• Fried Burrata in Romesco Sauce

    Question: what do you make for dinner when you’re home alone and there’s no one to judge you for not eating a well-rounded meal?

    Answer: THIS.

    What is this, you ask? Oh, just your average giant ball of mozzarella filled with softer mozzarella, double-coated in panko bread crumbs and fried to crispy, golden perfection. But that’s not all, certainly not. This masterpiece sits atop an equally delicious bed of romesco sauce which, for those who don’t know, is sort of like a red pesto where instead of basil you use roasted red peppers, and instead of pine nuts you use almonds. Its slightly sweet, slightly smoky flavor is a perfect pairing for a rich ball of literal fried cheese.

    And as if this couldn’t get any better, to eat it, it’s highly encouraged that you toast a bunch of slices of Italian bread and dip away. After coming across the recipe here on Spoon Fork Bacon I added it to my “to try” list immediately and jumped in the first chance I got. In retrospect, this is probably a better appetizer or like, ~group~ snack than a dinner for one person, but I’m an adult and no one can tell me what to do, so hell YEAH I ate one for dinner. I optimistically fried two burratas that day, but alas I am only one person and finishing two was not in the cards for me. This was, however, one of my most successful frying experiences and I think I owe it all to the panko breadcrumbs, which are larger and flakier than regular breadcrumbs, and they just fry so nicely and evenly. They also make the best, crispiest chicken cutlets, but that’s for another day. I’m not tryna stretch this out we all know why we’re really here, so let’s get to it! (Right after 5 things to be happy about today!)

    ONE. A chilly, rainy Sunday with nothing to do but get cozy and catch up on TV.
    TWO. Kettle cooked potato chips.
    THREE. Backyard string lights.
    FOUR. A good spring deep cleaning.
    FIVE. Rhubarb season finally arriving!! (unusual recipe coming soonish!!)

    MAKES: 2 medium-sized fried burratas (or 1 large) + 2 cups sauce
    PREP TIME: 20 minutes
    COOK TIME: 10 minutes

    ROMESCO SAUCE INGREDIENTS

    24 ounces roasted red peppers, drained
    ½ cup slivered almonds
    2 Tbsp tomato paste
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    3 garlic cloves
    Juice of ½ lemon
    Handful of minced parsley
    Kosher salt and pepper

    ROMESCO SAUCE STEPS

    ONE. Blend all the above ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until heated through. Set aside.

    FRIED BURRATA INGREDIENTS

    2 medium-sized burrata balls
    ½ cup all-purpose flour
    1 egg, beaten
    1 cup panko breadcrumbs
    Oil for frying
    Parmesan and parsley, for serving
    Italian Bread, for serving

    FRIED BURRATA STEPS

    ONE. Arrange the flour, beaten egg, and panko in 3 steps.  Dredge both balls of burrata in the flour, egg, and panko respectively, then repeat in the egg and panko once more to ensure it’s fully coated. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes to set.

    TWO. In a large dutch oven, heat about 4 inches of vegetable or canola oil to 350ºF. Fry each burrata for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt.

    THREE. To serve, spoon a generous amount of romesco sauce into a bowl, then top with a fried burrata. Sprinkle with parmesan and parsley, and serve with slices of toasted bread.

    YUM!! xoxoxoxoD

  • Goat Cheese-y Polenta with Sauteed Mushrooms and a Poached Egg

    I am delighted to announce that this past week, I poached my very first egg!! I cannot even begin to tell you how long I have put off this particular task, for some reason, even the very thought of it struck fear in my heart. But this past week, I was home alone for several days and, without an audience, I poached not one, but TWO eggs. It’s important to note however that I did in fact ruin two other eggs before I made two suitable ones, but I feel as though that was bound to happen. I’m proud of myself because I pushed past my fear of not being good at a cooking-related task, because I am not perfect and sometimes I have to mess things up before I can get them right! And that’s okay!! Who knows if I’ll ever be able to recreate this, but if I can, Eggs Benedict for everyone!!!

    Today was such a productive day if I do say so myself, aside from a quick downward spiral about what I want to do with my life, I went grocery shopping to prepare for the coming weeks recipe tests, made this ridiculously good dinner, and started a batch of overnight chocolate chip cookies that maaaaay or may not include brown butter (recipe coming soon). Nothing clears my head like coming home, turning on some music, and cooking for hours. That’s why sometimes, I fully appreciate a labor intensive recipe, or at least one with a few moving parts, because the process is so fun and relaxing, even if I am attempting a first poached egg. Give me a glass of wine and some Hozier and I am good to GO. This recipe is a combination of a few different steps, each pretty basic on their own, but when combined, make the most magical of dinners. A simple polenta upgraded with the salty tang of goat cheese swirled in, buttery sauteed mushrooms inspired by the foundation of this recipe from Bon Appetit, and then the egg which breaks open and spills its runny yolk all over everything and truly brings TEARS to my eyes.

    Aside from all these happy things above, here are five MORE things to be happy about today:
    ONE. Hearing the rain on the roof while you lie in bed at night.
    TWO. Someone telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear.
    THREE. Vanilla scented candles.
    FOUR. Laptop stickers.
    FIVE. Spring tulip arrangements.

    SERVES: 2 to 3 dinner portions
    PREP TIME: 30 minutes

    GOAT CHEESE POLENTA INGREDIENTS

    5 cups water
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 tsp kosher salt
    1 Tbsp salted butter
    4 Tbsp goat cheese

    GOAT CHEESE POLENTA STEPS

    ONE. In a medium saucepan, bring the 5 cups of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, slowly whisk the cornmeal into the water so that there’s no lumps. Continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture gets thickened slightly.

    TWO. Turn the heat to low and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cornmeal has expanded and no longer tastes raw. If necessary, add up to ½ cup more water as needed, to keep the polenta at a stirring consistency.

    THREE. Stir in the tablespoon of butter until incorporated, and then add the goat cheese, a tablespoon at at time, until the polenta is smooth and creamy.

     

    SAUTEED MUSHROOMS INGREDIENTS

    1 lb. mushrooms (cremini, button, etc.), cleaned and torn into pieces
    3 Tbsp. olive oil
    4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    1 shallot, finely chopped
    Handful of parsley, chopped

    SAUTEED MUSHROOMS STEPS

    ONE. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat until very hot, then add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the water cooks off the mushrooms in the first 10 minutes, and then the mushrooms begin to brown.

    TWO. Once the mushrooms are browned, add the garlic and shallots and mix to combine, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes until the raw taste has cooked off the garlic. Chop the parsley and set aside for plating.

     

    POACHED EGG INGREDIENTS

    2 large eggs
    Kosher salt and pepper

    POACHED EGG STEPS

    ONE. Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer on medium heat. Crack the first egg into a shallow bowl. Gently create a whirlpool in the water using a slotted spoon, and add the egg into the center of the whirlpool, carefully stirring in order to encourage the whites of the egg to wrap around the yolk.

    TWO. Cook the egg for about 2½ minutes, until the whites are opaque and set, but the yolk is still runny.

    THREE. To serve, add a generous portion of polenta to a bowl or plate, top with a spoonful of mushrooms, then a poached egg. Sprinkle some chopped parsley or parmesan cheese on top and DIG IN!!!

    xoxoxoxoxoxoD!

  • Spaghetti al Limone

    If you remember last week’s post, I mentioned that I have recently been introduced to the world of Bon Appetit Test Kitchen videos, and I can’t believe I survived this long without them honestly. Aside from being incredibly informative, they’re so wholesome and everyone is super lovely and nice to each other and I love it so much.

    Of the test kitchen chefs, I keep finding myself going back to the videos done by Molly Baz, because they’re simple in procedure, but packed with flavor, also I’m fascinated by her collection of cross-back aprons. So much so that I definitely also bought one and I’m in LOVE with it. But anyway, back to food because that’s why we’re here, this recipe comes from Molly herself (original can be found here), and it’s literally so good that the first time I made it I gasped out loud. I’m not kidding!! It’s rich and cheesy like a fettucine alfredo, but with a bright zing of lemon so that it doesn’t feel heavy, it’s a dream come true. Plus it’s done in under half an hour so what more could you possibly want from a pasta dish??

    Because I can barely contain my excitement, we’ll get right to it, but not before I give you five things to be happy about today!
    ONE. A book so gripping that you read it from start to finish in one sitting, well into the night.
    TWO. Iced coffee with coffee ice cubes.
    THREE. A three day weekend.
    FOUR. Drinks served in mason jars.
    FIVE. Clothes that you can wear from winter to spring.

    Let’s cook!!
    SERVES: 3-4 people
    PREP TIME: 10 minutes
    COOK TIME: 15 minutes

    INGREDIENTS

    1 lemon
    12 oz. thick spaghetti
    Kosher salt
    ¾ cup heavy cream
    6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
    ¾ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
    Fresh ground black pepper

    STEPS

    ONE. Before starting, place your pot of water on the stove to boil, so that it’s ready when you are. Set out all of your ingredients in their correct measurements (called a mise en place!) because once you get started, you won’t have time to stop and grate cheese or juice a lemon on the go.

    Waste not! We use this whoooooole lemon!

    TWO. Using a vegetable peeler, cut one wide strip of the lemon peel and slice it into thin strips and set aside (this will be a garnish for later!). Zest the remaining peel of the lemon into a dutch oven or large saucepan, then juice the same lemon and reserve 2 tablespoons of juice.

    THREE. Pour the cream into the dutch oven with the lemon zest, and cook on medium heat until the cream is heated through and just about to simmer. *Start cooking your pasta now!* Lower the heat and whisk in your butter, one tablespoon at a time, until the sauce is creamy and emulsified, then remove the pot from the heat.

    FOUR. When your pasta is very al dente, about 3 minutes earlier than the package instructions, scoop out 1½ cups of pasta cooking water, and add ¾ cup to the cream sauce. Transfer your pasta to the sauce pot using a pair of tongs (it’s okay if some pasta water drips in as well), and return to medium heat. Cook the pasta for 3 minutes, adding the parmesan cheese gradually until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth and glossy. Feel free to add more pasta water a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Stir in the reserved lemon juice now, and season with salt and pepper as needed.

    FIVE. To serve, swirl a generous pile of pasta onto the plate, garnish with more fresh black pepper, and the reserved lemon peel strips. Enjoy!!!

    xoxoxoxoxoD