Sunday, July 8, 2018

Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs

In a whirlwind trip to Michigan lasting just forty-eight short hours, I managed to do a little antiquing, go kayaking with my nephew, spend time at the beach, watch an unexpected fireworks show over the lake, go out on a morning photo expedition on a boat, stop at a blueberry farm, pick up some souvenirs and gifts, run four miles, picked up some incredible smoked salmon and sturgeon, and drive to one of the lighthouses on the shore of Lake Michigan. But the best part of the trip was being able to spend time with my sister, brother-in-law, and the kids. Now that my niece and nephew are all grown up and each live a thousand miles away, any time spent with them is time treasured. The weather could not have been more perfect. Which meant the time spent worrying about the rain forecasted for one of the days was for naught. I managed to bring up a bottle of wine my wine-connoisseur sister thought was AMAZING (and what a vindicating relief that was!). And as hectic as my travel day going up to the lake was (baking chocolate chip cookies, packing clothes and the cooler, and cheering on friends at Fourth of July race before making the four hour drive), it was an incredibly relaxing, re-energizing couple of days. Just being near water feels zen.

My sister and I have had the same conversation every year for the last twenty years I come up to the lake. It goes something like this. Me: "What can I bring?" Her: "Nothing, just yourself." Me: "Are you sure?" Her: "Yes, we have plenty of food."  What makes this predictable dialogue so hilarious is we both know I am not going to listen or take 'no' for an answer. So this year, in addition to bringing up these chocolate chip cookies, this hummus, and the wine, I decided I would pack up everything needed to make Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs. Considering my brother-in-law is the grill master in the family, they were destined to make for the most perfect Fourth of July dinner. Well perfect is a relative term in my family as everyone is a food critic. A rating of 8 or above on a 10 point scale is what one hopes for as giving anything a 10 would be akin to finding a unicorn. But in all honesty, these kebobs should become one of the weeknight meal traditions at the lake going forward. Note to self: Buy my sister some metal skewers for Christmas this year.

If you are someone who loves chicken, especially grilled chicken, you are going to flip over these Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs. They are incredibly flavorful, tender, moist, mouthwatering bites of pure deliciousness. They have the potential to become habit forming. 

The secret to chicken kebob's moistness and flavorfulness is the marinade. A mixture made with olive oil, (bottled) ranch dressing, kosher salt, black pepper, sugar, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and freshly chopped rosemary. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1" to 1.5" cubes soak in the marinade for four to six hours. Using a ziplock bag for the marinating process makes clean up so easy. Note: Out of convenience, I assembled the marinade before I made the four hour road trip, putting it in the cooler along with the boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not yet cut up). Once I arrived at the lake cottage, I cubed the chicken and added it to the marinade. 

When buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts, look for ones on the larger size. If the Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs are going to be the main course, plan on half-pound servings for normal appetites and three-quarters of a pound for heartier appetites. Cut each chicken breast lengthwise into strips, then cut each strip into cubes. Note: I was able to get three strips from each chicken breast.

Thread the marinated chicken cubes on a metal skewer and place on a medium-high heat grill. Cooking time for the kebobs ranges from 10-14 minutes or until the inside of the chicken is no longer pink. Turn the kebobs over once so there are grill marks on both sides of the chicken. Grill slices of lemon while the grilled kebobs are resting. The lemon slices will grill up quickly. Keep them on the grill only until you have grill marks on either side of the slices. Arrange the Ranch, Rosemary, and Lemon Chicken Kebobs on a large platter and garnish with the grilled lemon slices and some sprigs of fresh rosemary.

Either this Lemony Potato Salad or this Calico Coleslaw would be a great compliment to the kebobs. Open a bottle or two of your favorite wine and you have a perfect, stress-free family and/or friends dinner. We are talking seriously perfect entertaining food.

Ranch, Rosemary, and Grilled Lemon Chicken Kebobs (slight adaptation to a recipe on Allrecipes)
Serves 6-8

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup good quality bottled ranch dressing
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
6 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1" to 1.5" cubes (approximately 3 3/4 to 4 pounds)
2 lemons
Several springs of fresh rosemary (optional)

1. In a large ziplock bag, combine the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Seal bag and shake to combine.
2. Add chicken cubes to the marinade and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
3. Thread 5 to 6 pieces of chicken on each skewer (recommend using 12" metal skewers). Discard marinade.
4. Heat grill to medium-high. 
5. Grill chicken skewers for 10-14 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
6. Cut lemons in half inch slices. Place lemon slices on grill. Grill until there are grill marks on each side of the lemon.
7. Place cooked skewers on a platter. Garnish with grilled lemon slices and rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.

Notes: (1) Highly recommend using metal versus wooden skewers. However, if you use wooden skewers make sure you soak them in warm water for 20-30 minutes to prevent burning. (2) If any leftovers remain, remove the grilled chicken from the skewers and store in a sealed container. The chicken heats up beautifully in the microwave. (3) If making these kebabs for 3 to 4 people, cut the recipe in half. (4) I used Hidden Valley Ranch dressing in the marinade. 

Petite Point Au Sable Lighthouse (Little Sable Point Lighthouse) as sunset approached. Mears, Michigan, constructed in 1874 (July 2018)

Monday, July 2, 2018

Blueberry Thyme Galette

Happy July! Have you already made plans for celebrating the 4th of July?  Wherever and whoever you spend the holiday with I hope it's fun filled. This year we will be joining my sister and her family for a few days at the resort in Michigan my brother-in-law's family has been staying at for more than fifty years. This 4th of July week tradition is so treasured in this family I have every reason to believe my niece and nephew will continue it when they have families of their own someday. 

On my way back home at the end of week I will be making numerous stops at the farm stands and fruit farms to bring home some freshly picked berries. Raspberries, blackberries, and especially blueberries are the three things on the top of my must-bring home 'souvenirs'. 

Because we are binging on blueberries here. And this is one heck of a bing worthy blueberry galette. One comprised of a dough made with vodka, a cream cheese layer hiding under luscious berries, and fresh thyme mixed in with the blueberries requires more than a dozen adjectives to describe it. And even that may not be enough do it justice. So I will simply say, with a high degree of certainty and a little less humility, this Blueberry Thyme Galette may be one of the BEST galettes I have ever made. 

A galette is a free form French pastry similar in concept to a pie or a tart. Neither fancy nor homey, a galette instead has a more rustic appearance. With homemade dough rolled out and draped over the filling, it is a forgiving pastry. Yet, there is an understated beauty in its' simplicity. Rather than make the rustic version of this Blueberry Thyme Galette, I decided to give it a bit of a tart-like, patriotic look. 

The cream cheese layer in this galette is pure genius. Hidden underneath a layer of berries tossed in lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, cornstarch, and fresh thyme leaves, it adds.....  But let me talk about the blueberry mixture for a second. The addition of fresh thyme leaves adds an incredible flavor dimension to the galette. If you are at all considering omitting them, please don't. Honestly, blueberries and thyme leaves are a match made in heaven. 

The supple, easy to roll out dough for this galette....well, let's just say I may never, ever, not in my lifetime use another dough recipe again. From it's unbaked to baked texture to its rich, buttery flavor, this dough (aka pate brisee) is nothing short of pastry perfection. The use of European butter (because higher fat content is always better in pastry) and ice cold vodka (don't we all keep our vodka in the freezer?) are two of its' essential ingredients. Even in this extremely hot weather, this dough rolled out beautifully after resting in the refrigerator for slightly less than an hour. Once it was rolled out and shaped into the pastry ring, I returned it back to the refrigerator while I made the cream cheese mixture and blueberry filling. 

This galette would be delicious without the cream cheese layer. But unless there wasn't any cream cheese in the house, I am not sure I could make this Blueberry Thyme Galette without it. 

Slightly more than one pint of blueberries are used to make the filling. Instead of making it blueberries, you could use a mixture of blueberries and blackberries.

After giving the dough an egg wash and sprinkling with sanding sugar, the tart bakes in a preheated 450 degree (F) oven for 40-45 minutes (baking time might be slightly longer if made in a tart pan or pastry ring).

Serve this galette slightly warm or room temperature. It's equally delicious either way. Serving it with some vanilla ice cream isn't really necessary. But don't let me stop you.

As hot as the weather has been here lately, this Blueberry Thyme Galette was definitely worth turning on the oven for. If you are hosting or going to a gathering while blueberries are in season, put this galette at the top of your must make-bring desserts!

Blueberry Thyme Galette (filling for this galette was inspired by the Summer Blueberry Galette recipe in the July/August 2018 edition of Yankee Magazine)
Serves 6-8

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for rolling out dough
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, very chilled or slightly frozen
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup ice cold vodka
1 egg and 2 Tablespoons water, cream, or milk (for crust)
2 Tablespoons Sanding Sugar or Demerara Sugar (for crust)

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
15 - 16 ounces fresh blueberries
1 1/2 Tablespoons of cornstarch (or all-purpose flour)
Zest of one lemon
Juice from half of a lemon
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4-5 thyme sprigs, leaves removed and stems discarded

Vanilla Ice Cream, optional

1. Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes. Freeze at least 30 minutes or overnight.
2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to blend.
3. Add in butter cubes one at a time. Briefly pulsing until butter is size of very small peas.
4. Pour the vodka through the feed tube in a steady stream while constantly pulsing until dough begins to come together. Note: Without over mixing if the dough is not coming together, add ice cold water one Tablespoon at a time.
5. Turn dough out a lightly floured surface. From into a round disk. (Note: Dough is slightly wet and more elastic than most recipes.)
6. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. If dough is refrigerated overnight, remove and allow to sit out for 5-10 minutes before rolling.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to an 1/8" thickness, working from the center outward. Roll to a 13" circle (if making a free form galette) or roll out to a 11" circle if placing in a 9" tart pan or pastry ring. 
8. Place dough on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator to allow the dough to slightly firm up while you are mixing the filling and berries. (Note: If making the galette in a tart pan or pastry ring, line with parchment paper before placing in the dough.)

1. Put the cream cheese in a medium sized mixed bowl. Beat briefly.
2. Add in the confectionary sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and pinch of sea salt. Blend on medium-high speed until smooth. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine the blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and thyme.
4. Pour and spread the cream cheese mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a 2" border at the edges if making a free form galette. Top the filling with the blueberry mixture.
5. Use your hands or a bench scraper to fold the edges of the pastry over the filling, folding and pleating the dough as needed. The free form galette will be approximately 9" across and look rustic.
6. Brush the dough with the milk/egg mixture. Sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar or demerara sugar.
7. Place in a preheated 400 degree (F) oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, approximately 40-45 minutes. (Note: Baking time for the galette made in tart pan or pastry ring could be as long as 50 minutes.)
8. Let galette cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature with or without vanilla ice cream.

Notes: (1) If you want your galette to look rustic, it might look like this one. (2) I made this galette using a 9" pastry ring. When placing the rolled out dough into the pan, I turned down the sides of the dough to create a more stable edge. There was just enough dough to make about a dozen small star cut-outs. (2) Instead of an egg and milk mixture for the pastry wash, I used an egg white and heavy cream. Thus my baked galette was not as 'dark' as I wanted it to be. Next time I will definitely use a whole egg and heavy cream, milk, and/or water mixture as the glaze to brush on the crust.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Blueberry Crumb Bars

The month of June is flying by, making me feel like my perception of time is a bit distorted. With Fourth of July already next week, store retailers will soon begin making us think about the fall and winter or social media posts counting down the number of days to certain holidays. Yikes! What ever happened to savoring the season we are in? Just last week all of the herbs and perennials were finished being planted, the hanging baskets filled with flowy ferns were hung, and candles were put in all of the outdoor lanterns. I don't know about you, but this year, I am going to give summer all of the love and respect it deserves. I refuse to be rushed. Which means, amongst other things, the really cool, comfy hoodie and sweatpants I bought (had to have actually) in Martha's Vineyard will just have to wait to be worn until there is a chilly summer night (fingers crossed we have a couple of those this year). And, if for some reason I can't wait to wear them, I suppose I could always put them on and hangout in our chilly basement. Considering I am usually dripping wet after yoga and running, I doubt seriously you will find me sitting out on my back deck wearing my yet to worn Martha's Vineyard attire. The concept of patience and common sense sometimes creeps into my life every now and then.

If there is one fruit I look forward to eating and baking with every summer, other than peaches, it's blueberries. Big, ripe, sweet, beautiful blueberries. It might be my imagination, but summer blueberries look and taste different than the ones found in the grocery stores during those other 'we won't mention their names' seasons.

Apparently I love blueberries so much there are already sixteen recipes on the blog using them! These Blueberry Crumb Bars will bring that blueberry love number to seventeen. The more the merrier for any and blueberry lovers!

There is nothing fussy about making crumb bars. They pack all of the delicious flavor of a pie but without all the labor of love involved in the making of and rolling out a homemade crust. Although sometimes the urge to make a pie is too strong to resist. However, on those days where you crave the taste of homemade dough and baked fruit, and you don't have the time to make pie dough, make a crumb bar. Hey, make these crumb bars!

These Blueberry Crumb Bars are made with FRESH blueberries. Which means you can only make and enjoy them for as long as the blueberry season lasts where you live. 

The crust for these Blueberry Crumb Bars has a kind of, sort of close resemblance to shortbread. Once baked, it's dense and melt in your mouth sugary perfect. The dough for the crust is made in a (large) food processor. If you don't have one, it can be made in a bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter. Whichever method you use, you want your dough to be slightly moist, yet crumbly.

The juice and zest of one lemon gives the blueberry mixture some tartness, the sugar adds a little sweetness, the cornstarch acts as the thickening agent, and the cinnamon brings some warmth to the flavor of the blueberry layer in these crumb bars. Personally, I love pairing cinnamon with blueberries, but it's a completely optional ingredient. If you are a blueberry crumb bar purist, skip it. 

Two thirds of the dough is pressed into the bottom of a pan lined with parchment paper. To make things easier, I usually weigh out the dough and then divide it out. Once two thirds of the dough is pressed into bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan, the blueberry mixture is spread evenly over it. Rather than drop handfuls of the remaining dough on top of the fruit mixture, I like to squeeze some pieces of the dough together to help create a more textured finish to the crumb bars.

The Blueberry Crumb Bars bake in a preheated 400 degree (F) oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top layer is golden brown and the berries underneath are bubbling. Baking the crumb bars at a high heat helps to create a more 'crunchy' base and top. I had vacillated between baking them at 350 degrees (F), 375 degrees (F) and 400 degrees (F). After tasting them, I was so happy I trusted my instincts and went with the 400 degree (F) baking temperature. They came out perfect!

Allow the Blueberry Crumb Bars to cool completely before cutting them. They are actually easier to cut after they spend some time chilling in the refrigerator (at least four hours or up to overnight). 

I would say these Blueberry Crumb Bars are really good at room temperature, but they are GREAT chilled. So if you plan to make them for a picnic or next week's Fourth of July gathering, keep them well wrapped in a cooler. 

One of the best things about these Blueberry Crumb Bars is their versatility. They are great as an afternoon snack or dessert, but they are absolutely perfect for breakfast. Imagine starting one of your treasured summer days with a cup of coffee or tea and one of these heavenly Blueberry Crumb Bars. You may never want summer to come to an end. 

Blueberry Crumb Bars
Makes 24 two-inch squares

3 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top of bars before baking)

4 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Finely grated zest of one lemon
Juice from one fresh lemon
pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1. Stir together the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl.

Crust and Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Prepare a 9"x13" baking pan with non-stick spray and parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt.
3. Pour dry ingredients into the bowl of a large food processor and add butter. Process until mixture looks crumbly.
4. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla to the flour/butter mixture. Process until the dough starts to come together.
5. Press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan.
6. Pour the blueberry mixture over the dough layer.
7. Sprinkle the remaining one-third of dough over the top of the berries. Note: Squeeze small amounts of the dough as you sprinkled to create a bumpy textured finish to the bars.
8. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar over the top.
9. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown and berries look thickened.
10. Place baking pan on a cooling rack. Let the bars cool completely in the pan. Cover and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
11. Remove the blueberry crumb bar slab from the pan. Cut into either squares or bars in desired size. 
12. Serve bars chilled. Store any uneaten bars covered in the refrigerator.

Notes: (1) If you don't want to make the full 9"x13" pan version, cut the recipe in half and use an 8"x8" baking pan. Baking time will be reduced to 30-35 minutes for this sized pan. (2) You can cut the bars after they have cooled to room temperature completely, but they are so much easier to cut after they have chilled.

Azaleas blooming in Little Compton, RI (June 2018)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Grilled Stone Fruit, Prosciutto, and Burrata Crostini

Happy first day of summer! The season of days of endless sunshine, backyard gatherings and barbecues, long lines at the ice cream shops, outdoor concerts, flourishing gardens, picnics, and farmer's market tables abundant with fresh fruits and vegetables has finally arrived. Other than days with high heat and humidity or the occasional days of rain, what is not to love about summer? Some say everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.

Almost everything tastes better in the summer. Particularly fruits and vegetables. Knowing the season of blueberries, strawberries, cherries, plums, and peaches is short, it's not surprising fruits begin to creatively find their ways into appetizers, salads, as well as, desserts. Three years ago it was the Grilled Peach and Burrata Salad we couldn't get enough of here. Last year the Peach, Tomato, and Burrata Caprese Salad with Basil Drizzle made regular, sometimes, weekly appearances. Even I had to wonder if I knew how to make any other kind of salad. 

This year these Grilled Stone Fruit, Prosciutto, and Burrata Crostini will be another one of the ways I will showcase the deliciousness of the intoxicating taste of ripe peaches and nectarines. Not only do these crostini make great hearty appetizers, they are so versatile they would work well as a light meal. But here's the catch. They beg to be accompanied by a glass or two of wine or prosecco. So if you were looking for a reason to open and share a bottle of our favorite beverage, you now have one!

This is one of those 'not an exact science' recipes. In other words, the kind of recipe where you aren't weighing or measuring everything out. You could almost make them by just looking at a photo. So the recipe below is only meant to give you some guidance. There is no one right or best way to assemble these crostini as the presentation for these Grilled Stone Fruit, Prosciutto, and Burrata Crostini lends itself to lots of creativity and versatility. Your version might look entirely different than mine.

I couldn't resist buying both nectarines and peaches this week. Originally I intended to make these crostini using only the peaches. Then I thought why not use a combination of both peaches and nectarines. Next time I make them I might use only peaches or only nectarines or return to what I will call the 'original' peach-nectarine aka stone fruit combination. Any of these options will work. Fruit indecisiveness aside, I definitely wanted these crostini to be topped with grilled versus freshly cut fruit. (If you haven't yet tasted grilled stone fruit, you are in for an added treat!) And again, you could make these crostini using either grilled fruit (this gets my vote) or freshly sliced fruit. I would encourage you to make them with grilled fruit at least once as there is nothing quite like the taste and flavor of grilled stone fruit.

One of the best things about having a farmer's market in the town where I live is having access to some incredible freshly made breads. The baguettes are irresistible. But wherever you buy your baguettes, look for ones with a dense, sturdy crumb. The 'soft inside' baguettes don't work as well in the making of crostini. I prefer cutting my baguettes in half inch slices on the diagonal versus rounds. However, you can make these crostini using bread cut either way. 

After lightly brushing olive oil on both sides of the bread, put them on the grill to char and crisp. (See note below for an oven preparation.) The bread doesn't need to be warm when you serve these crostini, so you could make up the bread slices earlier in the day but store in an airtight container. If the weather is humid on the day you are planning to make Grilled Stone Fruit, Prosciutto, and Burrata Crostini you might want to first grill the bread, then grill the fruit.

Like summer fruits and vegetables, I can't seem to get enough burrata either. Once a somewhat hard to find cheese, it's now very accessible in many grocery stores. 

After spreading some of the burrata over the grilled bread, top first with a piece of very thinly sliced prosciutto, then with the grilled stone fruit of your choice. Note; Depending on the size of your prosciutto slices, you either cut them into halves or thirds.

A drizzle of balsamic glaze and julienned fresh basil are the crostini's finishing touches. For an added 'wow' presentation factor, serve these crostini on a large white platter. 

The Grilled Stone Fruit, Prosciutto, and Burrata Crostini may be the most impressive, simple, delicious appetizer you make all summer. Luscious grilled peaches and/or nectarines, freshly grilled bread, salty prosciutto, tart-sweet balsamic glaze, and creamy burrata make for the most amazing sweet-savory flavor eating experience. When served on a large white platter they make rustic look elegant. Destined to be one of those 'disappearing' appetizers, they are yet another reason to love summer.

Grilled Stone Fruit, Prosciutto, and Burrata Crostini
Makes 20-22 pieces

2-3 stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, and/or a combination of both), each cut into 8-10 wedges (depending on size)
1 french baguette, sliced on the diagonal in 1/2 inch slices
Olive oil, for brushing bread and fruit
8 ounces burrata, sliced
6-8 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced (cutting each slice into halves or thirds)
Balsamic Glaze, for drizzling
3-4 basil leaves, julienned 

1. Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil. Place on a heated grill pan or outdoor grill setting bread on the diagonal. Grill bread until golden on both sides (approximately 2 minutes per side). Set aside.
2. Brush peach and/or nectarine wedges with olive oil. Place wedges on a heated grill pan or outdoor grill. Grill until fruit has grill marks on both sides (approximately 1-2 minutes per side).
3. Spread some burrata cheese over the top of each bread slice.
4. Place a piece of the prosciutto on one side of the bread and two pieces of the grilled fruit on the other. Place crostini on serving platter.
5. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the finished crostini. Scatter the julienned basil over the crostini. 
6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes: (1) Instead cutting the stone fruit into wedges, cut in half and remove pit. Brush each half with olive oil and place on heated grill. Grill fruit halves until slightly charred (3-4 minutes). (2) Use fresh fruit slices instead of grilled ones. (3) Instead of burrata could use goat cheese. Whip 8 ounces of goat cheese with 2 Tablespoon of whipping cream until creamy and spreadable. (4) If you can't find balsamic glaze, bring one cup of balsamic vinegar over medium-high heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the vinegar has reduced to 1/4 cup and is thickened and glossy (approximately 15-20 minutes of cooking time). Remove from heat and let cool before using. (5) If you don't have a grill available, make the crostini a preheated 400 degree (F) oven. Bake slices for 12-15 minutes or until crisp.