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"The Bold Fold"
Newport Beach Restaurant Week!
Brownie Sundaes with Burrata and Balsamic Glaze
This dessert came from a picture in my head, and sadly, I’m without photos of its fruition this past weekend. I apologize for that and the stock photos below, but I felt inclined to give you something to look at. It sounds weird, but brownie sundaes with burrata and balsamic glaze were the perfect end to a fantastic dinner with friends.
Tasked with the dessert portion of the menu, I wanted to come up with something new and different. I started thinking about what to make, and easy and traditional just didn’t seem right given the guest list. If you took attendance, you’d find that 2/3’s of the table were foodies, worked in the food industry, or some combination thereof. In fact, in thinking back to the previous dinner party at our hosts’ house, the burrata cheese appetizer she made came to mind.
Much discussion had centered around that burrata we’d had a few weeks prior, so I wanted to incorporate it into my dessert. But how? Burrata is a traditionally savory ingredient, and I was to be making dessert. I mulled it over, and then over again, and thought, ‘why couldn’t this silky-in-the-center mozzarella from the water buffalo take the place of ice cream?’ Made with milk and cream, it seemed like a perfectly suitable stand-in.
And it was. I was pleased that the dessert came together as I had imagined because I didn’t have time for a trial run prior to arriving. Fortunately, it was perfect: a layer of the burrata over the sweet chocolate brownie base was topped with a touch of fleur de sel and a balsamic glaze I had reduced earlier in the day. The dessert touched three of the five basic tastes, sweet, salty and sour, and in my opinion, seemed like something you would find on a high-end restaurant’s menu. Molto bene!
Happy Holidays from Culinary Hopscotch
- Mache Salad with Citrus Spring Onion Vinaigrette & Avocado
- Goat Cheese & Chive Smashed Potatoes
- Mini Turkey Meatloaves
- Homemade Chocolate Lollipops with Slivered Almonds, Peppermint-White Chocolate Dust & Fleur de Sel
Mache is a tender lettuce also known as lamb’s ear. I first used this in Bordeaux during my cooking class, and have been wishing for it ever since. Perhaps I didn’t search well enough because I found it today at Trader Joe’s in the bagged salad section. It’s grown hydroponically so sometimes you’ll find it in plastic cartons with the sponge still attached. Just snip it off.
For the dressing, combine the juice of a lemon, 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup of spring onion, one small clove of garlic, minced, and season with salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and pour over the mache topped with slices of avocado.
I cheated and used boxed cornbread mix. It’s just as good and makes things simple, freeing up my time and attention for the rest of the meal.
Goat Cheese & Chive Smashed Potatoes
Before you get jumpy about how fattening these sound, just know that these potatoes are surprisingly figure-friendly. Goat cheese is lower in fat than you think, and I opted to use Yukon Gold potatoes that are a good source of Vitamin C. You can peel the potatoes, or leave the skin-on, which is what I did because I like the variation in texture. The goat cheese helps the milk and butter make the potatoes creamy, and the chives give it a punch of color and a punch on your tongue.
Cover the potatoes with cold water and boil until fork tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add in 5 ounces of goat cheese, 4 Tbsp of butter, and start with a 1/2 cup of milk. Season with salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher, or you can mash them with a fork. Add more milk if necessary, and stir in the chives when you achieve the desired consistency.
Mini Turkey Meatloaves
One of the challenges of cooking for a group is that not everyone likes the same things. This person doesn’t eat red meat, this person doesn’t like mushrooms, and so forth. It’s an ongoing challenge. Tonight, I’m making meatloaf work for everyone by using ground turkey. And I’m livening it up by making the mini meatloaves in a muffin tin. Charming, quicker, and a good way to portion the meatloaf: winner.
And We’re Off!
The hopscotching begins tomorrow with a non-stop flight from LAX to CDG. From there, we’ll try our luck with Air France onto Lyon and finally, Brussels.
With the French strike that’s been underway for the last week or so, things could get interesting upon touchdown. This isn’t even a dedicated airport strike, and as we all know, French airport workers are notorious for leaving bags on the runway in favor of croissants and carafes of wine in cafes. Or so someone will understand their plight. Whatever.
Armed with Delta Platinum status, we’re hoping we don’t have to make a call to the bullpen. Stay tuned!