Boneless Chicken Wings

 

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Photography by Allyson Regan

It’s almost the weekend and we all know what that means.  There’s so many sports games on and we can’t just watch them empty-handed!  I don’t know about you, but I love watching football with my husband.  And I love making game-day food.  A Michigan win would be good too.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

This recipe for boneless chicken wings is so incredibly easy, and it’s one of the most requested meals in our home.  Seriously, if you are entertaining for the game this weekend, you have to try this recipe.  What I love about this dish is that it uses boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, but you can easily switch it up and use chicken thighs, or just chunk up a whole chicken.  Even though bags of frozen chicken wings can be delicious and easy, I like to be able to have chicken wings made from good, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, delicious chicken that I normally buy.  Also, in those frozen convenience chicken products, they don’t use the best chicken.

 

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Boneless Chicken Wings

1 2.5 pound package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 eggs

4 cups of panko breadcrumbs

3 cups all purpose flour

salt and pepper

1 quart vegetable oil

Begin by pouring vegetable oil into a small saucepan.  You want to have 3-4 inches of oil, but you also need 2-3 inches of space from the top of the pan.  Heat to medium, maybe medium high depending on your stove.  Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes.  Gather three bowls and place flour in one, the eggs in another, and the panko breadcrumbs in the final bowl.  Season the flour.  Whisk the eggs well.  Dunk the chicken cube into the flour, then the egg, and then the panko.  Make sure to fully cover the previous layer at each step.

Gently place the breaded chicken into the heated oil, making sure to only add enough chicken so that they can float around.  Don’t crowd the oil, this will promote even browning.  You don’t have to worry about taking the temperature of the chicken at this point, because you will be frying the chicken in shifts and you will bake them after done frying.  I like to cook them this way so that they don’t get cold, and so that I make enough, these never last long!  When you remove the chicken from the oil, transfer to a sheet tray that has a cookie rack on top.  If you place the chicken right onto the pan, the bottom will get soggy.  Once you’re done frying all the chicken, bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Don’t these just make your mouth water??  And they are super easy, they just make a lot of dishes.  My husband loves these with buffalo sauce, barbecue and ranch, with plenty of celery and carrots!  If you’ve never made buffalo sauce before, it’s super simple.  Just equal parts hot sauce and butter.  The less butter you add, the spicier it will be.  Heat both ingredients over low heat until melted and combined.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Even if your team doesn’t win, your tummy will!! Be sure to make more than you think you’ll need.  You can also save the fried nuggets by freezing them in a single layer on a tray and then placing in a freezer bag.  Bake at 400 degrees to reheat for 25-30 minutes.

Go Blue!

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You guys.  These cookies are amazing.  But really.  Seriously.  For real.  No joke.  Okay I think you get it now.  But I’ve been making these cookies for almost a year and I’ve made them so much that I’ve truly perfected the recipe.  While they have peanut butter in them, they really just taste like a jacked up chocolate chip cookie.  The peanut butter helps keep the texture soft and chewy.  I simply adore these cookies because the edges are slightly crisp while the center is just baked and chewy, making them perfect for dunking in ice cold milk.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

These are also a crowd favorite!  This has been the most requested cookie from my husband recently.  I made them over the summer for a camping trip and they made delicious smore’s!  I would recommend storing them in tupperware instead of in a bag though, they tend to get crumbly easily in bags.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Just look at that crumb!  I usually use Ghirardelli bittersweet dark chocolate chips, which are disk shaped and help to form these delightful chocolate layers.  So good!  I almost always have this recipe frozen into small balls so that when I have last minute company, or a bad day, I can whip these cookies up in 12 minutes or less!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until just combined.  Add in the egg and combine well.  Add in the peanut butter and mix.  Add in the rest of the dry ingredients mixing just until combined. These work best when the dough is chilled slightly before baking.  Scoop into dough balls, I use a scoop that is about a 1/4 cup. Bake for 12 minutes, turning half way through to ensure even baking.  Let cool for a minute or two on the tray and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula.  Remove from the tray and cool on a wire rack.  If the chocolate solidifies, reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds.  This recipe works just as well when you bake them from frozen, you might just need to keep an eye on them and maybe add a couple extra minutes.  I’ve tested this recipe twice doubling the batch and they still work out great!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Be right back, I’m going to find a giant mug of milk and dunk this whole stack in it.  Don’t judge me until you try this recipe. And if you try this recipe, share your pictures on social media and tag me!

Enjoy!

September 2018 Recap

September felt like it flew by!  The weather was so unpredictable that it truly didn’t feel like summer was over until last week.  At least not in Michigan!  So let’s take a minute to look back on the awesome things we featured on the blog.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

This guacamole was one of my favorite ways to use my grill unconventionally.  And it was so good! It’s such an interesting combination and when we posted it, you could find both corn and poblanos at the farmers markets.  When Ally and I shoot, we like to have others around to help us eat the delicious food, but we were content to take a guac-break this time and devour this whole bowl!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Next up is my Kale and Avocado Caesar Salad, which is so simple and so yummy!  I think I ate this for a week straight before we finally posted it on the blog.  Ally loves this salad because it’s filling and easy to prep for work lunches.  You can also be so creative with this recipe, so it’s great to add it in to your meal rotation.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

I couldn’t wait to post this Eggs Benedict Recipe because its just a classic breakfast staple that I think any foodie/home cook should try!  Plus, it’s a huge crowd pleaser and it has that wow factor.  Don’t forget, always make more hollandaise than you think!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Chipotle and Butternut Squash Risotto was the perfect segue into fall cooking and baking.  Risotto is one of my favorite dishes/meals to make and this version is definitely going to be repeated many times this fall. Can’t squash my fall spirit!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

One of the most unique posts we did this month was a wine subscription review of Bright Cellars.  This was so cool because I love this service and it was fun to share with you all!  It was a little different than the regular posts that I do, but I want to start doing some more fun posts like this!  If you have any products or services that you love that you think I should check out or review, let me know in the comments!

I know that we posted a lot of delicious recipes in September, but look for a couple more unique posts in October!

Eggs Benedict-Brunch Style

It’s finally the weekend!!! Let’s celebrate what could possibly be one of the last summer-y Saturdays this year!  Well, I guess today is officially the beginning of Fall, but it still feels like summer.  Also, brunch.  Need I say more?

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Eggs Benedict is one of my husbands favorite things to eat during the weekends.  It is a bit of a labor of love, but I do love the end product!  Weekends are made for cooking because you have so much more time than during the weekdays.  And nothing pairs better with brunch food than bloody mary’s.  So if your hosting brunch this weekend or just want to enjoy your time away from the office, check out Mimosas: Otherwise It Would Just Be Juice or Bloody Mary Bar DIY to step up your weekend goals.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

The classic eggs benedict includes several key components.  You’ll need an english muffin, preferably with nooks and crannies, Canadian bacon (or some kind of protein), hollandaise, and a couple of perfectly poached egg.  You might need some practice with a couple of these components before you’ve mastered this breakfast classic.  There are some shortcuts, like using a fried egg instead of the finicky poached egg, using a hollandaise mix instead of homemade, or just going out to breakfast instead of making it yourself.  Now, I’ve eaten quite a bit of eggs benedict in my 24 years and once you make your own hollandaise, you can totally tell when a restaurant uses the pre-made mix.

Eggs Benedict

4 whole eggs

8 slices of ham, or Canadian bacon, or veggie sausage

2 english muffins

4 egg yolks

1 1/2 sticks of butter

1 lemon

Frank’s Hot sauce, or another hot sauce

salt and pepper

white vinegar

paprika (optional)

Begin by melting the butter over low heat taking care not to boil it.  Split your english muffins with a fork (this helps to preserve those nooks and the crannies).  Place your 4 egg yolks in a medium glass bowl.  You are going to place this bowl over a medium pot of simmering water so make sure that it’s a good fit.  Get your water for this on the stove and simmer over medium heat.  Place the ham slices in a skillet to warm and brown a bit.  You’ll also need a medium pot full of boiling water with a splash of white vinegar.  The vinegar helps to coagulate the egg white faster and not to get too technical (even though the science behind this is really cool!) it will help you to produce a perfect egg.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You’ll want to start the hollandaise before poaching the egg.  Begin by whisking the egg yolks with a metal spoon.  Whisk until they start to lighten in color.  Place over the simmering water, whisking constantly.  Slowly add in the melted butter while continuing to whisk well.  Remove from heat anytime you feel like the eggs might be getting chunky but continue to whisk.  I normally go back and forth between the heat several times.  You’ll know it’s done when it becomes thick and pale yellow.  Remove from the heat and add in a squeeze of fresh lemon, several shakes of hot sauce, and salt and pepper.  When you taste it, it should be slightly lemony, very buttery, and you shouldn’t necessarily taste the hot sauce, it just helps to round out the flavor.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Toast your english muffins and begin to poach your eggs. To poach, crack your eggs one at a time into a small bowl.  Once you drop the egg into the water, swirl the water with a spoon to create a mini whirlpool.  This will help the whites to coagulate together, instead of spreading out in the pot.  You don’t have to poach eggs easy, the longer you simmer them, the longer the yolk will cook.

To assemble, place the toasted english muffins on your plate.  Place the warmed ham slices on them and then top with the poached egg.  Drizzle a healthy portion of hollandaise on top and sprinkle with paprika.  Because this is such a prep-heavy breakfast, I like to make sure the side is easy.  I normally go for oven baked home-fries or even hash-browns.  That way your kitchen won’t be so crowded.  Enjoy with a nice bloody mary!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

 

 

 

Chipotle & Butternut Squash Risotto

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Photography by Allyson Regan

It seems as though fall can’t quite make up it’s mind quite yet here in Michigan.  We had a delightfully chilly week last week, and this week is like the muggiest heat all summer!  But nevertheless, butternut squash persists, and has hit the grocery stores.  This is one of my all time favorite new recipes!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

If you know me well, you know that second only to pasta, risotto is one of my very favorite meals to make.  I fall in love with the process every single time.  The attention to detail, taking the time to toast the rice, the constant stirring, the careful eye watching for the perfect moment to serve, it’s glorious!  When I was about to turn 21, I was the most excited to be able to finally buy wine to make a proper risotto.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Chipotle & Butternut Squash Risotto

1 large butternut squash

1 small can of chipotle peppers, in adobo

olive oil

1 cup arborio rice

3 cups of stock, I prefer chicken

2 tbsp butter

1 small yellow onion, small diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 cup good white wine

Goat cheese, optional

salt and pepper

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Peel and cut the squash into a small dice.  Puree the chipotle peppers with the sauce in the can until smooth.  Toss the squash with 2 tbsp (less if you don’t like a lot of spice) and a drizzle of olive oil.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until soft.  Once cooled, puree 2/3 of the squash.

To start the risotto, begin by melting the butter in a heavy bottomed pot.  Slowly caramelize the onion and garlic, over medium low heat.  Raise the heat to medium, and add the rice, tossing it to cover well with the butter.  Cook until the rice begins to take on color and smell toasted.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine, taking care to scrap the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  This kicks off the stirring marathon.  Stir evenly, and once the wine has been absorbed, add in 1/3 cup of warmed stock.  Continue to repeat stirring and adding the stock.  The ratio of 1 cup of arborio rice to 3 cups of stock is tried and true in my kitchen, however, if you end up stirring unevenly or cooking on too high of a temperature, you may need more stock.  When you are about to add the last bit of stock, add in the squash puree from earlier.  Once the stock has been absorbed, add in the goat cheese.  If you are holding this warm for a bit, add in another 2 tbsp of butter which will help the risotto to keep from globbing together.  Yes, in addition to making risotto, we are also making up words.  Finally, taste and season to your liking.  Top each bowl with the roasted squash and more cheese.  Enjoy!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Just a note, you probably won’t use that whole can of chipotle peppers, but save them in your fridge.  I love to add this puree to my chili to deepen the flavor, or you can toss mushrooms with this puree, oil, and brown sugar and roast to create a very umami-esque taste.

 

Roasted Poblano and Corn Guacamole

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Let’s be honest with each other and get this out into the open.  Food is the perfect companion to football and beer.  Sundays like today are begging for a cold one and some delicious food.  Don’t get me wrong, I love watching football with my guy, cheering on our team.  But I love having lots of food options for us during the weekends when there’s so many different games to watch.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

This is just a dressed up version of guacamole, and it almost doesn’t even need a recipe!  But I’ll give you one as a reference.  Poblanos can be a bit tricky, much like jalapeños.  You can never be certain how spicy they be until you eat it.  This is why it’s so important to taste as you go.  I roasted my poblanos on our grill, because we have an induction range, but if you have a gas stove, you can roast them over the flames.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Roasted Poblano and Corn Guacamole

4 soft avocados

2-3 poblanos

2 limes

1 cup sweet corn

handful of fresh cilantro

salt & pepper

Roast the poblanos over an open flame.  Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap while cooling.  The plastic will trap the heat and help the skins to steam making it super easy to peel.  Roast the corn over the flame as well, or sauté in a pan over high heat if using frozen or canned corn.  Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits.  Scoop out avocado and mash with a fork.  Once the poblanos are cool, peel and remove the seeds.  Cut into a small dice and add to the mashed avocados.  Cut the corn off the cob and add to the avocado mixture.  Roughly chop cilantro (optional, I know it’s soapy to some).  Juice the limes starting with one.  Make sure to taste as you go along.  If this will be sitting out for a bit, make sure to add a bit more lime juice to keep the color.  As always, season well.  If you’d like, you can also add a pinch of coriander and cumin to bump up the flavor even more.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Because there’s lots of poblanos and corn, I didn’t add tomatoes to this guacamole like I usually do.  You could definitely still add tomatoes and blistered cherry tomatoes would taste so good with the roasted veggies.  I love the way blue corn tortilla chips look next to guacamole and they taste great too!

Go Lions!

Kale & Avocado Caesar Salad

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Fall always seems like a chaotic time, even if you don’t have little ones heading to school.  With football always on, pumpkins and apples to pick, winterizing to prepare for, it can sometimes be difficult to eat well.  This salad is one of my go to meals, especially after eating football food for a weekend.  It’s super simple and very easy to make your own.  And it looks almost too pretty to eat!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

To start, you’ll need kale (I usually buy the pre-cut bagged stuff), tomatoes, crusty bread, avocados, a good hard cheese (I love pecorino or parmesan in this), and your favorite caesar dressing.  I’m a huge fan of Marzetti’s Simply Dressed Caesar dressing.  It has great flavor and it has no preservatives! And it has anchovies which makes it a true caesar.  Make sure to wash the kale really well, lots of dirt likes to hide in the crevices.  Cut your bread into bite-size pieces and toast until crunchy.  Halve or quarter the tomatoes, depending on the size.  Toss the kale with a good amount of dressing.  I like to do this first so that the kale has time to soften a bit.  Add in the tomatoes, croutons, avocado chunks, and shredded cheese.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

This is a great dish because it’s full of fiber and great nutrition while still making you feel full.  If you need to make this into more of a meal, its great with chicken, steak, or even bacon bits on top!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Enjoy!

Grilled Peach Bruschetta

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Well folks, nows the time to soak up the last flavors of summertime.  Before you know it, kids will be back in school, leaves will be falling, produce will be dwindling at the markets, and peach season will be replaced by apples.  So, while your grill is still out, and those peaches are waiting to be used, try out this recipe!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Grilled Peach Bruschetta

1 crusty baguette

6 peaches, halved

1 small yellow onion

1 pint cherry tomatoes, red or yellow

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing

5 leaves fresh basil

salt and pepper

Preheat your grill to medium high heat, aim for 350-400 degrees.  Brush the peach halves with olive oil.  Thinly slice the baguette with a serrated knife.  Dice the yellow onion and sweat in a small pan.  Cook until they start to caramelize.  Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and mince the garlic.  Thinly slice the basil.  Combine the tomatoes, garlic, onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Grill the peaches carefully, starting with the cut side down.  Grill the baguette on both sides until crisp.  The peaches are ready when they start to get softer and juicy.  Removing the skins is optional, then dice the peaches so they are similar in size to the tomatoes.  Add the peaches to the rest of the mixture and combine well.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed.  Spoon over the baguette slices.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Now, if you have an inordinate amount of peaches, you can avoid the tomatoes all together and go full peach.  I also love to use blueberry balsamic vinegar from the Olive Cart.  It just adds a nice fruity flavor that compliments the peaches.  This dish is a great appetizer to kick off an end of summer get-together.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Strawberry season in Michigan is so fleeting that my tiny apartment-sized freezer is full of the sweet gems.  The great thing about freezing them, is that even if you don’t have time to bake with them when they are in season, you can just pull them out of the freezer when you have time!  One of my favorite ways to enjoy strawberries when they are in season is pairing them with a flaky crust and sour-tart rhubarb, also from Michigan.

Mastering the art of the ideal pie crust can be tricky and frustrating.  As someone who has made a couple of gross pies in her day, I have found a recipe and a couple tried and true tips that work for me.  Some of the expertise comes with experience, and working with your specific flour, altitude, water, etc.  Many experts say that it’s easiest to make your dough in the food processor, however, I’m a firm believer that the blades ruin the flakiness that is key to good crust.

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My go to pie crust recipe can be found in Kate McDermott’s fantastic cookbook, Art of the Pie.  It can be found on page 61 and you’ll only need flour, salt, butter, and water.  Now, you’re your own person, so use any pie crust you feel comfortable with.  If pie makes you uncomfortable, buy this book and use this recipe.  I’m not going to include her recipe on here, because if you are committed to good making good pies, you really should have her book in your cookbook library.  Also, she has so many other great recipes and tips that are very valuable.  I would recommend buying a marble rolling pin.  It helps to keep the dough colder, keeping the butter inside the dough solid until you bake the pie.

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The filling recipe that I use is adapted from Kate’s recipe found on page 250.  I like to keep my fillings simple to let the gorgeous flavor of the just picked fruit shine through.  Just combine the ingredients below and let them cook down inside the pie.  For this pie, I didn’t pre-bake the pie crusts before putting in the filling, like some recipes call for.  It does take a little over an hour for this pie to bake.  I cover the pie with tin foil for the first 20 minutes to help the filling to begin to set.  Uncover for the rest of the baking process.  If you notice that the crust is getting too brown towards the end of baking, just re-cover with foil.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling

4 cups of strawberries, quartered

2 cups of rhubarb, sliced

1 cup of sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup flour

Enjoy!

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Burrata: The Better Mozzarella

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Let’s talk cheese.  If you like mozzarella and good food in general, you’ll love burrata.  Trust me. It’s creamy and fresh, texturally unique compared to other cheese, and so versatile.  If you want to learn more about the process behind making fresh cheese, check it out here!  Or you can read about it here.

Burrata is traditionally from the Apulia region in Italy and is made with water buffalo’s milk or cow’s milk.  It is a thin shell of mozzarella holding in a creamy mixture called stracciatella, which is basically cream and strings of mozzarella curd.  I first had burrata when I was in Italy and we visited a mozzarella factory.  The burrata in Italy tastes different, mostly because the cream they use is the naturally separated cream from the milk, and in the U.S., cream that is mechanically separated is normally used.  The flavor difference also comes from the type of milk used.  The burrata that you can get most commonly in America is made from cow’s milk.

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Here in the midwest, it can be difficult to track down this cheese.  My go-to place is called Martha’s Vineyard.  They usually have burrata in stock and if they don’t, they are pretty good about letting you know when they will have it next.  If you aren’t in Grand Rapids, you should be able to find it at any local specialty wine or cheese shop.

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The brand that I used for this cheese plate (let’s be real….. I ate this for lunch) is called Liuzzi Cheese,  The flavor is really great and it lends itself well to a lot of different dishes and flavors.  It is made in Conneticut, but it is owned by two Italian borthers.  My favorite thing to do is pair it with really great heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, balsamic reduction, good extra virgin olive oil, and toasted crostinis.  Oh and lots and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.

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I’ve also melted this on sourdough bread with pesto or chipotle aioli and thick cut tomatoes in a grilled cheese.  Or you can melt it on top of a seared chicken breast or top a risotto.  Either way, give it a try and I’m sure you’ll love it!

Want to read more about burrata? Check out these links below.

Bon Appetit

Fine Dining Lovers

Culture Cheese Magazine

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Enjoy!