tomato bread salad

this is such a yummy salad. similar to panzanella salad but it’s easier to throw together. i love how fresh and light it is. you could use mozzarella but i had ricotta in my fridge. you could add bell peppers, olives or anything else that floats your boat.

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ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of bread (you can use any kind but i really love to use rosemary focaccia in this salad)
  • 4-6 tomatos
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

seasoning mix ingredients:

  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • seasoned salt
  • paprika
  • garlic powder
  • tiny bit of cayenne pepper
  • parmasen

here are the steps:

  1. cut the bread into small pieces (like croutons) i like to place a cutting board over a dish towel so that the crumbs can be easily picked up and thrown away. IMG_3729
  2. coat with bread cubes with olive oil and the seasoning mix i described above.IMG_3730IMG_3731
  3. bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. dice the tomatoes and toss with the toasted bread cubes.
  5. slice some fresh basil, mince some garlic and toss with the bread and tomatoes.IMG_3741
  6. drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top of the salad and top with a spoonful of ricotta.

i used this dish as a side but i ended up going back for seconds. it was so fresh and delicious. it will definitely be on my list of fave sides!

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tomato bread salad

homemade ricotta

ricotta is a super versatile, creamy cheese. i am planning to make stuffed ravioli pasta in a few days, so i decided to try making the ricotta cheese from scratch. it was surprisingly easy and incredibly smooth. the ingredients are simple and easy to find.

ricotta ingredients

ingredients:

  • 8 cups of whole milk (1/2 gallon)
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar (optional)
  • cheesecloth

the steps are pretty simple. lots of waiting and watching. here we go!

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  1. in a large stock pot or other deep pot, slowly bring the milk and cream to a boil.
  2. once there is a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and add the salt. once the salt is stirred in, slowly add the lemon juice. ps- this lemon juice is from costco and is really yummy. my husband and i drink it every morning with a little water for its cleansing qualities and health benefits. that’s a little tip from my father in law!
  3. cook for 20-30 minutes or until you see curds starting to form on a low boil. if it feels like the curds aren’t forming, add a teaspoon of white vinegar to hurry the process. the vinegar/ citrus is supposed to help separate the curds from the whey. (the whey is the liquid that we will dispose of later when straining.)IMG_3675
  4. in the meantime, take a large bowl and place a strainer inside it. next, please the cheese cloth on top of the strainer and make sure there is enough room so that you can tie up the cheese cloth later.IMG_3674
  5. once the mixture has boiled long enough and the curds are forming, pour the mixture over the cheese cloth slowly and let it strain.IMG_3677
  6. after a few minutes, tie up the bundle of ricotta in the cheese cloth and hang from your sink faucet to drain fully. i like creamier ricotta so i let it hang for about 25 minutes but you could hang for an hour for more dry ricotta. if you like super moist ricotta, hang for as little as 5 minutes.  IMG_3681
  7. after hanging, untie the cheese cloth and pour into a bowl. the cheese will last about 7 days in the fridge.

you could spoon some ricotta onto some toast with honey, use it in a healthy bruschetta snack or add a couple of dollops to marinara sauce. check back soon to see how i use it in ravioli! happy eating

homemade ricotta