Tag Archives: ricotta

“Pasteria” with Balsamic Strawberries and Basil

I love ricotta, but I’ve never had truly fresh ricotta, so I decided to make my own.  It requires very little time, no special equipment, and few ingredients, so I was able to prepare it one evening, then drain it over night for use the next day.  I had no idea what I might make with it once it was finished, but that’s the story of my life right now.  How bad could it be to simply nibble on fresh ricotta sprinkled with sea salt and perhaps a drizzle of fruity extra virgin olive oil?  Of course, sprinkling it over a nice salad could be fabulous as well.  Perfectly simple, right?

Simple seems never to be in my repertoire.

With less than a week until Easter and no real plans for a holiday meal in the works, I decided to look for dessert recipes that included ricotta and almost immediately found quite a few for a traditional Easter Pie, or in some cases, Pasteria.  It’s like a cheesecake, but it’s made with ricotta and grain.  Although the grain is most often wheat, some recipes use rice.  Others are made with a crust and latticed top — but some are completely without either — and leave it to me to make one in the least traditional way possible, lacking crust, wheat, and candied fruit.

This small dessert is perfect for spring, or when berries are at their best.

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Nectarine Blondie Parfait

IMG_4434 Perhaps you’ve caught yourself doing this before:  you’re lost in thought — truly daydreaming about nothing in particular.  Then you wonder, “How in heck did I end up thinking about that?” and you proceed to trace back which thought led to what until you either figure it out (depending upon whether you have more patience than I do) or give up because in the long run, it truly doesn’t matter.

That’s the best way to describe how I ended up with these Nectarine Blondie Parfaits.  I’d seen Sunset magazine’s photo of “Chocolate Liliko’i Parfaits” ingredients layered deliciously in glasses, and wondered about the combination of flavors I’d use for a treat like that.  I just happened to have gelato, and had just finished making a batch of blondies.  Of course there were beautiful nectarines on my counter destined for a salad that I might also use.

And then there was a jar of Arequipe de Antano in the fridge.  Surely something good could come of a few of those ingredients if I stacked them nicely in a glass.

Right?

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Ricotta and Brown Sugar Gelato

IMG_4415 Quite some time ago, I came across a recipe in a magazine that I didn’t subscribe to but magically ended up in my mailbox each month, addressed to me.  It didn’t take long to realize the publication’s advertisements outweighed its content, but a two page piece featuring a local chef caught my eye as did his recipe for honey ricotta ice cream.   I’m more in the chocolate camp when it comes to ice cream, but once in a great while, a lighter flavor will temp me.  Rarely, if ever, will it be plain vanilla, however.  Sweet cream?  Yes.  Cream cheese?  Definitely.  It made sense that ricotta and honey would appeal to me, so I tore out the recipe and recycled the magazine.

The recipe sat among the other bits and pieces of paper that manage to hover near our telephone in the kitchen.  When looking for someone’s number, or trying to locate a coupon, I’d see the recipe and think, “I should make this…” and place it on the counter hoping that its presence would coerce me,  but it would get shoved back into the stack I removed it from, so never did.  There was the small matter of not owning an ice cream maker that could also be the culprit.  Not the old-fashioned hand-crank model my mother and I found at a garage sale for five bucks and which lost its novelty long ago.  No, I needed an electric model I could plug in and forget.

Years passed (honestly!) and I finally bought a Cuisinart with an extra freezing bowl so we could enjoy home made ice cream whenever we felt like it.  Ironically, the honey ricotta recipe disappeared, most likely falling victim to one too many sessions of being shoved into a drawer and out of sight when guests were expected, and then not retrieved.  It figures.

But I’ve not forgotten the idea of those flavors, and so finding myself with leftover ricotta from a recent gnocchi making session, I finally decided I’d try to recreate my lost recipe.  Of course all that entails is typing “honey ricotta ice cream” into my Google search box and voila!  A few hundred thousand ideas are at my fingertips.  Ah, but at some point, I’d decided to make gelato, so that reduced my options to just under 30,ooo.  What would we do without Google?

In the end, I compared three or four recipes merging a honey vanilla gelato with a ricotta gelato.  And guess what?

My gelato ended up with absolutely no honey in it.

Go figure.

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Home Alone with Baked Ricotta, Olives, & California Rose

It’s been a while since my husband and I have been home alone.  My mother stayed with us for six weeks after returning from her supposed to be permanent move to Virginia, and while we were on vacation, two of my sons traveled with us.  But my mother has found a place to live of her own, my older son is back at his place, and our teenager is visiting a cousin.  That means we have the entire house to ourselves.

Ahhh…

After my husband gets home from work, we’ve decided to either walk or swim some laps on alternate days.  Sounds more interesting than it actually is when you consider that the laps last about 10 minutes before tongues are lolling from our mouths in exhaustion.  Good thing there’s no one around to witness our inability to stick it out for a solid 30 minutes.  But to our credit, last night, we did work for 20 minutes, then feeling sorry for my husband, I decided we were done and walked the short distance to our house, dripping like drowned rats.  Dinner afterward is something light.  Well, lighter than normal, which means there are only two items on the plate instead of three.

Keeping with the “home alone” mood of things, I decided that an appetizer of sorts and something refreshing to sip on a pleasant summer evening after a dip helps make life seem a bit more glamorous.  Well, except for the part where we flopped on the couch and watched Harry Wilson’s War on a pay channel while we enjoyed our food.

But the food was excellent, and it just so happens that our light repast qualifies us for Blog Party #36:  Blogger’s Choice hosted by Stephanie, the Happy Sorceress of Dispensing Happiness, who is celebrating the third anniversary of Blog Party.  Three years is quite the accomplishment in the bloggosphere, if you ask me, so congrats, Stephanie!

Baked Ricotta with Herbed Olives and California Rose is my choice for a special get together when excellent flavor and little prep is required.  You can make it ahead, too, which means it’s even better.  To make it more than an appetizer that two can share, add a salad, and you’ll be satisfied.

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