There is no finer time on the calendar than tomato season. I especially enjoy the many heirloom varieties available to us once more. I can be completely happy with a tomato sea salt and a little olive oil, but sometimes, I’m looking to make a tomato salad that is a little more robust. It seems that using mozzarella cheese along with tomatoes is so predictable, so I went with adding my homemade ricotta cheese, with wonderful results. It’s the right balance of creaminess against the slightly acidic tomatoes. It’s a match made in heaven !
From by the bay wishing you heirloom food memories!
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Fresh Ricotta
- 4 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 8 to 10 basil leaves
- 1 recipe fresh ricotta cheese or good quality store bought
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Assemble on a platter tomato slices. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Add teaspoons of ricotta cheese on top of tomatoes. Scatter basil leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Line a sieve with a dampened cheesecloth and place over a bowl to strain the cheese. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally. The mixture will start to separate in curds ( the thick part that is the cheese) and whey ( the thin liquid you drain off). Once that happens, pour into the sieve, catching the ricotta into the cheesecloth lined sieve. Let stand for 20 to 25 minutes letting the liquid drain off. Let drain depending how thick and moist you want. the longer it drains the thicker and drier the ricotta. Once drained, take the cheese out of the cheesecloth and store in a container in the refrigerator until ready to use. This will stay 3 to 4 days.
My grandparents farm had lots of fresh strawberries to pick. The strawberries would rarely last long enough to bake . I would say the same holds true today. But if you do find yourself with some berries this is the perfect morning treat. A moist muffin that is not too sweet. It’s the perfect start to a nice relaxing weekend morning!
From by the bay , wishing you berry food memories!
Ricotta Strawberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar, plus extra tablespoon to sprinkle on top of muffins
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
Preheat oven to 400 F. Take a 12 muffin pan and line with paper baking cups. Put tin to the side. In a bowl combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest. Add melted butter, ricotta cheese and stir. Add the eggs to the buttermilk , mix and pour into the flour mixture and combine. Add strawberries, mix and then fill each muffin liner about 3/4 filled. sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining sugar. Place tin on baking sheet and bake on the center rack for 20 to 25 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes then remove muffins to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or room temperature.
no-knead pizza dough for one pizza ( see recipe below)
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parimigano reggiano
2 -3 slices San Daniele proscuitto, in strips
Make pizza as directed below. Blanch peas, by tossing into boiling water for 1 minutes, then strain the peas and place in ice water to stop cooking. Once cooled, strain and dry and set aside as a pizza topping. Once pizza dough is rolled out top with ricotta, mozzarella, grated cheese and strips of prosciutto. Bake as directed. Before serving sprinkle with peas, lemon zest and some coarse sea salt. Serve immediately.
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the water and stir until blended (the dough will be very sticky). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 12 to 24 hours in a warm spot, about 70°.
2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and lightly sprinkle the top with flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Generously sprinkle a clean cotton towel with flour and cover the dough balls with it. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
4. Stretch or toss the dough into the desired shape, cover with toppings and bake on top of a very hot pizza stone or on a oiled baking sheet in a 500 degree F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes until dough is cripsy and golden brown.
I think of myself as a weekday warrior and weekend goddess. I spend the work week as a fashion warrior, working hard in a very competitive industry, living in Manhattan in a city of grey and black. The pace is fast. My weekend’s are a complete shift . I move from the city to the country, living by the bay. The water is majestic and calming. The landscape is filled with color. I move from working at the desk to creating in the kitchen . I travel to “by the bay” on fridays evenings by train. No matter what time I arrive, I’ll find the time to transition from weekday warrior to weekend goddess. The surest way to get there is getting into my kitchen and whip up a quick dinner after the commute to the house. One of my things to make is pizza. I have tried so many different pizza dough recipes and my favorite is the one from Jamie Oliver . I have adapted the technique to make the dough a little easier to prepare and as well as the clean up. This version also works well when using your home oven. I, like most home cooks, do not have my own wood burning pizza oven in my backyard. This recipe works perfectly using your oven. You must try this pizza dough and I’m sharing two favorite pizza toppings – but pizza toppings is definitely one of times you can really get creative and experiment. So have fun with this and hope it inspires the weekend goddess in each of you!
From by the bay wishing you the most creative food memories!
Basic Pizza Dough – adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe in “Jamie’s Italy”
Makes 2 – 17 inch pizzas
3 1/2 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo “00” flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4-ounce packets active dried yeast
1 teaspoon fine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
extra semolina flour , for rolling
In a measuring cup combine water, sugar , oil and yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes. In the meantime measure the flour and salt and combine in a large mixing bowl. Create a small well in the middle of the flour and add the ingredients from the measuring cup. Use a fork to swirl and combine incorporating as much of the liquid into the flour as you. Turn out the dough on to a clean work surface , with well floured hands start to knead the dough together. Knead until you have a smooth dough – about ten minutes. Place in a bowl tht has been wiped with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for about an hour. Remove plastic wrap and punch the dough down. Divde dough into 2 portions. Roll dough on on to a work surface floured with the semolina and roll out into a 17 inch circle with a rolling pin, continuing to use semolina so the dough does not stick to the work surface of rolling pin. Place onto a 17 inch oiled pizza pan. Use the topping of your choice and bake in a 500 degree F oven for approximately 10 minutes until baked.
The remaining portion of dough can be used immediately or keep in the refrigerator for up to two days. When ready to use remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before rolling out. You may also place in a plastic freezer bag and keep in the freezer for up to one month. Defrost on counter before rolling out.
Pizza La Luna
Makes 8 slices
1 portion pizza dough
3 cooked chicken sausage broken in small pieces
6 slow slow roasted tomatoes
½ cup crumbled Soft Colombo Gorgonzola
½ cup shaved pecorino
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
¼ cup caramelized onions
1 tablespoon olive oil plus to prep pan
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Spray pizza pan with olive oil. Roll out pizza dough into a 17” round to fit pizza pan and transfer dough to pan. Layer pizza with sausage, caramelized onions, gorgonzola, pecorino and rosemary. Drizzle very lightly with olive oil. Let rest 20 minutes. Place pizza in oven and
ake pizza on center rack until the crust is crisp and brown on bottom and the cheese is melted on top, about 10 minutes. Cut pizza into 8 slices.
Tip: Cut slightly cooled pizza with scissor.
Bianco Broccoli Rabe Pizza
Makes 8 slices
1 portion pizza dough
1 cup broccoli rabe
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan reggiano
1/2 cup grated percorino (using large hole grater)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Clean broccoli rabe, cutting off stems. Bring to boil large pot of water. Add broccoli rabe and blanche for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse broccoli rabe with cold water and let drain. Pat broccoli rabe dry with paper towels. In a medium saute pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add garlic and saute for one minute, add broccoli rabe and saute for 2-3 minutes until tender. Place to the side and cool. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. On a clean surface add some flour and roll out the pizza dough until it fits a 17″ pizza pan, presprayed with olive oil. Place dough on pan. Smooth layer of ricotta cheese across the pizza leaving 1/2 inch around the edges without the topping. Next add the broccoli rabe, scatter the parmesan cheese and the the grated percorino. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the pizza is brown. Slice and serve.