Monthly Archives

August 2014

Beer, Food, Summer

Hangin’ with Burrata

August 3, 2014

Burrata with cherry tomatoes and bread. The two fat white dudes with the teal-colored neckties are burrata, and you definitely want to party with them this summer. Burrata is a soft sack of mozzarella cheese filled with cream, commonly served with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of herbs or kosher salt and cracked pepper. Not the most assertive cheese flavor-wise, but this fella plays so well with others that you want to have him around for your summer entertaining. And if you live in northwestern Philadelphia, you can do so and still buy local. These two guys began life at Claudio’s Specialty Foods, and we purchased them at Weaversway Co-op, where they were July’s “cheese of the month.”

Think contrast with burrata — not just in flavor, but in color and texture as well. Serve burrata with a plate of cherry tomatoes and watch the reds and oranges of the tomatoes pop against the white backdrop of the cheese. Spread it on a piece of crusty french bread and you’ll appreciate its smooth creaminess. Now pop a tomato into your mouth and bite down on the cheese coated bread. The juicy sweetness of the tomatoes, the chewiness of the bread, and the creamy richness of the burrata bringing it all together — this is what summers are made for!

But wait! There must be a beverage. Being a good student of the Garrett Oliver school of beer and food pairing, I believe that beer is the best libation to match with cheese. The natural carbonation of the beer provides a great contrast to the heavy creaminess of the cheese, and also serves to cleanse the palate. Since burrata is a mild flavored cheese, the lighter beers that we typically drink during the hotter months make a terrific accompaniment. I had my burrata with a glass of homebrewed Hefeweizen, a traditional German wheat beer. The slight tanginess of the wheat harmonized perfectly with the slight tang in the mozzarella, while the fruitiness of the yeast played against the pleasant blandess of the cheese.

What other local brews would go well with burrata? The next time I have it, I am going to try something a bit hoppy, but not extravagantly so. Victory Brewing’s Prima Pils, or Philadelphia Pale Ale from Yards are good candidates. I’ll let you know.

Food, Recipes, Summer

Zucchini and Potato Fritters

August 1, 2014

Zucchini fritters topped with a poached egg.

Garrison Keillor says July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people won’t put squash on the front seat. I used to think it was a joke.
— Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Ah, yes, one of the great challenges of summer — what to do with all that zucchini. In this neck of the woods we’re quite fond of our squash, and we’re more than up to that challenge. Zucchini fritters are a new favorite of ours.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 5-6 fritters

What you’re gonna need

  • 1 pound of zucchini (3 small or 2 medium) shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt+1 teaspoon or to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato (8-9 ounces)
  • 3 scallions sliced thinly (green and light green parts only)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Note:  I sliced my zucchini on the julienne blade of my mandolin, but you can just as easily shred them on a box grater or the shredding blade of your food processor. Grate your potato right before mixing to avoid it turning brown.

What you’re gonna do

  • Mix the shredded zucchini with 1 teaspoon of salt and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • After that time put the zucchini in some cheese cloth or a clean dish cloth.
  • Squeeze all the moisture out of the zucchini.
  • Season to taste with more salt and black pepper
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
  • Form into patties
  • Heat up a medium sauté pan (if you have cast iron use that) with ¼ cup of olive oil
  • When the oil is hot add your fritters and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown

Serve your fritters as is, or top them with an egg, poached or sunny side up, or a big dollop of sour cream. We usually have them for dinner, but breakfast works well too.

An aside…

How to poach an egg…

  • Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a simmer
  • Crack your egg into a small ramekin
  • Carefully lower the egg into the simmering water
  • Cook until the white is opaque