Bulgur and Burrata with Grilled Okra and Roasted Tomatoes
Basil, Oregano, Mint, Lemon
Garlic Ginger Olive Oil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Grilled Lodge Bread
The fresh crisp okra was surprisingly popular at the farmers market last weekend, I just had to join in the frenzy. If you like the taste but are not a fan of the mucilaginous properties of okra, this preparation will be for you. Okra brushed with olive oil and cooked over high heat for a short amount of time results in a very tasty charred veggie with only the tiniest hint of its unappealing characteristic.
Bulgur is an ancient whole grain that makes a nice addition to our rotation of favorite grains like farro, quinoa, buckwheat, and oats. Red bulgur is hard red wheat that has been parboiled and cracked. Its chewy texture and nutty flavor adds to the satisfying qualities of this meatless meal. The “hard red wheat” is also the type used in the Lodge Bread. Hard red wheat has more protein than its white counterpart.
The tomatoes were plentiful and popular as always. I roast the cherry tomatoes in a 375°F oven with olive oil and balsamic for a half hour to really concentrate their sweetness.
And who can resist burrata cheese…a mix of mozzarella and cream, it’s simply heavenly. It was super-fresh, made the day before, also a product of the Torrance Farmers’ Market where they feature top quality products from over 60 California farms.
More market items – lemon, basil, oregano, and mint add the tangy and herbaceous qualities to the meal. The addition of finely minced garlic and ginger add a pop to the olive oil, while aged balsamic vinegar brings sweet mellow notes.
And it’s very difficult to leave the Farmers Market without a loaf of fabulous Lodge Bread. Here I brush slices of Seeded Country Loaf with olive oil and grill until semi-burnt. That burnt charcoal flavor inspired the wine, a Zinfandel.
Mighty Satisfying Meatless Meal
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Smoky Pumpkin Risotto with Burrata
Crumbled Fried Sage
Happy Halloween! The culinary SORCERESS has a real TREAT to share in the SPIRIT of the holiday…a SMOKY creamy pumpkin risotto in which she BURIES a MONSTROUS wedge of burrata. This TRICK she learned from gastronomic WIZARD two-star Michelin chef Julian Serrano. He SUBMERGES burrata under his BLOOD-RED Risotto Al Vino Rosso at restaurant Lago in Las Vegas.
BEWARE, this dish is only for those with a GHOULISH ATTRACTION to fresh mozzarella cheese stuffed with heavy cream, aka burrata. Topped with crumbled fried sage, it is a BEWITCHING seasonal risotto and so FRIGHTFULLY good.
Smoky Pumpkin Risotto Recipe
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“End of Summer Rolls” Caprese-Style
Heirloom Tomato, Burrata, Basil, Rice Noodle
Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar
Perhaps you’ve heard me bemoan the ubiquitous Caprese Salad and all its incarnations?
Caprese grilled cheese, caprese kabobs, caprese bruschetta, caprese pasta salad, caprese pizza, caprese schmaese. But when I was challenged to come up with a tomato dish by our friendly Creative Cooking Crew, forgive me but I turned to those very Caprese ingredients. After all, there truly is something magical about the classic pairing of tomato and mozzarella and basil. Especially in summer. And what better way to bid farewell to the fabulous Summer of 2014, than with Caprese Summer Rolls – light, fresh, refreshing. These hand-held bites capture summer’s waning days in a tidy rice paper wrapper.
Caprese Summer Rolls Recipe
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Lettuce Wraps with Burrata, Shishito Pepper, Stir-Fried Anchovy
Sangchu Ssam with Burrata, Kkwarigochu, Myulchi Bokkeum
상추쌈과 부라타 치즈, 꽈리고추, 멸치 볶음
Enamored with the Korean side dish, myulchi bokkeum, I set out to create a hand-held appetizer for our next dinner party.
Myulchi bokkeum (stir-fried anchovy) is positively addicting. Tiny crisp anchovies are tossed in a sweet, sticky, garlicky sauce. Kkwarigochu (shishito peppers) are blistered in a hot pan with a bit of oil. Kkwarigochu are thin-walled mild peppers with a fresh green vegetal flavor and just a whisper of heat. Every once in a while, though, you’ll come across a hot one! Beware…
Anchovies with peppers is a classic Korean banchan (side-dish). Burrata, a heavenly fresh mozzarella that is stuffed with a mixture of shreds of cheese and heavy cream. Pair them together in a lettuce wrap for a bite of fusion paradise. The textures of butter lettuce and soft cheese are contrasted by the crunchy anchovies. Savory salty flavors are balanced by sweet and creamy notes in a delightful little package. It’s sure to be a hit!
Lettuce Wraps with Burrata, Shishito Pepper, Stir-Fried Anchovy Recipe
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The Gratitude Tree
After a decade of sharing our Thanksgiving gratitude on place-cards, we have a spiffy new ambassador for sharing our thankfulness! It’s a Gratitude Tree. In the past, we would put a place-card and pen on the table at every setting. During the beginning of the meal everyone was encouraged to write their sentiments on the card. We saved these cards year after year so each guest could reflect on past years’ appreciation.
This year everyone gets a personalized paper leaf on which they can express their gratitude. Then after dinner, the leaves are hung on the tree. Guests can read and share tributes throughout the week. We’ll save the leaves, which will re-appear on the tree in years to come…as our tree blooms with an abundance of joy, thankfulness, and gratefulness.
Continue reading “The Gratitude Tree & Holiday Appetizers”