Friday, July 27, 2007

Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

The Recipes: First, a quick summer appetizer but ever so memorable! The roasted tomatoes warm the ricotta, leaving it extra-creamy and slightly garlicky. What an appetizer! Or, how about this? Just pour a glass of crisp, cold white wine and call it dinner!

Second, Easy Radish Spread, a crowd favorite, familiar ingredients in a surprising combination. Last, Pita Crisps, yes, make them easily at home too!

The Conversation: If “you’ve got milk” then “you’ve got ricotta”. Yes, it’s that easy to make ricotta at home.

Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, a quick summer appetizer, warm ricotta topped with roasted cherry tomatoes. Scrumptious!
Easy Summer Recipes
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Got milk? We all recognize the slogan from the dairy industry’s ads featuring celebrities with milk-mustached upper lips.

But here’s a new version. “Got milk? Got ricotta.”

Yes, homemade fresh ricotta is as close as your refrigerator. It requires only a quart of milk and a lemon and is easy and inexpensive to make at home in just a few minutes.


HOMEMADE RICOTTA

Update: The recipe below is what I call "Skinny Ricotta". For more tips plus the recipe for an extraordinary "Creamy Ricotta" that uses buttermilk instead of lemon juice, check out my new recipe for How to Make Homemade Ricotta. Now here’s the recipe!

To make a cup of ricotta, heat a quart (4 cups) of whole or 2% milk in a large saucepan just to a gentle boil, stirring often at first and then continuously. Stir in the juice of a lemon (about two tablespoons; for lemon-scented ricotta, add the zest too). Over low heat, stir until small curds begin to form and the whey begins to separate. Turn off the heat and let rest for 15 minutes. Transfer to a colander lined with cheesecloth or paper towels, let drain for about 15 minutes, throw away the whey that collects underneath. Stir in about a teaspoon of kosher salt.

That's it, you've made ricotta! And this stuff is good! This is one of my richest appetizers but to my taste, is worth every single delicious calorie! Add a glass of crisp chilled white wine and call it “dinner”!


EASY RADISH SPREAD

In a food processor, whiz a half pound of trimmed red radishes, 3 green onions and 4 to 8 ounces of low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with pita crisps or fresh vegetables.


PITA CRISPS

Split mini pitas in half and arrange rough-side up on a baking sheet. Mist with olive oil or cooking spray, then sprinkle with favorite dried herbs or spice blends or a little good salt. Bake until just crisp at 350F. Where to find mini pitas? My favorite source is Trader Joe's.

HERBED RICOTTA with
ROASTED CHERRY TOMATOES

An easy summer appetizer
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, preferably some red, some yellow
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf, torn in half
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 cup ricotta, either commercial or homemade, see recipe at left or How to Make Homemade Ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Additional chopped herbs
  • Good bread for schmearing, sliced and toasted

Set oven to 325F. In a bowl, stir together tomatoes, oil, garlic, bay leaf and salt and pepper, until tomatoes are evenly coated with oil. (For a low-fat version, omit the tablespoon of oil but mist the tomatoes with olive oil.) Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven (there’s no need to wait for it to finish preheating). Stirring once or twice, roast the tomatoes for 45 minutes or until most of the tomatoes are just starting to pop but remain firm. Discard the bay leaf.

While the tomatoes roast, stir together the ricotta and herbs until smooth and mound on a serving dish. Let rest at room temperature while the tomatoes roast.

Top the ricotta with hot tomatoes, garlic and the roasting juices (don’t forget the roasting juices, they are lovely!) and garnish with additional fresh herbs. Serve with toasted bread slices. Serve while warm and enjoy!

ALANNA's TIPS The HERBED RICOTTA is an “appetizer to share” easily served from a common dish. But for an elegant presentation, make up individual small plates garnished with fresh herbs.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving (not including bread): 159 Calories; 12g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 52mg Sodium; 31mg Cholesterol. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4, WW PointsPlus 4
First published in print in 2007, republished online in 2013.

Such Easy Summer Appetizers!

(recipes above)
Homemade Ricotta Easy Radish Spread (above) Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (above)
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Love-Love-Love Summer Tomatoes

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Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad Tomato Basil Quiche Shakshuka (Eggs Nested in Summer Vegetables)



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Friday, July 13, 2007

Ratatouille Omelettes

Who's seen the new movie, Ratatouille? It's such a fun movie, for both kids and adults, and features -- get this! -- a rat who learns about life while learning how to make ratatouille (pronounced rat-a-TOO-ee), the classic French dish that's been a personal favorite for many years. Here, I share the recipe for a quick-cook ratatouille and wrap it in omelettes for a quick supper or hearty breakfast.

Ratatouille Omelettes

Ratatouille is fresh summer goodness flick-wise and food-wise for Little Chefs and big chefs both.

Last week I chose my words carefully with a 13-year old. “Do you like rat-a-TOO-ee?” Not unexpectedly, he was certain I meant this summer’s Disney hit movie and flashed a grin. “We haven’t seen it yet but we’re going to!” But when I asked if he knew that ratatouille is food, too, his eyes filled, as if the idea of ratatouille for supper meant eating, well, Wilbur or Bambi or Nemo.

So parents, here’s the chance to introduce the family to eggplant, whose plump globes are inexpensive and available year-round though especially beautiful from now through fall. Then head out to meet Remy, a wannabe chef and a most endearing rat. You’ll smile throughout, laugh out loud often, then emerge confident, yes, that "Anyone Can Cook".

ALANNA's TIPS Ratatouille is great tucked into thin omelettes but can also be served warm as a vegetable, cold as a salad, even slathered with goat cheese onto bread for a quick sandwich or appetizer. It keeps and even improves overnight so can be made in advance. I’ve never had trouble with bitter eggplant but if this is a worry, before cooking, sprinkle salt over the cubes and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. If needed, substitute half a small can of diced tomatoes, drained, for the fresh tomato. In the photo, note how beautifully the omelette has browned? The trick to getting good color in an omelette is just a tiny smidge of mustard. In 2002, my second Kitchen Parade column featured this long-time favorite recipe favorite for yes, Ratatouille.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite movie-inspired recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

QUICK SUPPER:
RATATOUILLE OMELETTES

A food hit worthy of a hit movie
Hands-on time: 20 minutes for the ratatouille plus 5 - 10 minutes per omelette
Makes enough ratatouille for 8 omelettes
    QUICK RATATOUILLE
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound eggplant, cut in ½” cubes
  • 1 zucchini, cut in ½“ cubes
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 tinned anchovies (optional for Nemo lovers and anchovy haters)
  • 1 large good tomato, chopped (see ALANNA’s TIPS)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
    PER OMELETTE
  • 1 large egg plus 1 or 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (see TIPS)
  • Salt to taste
    TO GARNISH, OPTIONAL
  • Grated Parmesan or another cheese
  • Snippings of fresh herbs

QUICK RATATOUILLE Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on medium high til shimmery. Add onion and garlic, cook til just soft. Add eggplant, zucchini, pepper and anchovies as prepped, stirring often. Add tomato and vinegar; let cook til vegetable are done and liquid cooked out. Season to taste and transfer to warm dish. Lightly wipe out skillet.

OMELETTES Whisk egg, egg white(s), water and mustard. For each omelette, heat same skillet on medium, add egg, swirl to cover entire bottom, sprinkle with salt, let cook until beginning to firm. Place a scoop of ratatouille on one half, then fold other half over top. Continue cooking another minute or two.

TO SERVE Sprinkle with cheese and herbs if using, and serve immediately.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Omelette: 178 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 10g Carb; 3g Fiber; 218mg Sodium; 247mg Cholesterol; 13g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 4, PointsPlus 5

Eggs for Breakfast, Eggs for Dinner

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Homemade Egg McMuffin Cooked in the Microwave Simple French Eggs Gashouse Eggs
Chilaquiles (Mexican Tortilla Breakfast) Refried Bean Sauce with Eggs on Top Bacon & Egg Breakfast Bake
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