Capture Summer in a Little Glass Jar


CAPRESE VERRINE
Tomato Water Gelée, Burrata Cheese
Olive Oil, Chiffonade of Basil

Fans of the ubiquitous Insalata Caprese made with fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil will go wild over our unique Caprese Verrine. Freshly extracted tomato water combined with sea salt and gelatin when chilled, creates a smooth gelée that melts on the tongue tasting of pure tomato flavor, and pure summer heaven! Layered with chopped burrata – fresh mozzarella stuffed with “rags” of mozzarella and heavy cream with all its wonderful delicate creamy, sweet, sour, and earthy flavors. Finished with fresh basil from the garden and our favorite fruity olive oil from California Olive Ranch – this little 2 oz. verrine is our new darling for summer entertaining.

We served the Caprese Verrine as the amuse bouche at our recent Sunken City Supper Club event, “Mediterranean on the Pacific.” It was a fabulous start to an amazing al fresco summer dinner…

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Burrata Pizza and Thanksgiving Thoughts

My two favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Passover. No wonder! It is because I cook big meals for family and friends at both. I was just looking at my photographs from last year. Please, come reminisce with me…

I get plenty of pizza dough for the week from the local Italian market so I can make pizza with my nephews while they are here visiting. It has become a tradition. And late Friday night after Thanksgiving last year, the adults had burrata pizza with the remaining pizza dough as we relaxed and drank Champagne.
Another tradition we have here is called “Leftover Day.” Family and friends are invited to come by from 1 to 5 PM the day after the big feast to eat leftovers, drink Bloody Marys, and chill out. This year, I have a new basketball court so everyone can shoot some hoops! Whoo Hoo! We get a HoneyBaked Ham so if anyone is done with turkey, have ham! And everyone is encouraged to bring their leftovers. We heat them up and put them on the buffet too. Additionally this year I promised my brother I would have a panini maker, so we can make some awesome turkey or ham sandwiches with all those leftover goodies smashed and grilled together.

OK, back to burrata pizza. Top the dough with a mixture of olive oil, chopped parsley, and garlic, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake until just slightly crispy, remove from the oven, then top with burrata. Big hit! Other ways we enjoyed burrata last year can be found here.

Ha! I am sending this photo to my blogger friend Sandi at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking for her Centerpiece of the Month Event. Every year this ROCK gets big laughs. Yes, it is just a rock I found on the beach but its place card gives everyone a good chuckle on Bird Day. To see some really beautiful centerpieces, do check out Sandi’s monthly event!

This is another laugh I get every year. I spend a good deal of time on the appetizers; including fine cheese platters, homemade dips, and barbecuing fresh oysters. But do you know what disappears first? Lil’ Smokies with two sauces: BBQ sauce and a blend of mustard and mayo. Some things never change. Maybe you have a similar experience?

This is another one of my photos from last year. My nephew Stone and my little pooch Mrs. O’Mally had a special connection. On this morning, Stone, in his pajamas, is just sitting on the couch rubbing her belly. She passed away on October 22, 2008. Everyone will miss her this year, I suspect Stone and myself most of all.

Here on the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, Stone says goodbye to Mally as the family is getting ready to catch their plane back to Chicago. She was always so relaxed with him. He carried her around all week. It was a very special bond.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season this year. And to my blogger friends, I so look forward to reading about your holiday recipes and parties. Ah, Thanksgiving – I am so grateful for the reminder to give thanks for blessings great and small.

Burrata! Three Ways!

“Burrata is to mozzarella as foie gras is to chicken liver.” Russ Parsons

Burrata – fresh mozzarella stuffed with “rags” of mozzarella and heavy cream. It is a regional speciality in Italy, from the area around Bari. It is always served raw, cool, but not too cold, so all the wonderful delicate creamy, sweet, sour, and earthy flavors come through.

Keep it simple!
In a salad: Burrata on freshly made chilled tomato sauce, over arugula dressed with olive oil.

I make the tomato sauce with olive oil heated gently with garlic and red pepper flakes. Then I add crushed Italian tomatoes and finish with fresh basil, and sea salt.

On bruschetta, with high quality olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

A combination I heard about from Valentino restaurateur, Piero Selvaggio. He says he likes his burrata topped with caviar.

So…I gave that a try. Here the burrata is topped with ikura (salmon roe). It was fabulous!

We had a great time learning how to make fresh mozzarella and burrata while attending the Cal Poly Farmstead Cheesemaker course which I highly recommend for those with a passion for cheese.

Burrata tip: use a serrated knife to cut the ball into quarters.

POST post 11/18:
A Burrata Bonus – Burrata Four Ways!
After posting about this delicious cheese, we went to dinner at Melisse Restaurant in Santa Monica. Chef Josiah had burrata on the menu…his was heavenly, topped with an ethereal basil foam.