We Olive Recipe Contest Winner: Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella

I have exciting news! We Olive, a great olive oil shop with a location here in Paso Robles, recently hosted a Facebook contest. To enter, you had to submit a recipe that featured California Olive Oil – not too hard to do for me, given the obsession with Pasolivo Olive Oil in this household. I submitted one of my very favorite recipes, Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella……and I was selected as a finalist! That means I won a $100 gift certificate to We Olive as well as a great prize package centered around the Paso Robles Olive Oil Festival, which my mom and I have attended together every year since it started eight years ago!

 If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I posted a Panzanella recipe last summer. I am going to post the winning recipe here, because this recipe is new and improved with a better way of preparing the croutons – it makes a huge difference!

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Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Panzanella

Due to the bizarre weather we are having this year, I don’t feel too guilty posting this recipe so late in the season. While some tomato crops are well past their prime, some are just starting to come to fruition – WEIRD! If you’re one of the lucky ones who still has tomatoes on the vines, you need to introduce them to burrata before it’s too late!

If you haven’t had burrata before, please run to your nearest cheese shop and grab a tub. Burrata is a fresh mozzarella ball filled with mozzarella “rags” (pieces) and cream. It can be made with cow or buffalo milk, and it is creamy, silky, and buttery. It has a short shelf life and needs to be used within a couple days of being made. It is fabulous with crackers, crusty bread, tomatoes, basil, peaches, olive oil, or a combination of all of these…or just by itself (shh…I won’t tell!).

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Baked Potato with Oven-Roasted Broccoli

I’ve noticed something. Californians can be a LITTLE snobby about our weather. We’re all aware I do it (wahh it’s 70 and I’m cold wahh), it’s embedded in television shows (OC anyone? Californication? They’re in the pool all year!), and oh yeah, we can drive “to the snow,” just to visit. We’re ridiculous, and yet, I always get a kick out of telling my East Coasters about how I walked around town in a tank top in January (love you guys!).

Well, sometimes we get paid back for our holier-than-thou weather. When it rains here, we can’t deal. Traffic stops moving; crashes happen because what is this wet stuff falling from the sky?! And we get even more horrible things like floods and mudslides. Weather is dangerous, folks.

So you may have heard El Nino is in town, or so they say. Get ready for a week of humid, soggy, frizzy, business-busting weather. Please be careful out there on the roads, and if you can stay home and snug your pup, maybe roast up some delicious veggies to go along with it.

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Baby Bella Soup with Parmesan Croutons

mushrooms

Storm’s a blowin’ in California – we’ve got inches of rain on the way and severe wind warnings here in San Luis Obispo County.  I don’t know much about Harvest, but I feel like the remaining grapes must be blowing off the vines…there are tree branches down everywhere and the power is on and off.  Our driveway is even littered with paint that has literally been blown/power-washed off the fence.  Yikes.

So what does a terribly rainy day remind you of, besides for dangerous driving conditions and possible flooding?  To be honest, I’m considering popping open a bottle of wine – why not?  If you are not so inclined….soup is absolutely the next best thing!  Luckily we have propane out here in the country and my stove still works, because this is a delicious recipe for a miserable day.

mushroom soup

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Caprese Salad

caprese stack

I know making a Caprese Salad is probably nothing new to you.  There are probably millions of recipes just like this; I know you’ve seen probably 6,000 photos that look just like these.

However.

Let us not forget that Caprese Salad is a perfect light snack.  It is a perfect summer appetizer.  It is a perfect sandwich filling, spread out between a nice loaf of crusty bread.  It can be chopped.  In its skewered cherry tomato and Ciliegine (cherry-sized) mozzarella form, it becomes the cutest appetizer ever.  It can fill a small dish or an entire bowl.  It is healthy – tomatoes and olive oil are wonderful for your body, and fresh mozzarella is low-calorie and low-fat compared to many cheeses.

You get the idea – it’s versatile, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it.  Let’s begin.

caprese arial

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Breadless Bruschetta

bruschetta

You might argue that bread is what makes bruschetta – actually, I wouldn’t dispute that. However, sometimes, when you’ve been baking many delicious treats…containing lots of delicious butter, sugar, and flour…you realize you might want to cut back or you’re going to end up with a belly.  I won’t name any names.

Technically, this should be called a tomato salad.  But who wants to get technical?

This recipe is a way to get all the flavor of bruschetta without any of the guilt or empty calories – just the healthy stuff!  Also, it’s a great way to use up the delicious tomatoes that are probably abundant in your garden right about now.  It only takes about five minutes to make!

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