Friday, August 8, 2008

My Birthday: 25 years of eating to celebrate...

About a week and a half ago, I turned 25 and had a gathering with tasty food consumables coupled with many bottles of wine. The theme was to Crayola colors and so I tried to have the most colorful food as possible. I also had a few special ingredients with which to play, namely a block of honeycomb from Turkey, courtesy of Nikki and Emily, and some truffled honey, courtesy of Katie. Honeycomb lends the sweetness of honey to whatever its added but with the additional crunch and visual of the comb, while truffled honey has a unique sweet flavor with strong truffle undertones, which is generally hard to explain unless you have tried it.

For the honey comb, I wanted to add it to something that had some salty/savory flavors but that would be complimented by the sweet flavor. I quickly thought of a goat cheese and fruit combination and decided on using strawberries and figs as the fruits. The resulting bite was not only deliciously tasty and interestingly textured but was visually enticing.

Truffled honey, in comparison with the honeycomb, has a much more complex sweet and savory taste; in this particular truffled honey, the truffle flavor is especially strong and thus must be paired with something with an equally robust flavor so as to not overpower. I recently went to the new restaurant Uva Enoteca on Haight street and ordered a cheese plate; their suggested pairing for the mild blue cheese we ordered was their truffled honey. I am not a lover of blue cheese--most of the time I feel the strong flavor punches the back of my throat and makes me want to choke. Paired with truffled honey, however, the blue cheese bight was nicely softened and the robust truffle flavor was cut by the acidity of the cheese. I thus decided to pair Katie's truffled honey with a soft, not too strong blue cheese and placed this combination on red and green endive, which also created a pleasant visual pattern.

I also experimented with frying squash blossoms, but the batter didn't have enough seasoning in it, so the flavor was a little disappointing. I think next time I will add some salt to the batter as well as some truffle oil; I think I might also try to experiment with stuffing them with different cheeses. A few others bites were served as well: a grilled fig and prosciutto crostini; an "Asian" avocado dip (basically if you add sesame oil and soy sauce to something, writers will call it Asian); a bacon and cumin topped pear; as well as a slew of others thing you would have enjoyed if you had been there.

Too bad for you if you weren't.

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