Monday, July 13, 2009

Ricotta-Stuffed Tomatoes

Here's an easy dinner idea for you. It scales up or down easily, comes together in minutes and makes for an appealing light supper. We ate ours with salad and whole-wheat crackers. These tomatoes would be a nice addition to a buffet table or potluck - they are good warm or at room temperature.

I used semi-crappy supermarket ricotta, so I dolled it up with grated fontina and parmesan; if you have access to ricotta cheese that actually tastes great on its own, no need to gild that lily. I used basil and parsley in the ricotta mixture, but you can substitute in any herbs you have on hand.

Ricotta-Stuffed Tomatoes
Serves 1 - this will easily scale up
  • 1 medium tomato (a little smaller than a baseball)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons grated cheese (any firm, flavorful cheese: parmesan, fontina, asiago, even cheddar)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of chopped herbs
  • handful of breadcrumbs, optional
  • olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400.

Cut the tomato in half, through the core end. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving a tomato shell. Sprinkle the tomato shell with salt and pepper.

Combine ricotta, cheese and herbs. Taste and adjust salt to taste. Fill the shells with ricotta mixture. Top with breadcrumbs, if you're using them. Drizzle the tomatoes with a little oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the tomatoes are a little softened. Wait at least 5 minutes to serve them as the ricotta will be very hot.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Drink of the Week: Perserverance

Wow, those two weeks sped by, didn't they? Sorry for being so remiss with my posting: it's just been crazy over here. I'm running my personal chef business, baking for (and selling at) a local farmers' market, working as a part-time chef at a retreat center and doing some human resources consulting (my "old" life raising its head every now and then). So posting has been taking a back seat to making a living.

Anyhoo, this week's cocktail gets us back in the swing of thing. Developed by A.J. Rathbun, it uses vodka, rose wine and maraschino liqueur. We don't have any vodka in the house, so I subbed in gin (shocker!) and everything came out great. The really nice thing about wine cocktails is that they don't give you a wallop like a straight-spirits cocktail. I am going to try making a few more of them, especially for weeknight sipping.

To see the story of this cocktail, check out A.J.'s blog post and his video on How2Heroes - linked below.

Perserverance Cocktail

Combine in an iced mixing glass:
  • 2 ounces rose wine (I used the dregs of a bottle of Kalmuck rose, wasn't too sweet)
  • 1 ounce vodka (I used Plymouth gin)
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • dash of Peychaud's bitters
Stir until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. I added a lemon twist to mine.

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