Posts Tagged easy

Beautiful Marinated Mozzarella Made Easy – and Inexpensive!

Home marinated mozzarella with sliced grape tomatoes

Home marinated mozzarella with sliced grape tomatoes

I confess. We love appetizers. There’s something great about a small plate of things. You eat a little, you drink some wine. You slow down a little and get ready to truly enjoy the main meal. It’s. . .kinda civilized!

One appetizer I love dearly is marinated cheese. You can marinate most any fresh, firm cheese – I like to marinate fresh Mozzarella. And marinated cheese plays beautifully with so many other things you can put on a plate, like charcuterie, fresh sliced veggies (crudites), citrus segments, citrus zest, lots of fresh herbs – marinated Mozzarella is just a compatible kind of appetizer ingredient.

Good quality fresh mozza, however, is pretty pricey. I quiver at the minute, 8-oz packages selling at our local supermarkets for about 5 bucks. You’d need at least 2 of them to make a decent amount for marinating.

That’s one reason I love CostCo! They don’t just stock good quality olive oil by the jumbo, 5 gallon pack, they also offer great quality fresh, pre-sliced mozzarella logs (sold as 2 1-lb. logs per package, each individually wrapped) that can, with minimal work and a little waiting time, be transformed into gorgeous marinated mozzarella.

Full disclosure, I have zero, zip, nada interest in CostCo, except that I shop there.

Using a log of CostCo mozzarella, preparing a couple of pints of marinated cheese takes about 10 minutes and a little patience. Here’s how:

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Breakfast Scramble – Seasonal Feasting

Last year,  we spent a few days in Portland and stopped by Navarre for a bite of breakfast. Navarre is a Spanish style cafe with Basque influences. In my admittedly limited experience it’s one of the best restaurants of its kind – or any kind – in Portland.

In the morning, Navarre does omelets, but they aren’t really omelets – they’re called scrambles. A scramble, apparently, is an omelet that is shaken, rather than stirred – an omelet that  does not fold neatly over a tidy packet of whatever-you’re-using-as-filling, but whose fillings are precisely chopped and dropped into the pan with the eggs, then folded about, hither and yon, ultimately forming a lovely, cohesive whole.

After leaving Navarre, I vowed to recreate their techniques for preparing this seemingly simple, yet beautiful and delicious dish. I  think I’m making progress. Here are a few ideas, a recipe and some photos to show you where I’m now at with this dish.

By the way,  scrambles like this make wonderful Breakfast for Dinner meals! Read the rest of this entry »

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Three little steps – W. African style ground nut stew

2013-02-02 18.43.51I love stews! There’s something magical about tossing a bunch of stuff in a pot and simmering it for a while until it’s done. Bonus! Most stews taste wonderfully better on the following day, after the flavors have had a chance to marry more thoroughly, making them perfect for long-range eating.

The wonderful New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik in his “The Table Comes First” notes that the cookery for essentially all dishes can be divided into three parts. I learned this by listening to Bonney talk about the book as I cooked the stew, which I realized was indeed a three-parter! I’ll talk about the three parts in the “Method” section of this post. Read the rest of this entry »

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