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Archive for August 4, 2016

TIP OF THE DAY: Build-Your-Own No-Cook Summer Dessert Bowl

Easy Ricotta Summer Dessert

Sheep's Milk Ricotta

Wasa Sesame Sea Salt Thins

Wasa Thins

[1] Lay out the ingredients for the easiest DIY dessert. [2] Ricotta salata, made in a mold, is salted. It’s better for a DIY with savory toppings (photos courtesy Good Eggs). [3] and [4] Crunchy Wasa Thins in Sesame & Sea Salt, also available in Sea Salt & Rosemary (photos courtesy Wasa).

 

You may know ricotta from cannoli and cheesecake. They’re delicious desserts, but require some preparation.

For summer, there’s another option: The 5 Minute Ricotta Dessert Bowl, as created by Good Eggs, a top-quality online grocer in San Francisco.

Yes, in just five minutes you can set ingredients on the table, DIY-style, and everyone can have fun (and good nutrition!) customizing their bowls.

  • In addition to dessert, you can set out the spread for breakfast, light lunch or a sophisticated snack.
  • You can make a savory version, for breakfast, light lunch, snack or a first course at dinner.
  •  
    RECIPE: DIY RICOTTA BOWLS

    Ricotta is actually not a cheese but a by-product of cheese-making which uses the whey drained from other cheeses. Whey is the watery part of milk that remains after the formation of the curds. In fact, the name means “re-cooked.” Here’s more ricotta information.

    You can even make your own ricotta at home. Here’a a recipe from Williams-Sonoma.

    Turn it into a build-your-own dessert—no cooking, no heat, cool comfort food.

    Ingredients For 4-6 Servings

  • Ricotta (the best you can find, 4 ounces per person)
  • Berries or other fruits
  • Nuts and seeds of choice; granola
  • Sweetness: agave or honey for drizzling
  • Optional: crème fraîche, yogurt, sour cream; for dessert, mascarpone
  • Bonus: chocolate chips, candied orange peel, dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, raisins)
  • Crackers: flatbread (we used the new Sesame Sea Salt Thins from WASA), or other cracker of choice.
  •  
    Savory Ingredient Options

    Use the same nuts/seeds, yogurt/sour cream and crackers, plus:

  • Ricotta and/or ricotta salata (photo #2)
  • Carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, green onions, radishes and/or other vegetables of choice, sliced
  • Fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, parsley)
  • Hot sauce
  • Shichimi togarashi or other spice blend
  • More: capers, sliced olives, roasted red peppers, etc.
  •  
    HAVE A RICOTTA TASTING

    Set out different brands, from big commercial brands or the store brand, to freshly-made ricotta from the cheese department.

    Taste each type plain: just a spoonful.

     
    Sheep’s Milk Ricotta

    Good Eggs uses Bellwether Farms Sheep’s Milk Ricotta in this recipe. In Italy, Sheep’s milk ricotta is preferred over any other for its delicate flavor and texture. If you can find it, grab it.
     
    MORE WAYS TO USE RICOTTA

    Use it both sweet and savory dishes, including stuffed pasta (lasagna, manicotti, ravioli, shells, etc.).

  • Ricotta For Breakfast
  • Ricotta For Lunch, Dinner & Dessert
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    RECIPE: Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe?

    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Violet Bakery Cookbook

    [1] The best cookies use jumbo chunks of top-quality chocolate (photo courtesy Good Eggs | San Francisco). [2] Here’s the cookbook
    (photo courtesy Ten Speed Press).

     

    May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day…and so is August 4th.

    It may be that one is simply Chocolate Chip Day, and the other Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Emails for clarification have not been answered.

    But who would complain about a second Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?
     
    WHAT IS “THE BEST?”

    In subjective areas (as opposed to who crossed the finish line first), “the best” is in the eye of the beholder…or more accurately, on the palate.

    You know what you like. If you’re still searching for CCC* perfection, consider this recipe. The only challenge: finding room in the freezer for the cookie sheet!

    RECIPE: VIOLET BAKERY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    Ingredients For 16 Large Cookies

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips†
  • Parchment paper
  • __________________
    *Chocolate Chip Cookie!

    †We use Callebaut or Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks.
     
    Preparation

    1. LINE a small baking sheet or pan—one that will fit inside your freezer—with parchment paper.

    2. BEAT the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined but not too creamy. You are not aiming for light and fluffy; that would make the cookies too cakey. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks and mix well.

     
    3. COMBINE the flour, salt and baking soda in another bowl and whisk together well. Add to the butter and egg mixture along with the chocolate; mix until combined.

    4. SCOOP individual portions of cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet or pan; or use spoons to pat each portion into a little ball. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour, or up to a month. You can bake them right away, but the cookies will be slightly flatter and less even. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 355°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookies evenly on the pan, leaving enough space between each one so they have room to expand during baking: They will almost double in size! Rest the frozen dough on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before placing in the oven.

    6. BAKE for 18 minutes, until the center of each cookie is slightly soft and under-baked, but the edges are crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving. These cookies will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

    TIP: If your cookies aren’t as crisp the nest day, place them on a piece of parchment on a cookie sheet and warm them in the oven. The heat will drive out the extra moisture, making them crisp again.
     
    THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK

    While the chocolate chip cookie was born in the U.S.A., this recipe comes from London’s popular Violet Bakery. Alice Waters calls it “a little corner of Northern California in east London.”

    Get your copy at Amazon.com.

     
      

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