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tomatoes and whipped ricotta on toasted bread

I’m just letting you all in on the lunch you and I can now have until the end of summer. Go ahead and have it all year long but right now this very month of the summer? It’s just right.

tomatoes, greens, toasts

So many things are not just right and frankly I try really hard not to make it my goal anymore to get it all right. Nevertheless when things are a little off I can get a little cranky. But it’s ooookay, I’m telling myself. It’s ok to not get things right, AND it’s equally ok not to love it when things go awry.

Like the other day. My oven was on because an honest and lovely friend tried a recipe of mine, and it was a dry failure for her. Blast. I made it again to see if I could solve the problem. Maybe I missed something, or could add a tip or two.

It’s ok, I told myself. I care about these things and that’s ooookay.

Making a recipe for the nth time was a choice I made because I love to cook and share correct information, but the fact that my less than a year old air conditioner decided to malfunction on the very same day was not ideal. I just happened to hear the weather report and a humid air mass was on it’s way. Hahaha. Well it certainly was! Of course. It’s all gonna be okay, I repeated.

Tomatoes, basil, ricotta cheese, prosciutto, pine nuts with buttered toasts? More than just okay.

summer tomatoes and whipped ricotta

I imagined this lunch for a few days before I collected it onto this plate. I was looking for a light lunch to bring to the cabin with some friends a few weeks ago. I kept picturing blue skies, kind faces, a slight warm breeze off the lake and this lunch. It felt a little random, but a bits and pieces kind of lunch is random, in the best possible way.

tomatoes and basil from the garden

I came home the next week and made it for a friend who is pretty much rocking the “it’s ok to not be ok” thing right now, even though her circumstances severely stink. This time an honest and empathetic afternoon with this lunch were the fit of the day.

tomato and ricotta cheese with pine nuts

And for the 3rd time, these very willing and hungry housemates gobbled it up asking for more.

bursch kids love their lunch

It’s official: humans love this lunch.

prosciutto

The thing about just right is that it changes with seasons and circumstances though. Don’t waste another second in the grocery aisle trying to decide what to have on hand for lunch this week. It’s summer. Go find yourself some tomatoes, as close as you can get to your home, and let it change your life–even if it’s just for a moment of gratitude in the midst of a cranky afternoon.

tomato season

Here are some thoughts to get you started. Pull it apart, mix it up, and use your imagination. If it sounds good to you, I promise it will sound good to someone else.

Tomatoes and Whipped Ricotta Plate
5.0 from 2 reviews
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: Light lunch or appetizer
By:
Makes: 4 Servings
Ingredients
Whipped Ricotta
  • 1 package of hand-dipped fresh ricotta (about 8 oz) - see note below
  • 1 tablespoon of cream
  • 1 lemon zested, divided in half
  • ½ lemon squeezed and the other half cut into wedges
  • salt and pepper
Bits and Pieces
  • 3 whole tomatoes sliced
  • 1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes - slice some and keep some whole
  • ½ cup of picked basil leaves
  • ½ cup of pine nuts
  • 3 oz of prosciutto
  • 4 oz of sliced salami
  • balsamic vinegar or favorite vinaigrette
  • Bread or baguette slices - I like a mix of Udi white bread and/or a thinly sliced baguette
  • ½ stick of softened butter
  • 1 large garlic clove peeled and cut in half lengthwise
Instructions
Whipped Ricotta
  1. Whip together drained fresh ricotta and 1 tablespoon of cream. You can do this by hand or in a mixer.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice and whip until smooth and creamy. Ricotta has a grain to it so it won't be butter smooth, but whip until combined and soft.
  3. If your mixture is dry add more cream a teaspoon at a time.
  4. Stir in ½ of lemon zest. Save the rest to sprinkle on top.
  5. Gently stir in ½ tsp of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Taste test. Add more lemon juice, salt, or pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
Tomatoes and Basil
  1. Place sliced and whole tomatoes on one end of your plate.
  2. Top with whole or julienne sliced basil leaves.
  3. Drizzle with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or dressing.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Pine nuts
  1. Heat a pan on medium high heat. Toss in your pine nuts.
  2. Every 30 seconds or so, shake around the pan or stir. Watch them closely because they will burn easily.
  3. After a couple minutes your pine nuts should be golden brown, slide pine nuts onto a plate to cool.
Toasts
  1. Butter both sides of bread or baguette slices.
  2. Heat a large sautè pan over medium high.
  3. Set your buttered bread slices into the hot pan and toast both sides until golden brown.
  4. Peel large garlic clove and cut in half.
  5. Rub raw side of cut garlic on toasted bread slices.
Final assembly
  1. Place prosciutto, salami, and ricotta dish on plate with prepared tomatoes. On the side offer a bowl of greens, extra balsamic vinegar or dressing, toasted pine nuts and buttered/garlic toasts.
  2. My favorite combinations: toast spread with ricotta, 1 fresh tomato slice and basil or toast with prosciutto and fresh tomato slice. Simple and delicious.
Note: I found hand-dipped ricotta in the refrigerator wall case near the cheese department at Whole Foods.

tomatoes with whipped ricotta on toasted bread

Enjoy!

~Heather

 

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Jen Eck July 31, 2015, 12:36 pm

    There are no words to describe just how ‘right’ this post and this lunch and this experience has been for me. I got to love e my lunch twice and then read about it and get a recipe for it. Love, love, love all around 🙂

    • heather bursch July 31, 2015, 1:56 pm

      It’s a food friend magical combination, don’t you think?

  • Betsy Sanford March 21, 2016, 12:20 pm

    Spending my morning reviewing these recipes and making a grocery list. When I came across this one, I started dreaming about summer, and my mouth is watering remembering how perfect this lunch was one afternoon at the cabin last year. : )

    • heather bursch March 21, 2016, 12:59 pm

      I love that memory too. Then the laughing on the raft! It’s funny how good food pairs with a memory of good times. Love it and can’t wait for more!

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