I have good news and bad news. The good news is, it’s time for some summer vacation fun! That means Wisconsin from Scratch will be spending the next week vacationing (and eating, duh) in Maine! The bad news is, while we’ll surely be gorging ourselves on lobsters and far too much blueberry pie, we’ll be missing you dearly. Which is why we’ve compiled some summer culinary fun, based on kitchen experiments and cooking we’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks, to share with you here! Hopefully this will tide you over until our return!
First up, let’s talk about this rhubarb gin I recently made. Besides being super easy to make, and having a lovely color, I think this is going to make a fantastic negroni, don’t you? To make it, I just chopped up 4 or 5 small stalks of rhubarb, smashed them a bit with the flat side of a knife, threw them into a jar with 1 ½ cups of gin (Death’s Door of course) and let it sit for about 3 days. Strain out the rhubarb, and tah-dah! Awesomeness in a jar.
Now that you’ve got some home infused libations, you’re going to need the perfect summer snack to accompany it. And shishito peppers are just the thing. I’ve been seeing these at the farmer’s markets recently, and yeah, they’re awesome. There’s probably a million things you could do with these, but I like to keep things simple. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a cast iron over very high heat. Once hot, throw in your peppers, and allow them to blister, turning occasionally so all sides get a nice char. This will take about 3-4 minutes per side, but depends on how hot your pan is. Once nice and blistered, throw the peppers on a plate, drizzle with fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with sea salt. They won’t last long…
Of course, on a hot summer day, you’re going to need a cool treat. Now I am always a huge fan of ice cream, or popsicles, but in a pinch, a frozen peppermint patty makes for one quick, but satisfying summer chiller. I always keep a jar of them in the freezer so they’re ready at a moment’s notice. Even better, I decided to try making my own. Surprising, it was super easy, and, not surprisingly, pretty darn tasty.
And finally, let’s talk about two of my favorite things about summer - eating outside, and tomatoes. What better way to combine the two, than with this delicious recipe for marinated tomatoes with baked ricotta? It will put all those fantastic tomatoes you have lying around, as well as your herb garden bounty to great use. Plus, there’s cheese involved. Serve it with some crusty bread and fresh greens (purslane or arugula are great here), and it’s pretty much the perfect thing to eat al fresco for a light summer lunch or dinner. What more could you want? Happy summer!
Herb Marinated Tomatoes with Baked Ricotta
serves 2 nicely
The longer you can let the tomatoes marinate, the more flavorful and awesome they will be (if you can wait that long).
- 1 lb tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp fresh herbs, roughly chopped (basil, thyme, oregano, or a mix)
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp red chile flakes (optional)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 Tbsp bread crumbs
- olive oil
- black pepper
- crusty bread and greens for serving
1. Combine tomatoes, shallot, herbs, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, chile flake, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer tomato mixture and any juices to a jar, cover, and let sit while you prepare the ricotta.
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Place ricotta in a small ovenproof dish, such as a ramekin. Top with breadcrumbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and some freshly ground black pepper.
4. Bake until top is browning and cheese is bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly, and serve with the marinated tomatoes, crusty bread, and greens.