Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sweet Summer Celebrations

My sister and I are July babies. Between two birthdays, a July show and fresh produce that begs for get-togethers, there are a lot of celebrations. I do a lot of grocery shopping down the road at a place called Kowalski's. Aside from the fact that they have an excellent cheese selection, they celebrate local. Much of their meats, produce, salsas, baked goods and yes, cheeses - are locally owned. And then there's the view. Every time I walk out of the grocer - White Bear Lake is welcoming me. I never tire of the view.
We had a busy kitchen. Paul was making Steven Raichlen's Grilled Corn Chowder Soup.
When the summer corn comes in, this soup is on our agenda. While shopping, I received the sweetest summer surprise. The lovely cheesemonger at Kowalski's presented me with this:

Burrata! Just flown in from Italy today! A gift! "Because you'd know what to do with it." A gift and a compliment. So while Paul was chopping up twenty grilled vegetables, I was roasting tomatoes and re-imagining a Caprese platter. Burrata means "buttered" in Italian. And indeed it is smooth and creamy as a fresh butter.
Do you see the milk-cream oozing from the mozzarella lining. Delicate, soft, winding it's milk-way to the tomatoes and bread. (And crackers - my mother is always on a diet and wants crackers instead of bread.)
The pesto stood in for the basil.

While I was roasting tomatoes (and zucchini and eggplant but we'll get to that later) and Paul was preparing his soup, Kirsten was doing her Fool.

A Berry Fool. As a writer, there are so many places I could go with the name of that luscious dessert. But I shall endeavor to remain on track. We don't cook enough with berries in this house. No matter how many pints of berries I bring home, they disappear before I can get a baking pan out. While this is English in origin and not Italian, I think you will forgive me. In truth, I am a fool for Fools.
Berry Fool - adapted from Williams Sonoma's Dessert
(Kirsten changed sugar amounts and berries; all photos from Kirsten)
8 strawberries halved
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup raspberries and blueberries
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup well-chilled heavy cream
mint leaves and small berries for garnish

Stem and hull the strawberries and slice them in quarters. Toss with 1/4 cup of sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. The sugar will draw out the juices. Using a fork, mash them until they ressemble a jam. Add the raspberries and blueberries and crush them with the fork. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Place in freezer and chill, stirring frequently. 10-15 minutes.

In a chilled bowl, whip your cream until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. (Can you see my sister's birthday card and Paul's chowder recipe under the bowl - my ktichen table was Cooking Central.)

Fold the chilled berries into the cream.

Can do ahead: Cover and refrigerate over night. When ready to serve, scoop into clear glasses and serve. Garnish with a small berry and a mint leaf.

This could be a filling for a berry tiramisu. Or an accompaniment to pound cake.

Or layered with sponge cake into a small verrine. A tease. A fool. (from the French word "fouler" - to crush). In-between the burrata and Fool, we had herbed ricotta, roasted ratatouille, grilled corn chowder soup, t-bones and a roasted Panzella salad. I forgot to set out the Valrhona chocolates. Nobody complained. A sweet celebration indeed.



It all looks so good! I adore creamy berry treats. Can't wait to try this!

chow and chatter said...

wow you did know what to do with it yum

Monet said...

I must have plenty to celebrate! I loved seeing some of the amazing food you and your family prepared in recent days. That platter of cheese had me drooling! I would love to serve this creamy berry dessert with your suggestion of pound cake. I'm sure it is heavenly!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

wow what a spread, love the way that italian bread looks and caprese my favorite, amazing dessert too, will have to bookmark this so I can try that yummy! Happy belated birthday to you and your sis...looks like this was great food fun and memorable for sure, just thing missing, me as a taste tester of course none would be left! everything looks fabulous Claudia!

Wanda..... said...

Your cheesemonger knows you well, you certainly do know how to celebrate, Claudia. Every time I visit, I know I will most likely...copy and paste a recipe.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

That burrata looks positively luscious - what a nice surprise from your generous and thoughtful cheesemonger. I love the end product that came out of that berry fool. And Happy Belated Birthday.

Mister Meatball said...

Real burrata from Italy is one hell of a gift, lady!

Makes we weak at the knees.

Megan @ Foodalution said...

You forgot about the chocolates! Well, everything sounded and looked amazing, a true feast. BTW - my daughter was very excited that you like the idea about the Kind Midas Chocolate Touch idea for a play. She is in theater and absolutely has found her calling. foodie love from madison! megan

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

You could not have a more delightful dinner in the finest restaurant, Claudia! Everything looked delicious! My kitche table is often my work station center island or much counterspace in my tiny kitchen.

Happy belated Birthday! It looks like you had a wonderful celebration.

PS: Burrata is so good it is!

Juliana said...

Oh! I love burrata...what a great dinner :-) Everything looks so delicious.

Angie's Recipes said...

Not sure I have tried Burrata before..does it taste same as ricotta or any other curd cheese?
The berry tiramisu look so GREAT!

Claudia said...

The burrata is in a sense made as a by-product from making fresh mozzarella.The mozzarella strands are gathered and cream is added. A few cheese producera add other cheeses. But usually it's a combination of mozzarella, some curds, some whey and cream. The liquidy cream is packaged in a purse of fresh mozzarella. It brings cream to new heights. And it must be sold quickly lest the fresh ingredients spoil.

Sherry said...

Claudia, your recipes sound amazing and I love your gorgeous images! It is such a pleasure to meet you!

FOODESSA said... wonder you haven't been making're too busy drooling over the precious 'Buratta' cheese delicacy ;o) It's really a treat that is not easily found. What a nice guy you have sending you these gifts ;)
I can see that you and Paul have been the busy bees in your kitchen...everything looks so inviting. Buon appetito!

Have yourselves a wonderful week,

Nancy said...

Wow the burrata looks incredible, I love the creamy center! And what better summer dessert than a berry fool? Yum.

Reeni said...

What a lovely feast Claudia! The fool is totally scrumptious looking! And the cheese has my mouth watering with envy. And I love corn soup! Hope you saved me a bowl...

test it comm said...

It has been a while since I last had burrata and after seeing this, I am craving it! It would go really well with those roasted tomatoes.

OysterCulture said...

Happy Belated birthday and I hope July was filled with cheer. I love burrata and see that you enjoyed it well. The fixings all looked divine.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I have to walk away from this computer you've put me in a complete food coma and I haven't even eaten yet! Everything looks amazing Claudia! Hey, did I miss your birthday? If I did, Happy Belated Claudia!