A Trio of Burrata Salads: Traditional Tomato, Sweet Fig and Pickled Peaches

DSC_0028

From left to right, traditional tomato & burrata, fig & hazelnut burrata, and picked peach burrata

Burrata Burrata Burrata! Another delicious food I “can’t” eat on a paleo food plan, but I do it anyway. Because (a) a small bite of anything won’t kill me and (b) I have exactly zero self restraint. I have found out a few things about burrata. First, burrata is actually mozzarella cheese, not a whole different cheese in itself. It is a solid mozzarella on the outside that encases shredded mozzarella mixed with cream. Hello, YUM. Secondly, it’s more common than you think. Even if you live out in the middle of the desert in Washington (my mom does), you can find it at Yoke’s Fresh Market. Third, it is like Lay’s Potato Chips or little black dresses – you can’t have just one. Fourth, you can use it about a zillion ways. I counted. But I settled on showing you three.

Today’s post is three separate burrata salads that I served as an appetizer. I experimented with using different sections of the burrata (outer later, middle cream section, or both), different mixin’s from traditional to way out there (pickled peaches!), and varying salts from my favorite Portland salt shops. All three are relatively easy and are serious crowd pleasers, so let’s get to cooking, shall we?

IMG_8543

Trio of Burrata Salads: Traditional Tomato, Sweet Fig, and Pickled Peaches

These three burrata salads are sure to be crowd pleasers, inviting everyone to enjoy tasty bites of fresh tomatoes, honeyed figs or sweet & sour pickled peaches.

Before we start, a few things:

Burrata comes either in a plastic container filled with water & the burrata ball (like mozzarella) or wrapped in a specialty waxy/plastic paper. The easiest way to handle burrata is to take it out of the vehicle it comes in and place in a small bowl. Once you cut into the ball, the creamy mozzarella & cream inside will go everywhere, so it’s best contained somewhere it’s free to go crazy.

Since there are few ingredients, use the freshest and the ripest. I harp on this constantly because it’s true. If you use old, mealy tomatoes or under-ripe peaches, the salads just aren’t worth it!

I’ve included below three separate recipes, ordered from easiest to “most difficult”, and by “most difficult” I mean there are one to two extra steps.

And finally, I’ve included the salts I used on each, all from specialty shops in the Portland area. Of course you can use your own favorite salts, but I have a thing about specialty salt (I own 19 of them currently) and giving props to the amazing shops that sell great ingredients.

Traditional Tomato Burrata Salad

DSC_0017

Tomato Burrata salad with Jacobson’s Pinot Blanc Flake Salt

Ingredients:
3 -4 heirloom tomatoes, in multiple colors
Fresh basil
Burrata
Olive oil
Jacobson’s pinot blanc flake salt

Wash and dry tomatoes and basil. Slice tomatoes and use smaller leaves of basil. Arrange pretty on a plate. Cut off small slices of burrata, using primarily the outer layer of the burrata. Place on salad and finish with olive oil & Jacobson’s pinot blanc flake salt.

Honeyed Fig, Hazelnut and Burrata Salad

DSC_0052

Honeyed Fig, Hazelnut & Burrata Salad (roasted version) with Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt.

Ingredients:
4 Mission Figs
Balsamic vinegar & olive oil (if roasting, see notes below)
Burrata
Hazelnuts, chopped
Honey or Agave
Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt

For this recipe, you can either bake the figs with olive oil & balsamic vinegar or leave them fresh. I prefer the fresh version, however the roasted version can provide the heat element to your trio of salads. The recipe below is the roasted version, but just skip the roasty parts if you’d like it fresh.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash & dry figs, cut off the stems, and cut in half. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic vinegar & olive oil. Place on a small pan that’s been covered with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 mn until you can smell the roasty figs, but do not overcook as they will turn to smooshy figs.

DSC_0040

Perfectly roasted figs

Arrange figs pretty on a plate. Cut off small slices of burrata, making sure to include both the outer and inner layers of the burrata. Place on figs and finish with hazelnuts, honey or agave and Portland Homestead Pink Himalayan Salt.

IMG_8546

Honeyed Figs, Hazelnuts & Burrata Salad (fresh version)

Pickled Peach, Micro Greens and Burrata Salad

Pickled Peach, Micro Green, and Burrata salad with Zupan Murray River Salt

Pickled Peach, Micro Green, and Burrata salad with Zupan Murray River Salt

Ingredients:
1 incredibly ripe peach
1/4c champagne vinegar
1/4c apple cider vinegar
1/4c sugar
1/4c water
2 tbs allspice
Burrata
Micro Greens, stems removed (I used a micro green salad mix of baby spinach & arugula)
Olive Oil
Zupan Market’s Murray River Salt

Wash and dry peach and micro greens. Then, make the pickling sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add vinegars, sugar, water and allspice. Heat until sugar dissolves and set in fridge to cool. Peel the peach. The easiest way to peel is to place a peach in boiling water for about 2 minutes, run under cool water, and the skin will come off easily. Thanks, mom, for teaching me this since you canned about a thousand points of peaches in your life. Slice peach and let pickle in the pickling sauce for about 10 minutes. Do NOT over-pickle. Vinegar is a tenderizer and will turn your peaches to smoosh if you leave for more than 30 minutes.

DSC_0034

“I don’t like to be pickled tooooo much” – Peaches

Drain peaches and arrange pretty on a plate. Cut into the burrata and pull out the creamy insides of the burrata. Drizzle over peaches. Finish with micro greens, olive oil and Zupan’s Murray River Salt.

IMG_8549

Pickled Peach, Micro Greens and Burrata Salad with Zupan’s Murray River Salt

And there you have it…three perfectly balanced and delicious burrata salads. Now go forth and impress your friends with these three easy and yummy salads and good luck – remember, you can’t have just one!

Processed with Moldiv

Compound Butters, Butter from Scratch, and How I Met Your Butter

IMG_6292

From Left: Old Fashioned, Maple Bacon, Apricot Tarragon, Lavender Honey, Lemon Parsley, Harissa Mint, Pinot Mushroom

Compound Butters, Butter from Scratch, and How I Met Your Butter

Today I made butter. Lots and lots of butter. And then I made compound butters. And then I ate butter. Sounds complicated (I mean, other than the eating part)? It’s not! Butter and compound butters are so easy to make that I will never buy store bought again. Ok, maybe during the holidays when I’m making 7 dozen Linser Heart Cookies, but otherwise I’m making it myself. Homemade butter is so fresh, so creamy and compound butters add so much depth of flavor to any dish.

Now, I can’t take credit for the actual butter recipe, which is from a recent Bon Appetit article. There is also an excellent article on homemade butters from http://www.thekitchn.com here that explains why/how you do everything to make your own butter. So while I do want to show you the process of making butter from cream and how to infuse cream, today’s post is primarily for compound butter. 

What is compound butter? It’s a really fancy name for “butter that has stuff in it”. And you can use it on anything. It’s kind of like bacon – it just makes everything better. I put sweet compound butters on toast, pancakes & sweet potatoes. Savory compound butters are fantastic for finishing meats (automatic sauce!) or on grilled bread. Below I’ve included a list of compound butters recipes as well as my suggestions for how to use them. 

But first, let’s make butter from scratch!

Lavender, Honey, Sea Salt Butter & Original Cream Butter Recipe

This recipe is to make Lavender, Honey & Sea Salt butter, but if you want to make original cream butter, simply (a) don’t infuse the cream with lavender and (b) don’t add honey. I mean, duh – right? 

Two things about making butter. One, use the BEST ingredients you can find. There are so few ingredients that every one matters! The cream is the main component, so spend the big bucks and your time to find the best available. If I could milk a cow myself for it, I would. But I don’t have a cow in my San Francisco apartment. Yet. Two, this recipe cultures the cream, which is a process of adding a cultured ingredient (it can be yogurt, creme fraiche, or in this case buttermilk). It sits for at least 12 hours on your counter, so plan accordingly. You can make the butter without the cultured ingredient and therefore not have it sit overnight, but it’s nowhere near as tasty!

Thanks to Bon Appetit for printing the base butter recipe. 

Ingredients:
1 pint high quality heavy cream
3 sprigs lavender + 2 tsp dried lavender flowers, minced
1/3 cup buttermilk
honey
salt
(I used Pink Himalayan salt from Portland Homestead, which is a store I love so much it makes me want to move to Portland)

First, infuse the cream by GENTLY warming the cream with the lavender on LOW heat. Do not allow the cream to boil or separate, and if you see a film forming, remove from the heat. Infuse to taste. This takes about 20 minutes or until your friend, Rhianna, says “this tastes like body soap.” Let cool completely.
IMG_6232IMG_6233

In a separate bowl, mix in the buttermilk and a few pinches of salt and cover. Let sit on your counter for 12 hours and up to 24 hours. The longer it stands, the “sharper” the taste will be. Once cultured and thickened, pour into a standing mixing bowl and place in fridge for 30 minutes. Allowing to cool assists in the separation of fats and liquids.

Ok are you ready!? Because this is the fun part. Set up your standing mixer with the beater attachment and cover with plastic cling wrap. Why? Because when the fats and liquids separate, the liquids will literally fly all over your kitchen. I know this because I’ve done it. Mix on HIGH for about 6-8 minutes until the butter clings to your beater and liquid flies all over the plastic wrap, NOT your kitchen.

Cultured, thickened cream

Cultured, thickened cream

Mixed about 4 minutes, the cream will start to thicken more

Mixed about 4 minutes, the cream will start to thicken more

Wheeee! Liquid has separated and flung itself all over the plastic wrap!

Wheeee! Liquid has separated and flung itself all over the plastic wrap!

Butter!

Butter!

Place the butter in a strainer and begin to “wash” the butter. This process is pouring ice water over the butter and kneading it or smooshing with a spatula to separate the remaining buttermilk from the butter.
IMG_6243IMG_6244

In a bowl, mix in the dried lavender, honey and salt to taste. Ta-da! You have homemade lavender honey butter!
IMG_6245

Note: compound butter can be stored in parchment paper in the fridge for about a week or in parchment paper and a freezer bag in the freezer for about a month. 

And now, for more compound butter recipes….

These recipes assume you’ve either bought your own store bought butter (gross) or you’ve made the above butter WITHOUT steeping with lavender and salt or you’ve made butter and altered the cream with bourbon per the below (mmmm bourbon).

IMG_6260

Ingredients for the different compound butters below

 

Lemon Zest, Parsley, Sea Salt
Uses: Finishing sauce for fish, lamb, pork, sauteed greens or chicken. No special preparation is required. Simply zest lemon, mince parsley and mix in butter with sea salt.
 IMG_6286IMG_6250

Harissa, Mint, Lemon Zest, Sea Salt
Uses: Finishing sauce for lamb, chicken, topping for glazed vegetables, on roasted potatoes, added to grilled bread with avocado. No special preparation is required. Zest lemon, mince mint, add in harissa and sea salt. Harissa is very spicy, so add just a bit at a time.
IMG_6285IMG_6252

Apricot & Tarragon
Uses: Top muffins or use as finishing sauces on scallops, chicken or halibut. In a saucepan, boil apricot slices, 1/3c water and 1tbs sugar until apricot dissolves. Let cool and mix with butter and minced tarragon.
IMG_6288IMG_6258

Pinot Noir, Sauteed Mushrooms, Coffee Salt
Uses: Steak, steak, steak, and steak. It’s not that you can’t use it on other things, but it’s just so good on steak that I never want to imagine those two apart Reduce pinot noir (a fancy way of saying bring wine to a boil then simmer until at least 1/2 the liquid is drained off), sauté mushrooms in butter. This butter will take you a while to mix because the waters in the wine do not want to play with the fats and oils in butter, but keep at it – they’ll eventually make friends.
IMG_6284IMG_6257

Lavendar, Honey, Sea Salt
Uses: top scones, grilled bread, biscuits, or on roasted sweet potatoes. Recipe above.
IMG_6287IMG_6259

“Old Fashioned”: cherries soaked in bourbon & sugar, orange zest with bourbon butter
Uses: Top scones, toasted english muffins, pancakes or warm apples. BEFORE making butter, simmer 1/2 cup to a full cup (yes! this much!) bourbon in a saucepan until the alcohol burns off. You’ll know it’s burned off when you smell it and your nose does not do that “woaaaah that’s bourbon!” thing. Let cool and add to cream. Make butter as normal. Note, because you’ve added a liquid, this is a little trickier to separate using a stand up mixer. I used a food processor, which separates the fats and liquids nicely. It requires more “washing” with ice water and has a different consistency. But it is SOOOOOO worth it.
IMG_6290IMG_6254

Candied Bacon and Maple with Bourbon Butter (see above for bourbon butter)
To make candied bacon, dice bacon, sprinkle with brown sugar and a little maple syrup. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until baked and crispy. Note, this will stick like hell to whatever you put it on so don’t put it on your favorite (or your mom’s favorite) pan. And don’t put it on aluminum foil like I did. It’s just a bacony, aluminumy mess. 
IMG_6289IMG_6256

IMG_6248IMG_6247

Tada! You have seven new butters with multiple uses for each one. Now it’s time to taste….and eat! What compound butters do you like? Leave comments and your recipes as well! Special thanks to my friends, Rhianna and Bennet for letting me force-feed them butter on chicken and bread this week!
IMG_6294