Tomato, Basil and Ricotta Salata

March 28, 2017 Menu, Salads No Comments

Recently, I shared with you my recipe for game-day empanadas, and one of the fillings that I decided to use in my empanadas was ricotta salata. Up until this point, I had not really been all that familiar with this particular cheese. Ever since, it has become a staple in our house. For those of you who are still not familiar with this flavorful gem, it is an Italian cheese made from whey that is re-cooked (ricotta), and has been pressed, salted (salata) and aged for at least 90 days. The end result is a beautiful, milky white cheese with a slight nutty flavor, that is perfect for slicing, shredding or crumbling. Texture-wise, it is more like a feta than a traditional soft ricotta, with a taste that packs a delightful punch. It is also a very reasonably priced cheese, which makes it all the more enjoyable.

While my wife and I were perfectly content with simply enjoying slices of this cheese drizzled with a little balsamic, the wheels in my mind quickly started spinning on how to incorporate it into recipes. The first, and most obvious recipe that came to mind was the classic Caprese Salad, which of course is simply made up of fresh sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil and herbs. My thought was that not only would the texture of the cheese hold up well with the tomatoes and fresh basil, but also that the lively flavors would not require any additional seasonings. My hunch was correct. The in-your-face, vibrant flavor marries perfectly with the sweetness of fresh chopped basil, swirled together with a splash of rich, golden olive oil. The crumbly, chunky texture plays well with chunks of juicy tomato. Traditional Carpese Salad may be one of my all time favorites, but the ricotta salata version is definitely a nice and inviting alternative.

 

Tomato, Basil and Ricotta Salata

This is a very simple recipe. Measurements can be adjusted to your preferred serving size.

one chunk of ricotta salata
1-2 roma tomatoes
fresh chopped basil
Extra virgin olive oil

Chop the cheese and tomatoes into slices or cubes. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve and enjoy!

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Book Update 2.0

March 7, 2017 Menu 1 Comment

It’s been a while since I’ve given you a status on my book project, so I thought I should let you know what I’ve been up to and where things stand.

I’m happy to say that I am very optimistic with the progress that’s been made so far.

All of the written material has been compiled and edited, and photos are being gathered. There’s a nice variety of new recipes, along with many of my classic recipes…some which have been modified and updated.

Why the updates to some of the my original recipes, you ask?
As I have continued to use my recipes over the years, I have found that some adjustments have worked for the better – maybe due to a measurement modification, or maybe due to what ingredients are more fresh, available and in season at the time. You can read more about my thoughts for these updates in the book, but I promise that you will enjoy the modified versions.

The book will not only feature my recipes, but also the story on how I’ve had this incredible food journey and the fun paths that I have taken as a food blogger. I’ve been very fortunate with the opportunities that have come my way. I am very excited to share this memoir with you.

I have also finally settled on a book title, cover design and interior layout. This is where my years as a graphic designer have come in to play, and where much of my focus on this project has been spent. The visual appeal was one of my top priorities with this project, so I hope you find it just as appealing to look at as it is to read.

The next steps are to combine all of the written material into the layout, and make sure that it all looks nice and pretty. After that, it will have to go into a final proofreading phase…then it’s off to the races!

I’d say that we’re about 70% there. I started this project in the summer of 2016 and gave myself a solid year to finish it, and I think I’m right on target. There is still a solid, hard working 30% left to do, but slow and steady wins the race. We’re movin’ and shakin’!

So stay with me on this. I promise you good things to come. And thank you for the continued encouragement and kind words along the way…it’s been the additional fuel needed to get this project up and running!

 

 

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