So once you have your homemade ricotta, the next question is: what to do with it?
Me, I decided to be ultra-spontaneous. Well mostly spontaneous. On Saturday, I bought a nice loaf of bread, made the ricotta, left it overnight in the refrigerator to drain. Then, on Sunday, with dinner guests coming at 5:30, I opened up my CSA box in the morning to see what was in there. Whatever I found, I’d make up some kind of bruschetta. Lo and behold, I found…
Any time I’ve ever made deviled eggs, I’ve basically spooned a gloppy mayo-yolk mixture into floppy egg whites and masked the ugliness with either smoked paprika (see here) or weird garnishes (see my Deviled Eggs Three Ways). The problem was always that filling: never stiff enough to pipe, always wet enough to spoon. This time around, I decided to change my game by deferring to a master chef’s technique; that would be April Bloomfield’s.
One thing that I like about cooking is that even if think you know a recipe, there’s always a better version lurking around the corner. It’s always possible to make something better. So, for example, homemade hummus: I’ve been making it for a while. Generally, I just strain a can of chickpeas (reserving the liquid), toss it into a food processor with some garlic, some tahini, some lemon juice, a splash of olive oil, salt and a little of that liquid. Whir it up and I’ve got hummus. I’m usually pretty happy with the results.
At the grocery store, you may have noticed, you can’t buy skinless chicken thighs that have bones. You can buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs or you can buy chicken thighs with the skin and bones still attached. If you want your chicken thighs to have bones and no skin, you’ll have to remove the skin yourself.
Which is precisely what I did, the other day, when I made that unbelievably good chicken tagine with preserved lemons and olives. I just yanked that skin right off and there it sat on the cutting board, looking like flabby detritus destined for the garbage can, or Buffalo Bill’s chicken skin cloak. But then I had an idea.
This post combines three recent posts into one scrumptious bite: (1) Rancho Gordo beans; (2) My Love Affair with Toast; and (3) My Very Own Herb Garden.
Let’s start with the toast: instead of a jam-topped breakfast concoction, this toast moves in a more savory direction. I toasted it just like normal (I couldn’t cut a thick slice because Craig bought pre-sliced sourdough bread; I forgive him) and then–here’s where we go savory–rubbed it with a garlic clove and then drizzled it with good olive oil (Katz’s, if you wanna know the details).
Growing up, I hated mayonnaise and I hated cheese. Strange for a kid, yes, but the cheese-hatred had some basis: my dad hated it, so we never had it in the house. And I became so conditioned to hating cheese, it took me years (and a cheese-loving boyfriend) to get over it. As for the mayo, that was entirely my own thing: nothing repulsed me more. The gummy, gooey whiteness mortified me; nothing could ruin a sandwich faster than spreading mayo on it first. I could abide it in coleslaw and tuna salad because I didn’t see it go in, but a turkey sandwich with gloppy mayo on top? To this day, I’d say “no.” So imagine how repulsed I’d be if, as a wee lass, you’d presented me with a Southern delicacy known as “pimento cheese”–cheddar cheese mixed with mayo and chopped up pimentos. I might’ve, to use an elegant verb from my childhood, hurled.
It all happened very quickly. My friend Jimmy IMed me and asked what we were up to, we said nada, decided to all go to a movie but first, I invited him over for dinner. “It won’t be fancy,” I warned. “Probably just some pasta.” (I had penne in the cabinet and cauliflower in the refrigerator, so I knew I could make this recipe, minus the broccoli.) But after the plan was set, my hosting gene kicked in and I felt the need to also make a dessert and an appetizer. The dessert? I’ll tell you about that later. But the appetizer came together in no time, and it had everything to do with having three ingredients on hand: spicy mustard, a box of Triscuits and a can of sardines.