Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Mint and Pine Nuts

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Mint and Pine Nuts

The last few weeks of work have been some of the most exciting and unpredictable I’ve ever had. I started working four days a week at the restaurant, which has been a roller coaster of an adjustment. When I was going in one day a week, I would spend the afternoon on whatever prep tasks were most pressing and then would work with another cook on the line during service. My days last week had a similar structure, but with more emphasis on actually learning the process of running the station from afternoon prep through service and clean-up.

This week, I switched to the a.m.-prep shift, which is technically mostly in the afternoon. I work from 8 a.m. to around 6 p.m. cooking sauces, frying garlic, cleaning carrots, and doing a bunch of other things that need to be done before the doors open for dinner. The prep shift has a much different feel, without the unpredictable, adrenaline-fueled rush of service, but it will allow me to be exposed to more new things in an atmosphere that’s more conducive to learning. It’s been incredible and my head is still spinning trying to make sense of everything I’m experiencing.

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Mint and Pine NutsAs if all of that weren’t thrilling enough, the restaurant got HUGE news on Tuesday. I really have no good way to drop this in casually, which is why I’ve been stalling and talking about myself for the last two paragraphs. Bon Appetit named Rose’s Luxury (a.k.a. “the restaurant”) the best new restaurant in America.  We were all ecstatic but struggling to comprehend what that meant after the announcement on Tuesday. Since I’ve never worked at another restaurant, I probably have the least perspective. I already knew Rose’s was an incredible place —  everything written about Aaron’s focus on making guests and employees happy is absolutely true —  but this will certainly add a new level of intensity and focus to everything we do. I couldn’t be happier to be along for the ride.

I have a million more thoughts and feelings, but I think that’s enough for today. Now, a salad.

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Mint and Pine Nuts

Sweet, summer tomatoes and indecently rich burrata are absolutely the stars here, but they have a strong supporting cast. Basil would have been my go-to herb for a salad like this not so long ago, but I’ve realized that mint is just as versatile and adds a fresh, less-expected flavor. Thinly sliced red onion adds crunch and a tiny bit of heat. Pine nuts add an addictive depth of flavor, like they do in pesto. The best bites are the ones with a little of everything.

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Mint and Pine Nuts… 

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Plum Galette

Plum Galette with a Buckwheat Crust

I didn’t realize that I’d been giving all my stone fruit love to peaches and nectarines this year. I can’t seem to avoid walking out of every grocery store or market I visit with a bag of them. But no plums. I’ve been unintentionally neglecting them. I’ve been passing on cartons of the big, dark purple ones for weeks. Luckily, I saw a basket of these little red beauties and immediately decided they were coming home with me.

buckwheat crust plums

Since baked fruit and buttery pastry are two of my favorite dessert things – and I didn’t have quite enough fruit to fill a pie – a galette was the answer. It seems like whenever I see a galette recipe, it includes a comment about how galettes are the perfect pie alternative for summer. They are, allegedly, simpler and easier and less fussy.  I’ve never found this argument to be particularly compelling – you’re still dealing with pie dough – but it is nice to roll out one big round of dough instead of two.

Plum Galette with a Buckwheat Crust

As far as I’m concerned, the one drawback of galettes is that some recipes instruct you to fold over only a narrow border of crust, leaving you with a low crust-to-fruit ratio. Anything less than a two-inch border is insufficient. Bigger border=more flaky crust.

Plum Galette with a Buckwheat Crust

A bit of buckwheat flour gives the crust a nutty flavor, which I love, and a slightly-heartier-but-still-dessert-appropriate texture. Sprinkling a mixture of ground almonds, sugar, and flour on the crust before arranging the fruit serves as a barrier to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy and creates a delicious, frangipane-like filling to complement the fruit. Any stone fruit would be a perfect substitute for the plums in this recipe, whether it’s your favorite, one you’ve been neglecting, or whatever happens to be on your counter.

Plum Galette with a Buckwheat Crust

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Fresh Corn Cakes with Tomato, Avocado, and Basil Vinaigrette

Fresh Corn Cakes with Tomato, Avocado, and Basil Vinaigrette

I’m heading off to Maine in a few hours and they can’t pass quickly enough (especially the part where I have to deal with the pile of dishes in the sink). It’s a very different type of excitement than I felt six weeks ago, heading off to the other side of the world to catch… 

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Mint Lemonade Slushies

Mint Lemonade Slushies

Oh, hi there. It’s been a while, but I promise I didn’t forget about you. I meant to mention that I was going on a two-week trip to India in one of the many posts I had planned to write and then set to publish in my absence. But then things got sort of busy… 

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Rhubarb Torte with Ginger and Orange

Rhubarb Torte with Ginger and Orange

To continue the theme of classic recipes and family favorites from last week, this torte is none other than a seasonal spin on Marian Burros’s Plum Torte. I grew up knowing it as my mom’s plum cake. She never included the cinnamon or lemon in the topping. She usually made a few at a time and… 

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Antipasto Pasta Salad

Antipasto Pasta Salad

Sorry about the tongue twister of a recipe title today. You can call it orzo salad to make things easier. That’s what my mom calls the original version, though I now see that it was officially called Orzo and Artichoke Salad. She scanned the yellowed magazine clipping for me a few years ago when I… 

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Almond Raspberry Breakfast Twist Bread

Almond Raspberry Breakfast Twist Bread

A few weeks ago, I did something that I’d been thinking about doing for a while. I emailed my favorite restaurant in D.C. and asked if I could work in their kitchen. Well, “work” in the sense that I would do whatever they asked me to do, not in the sense of getting paid. For the… 

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