Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ricotta Pancakes

Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a mother that cooked all the time and loved doing it.  We always had our selection of breakfast the next morning, especially on big days - SAT's, Birthdays, Sunday's.  My mom was always a morning person and would wake up at 6am to start making breakfast.  This intrinsic quality was not passed down to me.  Never have I ever wanted to get up at 6am, let alone to make breakfast for people, unless it's Bay To Breakers.

My mom found this recipe from Martha and I never realized how easy and tasty it actually was.  I cut the recipe in half because the Boy and I were making it for just the two of us.

Ricotta Pancakes (serves two):

3 eggs, separated
pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup ricotta (non fat or whole milk)
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4  tsp. baking powder
few pinches of cinnamon
few pinches of nutmeg
pinch of salt

lemon zest and sugar for dusting afterwards

Beat the egg whites till foamy, add the cream of tartar.  Whisk till stiff peaks form in a mixer.

Combine everything else with a whisk till combined.  Add 1/3 of the egg whites and stir to combine.  Fold in the rest of the egg whites, making sure not to over mix.

Heat up a griddle or frying pan, add a little butter and cook the pancakes in batches, 2-4 minutes on each sides.

Garnish with lemon zest and sugar (powered or granulated).  Should make about 7-8 pancakes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cornbread Muffins

Cornbread Muffins are a thing of beauty.  They are salty, sweet, bready - everything I love (execpt the carbs).  I usually buy Jiffy CornBread Mix and add a few things in it to make it special.

Cornbread Muffins:

1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen white corn
4 dashes red pepper flakes
1 egg
1/3 cup non-fat milk
lime zest

muffin liners

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and let sit for a few minutes.  Spoon mixture into muffin tins with liners until halfway full.  Follow the directions and bake according to the box.

Enjoy with a little slice of butter and some more lime zest.

Ricotta Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped Dates

A while ago I went up to Muir Woods with the Boy, Miss K, and her boyfriend.  We hiked and went to the Tourist Club for a beverage to enjoy the view.  On our way back we stopped on the side of the road at this little stand to pick up a few things.  We came back to the car with a ton of stuff, cherries, dates, pistachios, figs, almonds, we made out like bandits.  We were munching on everything in the car on the way back to the City.  I had tried Bacon Wrapped Dates at Wayfare Tavern and decided to give it a go on my own.

Ricotta Stuffed, Bacon Wrapped Dates

1/2 cup whole milk Ricotta
zest of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
4 strips of bacon, cut into thirds
12 dates, pitted and hollowed out with a chopstick
freezer zip top bag or piping bag (make sure it's a sturdy bag, mine exploded the first time I tried this)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine the ricotta with the lemon zest, salt, pepper and stir well.  Taste for seasoning.  Spoon mixture into a zip lock bag to one corner, or a piping bag.  Snip a tiny bit of the end and start piping the ricotta mixture into the hollowed out date.  Wrap with the bacon slice and place seam side down onto a baking sheet.  Repeat until all dates are stuffed and wrapped.  Put into the oven for 15-20 till bacon is cooked but not too crisp.

Stick a toothpick in it and serve while warm.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Basil Pesto

My family loves pesto, especially my father.  We will have it on bread with cheese, on pasta, on sandwiches or even in salads (I've added it to Caprese Salads when I don't have basil).  My version is fairly traditional with a few additions of parsley and cracked black pepper.  I also add a bit more garlic to make it more pungent.  Lastly, I only add a bit of freshly graded Parmesan Cheese at the end and fold it.

Basil Pesto:

4 garlic cloves, smashed
1-2 hand fulls of dry toasted pine nuts (maybe 1/3ish of a cup)
2 good pinches of salt
few grinds of freshly cracked pepper
1 very large bunch of basil (upwards of 30ish leaves)
1 large handful of flat leaf parsley
extra virgin olive oil, 1/4-1/2 cup
1/4 cup freshly graded Parmesan Cheese

In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper till a paste forms (maybe 15-20 seconds).  Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add the basil and parsley.  Pulse lightly every second until the basil and parsley are chopped finely.  Push the on button on the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil from the top until a nice smooth pesto forms.  Take out and put into a bowl, fold in the Parmesan Cheese and taste for seasoning.  It should be a little garlicky, salty, and most of all basily.