Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What should I do with this?

One of the perks of this thing I'm doing is I get to meet lots of interesting people; food growers and producers among them.  Every so often somebody puts something in my hand that I've never seen before.  This happened a few weeks ago when Sharon Tomaselli from Cooperstown Cheese Company handed me this goat's milk ricotta with the question: "What should I do with it?"
I smiled because my first reaction is something like- "I don't know! You made the stuff!" but I thought of my fridge, overflowing with homemade sauces, pickles and condiments.  I have no idea what to do with any of them.  I'm no stranger to cooking first and asking questions later.  Why not throw this ricotta in there and see if anything happens.
Like many a ricotta it's mild flavored and rich, but like any goat cheese, this ricotta comes with a gamey punch like I've never had before.  Very tasty stuff, but the questions still stands: "What should I do with it?"
The answer has to be something simple, otherwise the ricotta will just be a vehicle for a stronger flavor,  too often a decent ricotta's fate.
So what I ended up doing is not going to blow your minds. . . unless you try it.
I just made a simple cheesy garlic bread. . . salty and rich.  Also, it's a fine alternative to wearing a garlic rope around your neck in order to ward off vampires.  

Garlicy Ricotta Cheese Bread

1 pint of ricotta cheese (Mrs. Tomaselli's if you can get your hands on some)
4 cloves of fresh garlic, grated or chopped
3-4 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated hard aged cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette, fresh and crusty

1. In a bowl combing the ricotta, garlic, olive oil, Parmigiano along with the salt an pepper and mix very well.
2. Simply half the baguette lengthwise and then across.  Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over bread.
3. Bake on the top shelf of your oven at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is lightly browned.

Be sure to share this with whomever you plan on being around for the rest of the day.  The say mutual garlic breath will cancel itself out. . . and you're gonna need that.
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