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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Burrata And Peaches

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This dish is what I call “small bites” or Tapas. Burrata And Peaches compliment each other so well it blows my mind.

The one special ingredient I’m using in this dish is Goji berries. Now, these berries can be found at Whole Food Markets, where they offer unique and organic nuts and berries. I store Goji berries in my refrigerator for longer shelf life. The Goji berry is packed with antioxidants and a great addition to any salad. You could, of course, substitute fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, even a few pistachios, whatever you like.

The stars of this “small bite” dish are the Burrata And Peaches. I’m using frozen peaches today because fresh peaches aren’t in season. Frozen fruit and berries are packed at the peak of freshness and are delicious.

Burrata And Peaches

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: Overnight
Yields: 1 serving (for more, multiply the ingredients by the number of servings)
Equipment: large mixing bowl, Microplane, small serving plates

Ingredients For One Serving:
1 package frozen peaches, thawed

7 peach wedges per plate
1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves, per plate
1 tablespoon of Goji berries (fresh blueberries or dried cranberries), per plate
1 tablespoon chopped Pistachios (optional) per plate
1 teaspoon of minced Fresno chili  (optional) per plate
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, per plate
a spritz of fresh lemon juice (1 wedge of lemon juice) per plate
1 tablespoon of honey, per plate
1 8-ounce (2 4-ounce balls) container of Burrata cheese, 6 tablespoons per plate
Kosher salt to taste, per plate
Black pepper to taste, per plate

Directions:
The night before, fill a bowl with your frozen peaches. Let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the peaches into a bowl the next day.

Place 5 to 7 peach wedges, on a small serving plate, in a star-like formation. Next, add tablespoons of Burrata cheese over the top of the peaches. Add grated lemon zest, letting the zest flakes fall where they may. Gently drop the berries all over the dish so they fall nestling themselves throughout the peaches and Burrata. Then add the delicate baby arugula leaves. Finally, sprinkle with Kosher salt,  fresh ground black pepper, and a drizzle of honey. When you’re ready to serve, squeeze a wedge of lemon juice over the top.

Light and delicious, my Burrata And Peaches “small bite” is another example of how using really good ingredients makes all the difference in the world.

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Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta

 

The dish I’m making today is Burrata And Prosciutto Bruschetta. Let me give you a little background on Burrata cheese first. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside is filled with both mozzarella and cream. This gives this cheese a unique and soft texture. The mozzarella is formed into a pouch and filled with soft, stringy curd and cream. Inside each container, there are 2 mozzarella balls. This dish I’m showing you today only uses half of the mozzarella ball.

Until recently, I haven’t been to a restaurant that’s offered a dish using Burrata. I definitely wanted to recreate this dish but the biggest hurdle is being able to find this cheese. I was totally surprised to find Burrata was available at my local grocery store. Tucked away right next to the fresh mozzarella. How I missed these gems I’ll never know.

This recipe is easy to make, using a few really good ingredients. Keeping it simple is what Italian recipes do best.

Yields: 2 servings, 5 crostini per plate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Equipment: one baking sheet with a rack.

Ingredients:
1 loaf of good baguette bread, 10 toasted baguette slices, 5 per plate
1/4 cup of good olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (for bread)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper ( for bread)
1/4 cup of baby arugula leaves
2 slices of Prosciutto cut into thirds
5 mini San Marzano or grape tomatoes halved
5 tablespoons of Burrata cheese
Kosher salt- to taste
Black pepper freshly cracked- to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the baguette bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the top surface of each slice of baguette lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Slice in half eight mini San Marzano tomatoes. In a sauté pan, on medium-low heat, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the halved grape San Marzano tomatoes. Add a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper too. Toss the tomatoes around in the pan for about 2-3 minutes, just giving them enough time to softened and start to burst, then remove from the heat. Take 2 slices of Prosciutto and cut into thirds, to fit onto the toasted baguette slices.

At this point, the bread should be coming out of the oven. It’s really all about the timing. Setting the bread into the preheated oven, then sautéing the tomatoes, and slicing the prosciutto.  This allows you to complete a few easy tasks at the same time.

Once the bread and tomatoes are ready, it’s just a matter of plating the bruschetta. Take a round plate and lay 5 of the crostini in the shape of a star. Place a few baby arugula leaves on each piece of toast along with one prosciutto piece on top. Next, for the Burrata. Cut open the cheese very carefully and place a tablespoon of Burrata on top of the prosciutto. Top the cheese with two tomato halves, and finish with another light sprinkling of Kosher salt and black pepper.

There you have it! A beautiful small bite loaded with flavor, and the plates look appealing too.

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Shrimp Cocktail

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Steamer.jpg

It’s really all about taking a simple dish and making it look like a million dollars. I mean we eat with our eyes first, right?

When I make Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer, I like to buy the extra large jumbo shrimp. When you’re buying shrimp, you’ll notice a number underneath the price, there are numbers like 16 to 20, or 8 to 10. These numbers let you know about how many shrimp are in a pound. The smaller the numbers, the larger the shrimp.

I like to leave the tails on. This allows you to have something to hold onto while dipping. I also like to steam my shrimp instead of boiling them. Sometimes I may even roast them.

Once I’ve cleaned and prepared the shrimp, I season them simply with Kosher salt,  freshly cracked black pepper, and garlic powder. In a large mixing bowl give them a good toss, making sure they all are nice and coated. I have a pot that has a removable basket with a glass lid. I like the glass lid for this because it allows me to know the second the shrimp are ready.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 to 5 minutes, per batch
Total Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: paring knife, steamer, large mixing bowl, rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
2 pounds extra-large jumbo shrimp (8 to 10 count per pound)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder

Favorite cocktail sauce
Garnish with lemon slices
Garnish with leafy greens

Directions:
Use a paring knife to cut up the back end of each shrimp, exposing the vein if there is one. Rinse out any dirt or vein with cold water. Leave the shell to the tail on each one.

Once I’ve cleaned and prepared the shrimp, transfer the shrimp to a large mixing bowl. Season simply with Kosher salt,  freshly cracked black pepper, and garlic powder and toss to coat. The amount of seasoning may seem like a lot but, most of the seasoning will fall off during the steaming process.

Use a steamer with a removable basket and a glass lid. The glass lid allows you to know the second the shrimp are ready.

Fill the bottom of the steamer pot with water to the “Fill Line”. The water should not touch the shrimp. Turn the heat to medium. Bring the water to a hard simmer. Next, place 8 to 10 seasoned shrimp, the first batch, into the steamer basket then lower the basket into the pot. Place the lid on. Steam for 4 to 5 minutes until just cooked through. Repeat this process for the second batch.

Note: A great rule to follow when cooking shrimp.
Once the shrimp form the shape of the letter “C” they are done. If they form the shape of the letter “O”, they’re “overcooked. Do not overfill the steamer basket with shrimp. You may have to do this in batches.

Transfer the steamed shrimp onto a rimmed baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the cooked shrimp out into one even layer and chill for 30 minutes.

To Serve: Cover a serving plate with leafy greens. lay the shrimp down around the cocktail sauce. Having a homemade cocktail sauce or a really good store-bought one works just fine.  Shrimp Cocktail, simple but elegant.

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