Non-Alcoholic Cardinal Punch
In honor of the selection of the new pope (I’m not even catholic, but whatever), I made a very special MOCKtail. Start by combing, over ice, 2oz of cranberry juice, 2oz orange juice, and 1/2oz of lemon juice. Then finish off the top half of the glass with ginger ale, and cheers!
Homemade Queso Fresco
Ladies and Gentlemen, this may have been the best thing I have ever posted on my blog, probably because the name is in Spanish. Literally, this means “Fresh Cheese” and is so delicious. Its kind of a cross between mozzarella and fetta. With only 3 ingredients, its so easy and is definitely a must try. Here’s what you’ll need:
3 tablespoons of white vinegar
1 pinch salt , plus more for when its done
2 quarts of high quality whole milk
1 cheese cloth
Start by boiling the milk with the salt in a medium saucepan, then turning it down to a simmer. You have to watch it very carefully, because when it boils it foams up really quickly. Then add the vinegar, and stir constantly for 10-15 minutes until the protein separates from the whey, and forms solid chunks. Then pour into a strainer with the cheesecloth on it. Let cool for 5 minutes, then squeeze the liquid out of it. Finally, place a pan on it for 7-10 minutes, and eat! So amazing! So easy! So spanish!
Some would argue that Valentine’s Day has become all about food. After making this post, I might agree.
Click the pics for the source! For the Foodie Valentine’s at the top, head over to PBS Food: http://www.pbs.org/food/features/valentines-for-foodies/
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Wake up in the morning feeling like p-ditty? Grab the ricotta from your fridge that you had lying around from some botched greek dish or whatever, and make these wonderfully delectable morning treats. And what goes better with lemony-cheesey pancakes than a bluberry
sauce, no a syrup. So delectable, you could eat it right from the sauce pan.
These are the fluffiest, most balanced pancakes I’ve ever eaten. Not too much lemon, not too much ricotta, not too much blueberry. Here’s what you’ll need:
To make the blueberry sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
For the Batter:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon canola oil
For the blueberry syrup, start by combining the blueberries, water, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil (this will happen quickly so watch it). Then add the cornstarch, and lemon juice, and reduce to a simmer until it thickens up, at which point you can remove it from heat until ready to be used.
For the pancakes, start by combining the dry ingredients in one large bowl, and the wet ingredients (including the ricotta) in another. Whisk thoroughly, and combine. Whisk the two together, but don’t over mix, because you want it to be thick and fluffy. Then, heat a non-stick griddle at low heat until it reaches an appropriate temperature (use a test pancake to find out what that temperature is) and start cooking those puppies until golden brown and not wobbly when you put a spatula on them (to make sure they’re done on the inside). Serve with some warm blueberry syrup and some OJ. Bon Apetít!
Shells with Rustic Sauce: Conchigilie alla Burina
Who doesn’t love a good comforting pasta? Who doesn’t love a good commercial with the classic Italian grandmother kissing her fingers and exclaiming, “Ah! Perfecto!” after tasting her sauce? I certainly haven’t met that person. And although I’m no where near a full-blooded Italian grandmother, I do enjoy a quality pasta more than just about anything.
This dish brings out the Italian in everybody, and is the perfect quick, easy weeknight dinner. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 pound of conchiglie (shells) or any other short pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
14 ounces tinned Italian plum tomatoes
salt and pepper pinches
4 (7 ounces) Italian sausages
1 glass of quality white wine
1 cup of shelled peas
Start by heating the olive oil in a medium saucepan, and add your onions and garlic. As the onions become translucent, add tomatoes and their juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cook this for 20 minutes.
Then, in another pan (but this time covered), prick the sausages and cook them gently in the wine. When they’re done (check for doneness by cutting one open and testing for color; pink=bad, gray=good) chop in bite size “crumbles” (I hate that word; it sounds like a bad lunchroom item), and add the juices to the sauce to add a really nice, rich flavor.
Then cook the pasta (I prefer the brand Barilla), being careful not to over do it. Add the peas to the sauce, and cook until tender. Before draining the pasta, add the sausage to the sauce. Then drain the pasta, add to the sauce, and serve immediately. AmamaMia! Whatagoodapasta! (I apologize to any Italians I may have offended by my impressions)
Recipe adapted from Diane Seed’s book The Top 100 Pasta Sauces