Marinated Mozzarella

Marinated Mozzarella
The tomato plants in our container garden are a 4-foot-tall tangled mess. The cages didn’t do much to tame those tentacles. Instead they have become a wild hedge in dire need of a trim, but I couldn’t be happier with how unruly they look—the more branches, the more tomatoes. Just a week ago we started picking the red ripe ones. They’re so sweet that I’ve been eating them like candy.

Growing next to those tomatoes is basil that is also thriving in the sun. Caprese salads have been on repeat! It was time to put in a little more effort and soak the cheese in oil, garlic, herbs and spices. Those marinated mozzarella balls had a lot of flavor to match my homegrown cherry tomatoes. They even were the star of a summer charcuterie plate complete with berries and stone fruit.
Marinated Mozzarella
Marinated Mozzarella

8 ounces mozzarella (ciliegine or bocconcini), drained
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives, rosemary, oregano)
1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the mozzarella, herbs, garlic, peppercorns, salt and red pepper flakes. Pour in the olive oil and gently stir the mixture. Transfer to an airtight container and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Let the mozzarella come to room temperature before serving.

Grilled Buttermilk Bread

Grilled Buttermilk Bread
With a partial quart of buttermilk in the fridge teetering on its expiration date, I knew I had to act fast. My freezer is over-stocked with more waffles than my family could ever consume, so I had to come up with something else. Layer cake? Cupcakes? But I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to commit to a frosted baking project.

I settled on an easy quick bread. Once I cut the loaf and had a few nibbles, I knew it needed something else. I fired up the grill and in minutes I had grilled buttermilk bread. Each slice was warm, toasted and striped with grate marks. I topped the bread with whipped cream and berries, but any summer fruit will work.
Grilled Buttermilk Bread
Grilled Buttermilk Bread
Loosely adapted from The Kitchn

Serves 10-12

Non-stick cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For serving: whipped cream, berries, stone fruit, basil, mint

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the melted butter until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing. When the loaf is cool enough to handle, slice it.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Briefly grill each slice of bread for about 30 seconds per side until lightly grill-marked.

Top with whipped cream, fruit and basil or mint before serving.

Blueberry Corn Salad

Blueberry Corn Salad
Corn is one of those things that you absolutely have to eat in season. It just isn’t right outside of summer, so I’ve been eating my weight in corn. Most of the time it hasn’t been on the actual cob. My routine is to use a knife to slice off all the kernels and mix them with something else. Tomatoes and black beans are two of my favorites.

I decided to try something new and made a blueberry corn salad with basil, quinoa, red onions and baby greens. This sweet and savory bowl was finished off with ricotta salata and chives. I tossed the mixture in lime vinaigrette. The salad was refreshing and had me thinking about how else to consume blueberries other than for breakfast or dessert.  
Blueberry Corn Salad
Blueberry Corn Salad

Serves 4

1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
3 ears corn, shucked
1 tablespoon +1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
1-1/2 cup blueberries
1/3 cup finely chopped red onions
1 handful baby greens
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata
2 tablespoons minced chives

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, cover and simmer until tender and the water has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on high heat.

Rub corn with 1 tablespoon olive oil and grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Let the corn cool slightly before slicing the kernels off the cob.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and remaining olive oil.

Combine the quinoa, corn, blueberries, red onions, baby greens, basil, ricotta salata and chives. Toss in the lime vinaigrette. Taste the salad and add more salt & pepper as desired before serving.

Sour Cherry Jam

Sour Cherry Jam
Last weekend a wave of laziness overcame my usual hyper-productive persona. Never one to shy away from a project, especially when it takes place in the kitchen, I just couldn’t find the motivation to do much with the containers of precious sour cherries that I bought at the farmers market. They weren’t on my list, but when I saw them, I had to have them. Fresh tart cherries are only around for a short time.

I probably should have celebrated those special cherries by baking them in a pie, but I didn’t want all that fuss or crust. Instead I made a small batch of sour cherry jam. I didn’t bother canning because I knew it wouldn’t take long for me to polish off that jar. I smeared the jam on toast, stirred it into yogurt and even ate it by the spoonful. The jam was delightfully sweet, and I will definitely be making it again.  
Sour Cherry Jam
Sour Cherry Jam

Makes about 1 cup

2 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted
1 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine the cherries, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, continuing to stir, until the jam has thickened. The jam will keep thickening as it cools. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

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