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blueberry compote with lemon thyme

June 13th, 2012 | 4 Comments »

Summer is all about the simple, right? There’s such an abundance that planning a meal becomes moot, and your food comes together easily with a few ingredients, a nice olive oil to drizzle, maybe even served on a paper plate so that we can get back outside. Back to summer and enjoyment.

I’ve been on a creative kick with fruit, as evidenced by that gorgeous and frightfully easy Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette, and when blueberries went on sale at a local grocer, I stockpiled them, dropping them on yogurt, in cereal, atop pancakes and just about any other vehicle to my mouth that one can imagine. Nothing like fresh blueberries.

And there is nothing quite like this Blueberry Compote, resplendent with Lemon Thyme and fresh lemon juice.

Coupled with a fast and furious love for the cheese within a cheese known as Burrata, and an ongoing affair with the tender and tiny striped leaves of the Lemon Thyme plant, I took a leap of faith on the perfect marriage of lemon and blueberry and created this quick topping that complimented the creamy cheese to utter perfection.

On a hot day, breaking open a ball of fresh mozzarella, watching the dreamy interior slip in to the bowl, mixing with the dark, deep blue of the berries, this was a quintessential summer treat. It’s made to cool down the sultriest of days. It doesn’t require much else than a spoon, really. Or good toasted bread, because really, anything tastes good on toast, doesn’t it?? And toast is a much easier means to achieving a good meal than any other base as it goes well with just about anything placed on top of it. I think a good loaf of cinnamon bread would be ideal for this creamy, berry-filled treat.

Aren’t familiar with Burrata? It’s a ball of fresh mozzarella that’s filled with shreds of MORE fresh mozzarella that’s soaked in rich cream. It’s cheese, and then some and every bit of it is rich and satisfying. It’s a nice appetizer, a perfect salad option (think good grilled veggies awash in that phenomenal cheese bath) or a delightful dessert. At upscale grocers, you should be able to find it with the other fresh mozzarella products in the deli.

All that’s left to desire is a warm, lazy day and the need to fill the belly.

Blueberry Compote with Lemon Thyme

1/2 c. fresh blueberries, washed.
2 T. fresh lemon thyme, minced
1 t. fresh lemon zest
1-2 t. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of good sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2-3 T. good quality olive oil (use the best you’ve got here)

Mash berries in a glass measuring cup and stir in the lemon thyme, lemon zest and juice. Allow to stand for a while in order to blend the flavors. Whisk in the oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and more lemon if you wish. Chill thoroughly. The mixture will thicken as it cools, due to the oil. Whisk it again before serving to loosen.

In a bowl, carefully place one Burrata and using a spoon, break it open down the center, allowing the creamy middle to spread out. Spoon the chilled compote over the Burrata, drizzle a little oil over it and a thin pinch of good sea salt. Grab a spoon.

Wordless Wednesday

September 16th, 2009 | 3 Comments »

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Home alone….

August 17th, 2009 | 4 Comments »

First, there was a teeny little fun project.
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Then there was dinner.
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There was some good wine…..


and a good book……


It was almost a shame that the evening had to end. Sometimes you get such a perfect balance of simple, well- cooked and seasoned food, with plenty of color and a varied amount of flavor that you wish it could last for hours. It was that good. The night was breezy and warm, a beautiful rendition of mid-August, and the guys were each off on their own pursuits. It was just me and the cats. And it was heaven.

Pickled Radishes
From Epicurious

1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. white sugar
2 t. kosher salt
1 t. mustard seed
1 t. coriander seed
1/2 t. peppercorns
2 bay leaf
1 bunch radishes, sliced thin

Scrub radishes well with a stiff brush and slice thin, discarding the stem end. Place in a pyrex or other heatproof bowl.  Combine ingredients for the brine in a small saucepan and bring to a slow simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer for about two minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then pour over radish slices, stirring to combine. Allow radishes and brine to cool for about 20-30 minutes, then spoon the entire mixture into a glass jar with a lid. Be sure to have sterilized the jar, lid and ring well in hot soapy water or by boiling. Screw on the lid, shake well to combine everything once again, and place jar in refrigerator. These are ready to eat within 3-4 hours. They will get more tang and bite the longer they sit. If you don’t wish to have the pink slices, substitute white wine vinegar for the red. This recipe offers a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

The idea for the dinner came from ————> HERE

The recipe for the Garlicky White Beans is —————> HERE

My method for grilling zucchini and eggplant can be found ———> HERE

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

April 2nd, 2008 | 6 Comments »


Pasta with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

Food and Wine Magazine Feb 2008
3/4 pound gemelli
2 whole roasted red peppers from the deli counter (6 ounces)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove
9 large basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound salted fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gemelli and cook until al dente. Drain the gemelli.

Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the roasted red peppers with the olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and 3 basil leaves until smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Scrape the sauce into a large bowl and toss with the pasta until well coated. Tear the remaining 6 basil leaves into the pasta and add the mozzarella. Toss the mozzarella, basil and pasta and serve warm or at room temperature.

Browned Panko Crumbs:
In a small skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add in about a cup of Panko crumbs and stir to combine. I also add garlic and onion powder, basil, oregano, some rosemary, sea salt and pepper. Stir continually over medium-low heat until browned and fragrant. Remove and immediately scrape onto plate to cool. Don’t cool in pan or they will burn; trust me!

I roasted my own peppers for this dish. I also lightly browned the garlic in oil on the stove before adding it as I don’t care for the taste (or aftertaste) of raw garlic. This needed a lot of seasoning; don’t be shy with the S&P. I think some of the fresh mozzarella could be added to the sauce before blending, as the whole chunk seemed to be excessive and we didn’t even come close to adding it all in. Stir some in the hot pasta and top it with more; I love the different textures. Add lots of basil to the finished product. I didn’t have quite enough and it seemed to need more.