Summers Gift: Fresh Tomatoes and Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I’ve been waiting all summer for those first tomatoes to ripen in the garden. Anticipating the first taste of the tomatoes that have been allowed to ripen on the vine in the glow of the summer sun.  Developing their sweet, slightly acidic, juicy, full flavor and all their delicious goodness to be picked and enjoyed the same day. Never seeing the inside of refrigerator as to preserve the tomatoes true flavor. This years tomatoes are ripe and ready to enjoying.

The only key to remember when preparing ingredients from your garden is to let the true flavors shine.  Choose the best full flavored ingredients that will enhance the tomatoes flavor.  Paired up with Homemade Ricotta Cheese and a crusty French Baguette to make an irresistible appetizer or light meal.  Could someone please pass me the bottle of wine?

Equipment:

  • Cutting Board
  • Chefs Knife
  • Measuring Cups
  • Platters
  • 6 quart Stainless Steel Stock Pot
  • Paper Towels
  • Strainer
  • Slotted Ladle
  • Large Bowl

Marinated Tomatoes

  • 2 lbs.       Fresh Assorted Tomatoes (from your garden or farmers market)
  • 2 Tbsp.    White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp.    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp.   Kosher Salt or Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp.   Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup    Fresh Basil (torn into strips)
  • 1/2 cup    Parmesan Reggiano (finely grated)
  1. Half and core the tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes into equal sized pieces that are about 3/4-inch in size.
  2. Place the cut tomatoes on a serving platter in 1 layer.
  3. Sprinkle the white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper over the tomatoes.
  4. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary.
  5. Sprinkle the torn basil leaves over the tomatoes followed by the grated Parmesan.
  6. Leave at room temperature for at least 20 before serving with the homemade ricotta.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 gallon    Whole Milk (Guernsey Dairy)
  • 1 quart     Half & Half (Guernsey Dairy)
  • 1 Tbsp.     Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup     White Wine Vinegar
  1. Prepare the strainer by lining it with paper towels and place over a large bowl.
  2. In a 6 qt. stainless steel stock pot at the whole milk, half  & half, and kosher salt.
  3. Place the stock pot over medium heat on the stove and stir to dissolved the kosher salt.  Bring the milk/half & half to a light boil stirring now and again.
  4. Turn off the heat and pour in the white wine vinegar.  Stirring the mixture once, gently.
  5. Let sit for 20 minutes to allow the curds to form.  The whey should have a watery yellow appearance.
  6. Gently lift the curds into the paper towel lined strainer using the slotted ladle. Do not stir while lifting the curds.  Discarding the whey once you have removed all the curds.
  7. Let the curds drain for 30 minutes at room temperature in the paper towel lined strainer.  Discarding the whey that drains off.
  8. Place the ricotta into a bowl and taste for salt.  Add 1/4 tsp. of salt at a time and stir together and taste again.  Add enough salt to taste.
  9. Place in a serving bowl with a small spoon to scoop onto a baguette slice.
  10. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate if there is any ricotta leftover.  The ricotta will remain fresh for 5 days in the refrigerator.

To Serve:

  • 2       Italian or French Baguettes (sliced into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1       Bowl of Fresh Homemade Ricotta
  • 1       Platter of Fresh Marinated Tomatoes
  1. Place a 1 tablespoon of homemade ricotta onto a piece of sliced baguette.
  2. Topped ricotta with a heaping tablespoon of the marinated tomatoes and juices.
  3. Enjoy with a glass of wine or your favorite summer beverage.

Note: As the marinated tomatoes sit the tomatoes will exude their juices. Perfect to dip one side of the baguette slice into before topping with the ricotta and tomatoes.

Assorted Tomatoes

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