Bruschetta with Burrata

 

burrata1I can hear some of you, like my husband…What is Burrata???

It is creamy, goodness that leaves you wanting more.  No really, it IS THAT WONDERFUL.  I can’t remember where I had it first but I do remember thinking OMG!  Why haven’t I had this before.  Now whenever I see it I have to have it.

So what is it you ask again?  It is a fresh cheese of mozzarella and cream.  Basically, it looks like a ball of mozzarella and starts out that way.  The outer shell is mozzarella but the center is filled with curd and cream.  When you cut it open the deliciousness just spills out.burrata2

I am serving this with bruschetta and some marinated tomatoes for those who don’t want the bread.  I took the picture before I added the finishing touches but you can add a drizzle of good aged balsamic vinegar.  The bruschetta mixture I made a bit more salty than the marinated tomatoes to allow a difference in flavor profiles.

Onto the Bruschetta and marinating the tomatoes.  What do you need:  tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, dried oregano, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

For the marinated tomatoes:  We had some beautiful yellow heirlooms from our garden and a bunch of cherry tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Crush 1 teaspoon of oregano in your hands and add.  Mix in 1/4 cup of torn fresh basil (or chiffonade) and 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour to allow the flavors to come together.  Feel free to adjust seasonings to your taste.

Bruschetta:  Dice tomatoes and place in a colander in the sink.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.   I usually add enough to see and think hmmm is this enough then add a bit more.  Let this sit for at least 15 minutes.  After you make it for a while you will know how much salt to add.  For me I think salt brings out the flavor of the tomato and enhances the Burrata.  Just remember, you can always add more but can’t taketh away.

Meanwhile, in a bowl mix approximately 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 cup of fresh basil, 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper, 3 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Now add the tomatoes.  Taste taste taste….you can adjust the seasonings.

Bread:  I like to brush the baguette slices on one side with the olive oil mixtures that I have the tomatoes in so I further infuse the flavor into the bread.  Grill seasoned side down or put under the broiler (seasoned side up).

Advertisements

Gochujang Baked Beans

Don’t let the name scare you away!  This is soon to be your favorite bean recipe.  Growing up in New England everyone had their own baked bean recipe. I love that you can make some simple changes that can boost the flavor profiles.  This recipe has all the classics needed for a typical baked bean recipe….bacon, garlic, ketchup, and maple syrup…but it also has some added twists.

gochujangI too was a little skeptical of adding gochujang as I didn’t want it to be too spicy.  What is gochujang you ask?  Korean red chili paste.  Now you can pass on it and just use tomato paste but where is the fun in that?? Be adventurous.

Another great thing about this recipe- you can use the crockpot if you are not going to be home to slow cook all day and develop those flavors.  Just by combining the ingredients to start the base of the beans I could tell this was a winner.  The smokiness of the bacon, the tomato of the ketchup, freshness from thyme and then you have the hint of spice.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. While it is simmering all day your house is going to smell delicious and everyone will be anticipating dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 1 1/2 cups dried Great Northern beans
  • 1/2 cup dried red lentils

Not many directions:

  1.  Heat bacon in dutch oven over medium heat until cook through and slightly crispy (about 8  minutes).  Add onion, thyme, and garlic.  Cook until fragrant and onions translucent (6 minutes).  Add all ingredients, except the beans and lentils; bring to a boil.
  2. If using a crock pot, transfer to crock pot and add beans and lentils.  Cover and cook on high about 7 hours.
beans3 beans2
 beans1

Thank you Cooking Light (August 2015) for once again providing a great recipe.  I usually only use recipes as ideas and a base, but I did follow this exactly and it was perfect!

Pork sirloin roast and peppers

This dish came together using just my cast iron skillet.  We had bought a package of 4 pork sirloin tip roasts from Costco,  peppers were on sale at the local market and lo and behold Cooking Light had a recipe for pan-roasted pork tenderloin and peppers served with polenta. If you want to see the original recipe it is in the August 2015 issue.  I served ours with rice.

pork3

 

Ingredients:

  • Pork sirloin tip roast
  • Bell peppers (use different colors)- here we used a large red and green pepper, cut into 1-1/2 inch wedges
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1 inch wedges or squares
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley

 

If you haven’t been using a cast iron skillet or don’t know what to use it for try this recipe.  We have started using ours more and more and love it. So here we go:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the pork:  Sprinkle the pork with some fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt on all sides and rub in. If you are using fresh ground black pepper and salt I would say about 2-3 turns per side.
  3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet (ie. cast iron skillet) over med- high heat with 1 Tablespoon of oil.
  4. Sear all sides of pork (4-6 minutes).
  5. Cover pan with foil and place in oven for approximately 5 minutes (or until meat thermometer reads 145 degrees).
  6. Take out of oven and place roast on cutting board ad let stand.
  7. Return skillet to med-high heat.
  8. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to coat.
  9. Add 1 tsp thyme, garlic, soy sauce, bell peppers and onions.  Sautee about 2 minutes stirring frequently.  Place skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
  10. In a small bowl combine and whisk the following:  1/8 tsp black pepper, 1/8 tsp salt, stock, cornstarch, and vinegar.
  11. Take pepper mixture out of oven, remove from skillet and keep warm.
  12. Return skillet to med- high heat and add stock mixture.  Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes or until thickened.
  13. In the meantime, cut pork into slices across the grain and arrange on platter with the peppers.
  14. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and parsley and drizzle with sauce.

This dish was so easy and full of flavor.  The pork was tender and best of all it is easy on the waistline.