoke family.  They look like celery, however, were in places prickly and the bottom of the plant was the jewel, as is the heart of the artichoke.  We cleaned the stalks, cut them into two inch lengths, and left them in a baton, larger than a matchstick.  These were placed in the pot the veal had been seared in along with onions for a long slow cooking.
The jewel tones of the baby Swiss chard were cleaned next and placed in a steamer to await a final dressing of olive oil infused with truffles.
Next, we began to prepare our starter.  With the help of a small grater, truffles were shredded into butter along with Parmesan cheese.
With warm toast, the earthy, pungent, indescribable aroma of the truffle permeated the room.
The next toast had olive oil topped with thinly sliced truffles.  Oh, yes, and with wine these were all delicious.
The cheese course, which all French tables include, was a fresh sheep cheese, which had been covered with a truffle infused olive oil and covered in order that the truffle aroma would saturate the cheese.
Alas, the dessert had no truffles but was a delicious chocolate bar along with a Muscat.
Gina's foods were simple with fresh garden tastes.  Until you savor  the freshness of newly picked produce, you cannot imagine how wonderful it is.  Joe enjoyed every minute.
Truffle season begins in November in Provence.  January is the month for the truffle market.  Save up your pennies, well, maybe dollars and meet us at the market next year.  And stop at Maison Trevier in Carpentras  for a truffle cooking class and dinner.
Thank you, Gina, for a delightful evening and morning at the Truffle Market.
Guess I'll go have my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.