Spring Peepers Arrived Early – Break out the Bubbly!!!
Spring is here – almost – I get all shivery thinking about it! This charming baby fairy sipping nectar captures the glee – a Kristin of MyTini creation. The crocuses are blooming and the daffodils will soon. Rain is warm and blackbirds are joining the winter birds at the garden feeder. Oh my goodness, if you’ve never heard the song of the Red-winged Blackbird you have to have to have to!!! It has a sort of keereo-leee sound that is so melodious it forces one to stop and take notice. Robins are returning, the chickens are enjoying stretching their legs and dining on fresh baby grass and bugs. Flies (maybe this isn’t so great but Pfish made it totally cool in their song “Farmhouse”) are everywhere. I won’t entertain you with a photo of flies, but it is the season for one to maybe appear on your computer screen :). But the MOST cool thing in Spring is the Peepers. And they arrived early last night – that means the sun warmed the pond enough for them to hatch. Ever see one? They’re about an inch long. You might know them as Pinkletinks or Tinkletoes (doesn’t that make you kinda giggly?) Better yet, ever hear them? Night of the Living Dead background music. We live in the watershed of Western Pa., so they are everywhere. Really. Drive past our farm in March, that time of the year where the sun heats the earth but nights are still cold, a heavy mist rises from the pond by the road. Not only can you not see the road, but the eerie chorus might attract werewolves (we have not seen one single one KJ. You can come home). They are the surest sign of Spring, and we’re going to celebrate big time with Prosecco and Popcorn. You read that right. An sparkly toast to the most remarkable time of the year when sleep has passed, the earth warms and every living thing awakens to do something amazing. The peepers are going to do their wild chorus all through the night. This is so exciting! Even if snow is still on the ground open the bubbly, grab a wool blanket and head out to the back porch to listen to the sounds of amazing grace, au naturel!Recently we had occasion to present wines from the northern Piedmont and Tuscan regions of Italy. I have a general idea of what works, but in my search for a good match for the beautiful Asti and Prosecco I uncovered a new idea. Popcorn works beautifully with sparkling wine Fascinating. One of the ideas featured popcorn with Parmesan and white truffle oil. The Piedmont region is known for Asti and white truffles. I’d never used white truffles before but this looked like the perfect opportunity to try it. *note: I’ve a vague memory of thinking I was going to purchase truffles once but they go for around $1,800/lb so yeah… truffle oil is the way to go and you’ll be shy about $20. It’s challenging to describe truffle flavor. One guy tried with this: “a combination of musk, nuts, and ozone”. —That helps. After researching many recipes, reading dozens of reviews and researching the best brands of popping corn and truffle oil (open to challenge, but my research led to Roland – a more than decent mid-priced oil) I came up with a method for preparing the popcorn that I think eliminates problems. Hmm, a small mention here but I don’t want to be accused of adding to the “shoveling” foods industry. We’re not talking about that kind of popcorn you watch men practically snort through their noses while falling from an overstuffed general mouth region onto the floor for the eager canine gourmand. You know the type I’m talking about; we all know at least one. You’re going to savor every luscious fluffy popped piece of heaven….until you’ve had enough Prosecco and forget yourself and start practically snorting it through your nose, “oh my gosh this is sooooooo goood! So purchase the best quality of popping corn as well…aaaaand don’t buy cheapo Parmesan either. Here”s how we did it. 3 Tablespoons oil. Canola, peanut or grapeseed (higher smoke point)oil 1/3 cup highest quality popping corn *I don’t recommend microwave pre-flavored popcorn 2 Tablespoons butter 1/2 teaspoon White Truffle Oil 1/4 Parmesan cheese. Freshly grated is best and you can add to taste salt to taste Take a cold 3 quart covered saucepan and add the oil and the 1/3 cup popping corn. Place over medium high heat, cover allowing a small vent for steam and cook till you hear the first pop. Continually shake pot until all kernels are popped-when you don’t hear them any more. Be careful not to burn. Discard any burned kernels. Place popped corn in large bowl. Melt butter and add truffle oil to it, mixing well. Grate or spoon some delightful Parmesan and toss. Add salt and toss again. *If you forget to put mix the truffle oil with the butter don’t do it after the fact. Enjoy your popcorn with butter and Parmesan and try another time. Most of the bad reviews were from drizzling truffle oil on without mixing with the butter. It doesn’t enhance the experience. Truffle’s are incredibly strong so be stingy with the amount used. *White truffles do not taste the same as black truffles.