Showing posts with label argula. Show all posts
Showing posts with label argula. Show all posts

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Appetizers Make New Year's Party




We're coming upon New Year's Eve. Happy New Year!


May this year bring you joy and happiness. May all your creative endeavors be positive. May you laugh and be surrounded by laughter. May you love and be surrounded by love.


And may you enjoy good company of friends (if you so desire).

For New Year's festivities, I'm always looking for new appetizers? Things I can serve on the 31st. Things I can serve watching football or while reading a good book (while others watch football).

I've stumbled upon a terrific herbed ricotta appetizer that is so EASY to make and so delicious to eat, and they're pretty. A plateful looks beautiful. So does a platter-ful. And guys like them just as much as gals. [This can also be made as a bruschetta "sandwich".]

For this batch of appetizers, I decided to try my hand at cheese making first. I've been told that making ricotta cheese was the easiest, so that's what I tried.

Ricotta cheese is fabulous. It's luscious and yet delicate and light. Though it was "harder" to do than I imagined, I really enjoyed the experience and I would do it again (now that I'm a seasoned veteran).

Just so you know, homemade tastes even better than store-bought. Definitely.

To prepare, you need a sieve, cheesecloth, a mixing bowl, and a 6-quart pot. Oh...and the ingredients (of course). And patience.


FRESH RICOTTA
(makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients:
2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
1 fresh lemon

Directions:
You need a large sieve and cheesecloth.
Line the sieve with the cheesecloth and place the sieve over a large mixing bowl.
In a 6-quart pan, slowly bring the milk, the cream, and the salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring to prevent the mixture from scorching. This takes 3-4 minutes.

Squeeze the juice from one fresh lemon. It makes about 3 tablespoons. Add the lemon juice to the milk mixture, then reduce the mixture to low and continue stirring, about 2 minutes.
Pour the mixture on top of the cheesecloth in the sieve and let it drain for about an hour.
Discard the liquid in the bowl and reserve only the “curds” that are on top of the cheesecloth.
Keep the ricotta in a covered container and refrigerate. It will keep 3-4 days.

Now...for the appetizer, which IS EASY to make...

HERBED RICOTTA APPETIZER (and/or BRUSCHETTA)

Ingredients:


2 cups ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons scallions, minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
2 tablespoos chives, minced
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 loaf sourdough bread or your favorite crackers
olive oil [FOR BRUSCHETTA]
1 whole garlic clove, cut in half [FOR BRUSCHETTA]


Directions:
As I said, this may be made a couple of ways. Like a bruschetta (a meal) or just as a cold appetizer.

For appetizer: [easy!]

Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper.

Spread a tablespoon of the cheese on your favorite crackers.
Garnish with crushed pepper. [Do not use the oil or garlic from the ingredients above.]

For bruschetta: [a little more involved] [Sorry I don't have pictures of this one. We ate all the appetizers and ran out of the cheese mixture!]

Prepare a barbecue with medium-high heat.

Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper. Set aside.

Cut the bread in hafl and cut each half into 6 thick slices; 12 total.

When the grill is hot, brush the bread with oil and grill on each side for 2 minutes. Remove and rub with garlic clove.

Spread the herbed ricotta on the bread. Garnish with more pepper.

Serve with a crisp green salad.

If you want a few other appetizers from our Mystery Lovers Kitchen, click these links:



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If you'd like to know more about A Cheese Shop Mystery series and want to download a few other recipes from me (on recipe cards), click on this link to my website: Avery Aames. I've posted recipes in the "morsels" section. There's lots of other fun stuff, as well. And sign up for the mailing list to get in on the next contest...coming soon.

Say cheese!