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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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Grilled Artichoke Hearts

August 16, 2015 Appetizer, Menu, Salads No Comments

Artichoke hearts are hands-down one of my all time favorite vegetables…and yes, they are considered a vegetable. Whether used in a salad, over pasta, with chicken or fish, or even served as a dip, this anti-oxident rich veggie adds the perfect amount of zesty tang and flavor. For this recipe that I’m sharing with you, the artichoke hearts are the one-man star of the show. This dish is actually so easy, that I feel guilty to refer to it as a recipe. But it does involve some cooking (a very minimal amount at that), it makes for a great side dish to just about any meal, and it went over really well when I made them for a recent family grill-out. So all bases are covered to consider this a great summer recipe. All you need is a jar of marinated artichoke hearts (the jar size solely depending on how many you would like to make), a grill heated to medium-high, a grilling basket, a large stirring spoon and about 5-10 minutes of your time.

Place your grilling basket over direct heat. Remove the desired amount of hearts from the jar and carefully place them into the basket. I stress the word carefully because the oil-soaked hearts will cause the flames to temporarily flare up. Be sure to not pour the hearts into the basket directly from the jar, because the extra oil may cause the flames to rise to a dangerous level. Once the flames die down, stir the hearts to make sure that they get even heat distribution. The hearts will retain their natural moisture (along with marinated coating), so they will not char or burn. Instead, they will pick up a nice, bold smoky flavor, while retaining their soft texture. Continue to stir for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from basket, serve and enjoy!

artichoke2

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Roasted Tomatoes with Arugula and Grana Padano

March 8, 2015 Menu, Salads No Comments

After being clobbered with an unexpected end-of-season snowstorm, I am more than ready to start enjoying some of my favorite springtime meals. While it is still too early in the season to really think about planting and picking your own fresh tomatoes, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy what’s available at the grocery store. The recipe that I’m sharing with you today was inspired by television’s Chef Michael Smith, and uses some nice store-bought vine ripen tomatoes.

I recently watched Chef Smith prepare roasted tomatoes, and I knew that this was the perfect dish to help kick-start spring fever. Roasted red peppers are one of my favorite salad and sandwich condiments, and I love grilling up tomatoes in the summer, so I was very anxious to give roasted tomatoes a try. The recipe is as simple as slicing up up a few tomatoes into four to eight pieces each (depending on how small you prefer the slices), tossing them with olive oil, some salt and pepper and some fresh basil, then oven roasting them for an hour. The aroma of the roasted tomatoes is absolute heavenly. Once slightly cooled, these babies are simply amazing. The tomatoes develop a rich, robust, sauce-like flavor enhanced by the natural sweetness. The olive oil, salt, pepper and basil add a delicious punch to the tomatoes…they literally explode in your mouth.

I served the tomatoes on top of arugula, then topped the salad with a little more olive oil and fresh shaved Grana Padano cheese, which is a popular Italian cheese that is similar in taste and texture to Pecorino Romano or Parmesan. The rich, sweet tomatoes were a perfect complement to the peppery arugula and sharp cheese. This salad is definitely a spring-time must…but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it now. And don’t forget the crusty bread and red wine!

Roasted Tomatoes with Arugula and Grana Padano

(you can adjust all measurements to your liking)
2-4 vine ripen tomatoes
olive oil
salt
pepper
a handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
arugula
Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cut the tomatoes into 4-8 pieces each, depending on how small you would like them. Toss the sliced tomatoes in a bowl with some olive oil, a dash of salt and pepper and the basil, making sure that all of the tomatoes are evenly coated. Place them on a baking tray, making sure that the pieces don’t overlap. Bake the tomatoes for one hour.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly.

To serve with arugula – place the cooled tomatoes on the arugula, drizzle with a little more olive oil, top with some shaved cheese.

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Step one: cut the tomatoes and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil.

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Step two: spread the tomatoes evenly on a baking sheet.

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Step three: after an hour in the oven, let cool slightly.

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Step 4: enjoy the tomatoes on a salad, sandwich, or on their own!

 

 

 

 

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A Little of This and Some of That: Game Day Party Foods!

January 28, 2015 Appetizer, Menu, Salads No Comments

It’s Super Bowl party time! On today’s podcast, we’re discussing new and fun alternatives to traditional game day party foods. We’re tackling everything from wings, pizza and salads (yes, I said salads), to beers that represent both the east and west coast. So pull up your favorite bean bag and listen in, as we kick off our game day party episode. Links to all of the recipes discussed are covered below. Game on!!!

 

 

 

 

Show-related links

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Mini Pizza Pockets

Dorito Salad

Redhook Brewery

Audible Ale

Samuel Adams Brewery

Saranac Brewery

Allagash Brewery

Be sure to contact us at info@domskitchen.com or in the Comments section below to let us know about your game day party food suggestions or ideas, and to let us know what you thought about this episode of A Little of This and Some of That.

 

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