Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fresh Herb Cheese (+ Ligonier Farmer's Market!)

Between settling into a new kitchen, not having internet and never feeling like cooking when it's hot outside, I’ve been MIA from the Pittsburgh Kitchen for a while! This recipe for herby cheese is a very simple two-minute spread that tastes so nice and fresh. All you do is mix fresh herbs, garlic, onion and olive oil into ricotta. It’s from a recipe in one of my very favorite cookbooks by my very favorite cookbook author, Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

You can serve the herb cheese with fresh veggies (she says it’s especially good with radishes!), crackers or bread. Ms. Greenspan recommends stuffing fresh cherry tomatoes with the herb cheese, which sounds amazing. I’ve roasted ricotta-stuffed grape tomatoes topped with Romano, and it was delicious.

Below the recipe I'm posting some pics from the Ligonier Farmer's Market, which is definitely worth a drive if you feel like a rural PA mini-roadtrip some Saturday! It's about an hour east of Pgh.

Also, side note: somebody (Brittany? one of the many Kates?) should post pictures of the wedding! I didn't take any.

ANDDD check out Julia's guest post on A Nerd Cooks: Granny Smith Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

“Lyonnaise Garlic and Herb Cheese (aka Boursin’s mama)”
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups fromage blanc or ricotta (I used ricotta)
½ shallot, minced, rinsed and patted dry (I used a quarter of a white onion)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
About 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
About 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
About 1 tsp minced fresh tarragon
(I used parsley, thyme and rosemary from our herb garden!)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

I’m going to assume nobody reading this blog is going to go for the fromage blanc option. Dorie Greenspan suggests draining the ricotta over a strainer for two hours in the fridge to thicken it, but I skipped that step and I think the texture was fine.

the herb garden we've started at the new house! very exciting
Gently mix together all the ingredients so you don’t thin out the ricotta. Add more salt, pepper, garlic, herbs or vinegar to taste. Dig in right away… or, as Ms. Greenspan recommends, let it sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours for the flavors to take hold. Taste again and adjust seasonings before serving.

Ligonier Country Market

Here are my rambling thoughts on the glorious Ligonier County Market. If you haven't been, Ligonier is a ridiculously nice little town out east a little. Their farmer's market is the biggest and most diverse outdoors one I've ever visited. It's held every summer Saturday from 8:00 until 12:00 (and they are outta there at noon - all packed up by 12:01). So far this summer it doesn't look like they are offering a ton of produce, but there are loads of flower and veggie plants, prepared food, crafty stuff, wine, honey, etc. 

This time I went with my mom, and together we got a blueberry pie (that she gave to her neighbors for their kid's birthday party, arrrrrg, too generous), a gyro and fresh lemonade to split, a homemade candy bar thing with real caramel and oats and things, some flowers, an Eastern European potato dumpling dish with cheese and bacon from the Darlington Inn, a little grilled pesto pizza and a mug holder made out of cherry from a saw mill. Probably other things too that I don't remember. 

When I bought the mug holder, I didn't have any cash left, so the friendly carpenter guy who made it said I could just take it and go to his daughter's shop in Ligonier later and pay her there instead. Nice. Also, her antique shop was AMAZING. The prices are very reasonable. This is her Etsy store: SwansDowne. She said they had bought almost all of the chalkboards from a Latrobe school that had closed down and were in the process of cutting up the slate into fancy chalkboards. They had them hanging around the walls with quotes on them. I saw these bookends there and really reget not getting them. 

I would very much like to read (even) more.
Gosia's Pierogies, serving some potato and cheese pierogies up hot
Grilled pesto pizzas! I forget which cafe they were from, but I got one and it was delicious.

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