Monday, June 02, 2008

Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles


Am I the only one? These early days of Summer, well Pre-Summer, have me so primed for all the bounty of tomatoes and corn I’m so eagerly anticipating that I’m ready to throw on a pair of overalls, a straw hat and go running through the fields singing the entire score of Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” with full choreography.

Out at La Casa Amarilla in the Poconos, the herbs are spilling out, tomato plants are installed in the 4 square feet that receive enough sun to bear fruit and the morels have already been harvested and consumed. Bring on the season! Just last week, the Handsome Venezuelan and I enjoyed a Friday night dinner at the ever Elegant Wendy’s home in Milford , Pennsylvania. Wendy’s partner is a quietly handsome, sexy and oh so smart musician who also happens to be a vegetarian. The Lovely Ms. W. put out an exquisite buffet of potato salad, cucumbers in cream, tabouleh, cornbread, and poached chicken with homemade mayonnaise for anyone feeling carnivorously deprived.

Let me tell you we all went ga-ga for the vegetable fare. Mind you, I wasn’t the only one to slather some extra mayo on my french style potato salad. But, we were all so enamored to be dining al fresco, and feasting on platters of vegetables, grains and herbs, that the chicken (as delicious as it was…) took second billing to the abundance of freshness. Every June I find myself vowing to spend the next 4 months wallowing in the decadence of crisp radishes, luscious tomatoes, tender greens and sweet corn. Perhaps this year, I’ll get my fill.

I’m imagining platters of oven roasted ratatouille, bowls of grilled corn and black bean salad, or perhaps Oaxacan corn salad exquisites (grilled corn kernels slathered with mayo, lime juice, cayenne and cotija cheese), sourdough panzanella, and Caprese Salad with Brandywine Tomatoes, hand pulled mozzarella and garden basil.
Sadly. I’m weeks ahead of myself… But I can always take the spirit to heart and prepare myself and my readers for the treasures ahead. In the next few weeks I hope to share some great simple, clean and fantastic recipes and ideas to gird our loins and thighs for the upcoming farmer’s markets, beaches, picnics and park concerts.
Knowing the Elegant Wendy has a soft spot for chocolate I prepared these truffles for her as a hostess gift. In actuality I was rolling them in her kitchen last minute…. But they were no less appreciated. Remember don’t take yourself too serious this summer.

Chocolate Goat Cheese Truffles

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 ounces crumbled, soft goat cheese, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

½ cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

Combine chocolate and cream in a double boiler and melt over low heat. When chocolate has begun to melt, add goat cheese. Stir to combine smoothly and add extract if using. Transfer to a small bowl or sheet pan and chill until firm.
Combine cocoa and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl. Scoop truffle mix into small balls or squares and coat generously in cocoa/sugar mix. Alternately if time and budget allows, you can roll the truffles in tempered bittersweet chocolate coating, a WAY better idea.
Store truffles in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

OK dear readers… there’s a head start. Coming up, sooner than later I hope, will be some thinking on Ricotta Cheese (you’ll never buy it again!) and Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Orrechiette.

Savory Salacious Dreams,
Big Mary