Homemade Ricotta With Roasted Tomatoes

When I first started to cook, there were somethings that just seemed like total extravaganzas that I would never learn and really had no desire to learn.  So, the idea of making my own homemade ricotta cheese never, and I mean NEVER occurred to me.  Then I saw a chef demonstrate how easy it was and I was sold.  The truth is, when I serve my own homemade ricotta cheese as an appetizer, I WOW my guests whether they are family or friends.  Frankly, you can serve the most simple and unimpressive meal but if you start by saying, “I hope you enjoy this homemade ricotta cheese that I whipped up about 2 hours ago,” whoever “they” are, “they” won’t be able to stop talking about what a fabulous cook you are.  Enjoy!!!

Serves:

6-8

Total Time:

45 minutes

To Make

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp.  White wine vinegar

For the roasted tomatoes:

  • 3 cups cherry tomato medley
  • ¼ c. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • ¼ c. Basil Chiffonade

Directions:

Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line a large sieve with the cheesecloth.  Set the sieve over a deep bowl.

Pour the milk and cream into an enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. Transfer the ricotta remaining in the sieve to a bowl. Use immediately and eat warm or place in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 5 days.

For the Roasted Tomatoes:

Preheat oven to 400°

 Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss until well coated.  Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and lay the tomatoes out on the parchment and then place into the oven for 10-12 minutes.

 Place the ricotta in the center of a platter and spoon the roasted tomatoes over the top and around the sides.  Sprinkle with coarse French sea salt and the basil and ENJOY!!

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Frozen Bananas

Since I was a kid, every spring break I can remember we always went to Disneyland. When my children started having spring breaks the tradition continued to either Disneyland or Disney World.  Now the tradition continues with our grandchildren. 

Here are 3 things I can’t live with out when I get to Disney.  1st, Splash Mountain, 2nd, Churros, and 3rd FROZEN CHOCOLATE COVERED BANANAS!!!  

Enjoy this recipe!

Serves: 6-8

Total Time:

40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 bananas
  • 12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • Chopped nuts of your choice
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • Coconut
  • Anything your heart desires on your frozen banana
Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Peel ripe bananas and cut them in half.  Insert a popsicle stick in the flat side.  Lay them on the baking sheet and freeze for at least 4 hours.

When they are frozen melt the chocolate with the oil in a microwave safe dish for 30 seconds.  Stir and repeat the 30 seconds and stirring until melted. Or melt in a double boiler.

Roll each banana half in the chocolate and then quickly roll in the sprinkles, nuts or whatever topping you are using.

Freeze until the chocolate sets at least 30 minutes.   Serve or freeze in an airtight container for up to a week.

Enjoy!

 

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Frozen Yogurt Bark with Fresh Berries

When the weather starts to show signs of springtime, I crave the beauty of the colors of the summer.  Even though stone fruit has not begun to ripen yet, this yogurt bark takes on the colors of springtime and summer and the berries can easily be substituted with stone fruits when it comes summertime.  This is a great dessert for the spring holidays of Easter and Passover.  It is light, flavorful, and delicious!  Enjoy!

Serves: 8

Total Time:

30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 c.  seedless raspberry jam
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Fruit flavored balsamic vinegar or plain balsamic is good
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 pt. vanilla flavored Greek yogurt
  • ½ c. blueberries
  • ½ c. raspberries
  • 1/3 c. sliced strawberries
  • 1 oz. dark chocolate bar
  • ½ c. chopped pistachio nuts

Directions:

Combine the jam, vinegar, zest and lemon juice in a small bowl with a whisk.

Line a ½ sheet pan with parchment paper. Empty the entire contents of the 1 pint yogurt onto the sheet pan and spread out evenly to cover the bottom of the pan.

Dollop spoonful’s of the jam mixture down the middle of the yogurt. With a wooden skewer or the point of a butter knife swirl the jam throughout the yogurt mixture.

Sprinkle the blueberries, raspberries and strawberries evenly throughout the yogurt. 

Make shavings of the dark chocolate and chop pistachio nuts then sprinkle both on top. 

Place into the freezer for a minimum of four hours, (overnight is best).  To serve, break into pieces and serve in your favorite parfait glass or dessert cup.  Add a little extra dark chocolate when serving. 

That’s it.  Enjoy!

 

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Midnight Pasta

I love that it is urban legend that when chef’s get off work after a long day cooking for others, that their favorite meal to make for themselves when the get home before going to bed is an Italian staple called, “Spaghetti Aglio E Olio” which means spaghetti with garlic and olive oil.  However, it has developed a nick name of Midnight Pasta with all great chefs as a staple to turn to when they are tired but hungry.  I love this recipe.  The perfect blend of Salt, Fat and Acid if you season the pasta water perfectly before cooking.  Enjoy!

Serves:

4

Total Time:

20 minutes
To Make
Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. dried spaghetti, or pasta of your choice
  • 1/3 c. good olive oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 c. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving 

Directions:

Bring a  large pot of water to a boil

When it comes to a boil, add a fist full of Diamond Kosher Salt to the pot and immediately add the pasta.  Before you drain the pasta set aside about 1 ½ cups of pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a non-metallic pot large enough to hold the pasta, such as a 12-inch sauté pan or a large, shallow pot.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until you begin to smell the aromatics, add the pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more.

Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1 tsp. of salt, lemon juice and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.

Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on the side.

Enjoy!

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Long Life Noodles and Chicken

Recipe by Chef Katie Chin

I had the great honor and total pleasure of being taught this dish by Chef Katie Chin during one of my live Facebook cooking segments.  This recipe is filled with love and tradition and is a recipe that comes from her mother who found that the traditions during the lunar New Year of eating certain foods were meant to usher in wealth, good fortune prosperity and longevity in the new year!  I love this recipe…..leave out the chicken and you have a beautiful vegetarian meal!  Enjoy!

Serves:

4

Total Time:

20 minutes
To Make
Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (1/2 box) spaghetti or linguine
  • 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. bean sprouts
  • 3/4 c. snow peas, blanched and julienne
  • 1/2 c. julienne carrots
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. sugar

Directions:

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Rinse, drain and set aside.

Toss the chicken pieces with the cornstarch, salt and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat.

Add 1 Tbsp. of the oil and swirl to coat.

Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it turns white.

Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.

Add the red pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the bean sprouts, snow peas and carrots and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the sauce and stir-fry until blended, about 1 minute.

Add the reserve noodles and toss until coated.

Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

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