24 February 2012

Risotto with Leeks, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Truffles

Allow me to introduce you to my favorite new guilty pleasure: Risotto with Leeks, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Truffles.  I was introduced to this dish while perusing the great interwebs for a recipe to make for a little dinner party at our apartment last Thursday.  Dan's boss was our special guest so the dinner was kind of a big deal and I wanted to make something really special.  Dan planned on grilling steaks so my choices were narrowed down from the start.  I knew that this dish was a winner the second I laid eyes on it.  Immediately, my taste buds began to salivate with the thought of the earthy, truffle essence combined with the creamy risotto and the meaty roasted shiitake mushrooms.  There was no doubt in my mind that this was the one.  I muffled out the Chef Ramsey voices in my head screaming out "Who made this risotto?!?! It's raaaaawww!" for I had never made risotto and the thought of it made me a bit nervous.  

But after a bit of research my nerves were quieted when I concluded that making risotto isn't too difficult after all. One writer even described it as meditative and quite relaxing, as you stand at the stove stirring and stirring, adding your liquids a little bit at a time until you reach that perfectly creamy and al dente state signaling that your risotto is complete and ready to be devoured.

I was also head over heals about the fact that this dish required me to purchase white truffle oil- an ingredient we have unfortunately never had the pleasure of owning.  If you can't find truffle oil in your local specialty store or you aren't fortunate enough to have actual truffles at your disposal- like me, I've read reviews where the dish was made without the truffle oil and it was still amazing.  However, for us it was an absolute staple to the dish.  

13 February 2012

Allegory of Spring Jewelry

Over the past few weeks I've been busy stocking my shop with new items, mostly earrings.  A design that has received a lot of attention on Etsy are my Allegory of Spring earrings.  They feature raw brass stampings in a floral motif recalling the Art Nouveau movement of the late 1800-1900's. A trio of Czech glass fire polished beads are suspended from stamping.  I stocked them originally in the pale, opaline sage green shown below and also in a blue opal and milky blue and lavender.  They are delicate, feminine, and just lovely.
I was requested by a friend last week to fabricate a necklace that would match the Allegory of Spring earrings.  He was purchasing the earrings in blue opal for his wife as a birthday gift and wanted a matching earring and necklace set.  Luck was on our side as I had the perfect Picasso finish Czech Glass beads in my stash in the right shades of blue and green that would echo the Allegory of Spring's opal blue beads perfectly.
Faceted gold pyrite cubes and a 14 k gold fill chain finished the necklace.  I was rather happy with the way it turned out and how it complemented the earrings so nicely.  It is now one of my favorite designs and I plan to make it in an array of Czech glass and semi-precious stones in the near future.  Like the earrings, the necklace is feminine and subtle.  It will work with so many outfits and occasions, too.  

If you are interested in a custom version of this necklace, I can make it in any shade of the rainbow you can dream of!  Please email for details.  In the meantime, be on the look out for it in my shop.