Monday, March 26, 2012

Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato - Caity

Another sunny day in Portland! To celebrate the coming of spring, I wanted to make something with lots of fresh, ingredients and flavors. This recipe is from the "Plenty" cookbook written by Yotam Ottolenghi. The cookbook is entirely vegetable recipes and I can't wait to try more of them out.

Marinated mozzarella with tomato is a simple, fresh tasting starters that is easy to make and verrrrrryyyyy rewarding. The mozzarella is marinated in olive oil spiked with fennel seeds, lemon zest, basil and oregano. The tomato breaks up the richness of the mozzarella and makes it one delicious dish! Make sure you buy buffalo mozzarella (the kind that is sitting in the gross cloudy water) or else it won't be as tender. 

The foodstyling credit goes to Brendan for his excellent ability to arrange my culinary tornado into an appetizing looking meal (see Brendan, I told you I'd give you credit!).

what you'll need:

for the marinade:
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
grated zest of 1 lemon
15 basil leaves, shredded
2 tsp chopped oregano
2 tsp. good quality olive oil plus extra to finish
2 tsp grapeseed oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp big flaky sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

8-9 oz of fresh buffalo mozzarella
2 ripe medium tomatoes (try experimenting with heirloom)

To make the marinade: start by pan frying the fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and dry-roast until brown but not burned. Transfer to a mortar and crush roughly. In a small bowl, add the crushed fennel seeds and the rest of the marinade ingredients.

Break the mozzarella up roughly with your hands. Smear it with marinade and let sit for 15-30 minutes.

To serve, cut the tomatoes into wedges and serve alongside the mozzarella. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve with nice crusty white bread. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cuban Rice "Moros y Cristianos" - Caity

We had a sunny day in Portland (insert gasp here!). With the good weather I was inspired to make something that reminded me of summer. This past summer, I became mildly obsessed with Cuban food after eating at the Cuban restaurant, Alma de Cuba, in Philadelphia, PA. I'm salivating just thinking about it! We had perfect empanadas to start with, then delicious Latin cheese bread served with green sauce. For dinner, I ordered the crispy pork served with sour orange mojo (and a mojito of course!). Needless to say, I was hopelessly addicted.  

I searched Powell's bookstore in Portland for a suitable Cuban cookbook and came across "Eat Cuban", by Andy Rose and Judy Bastyra which has made me a VERY happy girl.  Inside is a recipe for Cuban rice called "Moros y Cristianos", which in English is "Moors and Christians". The rice has black beans mixed in with the white rice. I'll let you use your imagination as to why they called it that.......... and now I'll tell you.

Moros y Cristianos is the national dish of Cuba and it refers to the Medieval times in Spain when the Moors (Muslims) and the Christians were living together before the Spanish Inquisition. This recipe is incredibly addicting and very satisfying in all sorts of weather; especially warm weather.

I strongly advise having a mojito while cooking this... and another one while eating it. Enjoy!

one year ago: Paprika Shrimp Pasta

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cheater's Pavlova - Cathy

This is the faster, even easier version of Pavlova that uses store-bought little meringue cookies.  I usually do these in wine glasses for pretty individual presentations, but I have also done it in a big trifle-type bowl to take to picnics and potlucks.  We have even done them a few times in clear plastic tumblers for extreme portability and that works just great!

what you will need:
Store-bought meringue cookies: vanilla or chocolate chip, cut into pieces
Whipped cream; whipped to soft peaks, unsweetened
Fresh fruit, cut into pieces as necessary
A few mint leaves are pretty, too if you have some

Layer cookies, cream and then fruit in a large bowl or into individual serving dishes.  Best if done ahead a few hours to allow to soften, particularly since these cookies are baked until crisp all the way through.  That's it!  Can't get any easier or prettier than that!

Portable version

And I have to add the gorgeous photo of Erin's version of Pavlova that she made recently with just strawberries!

One year ago: Paprika Shrimp Pasta