Burrata

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Bar Pitti in the West Village is a reasonably-priced restaurant; you can get pastas there for close to $10 that rival some of the better pastas in the city (I especially admire their eponymous pasta, one that involves sausage, tomatoes and cream.) However, two weeks ago, I found an item on their menu to be a bit overpriced: burrata for $19.

Craig really wanted it. “Ooooh,” he said. “Should we splurge?”

“No!” I yelped, or exclaimed, I don’t tend to yelp. “I can get burrata at Union Market in Park Slope for $9.”

Emotional Intelligence is a measure of how long you can delay gratification. Craig showed great emotional intelligence that night and, sure enough, as his reward I bought him burrata from Union Market last week. I also bought a container of cherry tomatoes, basil and a shallot and concocted the dish you see above; (slice the tomatoes in half, thinly slice the shallot, julienne the basil and toss it all together with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.)

What is burrata? Burrata, according to Wikipedia, is: “a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it a unique soft texture.”

Yes: indeed, when you cut into burrata it’s like whipped cream inside a marshmallow. Add those acidic tomatoes, splashes from that vinegar to cut the creaminess, and you have a superior summer dish.

“Mmmmmmm,” sang Craig, something he really does (I know I have Craig “mmmmmm” too much on my blog.)

“See, aren’t you glad you waited?”

But he didn’t answer. He was in burrata heaven.

Rockin’ Ricotta

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When you’ve been blogging for almost five years and many people read your blog, you start to receive things in the mail. Cookbooks, for example. I get many cookbooks in the mail, also general food books like books about oysters. I have a book about oysters on my shelf that I’ve never read.

Sometimes, though, you get sent something that excites you. And such was the case when I received a preview of Andrew Carmellini’s new cookbook, Urban Italian.

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Tuesday Techniques: Cheese Soufflé

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We all remember those episodes of bad sitcoms where a character would be making a soufflé and insist that everyone stay quiet in the kitchen lest their precious prize collapse. Then, of course, an Urkel or a Punky would knock over a tray of pots and pans, the soufflé-maker would cry out and hilarity would ensue. This is how most Americans perceived soufflé, as a disaster waiting to happen. And most people, I’d wager, still think of it that way–which is why, perhaps, so many of you requested soufflé as the next technique I tackle in my Tuesday Techniques.

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Abbaye de Citeaux, The Soon-To-Be-Forbidden Cheese

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I was wary of getting an iPhone because I didn’t want to be so reachable. With just a plain, ordinary cellphone I get enough calls; with an iPhone I’d also get buzzed every time I got an e-mail. And with all the PR e-mails I get to my Amateur Gourmet e-mail address that’s a lot of buzzing.

But get an iPhone I did and though the frequent PR buzzing in my pocket is distracting, every now and then an e-mail comes through that I’m glad I got right away. Case in point: last Friday, I got an e-mail from Murray’s Cheese that said the following…

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The Winning Casserole: Cheese Love

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As I hoped, your prodding inspired the Casserole Contest winners, Zack and Graham (pictured above with Emily) to share their recipe. Zack implores: “I can’t over-emphasize the importance of the Bobolink cheddar in this recipe. It is generally only available directly from the farmer/cheesemaker and I know that it is expensive when compared to industrial cheeses, but I have tried making this without the Bobolink and it doesn’t come close in flavor, aroma or texture. Bobolink sells their cheeses at the Union Square Greenmarket on Fridays (check cowsoutside.com for other market locations).”

Just to restate my enthusiasm for this casserole, I tasted almost 20 casseroles that night and this one was not only far and away the best, it made a casserole convert out of me. I plan to try this recipe immediately. Click ahead to unlock the mystery of “Cheese Love”….

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