I like pretty things. Guilty as charged.
I’d have to guess that most of us in the world do. Am I right or am I right? Who wouldn’t rather gaze at a burgeoning, flowering garden of spring tulips than a pile of sheet metal covered in dust? Well, unless the light is just right and we’re being all ultra edgy and hip and arty. Then the sheet metal would probably win.
Being a fan of ‘the pretty’ more often than not inspires me to take the longer route, whether it be by car or on foot. I avoid the drab and make time for the fab. And why shouldn’t I?
I realized this the other night when I was driving home from teaching my university kids. It was 10:45 p.m., it was dark, and true to every Tuesday night for the past few years, I jumped off of the freeway one stop before my exit and took the old highway road that winds along the base of the mountains and headed toward home.
The funny thing is the freeway sits right next to the old highway road, divided only by a steep hill. Ah, but that hill affords the most beautiful, 4 mile unobstructed view of the valley below and the mountains beyond plus a gander at the downtown skyline. It doesn’t matter which time of year it is, or even when it’s pitch dark, I still take that extra 10 minutes to get home because its just that much more…inspiringly pretty.
It’s so easy to forget to take time out to look around and find pleasure in the little things, the sights you see every day but don’t. really. see. I’m challenging you to take the long way around, the harder route, the longer path and see what you can see. And then be inspired by it.
Yesterday I spent most of the day photographing gorgeous hunks of the most savory cheeses paired with some cold and very drinkable summer beverages for a client of mine. While there was quite an assortment of cheeses, from crumbly and stinky (in all the right ways) to mellow and melty, the star of the day in my book is also the star of this salad.
This salad is pretty. And it’s look is no match for it’s taste. At the center of it’s loveliness is the creamy, deliciously unctuous burrata, a fine example of someone taking their passion for cheese and choosing the laborious approach, the longer route, to create something pretty awesome. And lovely too.
If you haven’t had the chance to try burrata, you HAVE to put it on this year’s bucket list. Burrata is a fresh cheese with an outer shell of soft mozzarella that encases a center of mozzarella plus cream to produce an incredibly soft texture that nearly melts on the tongue. It’s like the Cadbury egg of cheeses.
There was no way the burrata wasn’t going to be emjoyed for dinner, so with a quick scope of the crisper and a few slices of the knife, veggies were roasted, the salad was pulled together and photos were taken. It may have been the fastest shoot I’ve ever done because I couldn’t wait to eat it, and keeping my husband’s paws off the goods was a feat upon itself what with him walking back and forth and picking at what was left of the ball of cheese on the counter.
The ingredients are beyond easily adaptable and the only priority is a really great extra virgin olive oil to top the high grade burrata.
Another great recipe option is to move the dish from the bowl to the appetizer plate. Just make mini toasts and top with the ingredients used in the salad in smaller portions, and wa-la, crave-worthy appies for guests. Or hungry husbands who can’t wait for dinner.
- Remove burrata from container and let rest to drain.
- Place tomato slices and asparagus spears on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt and roast in oven set to broil for 5 minutes or until asparagus becomes soft and tomatoes begin to brown. Thicker stalks of asparagus will take longer to roast. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Top french bread slices with a drizzle of olive oil and toast in oven or toaster oven.
- Tear pieces of french bread slices and burrata into chunks or sections. Layer in a bowl with tomato, proscuitto, arugula and fresh basil leaves and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with pepper and salt.
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