What’s in a Dish

Ingredients that I love to use!

Buratta

Buratta is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and fresh cream.  The curds are softened in a hot whey solution, stretched like typical mozzarella, then a pouch is formed and filled with mozzarella scrap and fresh cream, then sealed at the top.  It is a typically found in southern Italy, considered an artisan style cheese, and when cut open a rich buttery cream is released.  The cheese is very volatile and does not last long at all, I have found it very hard to get the product on the west coast unless I am in California.  The cheese is best consumed with in 24 hours of being made and is considered past its prime after 48 hours.  This cheese goes great with risotto, fresh tomatoes and olive oil, or on olive oil toasted bread, aged balsamic, and sea salt.

Finger Limes

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It’s my favorite time of the year in the produce world, citrus are in full swing, Meyer lemons, tangerines, cara cara oranges, Buddha hands, kumquat, and my personal favorite, finger limes! These little limes are about the size of an average thumb and from the outside they look like a great garnish for a drink, but it is whats inside that really counts.  The outside can be black, brown or green, and the pulp is a light green to pink.  Once you cut one open you can squeeze the pulp out and it resembles caviar with the flavor of limes.  Once you squeeze out the pulp of three limes add a half teaspoon of water to it a stir to prevent the pulp from drying out.

Score the lime around the outside middle and pull apart with your fingers.

Score the lime around the outside middle and pull apart with your fingers.

20121208-211517.jpgYou can see the pulp creeping out after they have been sliced.  after they have been cut and pulled apart hold the lime between your index finger and thumb with the opening facing your other palm or into a bowl.  Pinch and spin the lime between your finger and thumb to force the pulp out.  The pulp is pretty resistant so squeeze until the pulp is forced out.

"Lime caviar" it even pops like caviar does!

“Lime caviar” it even pops like caviar does!

Ingredient featured in:

 

Pan Seared Cobia, Citrus and Matsutake Mushroom salad.

 

What’s A Chef To Do?

Do you ever find yourself short on oil or missing buttermilk when you are making those pancakes first thing in the morning?  Knowing how to substitute for certain ingredients is how you can become a better chef.  We need to make those quick decisions all the time and when you know how to effectively make these substitutions you can save a lot of grief in your kitchen.  Aupair.org has listed a few ways to dodge those culinary bullets.

Coriander

It has been some time since I have found anything unique that I feel belongs in this section, until a few weeks ago. I got a call from my farmer and she mentioned having green coriander. I have heard of it but never tried it or seen it in person, so I ordered a third of a pound. Green coriander is the seed pod/fruit that forms after the plant, known to North America as cilantro, flowers. Once it flowers it begins to bear the little green fruits, which later are dried and sold as coriander. Before they dry we pick them and use them as a whole seed, in soups, sauces, teas, etc. It is extremely versatile and it has a less harsh flavor than when it is dried and a touch fruitier. So if you can get your hands on some, do so immediately and enjoy!

I have used it whole in a few of my dishes:

Grilled asparagus with parsnip puree

Torchio Pasta Press

Bigoli pasta

To satisfy my addiction for pasta machines/devices, I broke down and bought a Torchio manual pasta press. I have been drooling over this little machine for a few months and I now have it in my possession. The dies are pretty expensive but you can create all of your favorite pastas and its great to show off when you have company over. With the proper pasta dough you should not have any problems with this device, on the other hand, if your dough is too soft it will extrude improperly.  You can buy a Torchio through Pastabiz.com

It is currently bolted to my workbench as I do not have space on my kitchen counter for it at the moment. Two of the other dies create different pasta; gargati and strozapretti.

Cavatelli Crank

I am addicted to devices that extrude or shape pasta and I tend to buy them the second that I see them. Cavatelli is a type of shaped pasta, meaning “small pasta shell” that is shaped like mini hot dog buns with ridges. You can use a traditional egg or flour pasta dough, but the most common style of dough for cavatelli is a ricotta dough.  You can buy the cavatelli crank on Amazon and they are very affordable.

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