Poilâne Brioche Pudding with Dates and Earl Grey Tea

Poilane Appollonia Brioche Recipe BookBrioche Pudding with Dates and Earl Grey TeaPoilane Brioche Recipe Book ParisPoilane Brioche Pudding

When I was in Paris earlier this year, I stopped into Poilâne, one of my favourite bakeries, and found that among my favourite shortbread cookies, they were also selling too-cute-to-be-true original edition recipe booklets written by Apollonia Poilâne (who took over her family’s business at 18 when her parents died in a helicopter accident). Complete with flax yarn schoolbook binding (that still needs to be sliced open with a paper cutter), the booklets were available in a few different themes, one of which was Brioche: Ten Ways to Prepare It.

It’s a charming little book to say the least, and it starts with a brioche-themed quote that Apollonia explains in her foreward was mistakenly attributed to Marie Antoinette:

“Finally I recalled at the last moment, a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who replied: let them eat cake.” -Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Confessions

I’ve always had a soft spot for bread pudding, so this version with dates and Earl Grey tea was first on my list to try from the book. It’s lovely in that it is not too sweet but has a lot of depth of flavour thanks to the smoked tea, so it can easily be served for breakfast or dessert. If it’s the latter, I highly suggest a little crème fraîche on the side and/or a drizzle of honey. Obviously, the quality of both the brioche and the tea will make a huge difference here, so try to source the best you can find!

Brioche Pudding with Dates and Earl Grey Tea
(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

1 large brioche (you can freeze whatever is leftover)
12 pitted dates, cut into large pieces
250 ml whipping cream
1 teabag + 1 tablespoon of Earl Grey tea
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 eggs

Bring the cream with the tea bag to a boil in a saucepan. Let steep, covered, for ten minutes.
Toast the loose tablespoon of Earl Grey tea in a pan for a few minutes and grind it into powder.
Cut the brioche into about one-inch pieces and place them in a baking dish. Sprinkle with dates and the toasted Earl Grey powder.
In a bowl, combine the cream, sugar and eggs until well blended. Spread the mixture over the brioche. Bake for 25 minutes at 350°F . Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Petits Fours

Granola with Strawberries and Bee PollenExperimenting with adding bee pollen to my granola–it tastes similar to honey with a slight floral flavour and is said to be very high in protein and one of the best natural sources of vitamins and amino acids. A teaspoon a day!

Inniskillin Winery Niagara on the Lake

Admiring the beautiful Wisteria growing at Inniskillin while on a wine tour last week. Some of my other favourite spots in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area are here.

Balcony Garden Tomatos and Herbs

First little haul from the balcony garden– comes in handy for daily omelettes…

Best Pasta Carbonara

…and my favourite Pasta Carbonara. Added some of the mini heirloom tomatoes to this recipe.

David Lebovitz’s Paris-Paris (or Paris-Brest or…Éclairs)

David Lebovitz Eclairs

David Lebovitz Eclair Choux Pastry

Piping Eclair Pastry

Hazelnut Chestnut Chocolate Eclairs

Éclairs are definitely having a moment in Paris right now, and while I await these heavenly pastries to become the next big thing here at home, I decided to give them a whirl myself. As with most French desserts, I turned to David Lebovitz‘s recipe–Paris-Paris inside his latest book My Paris Kitchen–for guidance.

As you may be, I was confused at first as to why the name for the recipe was listed as “Paris-Paris” and not simply “Éclairs”, which seems like a French enough name already, non? Turns out, the original éclair-like pastry is actually in the shape of a wheel, instead of a slender finger, and named Paris-Brest, to commemorate the bicycle race between the two French cities, which started in 1891. Lebovitz tells a charming story in My Paris Kitchen about one of the most elusive chocolate and pastry-makers in Paris, Jacques Genin (his self-proclaimed frenemy), whose Paris-Brest, he says, is his favourite dessert in Paris. An impressive recommendation, indeed. To honor this glowing endorsement, Lebovitz named his own recipe Paris-Paris, after the trip he makes from his apartment to Genin’s shop in the Marais to delight in his favourite treat.

Yes, these require at least a donation of an afternoon to make, but I don’t think I have to further highlight that they are definitely something special. Since I was running low on hazelnuts, I substituted in pre-roasted and peeled chestnuts, which was just as delicious (if not more so?) It changed the texture of the praline just so, as the chestnuts are obviously much softer, but the cream turned out just as well. A treat to end all treats – enjoy!

David Lebovitz’s Paris-Paris, from My Paris Kitchen
Makes 10-12 éclairs

Hazelnut (or Chestnut!) Praline
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped, untoasted hazelnuts (or chestnuts)
Large pinch of salt

Pastry Cream
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Éclair Pastry
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons hot water

Prep a baking sheet by lightly greasing it or lining with a silicone baking mat. To make the hazelnut praline, spread the sugar in an even layer in a skillet. Heat over medium heat until the edges begin to melt and it eventually turns a light, amber colour. Use a spatula to drag the melting sugar towards the centre and add the nuts and pinch of salt. Stir the nuts into the caramelized sugar, until the mixture just begins to smoke. Immediately scrape onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading as evenly as possible, and let cool completely. (Once cool, the mixture can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.)

To make the pastry cream, warm the milk in a small saucepan and set aside (you can pour into another small vessel first to re-use the pot.) In the same cleaned pot, whisk the cornstarch and egg yolks until smooth, then whisk in the sugar. Dribble in a little of the hot milk, whisking constantly, then add in the rest, still whisking. NB: Full disclosure – I completed the above process three times before getting it right. Every time I tried to complete the roux-like mix with the cornstarch/yolks/sugar it became far too thick and curdled like very fine scrambled eggs before I could add in the milk, which was never able to save it. I was attempting to make the custard over VERY low heat, since the recipe doesn’t suggest a heat level, however I finally found it was best to take the pot off the burner completely until it’s time to add in the milk. If your mix is lumpy at all before getting to this stage, don’t bother wasting your milk and start again over no heat!

Once the milk has been added, cook the pastry cream at the lowest possible boil for 1.5 minutes, whisking vigorously and making sure to reach the perimeter of the pan, until it is very thick like mayonnaise. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter a few cubes at a time, and vanilla, until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, cover, and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use (can be kept for up to three days).

Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. To make the éclairs, heat the water, sugar, salt and butter in a saucepan, stirring just until the butter melts. Add the flour and stir for a few minutes over low heat until the mixture forms a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and let cool for three minutes, stirring occasionally to help cool it slightly. Add the eggs one by one, stirring briskly after each until the dough is smooth. (You can also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.) Transfer the warm dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip and pipe out ten to twelve five-inch lines of dough evenly spaced on the baking sheet. (You can also use a freezer bag with the corner snipped off.) With a damp finger, smooth out any spiky points on the pastry lines from lifting the piping bag.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking, until the shells are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and poke a small paring knife into the side of each pastry, twisting as you poke, to help the steam escape and keep the dough crisp. Let cool completely.

Finish the filling by breaking up the caramelized nuts and pulsing them in a food processor until very finely ground. Add one third of the cooled pastry cream and pulse the processor a few times to incorporate it. Using a spatula, mash the nut mixture into the remaining pastry cream, until just incorporated Avoid overzealous mixing, which make the cream too runny.

Slice each éclair open lengthwise with a serrated knife, cutting almost all the way through. Using either another pastry bag with a plain tip, a spoon, or a small plastic bag with a cut-off corner, fill the éclair shells with the praline cream.

To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder in a small bowl and stir in hot water until smooth. The icing should be thick enough to spread but also hold its shape once applied. With a spoon or small spatula, wipe a broad band of glaze over the top of each éclair, scraping off most of the excess. Chill the glazed pastries in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. (Can be kept up to three days.)

Cucumber Salad with Oregano and Feta

Cucumber Salad with Feta and OreganoWhile we’ve just had a “glimpse” at warmer weather these past weeks, it still put me in the mood for some lighter fare that wasn’t composed solely of spinach leaves or romaine. This cucumber salad is quick to go together and has a very balanced flavour (not too creamy, nor too tangy), and pairs perfectly with grilled meats come barbecue season (any day now).

Cucumber Salad with Feta and Oregano
(serves 4)

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
juice and zest from half an organic lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of salt

Place cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with salt. In a bowl, combine the feta, oregano, garlic, shallots, lemon juice, zest and olive oil.

Gently press the cucumbers to drain off any liquid that has accumulated. Toss the cucumber slices with the dressing and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Adapted from Michael Symon.

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta…That’s Vegan (Shhh!)

Creamy Vegan Tomato Basil Pasta

Okay–so I am clearly not opposed to dairy products, but I do use almond milk for most “milk” purposes, save for in my lattes. (Have you ever tried to steam almond milk? It’s pretty disgusting and comes out like a weird dairy-like sponge…) Anyway, I received the Oh She Glows cookbook a couple of months back as a gift and was intrigued by a few of the recipes, which offered up some interesting, healthier alternatives for meals that didn’t seem too offensive.

Since I pretty much cut out pasta from my regular diet over the last year (I’ll still eat it on a night out, or make it at home maybe once a month), I was curious to try this recipe first to see how it would measure up as a guilt-free option. The main substitute is using blended cashews in place of cream or butter to get a really satisfying, creamy finish that’s similar to a “rose” sauce. Don’t get me wrong – this won’t blow you away à la a Batali or Jamie Oliver pasta dish, but it is very tasty and is a great sub if you’re in the mood for pasta (with leftovers!) and want to avoid using cups full of butter, oil and cream. Plus, I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to guests for a casual lunch or dinner.

Oh She Glows Tomato Basil Pasta
(serves 3-4)

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavoured almond milk
255g uncooked pasta (I used gluten-free brown rice fusilli)
1 teaspoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes (I used whole, canned plum tomatoes, just “squished” into the pan)
3 handfuls spinach
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt + pepper

Place the cashews in a small jar or bowl, cover with water and let sit for at least two hours or overnight. Drain, rinse, and combine with almond milk. Blend until smooth and thick. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cool pasta al dente, according to package instructions.

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for five to ten minutes until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes (do not use the liquid if using canned) and spinach and cook for ten more minutes over medium-high heat, until spinach has wilted. Stir in cashew cream, basil, tomato paste, oregano and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for five to ten more minutes until heated through.

Add cooked pasta to the pan and stir until well combined with sauce. Serve with fresh basil (and shredded parm if you’re not vegan…!) Enjoy!

Chocolate Breakfast Oats

Healthy Chocolate Breakfast Oats Pudding

We all know that breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, but it can be increasingly difficult to set yourself up with healthy options when you’re most often eating at the office (or on the way), feeling sleepy/lazy and just in the need of a boost… often in the form of coffee and some kind of sweet and carby bite. Even though I don’t commute, I still find myself tempted to reach for something easy and pseudo-satisfying on some mornings, rather than whip up something that I know will keep me fuller for longer and with far more energy.

Hence, the importance of make-ahead breakfasts. Fast, simple, and with the ability to last for the better part of a week (see more here and here), ready-made morning meals are key when you’re rolling into the kitchen or out the door, and can just grab something without a second thought, and still feel good about what you’re eating. This is one of my new favourites, since it still satisfies my sneaky sweet tooth:

Chocolate Breakfast Oats

1 cup of rolled oats (use gluten-free oats, if you’d like)
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw organic cocoa nibs
1 teaspoon Sucanat (unrefined cane sugar – but you can also use maple syrup or honey)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
2 cups unsweetened chocolate almond milk
To garnish: Banana slices, berries, pepitas and hemp hearts

Add all of the solid ingredients together in a large jar and cover with almond milk. Shake well, making sure that the chia seeds have been well mixed in (give everything a stir, if need be). Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, serve a few large spoonfuls and top with garnishes of your choice, including berries, sliced banana (or other fruit), pepitas and hemp hearts. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Scones with Fleur de Sel

Dark Chocolate Fleur de Sel Scones

Easy Dark Chocolate Scones

One thing that makes waking up on a cold weekend morning a little better is the thought of freshly baked scones waiting for you in the kitchen. I must say, I have attempted to make scones a handful of times, with some mild disasters is the mix (one blueberry concoction was so flat and lifeless they’re still referred to as “those cookie scones” around here). Since I’m never totally happy with the results, and there just happens be an amazing scone shop down the street from me, I’ve not been particularly moved to try and make them on a regular basis.

However, when I came across this recipe and it’s author’s description of the buttery, flaky scones of his childhood something moved me to give them another go. And you guessed it–I’m pretty chuffed that I did. These scones are everything you think of when you think of a warm, delicious, traditional scone. They’re fast and easy to boot, and of course, can be a master recipe for any berry, spice, etc. that you feel like adding in. I added chopped 70% dark chocolate and a sprinkling of fleur de sel…served with a swipe of crème fraîche and my favourite Morello cherry Ottolenghi jam…heaven!

Cream Scones with Dark Chocolate and Fleur de Sel
(makes 9)

2 1/2 cups flour
5 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
6 tbsp. high-quality salted butter, chopped into cubes
1 cup whipping cream
1 egg, cold
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
70g dark chocolate, chopped
pinch of fleur de sel

1 egg
1/2 tsp. + 1 tbsp. sugar
pinch of fleur de sel

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal and no pieces of butter are bigger than a pea. Whisk the cream, egg and vanilla in a large measuring cup and pour into the flour mixture. Stir together until a dough forms. Add in the chocolate pieces and knead lightly until they’re evenly distributed.

Lightly flour your work surface before turning out the dough and kneading it onto itself for 10 seconds. Pat the dough into a square about 2 cm. thick. Let rest for 15 minutes. Cut the dough into 9 even squares and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg, salt and 1/2 tsp. of sugar. Brush each scone with the glaze and let set for 1 minute. Use the last tbsp. of sugar to sprinkle each scone. Bake on a centre rack at 425°F for 13 to 18 minutes (mine were good at exactly 15 minutes) until golden brown. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. Allow the scones to rest on the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: Hand Made Baking by Kamran Siddiqi

A Foodie Goes to Paris

Foodie Finds in Paris FranceI recently came back from Paris, and on the night before my flight, I had to laugh at myself while trying to jam my suitcase shut with as much of my upper body strength as possible. My how things had changed! Even though I was fortunate to land in the city during the famous soldes, the biannual sale season that delivers major designer discounts, I found myself only having to find room for one new pair of shoes, but was stressed to find space for my carefully wrapped packages of salts, sugar, cheese, tea and yes, even boxes of oh-so-delicate macarons. Paris, of course, is a food-lover’s dream come true and over my handful of visits to the city I’ve definitely accumulated a must-visit list of my favourite destinations for on-the-spot treats as well as take home items and gifts. Here are some of my favourites:

Le Grand Epicerie – this mega-emporium attached to the posh left bank department store Le Bon Marché is the do-all and end-all of French foodie items. If there’s something magical that belongs in your kitchen, this is where you’ll find it! Not only is it the perfect place to put together a beautiful picnic to tote to the Luxembourg Garden or the Île de la Cité, but you can also treat it as a one stop shop for all of your take home needs, including entire sections devoted to wine, salt, sugar, truffles (and all truffle-related goods!), cheese, chocolate, cookies, etc. The adorable canvas tote bags are also the perfect souvenir for your at-home grocery run, and make great gifts for friends (maybe stocked with some Kusmi Tea and Fauchon chocolate for good measure). On this visit, I picked up my favourite Le Beurre Bordier, fleur de sel, truffle salt, and some heart-shaped sugar cubes for my morning coffee (who could resist!?) Le Beurre Bordier is something I started searching out a few years ago after reading that it was David Lebovitz‘s favourite butter, and now, of course, I’m hooked. The packages alone are so chic–they look much more like lovely little soaps than a consumable dairy product. This time, I picked up the regular salted butter, smoked salted butter (delicious with scallops), and my absolute favourite, truffle butter. The latter smeared on a fresh baguette is, well, a heavenly experience that’s worth the visit to the Epicerie all on its own!

Mariage Frères – There are a handful of Mariage Frères tea houses in Paris where you can enjoy a lovely brunch or afternoon tea. However, even if you’re not going to sit for a snack, it’s worth stopping in for their beautiful selection of teas and tea-related items, including biscuits, jellies and chocolates. The packaging alone is hard to beat, making anything you choose the perfect gift. I always scoop up a box or two of the muslin tea sachets in my favourite Wedding Imperial blend, a black tea with gold Assam leaves and notes of chocolate and caramel, or Marco Polo, which is easier to find here at home, and is also a black tea with a fruity-floral finish.

Pierre Hermé – I doubt you would regret eating any macaron you stumble across in Paris, but for me, Pierre Hermé is hands down the best. Their amazing flavour combinations, such as rose, litchi and raspberry and pistachio, ceylon, cinnamon and morello cherry, are so unique, not to mention their beautiful laser-cut carrier bags that feel très spéciale. During this trip, I also enjoyed one of their individual Mont Blancs, which seems to be the trendiest dessert in Paris at the moment!

Poilâne – This tiny left bank boulangerie is known for its amazing breads, croissants and broiche. If you’re early enough you can scoop up a buttery croissant, otherwise a small bag of their trademark butter cookies, “Punitions“, which come in the shape of little rounds or even spoons or forks are definitely in order.

Buy Paris Duty-Free – In years past, I’ve attempted to pack away cheeses, wine and champagne in my suitcase only to be terrified to return home to crazy smelly clothes complete with broken bottles. Finally, I got smart and started waiting to pick up these delicate gourmand goods at the Duty-Free shop at Charles de Gaulle, which of course stocks an amazing selection of liquor (complete with sommelier recommendations, no less), cheese, foie gras and other condiments. If you can get your hands on this triple-cream Brillat-Savarin with truffle pictured above, I’d suggest dipping into it immediately upon your arrival home – it is just ridiculously indulgent and will instantly soothe any heartache leftover from leaving the City of Light behind. There’s just something about the ease that comes with the handy foil- and bubble-wrapped packages they’ll hand over at the cash register that is guaranteed to make your last shopping stop in Paris all the more enjoyable!






Chocolate Swirl Meringues with Chocolate Sauce and Crème Chantilly

A Kitchen in FranceA Kitchen in France Chocolate Meringue Swirls

Chocolate Swirl Meringue with Hazelnuts and PomegranateIf you haven’t already discovered it, you must pop on over to Manger. A blog created by Mimi Thorisson, a somewhat mythical creature who moved from Paris to Médoc, and now documents her life in the French countryside with her photographer husband, several children and more than a dozen Fox Terriers (!). It’s all very charming to say the least, and when Mimi released her first cookbook a few months ago, A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse, it went to the top of my must-have list. Of course, just before Christmas, me and my fellow French-food obsessed friend happened to gift it to each other in a happy and not-so-surprising turn of events.

Since I had already stolen a peek inside before wrapping hers, I knew one of the first recipes I wanted to try was the Chocolate Swirl Meringues with Chocolate Sauce. Now, I’m not even usually a fan of meringue, but the power of good photography really won me over and I just had to attempt them. Turns out, since I only have a hand mixer at my disposal, it seems I wasn’t able to whip those egg whites to the required level of stiffness–they propped up on the baking sheet just fine, but baked to smoother, flatter portions than Mimi’s picture-perfect swirls. Good thing a pour of chocolate sauce, dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkling of hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds can fix just about any nick in your presentation plans. These meringues have a soft and chewy centre, and accompanied by the chocolate sauce, are a complete pleasure to eat.

Mimi Thorisson’s Chocolate Meringue Swirls with Chocolate Sauce and Crème Chantilly

(makes 6)

6 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 heavy cream, whipped with a pinch of sugar

Chocolate Sauce
(makes 2/3 cup)

6 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites in a perfectly clean bowl until they hold medium peaks. Add the salt and cornstarch and continue to whip. Add the sugar two tablespoons at a time, continuing to whip at a high speed until all the sugar has been added and the mixture holds very stiff, glossy peaks, about ten to fifteen minutes. Gently fold in the cocoa powder.

On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, make six meringues, about four to five inches wide and two and half inches tall. Use two large spoons to transfer the meringue onto the baking sheet, swirling it upward as you go. Once you get a shape you’re happy with, dust the top with some cocoa powder and use a small fork to swirl it some more. Bake at 275°F for one hour. Switch off the oven and open the oven door slightly and keep the meringues inside for fifteen more minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

For the chocolate sauce, mix water, cocoa powder, sugar and syrup in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring gently until it has melted. Allow to cool for an hour.

To serve (same day, if possible!), top each meringue with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a garnish of toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!

New Year Risotto with Leeks, Mushrooms and Truffle

Mushroom Leek Risotto with TruffleOne of my favourite holiday gifts that I received was a big black truffle that I’ve been slowly shaving off into deliciously indulgent dishes ever since. I love a good risotto (some of my favourites are here and here) and so I was looking for a dish with some new flavours to enjoy with some fresh truffle for a special New Year treat. This one definitely did the trick.

Leek and Mushroom Risotto with Truffle

2 large leeks, thinly sliced crosswise (white and light green parts only)
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 lb. shitake (or mixed) mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon white truffle oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
5 cups vegetable broth, heated
freshly shaved truffle and parmigiano reggiano to garnish

Bring cleaned and sliced leeks and cream to a boil in a small pot. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook and stir until leeks are soft and the mixture is thick. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside.

Toss sliced mushrooms on a baking sheet with sliced onion, truffle oil, 1/2 cup melted butter, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Bake at 400°F for 40 minutes until mushrooms are tender.

Heat broth in a medium pot and continue to simmer. In a separate pot, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft, about five minutes. Add rice and stir for one minute before adding wine. Stir until wine is absorbed then add one cup of broth. Continue to stir until absorbed. Add all broth one cup at a time, stirring and waiting for each cup to absorb before adding more. When risotto is thick and creamy, add in mushroom and leek mixtures. Garnish with shaved parmigiano reggiano and fresh truffle and serve.

Adapted from Epicurious.com