Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Leftover Ricotta Cheese

I hate purchasing certain foods because I know I will only use a small amount and the rest will languish in the refrigerator. When it becomes unrecognizable, it will be tossed. I am fortunate. For me food is "cheap" entertainment. I can afford to toss a few things. That being said, every time I toss something, I can just hear my mother.
"Why did you let that food spoil? Food is just too high (Southern speak for 'It's expensive) to throw away. Baby, I don't care how much money you make, you just never know."
Now that you have "heard from my mother". I'll admit that I have a hard time tossing food. There are certain foods like, ricotta cheese, celery, and parsley that I have issues with. I know when I purchase them, most of it will be wasted.

A few days ago I purchased ricotta cheese to make Ricotta Chive Bread. I must say the bread was excellent, but left me with 1¾ cups of ricotta cheese.

Imagine how happy I was to find this recipe for Soft Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Ricotta and Chives. It also calls for chives and I truly have an "infinite" supply of chives. If you don't have chives, I say don't sweat it. You can omit them, use basil or oregano. Also, to make this a little more substantial, sauté some spinach and add eggs to the spinach. If you have parmesan cheese, don't be afraid to grate a little of it.

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Ricotta Cheese and Chives

Serves 2.


4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
½ cup ricotta cheese
1 small baguette or 4 slices of bread


1. Whisk together eggs, chives and salt.

2. Melt butter in a heavy medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs and stir with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon until eggs are almost cooked. Add ricotta cheese and stir until ricotta is almost mixed in. Clumps of ricotta should still be visible.

3. Toast bread and serve.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pulses Are Having Their Day!


The United Nations declared 2016 to be the International Year of the Pulses. The goal is to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of a sustainable food production system aimed at improving food security and nutrition. Hopefully, this action will create opportunities to improve worldwide utilization of pulses.

The US rarely uses the term 'pulses'. We generally prefer the terms 'beans, peas, and lentils'. Pulses, beans, peas, and lentils are leguminous (legumes) crops. They are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids for people around the globe and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet.

Legumes are often consumed by vegetarians as a source of protein. When combined with a grain, they make a complete protein. Meaning, the provide all the essential amino acids in the correct proportions.

And my favorite thing about beans and peas. They are cheap! If you are on a budget, beans and peas are a good choice.

In support of the International Year of the Pulses, I am writing about lentils. If you are new to cooking dry beans, lentils are a good place to start. They do not require soaking and they cook quick, usually in about 30 minutes.

I found a recipe for Caviar de la Croix Rousse. When I find a recipe that refers to beans and caviar, I generally think of black-eyed peas, sometimes referred to as Texas Caviar.  Well, this recipes calls for French green  lentils or lentilles de Puy - one of my favorites. I did change a few things, so I am not sure mine is authentic. First of all, I used ham instead of bacon. I also added Dijon mustard, because I think it should go in just about anything. If possible, I would add some red bell pepper. I thought it needed a little color.

French Lentil Salad

Serves 4 to 6.


1 cup French green lentils
6 ounces ham
2 bay leaves
½ onion, cut in half from root to stem (so it holds together)
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoon minced parsley
Salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Sort lentils. Remove any rocks or other debris. Rinse lentils under running water. Drain.

2. Place lentils in a 4 quart saucepan. Add about three cups of water, ham, bay leaves, and onion. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until tender.

3. While lentils are cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl combine shallots, Dijon mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and parsley. Stir to combine.

4. When lentils are cooked, remove onion and bay leaves. Drain. Remove ham and chop. Combine lentils and dressing; add ham and parsley. Stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust.